The Greek crisis has been one of the most widely discussed and debated topics for almost a year now. I personally feel like the more I read, the more complicated the situation gets. So although I probably don’t know too much about it, I do feel that this blog post somehow relates this weeks’ theme at CCS-Equality and Freedom-to how I feel about a Grexit.
When I was in Athens three years ago, my father asked our tour guide about how most people in Greece earned a living and how he felt about the Euro Zone in general. Our guide became slightly emotional and proceeded to tell us a story. He told us that after the Axis powers had been driven out of Greece, for weeks the Red Cross workers gave out food and supplies to the residents of his hometown. One day, his father brought home a huge carton and put it in their storage room. For years and years, the box remained unopened. No one was allowed to even peak inside. Almost 25 years later, two weeks after the death of his father, his siblings and him took the box out and decided to open it. They found milk powder. In a state of absolute confusion, they decided to make pancakes. After they had finished, they asked their mother why they weren’t allowed to open the box before. Their mother replied and told them that that box was like a last resort for them. They wanted to save it for a rainy day. If one day they would have nothing, at least they would have that box. This, our guide said, is exactly what the EU is for Greece. He told us that the EU was an assurance and a promise and he was sure that the EU would help them out when they have nothing. Today, the story looks very different.
The news focuses so much on the economical and political aspects of the situation and debts, GDP and growth rates make up a bulk of that conversation. All I can think of is the above anecdote and my time in Greece. The country which is considered the birthplace of democracy, law and freedom, is now being treated like an infected limb which needs to be amputated. This infection is the fundamental problem of the European Union. Economically speaking, a common currency provides a very shaky medium of equality when each country has its own economic policy and different economic structures. It is sad that today, the Greeks have almost no freedom in negotiating the future of their country and are at the mercy of a group of countries which call themselves a “Union”.