Not much to be thankful for?

In Greece we do not celebrate Thanksgiving, but we’re still aware of it through foreign relations and friends. Many have been asking me if things are getting better, since Greece seems to be a lot less in the international news lately. Unfortunately, I have to report that the answer is no.

We cannot be thankful that we are saddled with an inexperienced and inefficient government. And we cannot be thankful for our ‘lenders’, whose handling of things has been a disaster. Negotiations have been going on over the summer regarding The Debt. Result: more and more taxes are to be imposed. To my mind, this only makes sense if the aim of the exercise is to make sure Greece sinks. I’m sure a lot of people would be interested in buying national and private assets dirt cheap, something which has already been going on. Airports and ports, anyone? A house on a lovely island? The list goes on.

We can't turn back now! (after all this effort...)
We can’t turn back now! (after all this effort…)


Various eminent economists from different countries have been at pains to explain what needs to be done for Greece to regenerate its economy, but their words are falling on deaf ears. It would seem self-evident: if you want to help the country out of this crisis, give incentives to investment, help small businesses, start new projects. Curb corruption and cut the public sector.  Maybe this sounds simplistic as a theory, but what is happening now is a dead end. The government, coerced by the lenders to produce more money is basically robbing people who have no more to give. I say robbing, because those who are owed money by the government are lucky if they see half of it, after great delay. And yet they are fined if they don’t pay the whole of their taxes on time. More and more are being forced into the black economy (on the advice of their accountants, no less), paying with cash or even using barter (You fix my plumbing and I’ll fix your back…)

At the same time, the country has been obliged to face a terrible humanitarian crisis, which is being mismanaged to an appalling extent.  People are herded like cattle into inadequate facilities, where, due to despair, loss of hope and lack of employment they are turning against each other. Fires are set, people are injured. These violent incidents will only result in turning opinion against them.  I’m not saying that all refugees, or migrants, call them what you will, are the same. But I have taken the trouble to read some stories of these people’s journeys and misfortunes, of the situations they have been forced to flee, and I am horrified by what is happening.

As a nation, we still have a lot to be thankful for. Our climate, our beautiful countryside, our heritage, and most of all, our people who, as a whole, are managing to deal with their misfortunes and remain optimistic. But it will take more than optimism to get the country out of the mess it’s in.




42 thoughts on “Not much to be thankful for?”

  1. I’m glad you’ve written this. Even the better papers here have let Greece become invisible. Presumably they’ve decided it’s old news, and they got bored. We need to be reminded.


  2. It feels slightly wrong to Like this post, but I think what I’m Liking is not the situation, but that you’re letting us know the exact nature of the problem, and that it hasn’t gone away despite the relative media silence. Is this the best government that could be found, or just the only ones who were prepared to give a hopeless situation a go? Is it a case of those who seek power being the least fitted to hold it?


  3. I understand what you’re saying. It seems like this year has been rough on people all over the world. It’s hard to see what we can be thankful for, and it’s even harder to understand why we have to live through such hard times. It’s true that optimism alone won’t fix things, but optimism will help each one of us see what we can do to improve things. Here’s to a better 2017!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, this seems very sad but very true. We are grateful for Greece, our Greek friends and wonderful memories there. We pray for Greece to be able to shed its useless and corrupt politicians and to once again shine as an example of a wonderful democracy, governed by wise and compassionate leaders.

    Blessings to M.L. Kappa

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It does seem that after being blessed by ancient history, beauty and the sun, Greece is having more than its fair share of troubles. Thank you for reminding us that your struggle is far from over….

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Similar to here in Italy though our debt isn’t managed by our debtors. Let’s remember however that overall quality of life anywhere in Europe is still superior to most of the rest of the world – and not just war-torn or draught-destroyed countries. Even so-called “developing” countries like Venezuela or Brazil. But we don’t hear about them either. What I fear is all the complaining adding up to a populist reaction which translates into “protest votes” that don’t take into account who they end up voting into power (see the USA). Watch our Italian Referendum vote next weekend: the last thing we need at this point is the opposition winning the vote and bringing about new turmoil and chaos plus clueless and extremist politicians. But it’s looking like a possibility…


    1. I so agree. That’s what happened with us in the first place. So we ended up with a government that includes the extreme right (some of whom are under investigation or have even been convicted of violence!) as well as the extreme left! It’s surreal…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. “negotiations” NOT “negociations”


    1. And I was just thinking that you haven’t commented in a while! 😟 Typical that your opinion has to do with spelling! How about some political commentary? However, it shall be fixed! I’m thinking of hiring you as a copy-editor, what do you say?


  8. Grim. Most times those seeking short term fixes, esp. any that bleed optimism away are utterly counter productive. I remember a management cartoon from years ago along the lines of: every good business needs a detailed business plan encompasssing a well thought out strategy which in turns plots the future course of all initiatives through investments and incentives in people to ensure progress… but when you’re up to your arse in alligators it’s difficult to remember why you got into the swamp in the first place….

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I can well imagine how you (and your country) feel abandoned by the world, and sidelined by Brexit, the US elections, and the ongoing conflict in Syria. For me the most shameful thing is the way that other countries have allowed Greece to take the burden of the refugees,. At the very least, this should be funded by the United Nations, to save Greece the financial cost of offering help to these unfortunates.
    It has been a hard year in 2016, and I fear many tougher years lie ahead for all of us.
    Best wishes, Pete.


  10. Marina, I feel your despair. It’s easy to be grateful when things are going well. Much harder when you’re drowning. But you managed to be thankful even so. I hope things will improve sooner rather than later.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Like Kate, it feels odd to ‘like’ this post. it’s a sadness that Greece, which I remember as a warm, friendly and beautiful country, is still in such dire straits, thanks to the mismanagement of a few. 2016 has been a terrible year for so many, and I hope perhaps we might see some light in 2017 – however, with recent events I’m not so sure. I do hope things look up for you soon. xx

    Liked by 1 person

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