Tuesday Jul 29, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
31o C
24o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
The wrong kind of patriotism

By Alexis Papachelas

Some political ideas have remained stubbornly absent from Greek public debate. The reason is simple: Theyre ideas that have been ridiculed, defamed and almost exiled for some 30 years.

Anyone who came out in favor of a more flexible, Scandinavian-type labor market was automatically branded as an insensitive neoliberal.

Those who argued for bold changes in the social security system so that we would not have to take even more painful measures in the future paid a very heavy price for their courage.

Those who said that there could be no workable society in the absence of law and order were scorned as fascists or apologists of the junta.

This neo-Macarthyism against rival ideas was left unchallenged.

No one protested at the fact that views which were considered perfectly normal or even mainstream in the rest of Europe were squeezed out of the public debate here. It was only when Greece signed the bailout agreements that these ideas were first heard, prompting, of course, sarcastic comments, abuse and populist sound bites.

Populism has deep roots in Greek society, but the situation got out of hand in recent decades. The Greek right was ashamed to say things that were self-evident for every European center-right party. Centrist social democrats who turned their backs on populism were scoffed at by the old PASOK and the left. The champions of nationalist populism reached the point of attacking anyone who was not on their side as unpatriotic. Its a serious allegation, especially if one takes into consideration how much money patriotism has cost Greeks in kickbacks.

We all need to have the courage to say what we think. Its not always easy. Faced with the monster of populism, the more levelheaded and middle-of-the-road among us tend to follow the instinct of survival and hide in a corner. If that had been different 10 or 20 years ago things would be different today. Greece would never have had to witness the pay and pension cuts of today. If only we had listened to those who urged the political class to change course, to do something with the bankrupt social security system, to stop hiring more civil servants, not to abandon the center of Athens, we would now be a different country.

Because at the end of the day patriotism is defending what you think is right for your nation and not just saying and doing as you please.

ekathimerini.com , Tuesday October 30, 2012 (22:50)  
Through insecurity comes optimism
Futile policy
Weighing all the factors
Clear rules, for everyone
Tsipras discusses Cyprus with Anastasiades in Athens
The role of Greece and Cyprus as pillars of stability and security in the region was highlighted by SYRIZA chief Alexis Tsipras in comments made following a meeting with Cypriot President ...
Venizelos to meet Nimetz in Athens
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos is expected to meet with Matthew Nimetz, the United Nations mediator in a dispute between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republ...
Inside News
Greece names fifth privatization agency chief in four years
Greece has appointed a management professor to head its privatizations agency, the fifth leadership change since the agency was launched in 2010 to sell off state assets as required by the c...
Great margin for growth in exports
Competitiveness in small and medium-sized enterprises needs to become stronger, the National Bank of Greece argued in its biannual report on SMEs on Monday, though it also confirmed the stea...
Inside Business
VOLLEYBALL
Volleyball national team second in European League
Much as the national volleyball team tried to repeat in the finals of the European League the feat it had achieved in the semifinals, it failed to overturn the advantage Montenegro had got f...
SOCCER
Ranieri says he has little to change in Greek national team
The Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) presented Claudio Ranieri as the new Greece coach for the next couple of years, after the Italian manager signed his contract in Athens on Friday. I l...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Tsipras discusses Cyprus with Anastasiades in Athens
2. Venizelos to meet Nimetz in Athens
3. Archaeological council bans international climbers gathering at Meteora
4. Greece names fifth privatization agency chief in four years
5. Ministry appeals to keep limit on prescriptions
6. Great margin for growth in exports
more news
Today
This Week
1. Greece names fifth privatization agency chief in four years
2. Archaeological council bans international climbers' gathering at Meteora
3. Venizelos to meet Nimetz in Athens
4. Tsipras discusses Cyprus with Anastasiades in Athens
5. Defense Minister Avramopoulos to represent Greece at European Commission
6. Tree collapses in village square, killing nine-year-old boy
Today
This Week
1. Climber dies in Mount Olympus fall
2. Unequal after death
3. Greek sovereign debt at 174.1 percent of GDP in first quarter
4. Hedge fund Dromeus turns Greek tragedy to triumph with 160 pct gain
5. Quadriplegic woman on life support 'dies due to unpaid power bills'
6. Front-line threats
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.