Greece rising from the ashes

Share |
A friend of mine who just came back from Greece and does business there often tells me that the country has been rocked this time around with the financial crisis and that people are desperate and restless and that there seems to be no hope for the country rising from the ashes this time around.

Sound familiar?

When wasn’t Greece in its long history not facing yet another dire crisis that threatened its very survival? When weren’t Greeks in Greece, and those forever voyaging around the world, not perpetually restless like all Greeks, which made them the true descendants of Odysseus? When wasn’t the country written off yet again as nothing but a backwater--after its long servitude to the Ottomans of four hundred years, after enduring the fall of its dreams in Constantinople, and its subjugation to the Germans, and its own civil war, and a junta that made it a repressive state—only to rise once again and once again become prosperous and reclaim its title as one of the most desirable and coveted spots to visit in the world?

What Greek in his right mind can imagine Greece, and the Greek people, not merely enduring, but fighting to their last breath (because that’s the way Greeks are made and OXI and the annals of Marathon and the last stand at Thermopylae can attest to that), and while as often fighting with each other, recognizing their true kinship deep down and never forgetting the dream that is Greece and the distinction that it means to be Greek?

Every Greek is fiercely proud and with good reason. What country, however small, holds such a huge sway over the culture and thought of the world? What other nationality of people, however small in number, hold such prominence in whatever country they inhabit and particularly in America?

Do we ever give up? OXI. Do we ever stop trying? OXI. Do we ever stop dreaming? OXI. Greece will endure because we need it to endure and because a world without the thought of Greece and all it represents would be unthinkable. It would be a world without freedom, without reason, with darkness instead of light, with despair instead of hope, and with fear instead of the valor that advances us as a people and truly fulfills us as the human race.

Can we go back and stand to live in a world stripped of all freedom and hope, as the “barbarians” once lived in before the Greeks showed them the light, and then fought with reckless courage to preserve that light against the hosts of superstition and repression that tried to snuff it out?

Greece is everyone’s birthright, now more than ever as new attacks to our freedom and thought and culture threaten to subsume our world. Greece cannot be dismissed as a mere country, and certainly not as the backwater my friend mourned about. Greece is everyone’s ideal of what the human race can be and losing all hope of its survival is losing the hope of the legacy it brought to all of us: a world with the freedom to dream and to hope.

That is the legacy of Greece and that is truly universal.

Dimitri C. Michalakis


web stats tracker