OPINION

Our own worst enemies

Does Greece possess antiquities? Yes. Many? Yes, tons. Where? Everywhere. Are they great? Many of them are unique. And what do we do about them? We glow with pride and we boast, of course, about our national heritage. We also advertise them in order to attract tourists. More and more tourists. Because tourism is Greece’s main industry, its heavy industry. Naturally, we like to maintain that culture is our biggest industry, but we were never particularly careful about the way we use words, we were never very precise. We have words just so that we can use them, tossing them around willy-nilly. And how do we treat our antiquities, our national heritage, this huge financial armory? We love them of course. At least in our words, in our statements, because in any other way, in all the other crucial ways that actually matter, we don’t really pay them that much attention. Take for example Aristotle’s Lyceum, «the oldest university in the world, which – and this at a time of heated historical debate about the Macedonia name dispute – is allowed to be engulfed by weeds, eroded by the elements, even though it stands just meters away from ruling New Democracy party headquarters on Rigillis Street. It seems that no one from ND, in all their anxiety to meet with other party members to ponder the future of the country, has taken the trouble to cross the street to see the shame, their shame, our shame. The same is true of the Temple of Artemis Agrotera (the Huntress), which is a three-minute walk from the Parliament in Syntagma Square. That too is overgrown with weeds, because it too must be devalued and left at the mercy of voracious «developers» who want to turn everything into building plots and construction sites. There are also many antiquities at Epidaurus, and these are even better known than the aforementioned. So? OK, forest fires have not yet posed a threat to these antiquities – as was the case with Olympia – but the site has been left without toilet facilities for months. Sure, a toilet does not have the same prestige as an ancient theater or a museum, but it can certainly prove useful, if not necessary, to some. With all this in mind, maybe we should be having another think about who is really working against Greece and who is plotting to undermine our greatness.