Come on, everybody

A few days ago I received this comment:

“Had a stroll through your blog thing. It is very well organized and I found your stuff to be topical, on the point of controversial, and very well presented. I was very impressed, which doesn’t happen often, particularly when I have slightly different views than yours on some of the topics.”

Well, good. Pity my friend didn’t write this comment on the blog itself, as I pointed out to him (he has since been doing so). I wish more people would disagree with me, have a different opinion, or point out something they didn’t like.
Of course it’s lovely to get compliments, and it gives me a real boost when people enjoy something and say so, so thanks to all of you out there!
But one thing, which I haven’t succeeded in doing much of yet, is start a conversation. Occasionally, it would be nice if people had a good old discussion in the comments.
I can’t always be right. Sometimes I’m angry, frustrated, or just biased. You don’t have to even like the same artists I do.
So bring it on!

(Within the limits of civility, of course 🙂 )


image

And while we’re at it, is there something in particular you’d like me to write about? Things I should write about more often? Less often? Let me know.

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20 thoughts on “Come on, everybody

  1. Marina mou, you are absolutely right! We should have more interaction, spurred by your excellent posts. The other day, I was on the verge of commenting on the Greek elections but then, seeing the absence of comments, I erased my comment. Maybe your blogs should include questions so as to encourage us to think and write?

    There are a few subjects close to my heart, and being away I am not able to explore them myself.
    First among them is our young people. We all know about the abysmally low education they get and the lack of professional opportunities. We all cherish our stereotypes of the young sitting in cafeneia with their parents’ money.
    But: so many of them (and I am not talking about those we educate in expensive private institutions in Greece and abroad) manage to excel academically or athletically, to win big competitions and scholarships, to get great breaks. What drives them? What do they feel about being Greek today? …..I would love to learn more, not only to celebrate their resilience but to understand the potential of our country to rise from its ashes.

    I have an hypothesis, that the recent surge of academic and athletic success stories is due to the re-emerging feeling of filotimo and pride in the face of the stereotypical negativity of the image we have as Greeks. Could it be so?

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    1. True, but a difference of opinion is not necessarily conflict, if expressed in a non-aggressive manner. It can just be the spur for an interesting discussion. That’s what I had in mind, anyway.

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  2. It’s a wonderful read. I understand your point and how you convey it and the image you use.

    I would agree with Heather here. I feel people tend to avoid a mental clash when they are unfamiliar with us. On the other hand, they tend to become very edgy and argumentative sometimes when they are very close to us. I feel a balance should be maintained.

    We should not hesitate to say some good and constructive things even to the strangers–though with some caution indeed.

    And we should not become too involved in argumentation and conflict with those who are merely friends.

    Love and light ❤

    Anand 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would love to read more about Greece, what they are going through, how they are dealing with it, ect. I would also like to read about the safety (or lack of) when visiting, when is a good time to visit. In short I would like to read about the country as a whole. 🙂

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  4. OK. Here goes. I’m an Englishman who loves Greece. Nothing new about that, as I seem to remember a certain Lord Byron, who was rather fond of the Isles of Greece.

    THE isles of Greece! the isles of Greece!
    Where burning Sappho loved and sung,
    Where grew the arts of war and peace,—
    Where Delos rose and Phoebus sprung!
    Eternal summer gilds them yet,
    But all, except their sun, is set.The Scian and the Teian muse,
    The hero’s harp, the lover’s lute,
    Have found the fame your shores refuse;
    Their place of birth alone is mute
    To sounds which echo further west
    Than your sires’ “Islands of the Blest.”The mountains look on Marathon—
    And Marathon looks on the sea;
    And musing there an hour alone,
    I dream’d that Greece might yet be free

    The poem captures the essence of the Greek spirit . It is the spirit founded in the earth, the sun and the sea. It is the spirit of culture, poetry and music. It is the philosophy of Socrates, the plays of Euripides and the Hippocratic oath. It is the epitome of what it means to human.

    It is the country where there is no word in the dictionary for “stranger”. We have seen this played out on the beaches of Lesbos and Kos and on the streets of Athens where the Greek people do their best for the refugees . Despite all their economic difficulties, the Greeks are showing that they care for their fellow men.

    The last time I was in Greece this summer I visited the Greek island of Koufonisi, right in the middle of the last crisis. My friends in the UK were telling me that I must be mad to go to Greece at such a time but I was amazed how wonderfully welcoming the people were, even more so than usual.

    So. I hear you say, where is the conflict in what I am saying. We Greeks agree with you. But here’s where I get controversial.

    The image of Greece needs a relaunch. Instead of projecting an image of a country drowning in a sea of debt I want the Greek people to spend more time promoting the brand and reminding the world of its culture and history. Where are the new writers like Nikos Kazantzakis? Where are the artists like El Greco? Where are the new playwrights to match the comedies of Aristophanes or the tragedies of Euripides? The Greek economy has tourism, but it needs to take the brand beyond its own borders. I’d like to see rich Greeks and the intellectual elite bring their money back on shore and invest in the future and rebuild the culture so the world sees Greece as a leader. There needs to be tax incentives to reverse the outflows because investment will bring jobs and prosperity.

    I know it’s easier said than done but let’s stop Greece being seen as a laggard when its history and culture are quite the opposite.

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    1. Thank you, Mark, for this thoughtful comment. And the lovely poem. What you say at the end is not actually controversial – most Greeks would agree with you. And a lot is being done already – an example that spring to mind is the new Opera surrounded by a lovely park in Faliron, on the site of the old racetrack. This was paid for and constructed by the Niarchos foundation, and the opening was a free concert which thousands attended. Will be visiting soon, so watch this space. And that is but one example. These things are documented in the Greek press, but not elsewhere. As we know, bad news sell better that good.
      Private initiative has not stopped – Greeks are good at that. What is difficult is anything belonging to the public domain – the tax incentives, etc. Let’s hope the new government will see its way to improve things.

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      1. Just read in today’s London Times about a proposal to have a lottery in Greece where the prizes are tax credits. The headline is “Law-abiding Greeks win chance to dodge taxes”. It sounds like a joke. Do you think it will raise €500 million? Surely they should target those who are not paying their taxes. There is nothing wrong with a lottery but just give out cash prizes not tax savings.

        The Opera in the park sounds like a good idea. I must look it up.

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      2. Never heard of this lottery or seen anything in Greek papers. Must look it up. And they are targeting people who don’t pay their taxes – with a fervor that sometimes resembles a witch-hunt. Are they doing it in a way that is fair and efficient? Difficult to tell.

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  5. I posted semi controversial remarks here recently. I think Greece needs to seriously change their policy on the migrant invasion and protect her borders. Kos and Lesbos will be migrant camps for the next several generations. There’re gone…. lost forever. The tourist trade will diminish to nothing and the impact beyond those islands will ripple across the eastern med.

    The clash of cultures will be horrible and will be taken up by the far right and the far left and the obvious practicality problem will be lost in political dogma and accusations.

    The overwhelming demographic of these migrants are young men of military age. It is being debated in my country now to send our young men of military age into the country where only 25% of these migrants come from, to sort out the people all these young men are supposedly fleeing from.

    So while these men throw rocks at police in europe and demand their human rights, free food, free housing and health care, they are unwilling to fight for their own homeland.

    They will make Greece, and the rest of europe exactly what they are trying to get away from.

    Greece must protect itself particularly at this incrediblly fragile time. There will be terrible sadness and stories of personal tragedies such as the young child dead on the beach.

    If too many people try to enter a lifeboat, everybody drowns.

    Sometimes humanity sucks…

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  6. Your comments are barely semi-controversial, OFP. I don’t think many would disagree with you. Greece has done a lot to protect its border with Turkey, a huge fence has been built. The problem is that immigration has become big business; it costs a minimum of €1.400 to make the crossing from Turkey. Multiply by 50 for a small boat… The whole thing is out of control, and only a concentrated European effort can stop it. Of course the whole of the Middle East cannot aspire to relocate in Europe. But there are many sides to this issue. The West has meddled in their countries with disastrous results (see Libya, i.e.) and bears some responsibility. The arms industries need wars to keep making a profit. And there is the humanitarian dimension. When they arrive on our shores half-drowned, we can hardly cast them off…I think this is a huge problem and the powers that be are dealing with it in a very disappointing manner so far.

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  7. Here is the article in the London Times.

    Anthee Carassava Athens
    Last updated at 12:00AM, October 2 2015
    In an effort to encourage recalcitrant Greeks to pay their dues, the leftist government in Athens wants to establish a lottery for taxpayers, in which some of the prizes are tax breaks.
    Under the plan to try and alter an ingrained culture of outright evasion and off-the-books cash transactions costing Athens an estimated €15 billion in receipts a year, Greeks who can produce VAT receipts will be eligible to enter a prize draw to win a free home, complete with a five-year property tax exemption.
    Those who pay using credit and debit cards, leaving a paper trail that deters cheats, will also be rewarded with tax rebates on selected services, such as healthcare, that used to be tax deductible.
    The move comes amid growing concern for a budget shortfall of about €4 billion, which may mean international creditors will insist on further austerity measures after their inspectors conduct a fresh audit of Greece’s finances this week.
    Since Value Added Tax was hiked to 23 per cent to try to bolster Greece’s depleted coffers, evasion has soared. Last year the governing Syriza party came up with a plan to hire students as casual tax inspectors and informants. And tourists who tipped off the authorities to tas dodgers were to be rewarded with prizes, bonuses and free hoidays. However that scheme was scrapped following widespread ridicule.
    The lottery proposal is subject to approval by Greece’s European creditors, although similar scemes in Malta, Slovakia and Portugal have proved popular.

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    1. Well, well. They’d do better to make some decent laws for people setting up micro-businesses, instead of forcing them to work illegally. But more of that later- watch this space!

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  8. Further to my comments on Greece needing to promote a positive image of itself, I see there is a proposal to create a Davos style global summit for millionaires on arts and philosophy. It’s to be held on the unknown Greek island of Aegilia.

    What a great idea? But will it actually happen? I hope so.

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    1. Aegilia is a small island in the bay of Styra, which is on the south-western coast of Euboea,directly across from the bay of Marathon. But let’s see what happens. Apparently they are planning on building some kind of lodge to house these conferences.
      Meanwhile, at the moment there is an international conference in Athens for the ‘Religious and Cultural Plural Peaceful Coexistence in the Middle East’. Their aim is to prevent crimes against religions and civilizations. A congregation (on the photo) of clerics and laymen of various denominations. How effective can such a thing be, I wonder?

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