The mirror never lies

It was a Greek who urged other Greeks to «come to your senses» when hundreds (either spontaneously or stirred into a panic by TV, as always) lined up at gas stations to fill their tanks and even a jerry can or two. The tone of the speaker was disparaging, so much so that he himself would probably have been insulted if addressed in similar manner. In fact he would probably have responded in kind and soon words would give way to violence, to settle differences that probably didn’t even exist in the first place, for it’s a whole lot more than a tank of gas that separates people. We are so used to hearing things like «Come to your senses Greece,» «That’s Greeks for you» or «That’s Greece.» Greeks, of course, are not other people living in some distant land. We are the Greeks and Greece is the land that together we have created, each from his own station in society. The reproach, therefore, could only have some impact if it also entailed a degree of self-criticism. For example, every time we speak – on TV, in newspapers, to our friends – about the «Greek mentality,» we should make it clear we accept this is our mentality and no one is excluded or has the right to exclude oneself. Obviously Greece is not this and this alone. Obviously the «Greek mentality» is not solely one of lamenting our fate, clawing each other’s eyes out, blaming the state for everything, of insecurity, as so many are trying to convince us. These same people, in a couple of days, will be seen lauding the «Greek spirit» and «Greek generosity.» But obviously the world would be a better place if we occasionally pointed that judgmental finger at ourselves. There are no two ways about it: Greece and its future belongs to Greeks; there are no «others» to change it. The mirror never lies or flatters, at least as long as we look at our reflection with a critical gaze and not simply to admire ourselves.