Blue Monday: Supporting Greece
The blue seas and skies of The Mediterranean. This is a view from near the castle in the old town of Kefalos across Kamari, where Simon and I stay, to Kastri Island, where we got married, all the way to the Mount Dikeos at the other end of Kos Island. It’s a small island made up of small communities. People look out for one another, they’re hardworking, welcoming, self-sufficient, ordinary folk of Greece. Much of the country is made up of islands very similar to Kos, with small communities who have, over the years, become very reliant on the tourist trade. It has saddened me to see the very countries who have turned these island into holiday destinations, enjoying the Greek hospitality year after year, turn on them in their hour of need.
While we were in Kos the media back in the UK had started to label this beautiful island a “Hellhole”. Why? Because refugees, fleeing for their lives, have arrived in Kos en route to Athens to claim asylum in Europe. What the press reported was a far cry from the truth and sparked a panic in the UK with people cancelling holidays and weddings for fear of “criminal gangs” roaming the streets. This has hit the Greek economy hard at a time when it desperately needs us to support them by continuing to holiday there.
Call me cynical, but I do wonder at the sources of some of the media-horror stories that have led to a downturn in tourism when the Greek people are being hit by austerity measures, enforced by the Eurozone, the IMF and the ECB. By reducing the very source of income that we have made Greece so reliant upon, the country becomes even less able to sustain an economy. With the influx of refugees from Syria the country is being pushed even further into debt. Why are we not helping? Who will benefit the most if Greece defaults, the banks collapse, the country leaves the Euro? Certainly not the ordinary citizens of Greece! It’s no secret that there are countries and corporations sitting in the wings waiting to buy up Greek assets. Ports, airports, the shipping industry. These are very lucrative prospects to some who would just love to buy them at the lowest price possible. Is this the true face of democracy and European “coöperation”? It almost seems like a corporate hostile take-over!
These are just my thoughts and concerns for a country and people who I have come to love and feel at home with over the years. I’m supporting my friends on Kos and saying OXI to further austerity measures that punish the innocent and the poor, whilst doing nothing to resolve the debts and core issues faced by the country. I’d like to hear your thoughts on the current crisis, but please keep it relevant and free from abuse.