November 6, 2012
I’ve seen in the past weeks / months all sorts of reactions to the problems affecting Greece. I’ve seen people calling for moderation, others for clear cut measure, others with no opinion. \But the worst part was hearing some people talking about cutting Greece out of the euro zone, or even EU altogether.
I talk a lot about European Identity. That defining set of values and common identifiers that would unite the citizens all across the continent into one populous – the European Populous. And it’s my strong conviction that without achieving this mental stage, we cannot go further with our Union.
In that light, of a common identity, and therefore a sort of universal unity among the members of this populous, talks of Greece being kicked out, or forced to remove itself from the Union would have never happened.
It would have never happened because within the frame of a common identity, the people of Europe become on big family. Sure, every family has it’s ups and downs, there are estranged moments between family members, but a family is a family. And family stick together. In times of trouble and hardship family sticks together.
I feel as if in some ways, we have all let Greece down. We let Greece down because we allowed Greece to reach this point, although there have always been clear indicators that something’s up. And as if that was not enough, we’ve let Greece down again. And i don’t mean the country – i’m talking about the people. Past few weeks seem to show that only a minor fraction of the population is basically guilty of all that we have accused the Greeks for. And that minor fraction exists not only in Greece, but all around the continent. Each country has them. And right now, this instant, you know who I am talking about in your country of residence.
We failed Greece. Although not completely, and not final, we have nonetheless failed. We failed to stay united. Sure it wasn’t gonna be easy, sure it would affect all of us, but that is the way a family works – both in good times and bad times. This bond is important, and it is not to be cast aside.
I admit that my discourse is prone to attack. This European Family i’m talking about has yet to be defined, structured or built. Examples of dysfunctional families are going to be offered to me. But i have to believe that this European Family will be different, that we will strive to stay united and prevail.
Greece is a part of Europe. And in many ways Greece is one of the pillars that this Europe stands upon. Sure, it’s not clear cut, as one would expect. It’s not in the treaties that go back to the 50’s. But it’s not about treaties. Europe is built on more than that – it’s built on history and culture and common values. And the fact that Marseilles and Constanta for examples, too cities so wide apart geographically, share this common Greek ancestry is amazing. Greek culture inhabits all European Cultures.
The Roman Empire took the best of Greek culture and integrated it into it’s own. And spread it even further.
And you may say that ancient Greek history is no longer relevant, that these are the deeds of long ago, that carry no importance today. And that would be wrong. We are influenced by anything and everything all the time – and my example is simple – show me one country in the EU that does not have at least 1 McDonald’s restaurant! Now if US culture did that in less than 250 years, imagine what millennia did with elements of Greek Culture we assimilated within our own cultures.
Greece is part of Europe, just as much as Europe is a part of Greece. Geography, culture and identity. What we lack for now is that feeling of family. That accepts you as you are, that helps you and expects the same. One people, one family – Europe.