Wednesday, February 22

Why Do This?

I don't know why it is such a sore subject to complain about the Greeks or Greece. What makes it so special and such a taboo subject? The blog is just a place where you vent or express your point of view. It is not a historical document that has to be treated with all the aplomb of such. It is a personal perspective of the blogger's own reality. It is often said that our opinions do not really blossom into fruition until we have expressed them to someone else. That is why we are such social creatures, that we seek each other even through this medium.
Just because this blog is about living in Greece, do I need to censure what is said? Reality is such, for most of us living here, that we are afraid to complain because we get such reactions from people that aren't even Greek. We seem to be in a hypersensitive milieu where any negative comment on the subject of "Greek Dom" is a personal attack. This is a dangerous thing. If we can't express our opinions, then what is freedom? We can complain about the British, the Americans, the French, etc. and the Greeks are the first in doing so, but when it comes to Greece, the line seems to be drawn and deep. This is prejudice and madness.How can we know what is wrong to be wrong, or not just our imagination, if we can't discuss it with others, and exchange points of view? Not discussing the issues that make life difficult doesn't make them go away, but in fact, cements them in. You can't bury your head in the sand and wait for someone else to change something that you believe needs changing, or acknowledge something you believe to be wrong. Especially if they don't know how you feel, because you've never said anything. Reality is merely an illusion. We know reality is shared, not absolute. It's how we come to terms with that surrounding us that gives it meaning. What is right and wrong may seem absolute, but it really isn't. It's what a particular group has determined it to be. So if you are not satisfied with it, you MUST say something. Otherwise, who will speak for you? Who will point it out, as such?I don't blame the Greeks so much for their view of themselves or how they live with their daily woes. We define ourselves through others. If all you’ve known is one thing, then how could you be expected to see any other options? Or how could you appreciate other possibilities if you don’t know them as possible. Most Greeks have never questioned themselves or their realities. They don’t see any other. And our silence shows we agree. If something has always been accepted as a truth, how could you be expected to think otherwise on your own? Complacency is natural. The first step towards amendment is the recognition of error. No one innately swims against the current if there is no perceived need to do so in the first place. It is our fault that the status quo is maintained. You don’t have to be a citizen, a true member from birth to be part of a society, and claim all the rights deserved. That is too high a price on liberty and justice, to exclude those members on such grounds. It is the silence of those who don’t think they should speak, which should be addressed. No one has a right to tell someone they can’t have an opinion or voice it. It takes courage to stand up and say I have been wronged, or this could be better. The cowardly will just slink away. Don’t make cowardice and complacency a goal. It only takes the silence of the good to make the evil possible. Did we not learn this through human history yet? I’m not saying that living in Greece could be compared to the horrors of previous times. But that the principles learnt apply in all our lives forever. It is difficult to make a step, to say what you feel, when you know it will not be praised. But never the less, someone must say it. Many times I have been guilty of this myself...just didn't want to bother to burst their bubble. The reality is that for any change to be possible, there has to first be the acknowledgement of the need for change. So do not censure the ones that have courage enough to point and say, "this is crazy!" or ‘this is frustrating to me’. It's like the fable of the emperor has no clothes. Just because nobody dared say it, didn't mean he had on any.I'm not saying the Greeks need to be more westernised, or more British, or whatever. It should be OK for them to hear that not all they do is perfect in our view. It's OK in any other western culture to criticize the majority, or those in power, why not here? Especially since it is very difficult to live among people you love and hold back from offering them advice. I think, as foreigners here, we make it more difficult for them to realize that we don’t think them so perfect. We short change them in the process. They are stronger than we give them credit, and although passionate about their nationalism, they were the first to give a voice to the philosophers. They are capable of thought, logic, and appreciation of it. Let us not forget that. They may seem irrational in many ways, but the seeds are there. They will be upset at first but, wasn’t it Socrates who said: ‘Think not those faithful who praise all thy words and actions; but those who kindly reprove thy faults.’Digressions, objections, delight in mockery, carefree mistrust are signs of health; everything unconditional belongs in pathology. -Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

This post is dedicated to someone called Sue, who wrote this comment to me in support of some critical comments I recieved about the content of my blog. I can't have said it better.

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