OPINION

A lost generation

«Greece is taking measures to reduce its deficit.» Greece has been making Bloomberg’s news headlines on the giant screen in Times Square, the heart of New York City. But not for good reason: Greece is now the black sheep of the financial markets and an easy target for hedge funds. Reactions are mixed. America’s Greeks are worried about the future of their distant homeland. They know the story goes a long way back. They now realize the mistakes of the past, the cost of foot-dragging, the political responsibilities and the moral and political impasse. New York bankers are fuming at the European attacks on Goldman Sachs. The Europeans knew everything from the very beginning, says a leading Greek businessman who operates in the country. Other Greeks with long careers in New York – doctors, academics and intellectuals – are worried about the fate of the motherland. They predict that more and more young people will leave the country, giving rise to a third wave of emigration – only this time it will not be the poor, unspecialized work force but the more educated and creative youth. The problem is opportunities are fewer these days, even here in the land of opportunity. What has long been clear to the more aware among the inhabitants of our troubled nation is now becoming evident to the Greeks abroad: The looming recession, without any clear plan for recovery and growth, the paralysis and defeatism, all could result in the sacrifice of an entire generation. Today’s 15- to 30-year-olds will in the coming years find closed doors, they will seek to demonstrate their strengths in a frozen market in a desperate society. Many of them will chose to leave. A new Greek diaspora will emerge. And a new Greece will be left without its youth.