Tuesday, July 5, 2011

what it is like

so, it is like violently growing up. what is changing fast, too fast is concepts and ideas about how we live. the country, greece, is being forced to change ways of thought and everyday practice with no time for the process of realisation and adjustment.
short history: Greece became a state in the middle of the 19th century, relying heavily on the support of richer European countries for its existence. very small and very poor this country has never been out of debt since it became a modern state. On top of that for the past century and a half we have embroiled ourselves in devastating wars, even a civil war after wwII, dictatorships and political unrest. the last junta fell in 1974, i'm old enough to remember that time.
In 1975, I think, we signed the treaty for becoming part of the European union.
Long before Spain and Portugal.
Once, flying over central Europe, it was in the year 2000 i think, Iwas looking at a huge area of well ordered and bordered fields. I was going to an EU funded meeting -15 countries. I told the people there, we were eating, not working, that during my flight I realised why Greece was made a member so early..even though we are a poor country and not politically stable or "mature"..to releive the immense boredom!!!!!!!!
I realised that it was very bad manners to say something like that when I saw the looks on their faces
but I still believe its true
Greeks can be brilliant and they can be very naughty..
I hate speaking of a nation with generalisations like that, but I am speaking now of our concept about ouselves, the beliefs that constitute our national identity
pair that with : resourceful, cunning, survivors, proud fighters
and then, in the past 35 years things have changed
we weren't poor any more. the nation, I mean..
we weren't immigrating, we were a receiving country
we don't work in the fields anymore, immigrants do that
most industries closed down or moved to other countries
everyone has a mobile phone, even kids
families have two or three cars
big houses,
no one is hungry
mountain villages are empty
wages became huge compared to what they were, prices rose accordingly
the dollar became cheap..in comparison to what it was
it became tremendously easy to get loans

back to what it's like now
more and more people are out of work, and those that do have a job work for much less money and in constant fear of losing it
people like my parents have lost 80% of their income
both have worked very hard and paid their taxes and had reached a certain level of affluence, and certainly did not expect to make radical changes in their way of life at 67 and 80 yrs old
the measures the government has been forced to take seem to focus on people who have been "good"..people who cannot evade taxes ..pensioners, civil servants, teachers, doctors who work in public hospitals etc, who are paid by the government..their incomes have been practically halved
private sector jobs are becoming scarce and badly paid
enterprises of all kinds are closing
workers, builders etc don't have work because construction, public and private has stopped
and people are angry
and scared
because it feels as if the measures, harsh as they are, are ineffective
and on top of that we have to be "good" and do as we are told
because, the story goes
1. there won't be any money for salaries in 15 days
2. European economy will crash

so people are angry. they feel cheated, and humiliated. There is violence, but also solidarity. There are moments when it is very scary
as for me.. I've been on the fringe all my life anyway, no backup, and, unfortunately some debt.
holding my breath..
I think it was a good idea to get eldest son out, and wondering what to do..
have to get real resourceful quickly
now I'm still a bit numb
it seems the future, even the near future is aa big question mark
but isn't it anyway?


Valerianna said...

Goodness, I could respond in soooo many ways - this brings up so much - of how I see that we might be headed for the same thing here, but somehow it just gets swept under the rug. Folks like me - yes, on the fringes, too - are finding it impossible to keep up with rising costs of food, gas, everything. Oh, I won't go into all of it. Suffice it to say that having lived so many years in Greece, your country is a place close to my heart and its hard to witness this. And I wonder when it will be here, and everywhere, for good.

Abundance, resourcefulness and magic to you!

Manya Maratou said...

thanks Valerianna- it is a shift, I think, we'll see where it goes.

Harnett-Hargrove said...

I can hear the frustration in your words. Thank you for your insight.
We, on the fringes, I believe have always felt the insecurity that just now some others in wealthier status are feeling. I am hoping in the knowing that there will be a there will be a shift — something that none of us could have imagined. Positive,and moving forward. -J

jude said...

it is.
we need to understand this.

elisvermeulen said...

We sometimes wonder how on earth our governments ever figured this euro and europe could ever work so countries could keep their own karakter. we too find ourselves in a country we do not really anymore. The eu regulations are 'foreign' to a lot of us.
I do not have the insight in the Geek situation as I know little about Greece, but we sympatize, thank you for your post. I hope you will indeed find strenght in the solidarity amongst the Greek. (and the rest of us.)

Martine said...

Manya with this i am with Elis, how to understand the decisions of our governments.
What can we do then wait for Ariadnes thread?

Ξωτικό said...

life is always like a film nobody's seen the end of...
what bothers me is the grief and the fear and the aggression you see and feel all around you - travelling anywhere by public transport you cannot escape it...
and yet, there is a lot of hope coming out of syntagma square - it might sound crazy to the rational mind, but there it is...

Judy Martin said...

thank you so much for your honestly expressed insight.

I have fond memories of Greece from our travels there in 1975. We stayed for 6 weeks and loved every minute of it.

Why? people would ask.
Because of the friendly people is my answer. We felt so welcome even though we could not speak the language. There is a joy in the spirit of Greece's people, and I am sure that will overcome any difficulty.

handstories said...


thank you for sharing these words and feelings
i wish you continuing strength

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

i have read this i don't know how many times and gone to sit and
look at the horizon here.
you tell the story of your Greece
but i think it is the story of
our planet, really.
here, we have even more illusion.
here, no one wants to notice.
it is ..........what?
it is frightening in a certain way.
yet what is there to do?
what does one woman
but then, i think of the buddhist
meditation where we think of our
own suffering then radiate out
to realize that the suffering is
held by many.
this is all i know. and to live
as small as i can in hope that
it might help
i love you Manya. i light candles
for you and your youngest son as i
light candles for my greatgrandson
who is not yet 2.

Morna said...

Something is happening. You express it so well. It's coming after us, too, here in the U.S. We (all of us in the world) don't know yet - will it be terrible or will it be wonderful? I doubt that it will be somewhere in between. It certainly feels like it will be terrible. But can that last? Everything changes, nothing stays the same. Oh, and one more thing that we probably shouldn't forget: OIL.

For you, I hope you will not suffer. You make beautiful things which means there is a well within you. We are so lucky, those of us who create. I wish you well. :-)

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