Diaspora-Greeks: Ashamed of being Greek! ?

contributed by Blog-Fan: Thomas/USA 

I am a Greek-American of the “diaspora” who can legitimately claim that I know both cultures fairly well. 

In our US community, Greek-Americans are held at the highest regard. The level of respect and even admiration we enjoy in our community is more than obvious.  Before the “Greek crisis”, that is.  No, we did not lose, nor could, all this respect overnight. 

However, we can easily detect “that look”, a different look than the “pre-crisis” one from our community peers. 

We do receive some ironic, rightfully so, comments and even some anger that the rest of the world (true or false is irrelevant) has to bear the consequences of the Greek crisis.  

The problem is that we know they are justified in their criticisms.  

Mafia-style-run Governments

 The Greeks for 35 years have been knowingly and willfully voting for “mafia-style-run governments” so they can use “reciprocal” bribery and corruption to enjoy a life-style they could neither afford nor deserved without ever working for it (exceptions to the rule are non-withstanding, yet, they are just that. Exceptions!).  

Even today, Greeks do not dismantle the only European Soviet-type system that has yet to adopt “glasnost” and “perestroika”.  They keep on blaming their politicians, yet, they keep on voting for the same ones. In a democracy, by euphemism in this case, the ultimate responsibility lays with the voter/citizen.  The only soft spot of a democracy is that it requires a high level of responsibility, civic awareness, and education. Greeks have failed miserably in all of the above. Just look at the way they park their cars. They consider smart (“magia”) to park on the ramps built for handicaps and honk (let alone stop) for children on their way to the school bus.

 To add insult to injury, the overwhelming majority of the Greeks even today have not realized the gravity of their situation and what is to follow.  They are being overcome by a “delusion of grandeur”.

 “Delusion of Grandeur” 

 They advocate that the rest of the world (and more than any, The Germans) owe them big time!  Their reasoning:   ancient Greece was the cradle of western civilization 2,500 years ago!  As if it is the only country with glorious history.  They believe the whole world has conspired against them so they can enjoy the natural beauties of Greece cheaper. Yes, the whole world is set against 10 million people (a relapse of “delusion of grandeur”). 

 Ask 100 or a million Greeks why they are proud of their country and you will get the same answer every time.  “The natural beauty and the ancient Greeks”; both given either by their distant predecessors (although historically disputable) or by God. When asked what Modern Greek achievements they are proud of, none can come with a single one for the past 190 years (with the exception may be of the 1940 war era against the axis).

Diaspora Greeks ashamed!

For the first time they have made us “Greeks of the Diaspora” feel ashamed to be Greek.  

No, not because Greece is in a crisis. It is the mentality, the irrational and unfair/wrong sense of entitlement they possess. The arrogance, the lies, and the mentality of robbing other hard working nations of their tax money, so they can enjoy the good life, is considered “smart”, they call it “magia”. This is what makes us most ashamed.  

 Last weekend it was a 3-day long weekend in Greece.  All the motorways leading in and out of the major cities were jammed and all the “tavernas” (even the expensive at E 150.00+/person were packed). 

 Aside from the economic issue, there is the moral issue to be addressed as well.  The IMF and The EU should keep on adding austerity measures and only when the motorways, the “tavernas” and the bars (at E 8.00/drink) have gone empty should consider stopping.  Until that happens, I am afraid that the rest of Europe will be “suckers” and the Greeks “magies” (smart) as they proudly self-proclaim themselves.  Only then Europe and The IMF will get their money back and We our Dignity.   

 The danger that our community, where we Greek-Americans live and work, might equate us with their mentality disputing even for a minute the fact that we worked so hard with honesty and sacrificed so much keeps me up at nights. 

 We do not deserve this and we are angry.  We do distance ourselves with those Greeks.  We do side with these voices of discontent, anger and sense of justice and morality.  Let them go bankrupt….the whole world will be better off….including the Greeks in the long term.  Do not delay the inevitable and our agony.



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14 Responses to “Diaspora-Greeks: Ashamed of being Greek! ?”

  1. Katy Says:

    Dear Thomas, I presume you are writing from the States.

    I am a member of the Diaspora who repatriated in 1981. I understand your frustration and anger. But suggest that if your community judges you not for yourself but for your origins you can remind them of the cruelty Americans show everyday in their dealings with the rest of the world. Remind them of slavery, of scandals like Enron and Watergate and so on.

    When I get upset with people parking on the handicapped lane I leave messages on their cars. There are lots and lots of hard working greek people – not every one has a jeep or a ferari parked in his lot.

    As for the Germans – they owe us war damages and you should read about that too.

    The one Greek I am proud of in modern history is Dr Papanikolaou and his pap test that has saved million of women’s lives the world over.

    I am proud of being Greek because I try to live according to the traditions taught to me in my Greek family – not so very different to any decent family the world over. I am proud of myself in other words….

    • Tom Kelly Says:

      Dear Katy,

      I never said that our community does not judge us for the content of our character and not for our origins. However, our origins is something we carry with us regardless. You can’t have it both ways, Katy; that is to say “do not judge me by my origins” when things are not going your way while “feeling proud”, on the other hand, for your greek heritage. You either accept both or denounce both. When you accept the latter you accept the former as well.

      As far as the scandals you are refering to; no society is perfect and there are and will be crooks are in every society. However, you should focus on how that particular society deals with these people.

      On that note, may I remind you that R. Nixon resigned from office -for a heck of a lot less that the greek poloticians- and leaved the rest of his life in disgrace -you still vote for the same criminals-. The Enron people are ALL in jail or dead. So I hope you can see the difference.

      In addition do not confuse exceptions to the rule with the “rule”

      As far as Dr. George Papanikolaou, I am very well informed and let me enlighten you too. He was an American-Greek of the diaspora too. He emigrated in The USA in 1913 where he lived and worked until 1963 -that’s half a century-. He started his career at Cornell University and ended at University of Miami where he did his cancer research. He became a US citizen (which means that you automatically denounce All previous citizenships). Had he stayed in Greece do you honestly believe he have achieved what he did? he would probably be in a greek hospital receiving “fakelakia’. it was The US that provided him, as well as all other brilliant immigrants, with the means to his achievements. So The Americans have more rights to feel proud for Dr. Pap than the greeks. Think about it with an open mind.

      As far as your notes on the parked cars. Does it work?

      I know it does not. I used to do it too.


  2. Alex Says:

    your article is terrible and ignorant.
    how can you say Greece has done nothing in the last 150 years?
    from 1821-1955 was the worst time for Greece,where do you even begin to start what happened since 1821 until the population exchange, world war 2, civil war. while the world was industrializing and moving ahead, Greece had to literally fight for an existence, two Balkan wars, 1908 war, ever heard of the Averof battle cruiser ship?
    that history alone will make you spend hours on end reading more and more modern history. there are many examples how can you even mention something like that. maybe you can look up modern Greek history, and go beyond what Reuters or CNN have said about the economic and modern history of Greece, and NO the top Google search will not give you that.
    why not allow people to post instead of deleting comments that you do not agree with? how can you be posting a blog like this and deleting anyone who says otherwise?
    the last 150 years We rose up again literally from death to form a country, flawed yes but ashamed? there is more modern history indeed which is amazing to say the least, a small population had the guts and courage to form a country from a feudal ottoman state.
    you should be more careful not to mix your theory of the last 190 years.

    • PPP Says:

      The Germans left in 1944, while the Greek civil war continued until 1949, as the “heroes” of the Greek resistance (EAM/ELAS) sought unsuccessfully to fulfill their fantasy of a Stalinist state (Stalin had other ideas, though). In so doing, they caused the death of more Greeks in just a single year in the post-war period than they did Germans during the entire occupation. Quite an accomplishment.

      Then, in the early ’80s, along comes Andreas
      Papandreou and gives these murderers official recognition, enabling a complete rewrite of history, which the rest of the world, in it ignorance and apathy, accepts. Then, following the Bank of Crete scandal and a heart attack, either of which should have been the end of Papandreou, the Greek people in their infinite wisdom RE-ELECT HIM.

      Fast forward to today, where anarchists and Communists once again rule the streets in Athens, while Greece is about to become the second (Albania being the first) country in European history to actually elect a Communist leader. BRAVO GREECE.

      Alex, you may take issue with some of the details of what Thomas says, but the spirit of his argument is actually quite valid. If you ask me, Greece’s road to Hell has been paved with Greeks’ love affair with the Left. Every time Greece has had the privilege of democracy in the last one hundred years, it has always managed to screw things up by eventually drifting back to the extreme Left. And here we are again.

  3. keeptalkinggreece Says:

    this article is a guest post.
    What do you mean by “why not allow people to post instead of deleting comments that you do not agree with? how can you be posting a blog like this and deleting anyone who says otherwise” ?

  4. Jason Says:

    Thomas try to see a psychiatrist. He/She will help you a lot! Apart from Dr Papanikolaou, try to read poetry like Kavafy, Seferis, Elytis, try to listen to Hadjidakis, Theodorakis, Mitropoulos, Kallas,Xarhakos etc and above all try hard to beat your complexes..
    Obviously Greece does not need “Greek something” like you who are lamentable and pathetic about their origins.

    Your argument about Papanikolaou’s citizenship is completely ridiculous.

  5. Yorgos Says:

    Typical Greeks trying to silence their own voices of dissent.

    All the ancient culture and Hdjidakis in the world can’t wash away the shame we Greeks should be feeling for ourselves today.

    Instead we try to make excuses for ourselves again. LAME

    And I am Greek, born, raised and still residing in Greece…unfortunately.

    Thumbs up Thomas. Say it like it is!!!

  6. Peggy Says:

    To Whom it may concern,
    I was born and raised in NYC. I was a second generation Greek who was raised with the morals and customs of a traditional Greek family. My father’s dream was to return to
    Greece and in 1989 he did. Thank God.
    Yes Greece has problems. Yes we are very behind. I know all this. BUT we cannot dismiss the fact that Greece has been going through turmoil since the overthrowin of the ottoman empire. I know what you are thinking, get over it, it was over a hundred years ago. However, we cannot and should not overlook the fact that Greece was able to withstand the empire’s influence (Over 300 years in captivity!!) and keep it’s identity. Greece also went through World War 2 and a civil war. Still we were able to survive. In World War 2 Hitler said “For the sake of historical truth I must verify that only the Greeks, of all the adversaries who confronted us, fought with bold courage and highest disregard of death.” This is not too ancient for you is it?
    The world should not judge Greeks because 2 generations screwed up. I am not happy about where we are, but we have the power to move ahead and change things. It’s in our DNA. Even if some people like it or not, it is. And all this bickering between “Greeks of Greece” and “Greeks of Diaspora” isn’t helping much. I am sick of the stereotyping and propaganda. If you stay awake at night thinking about this, think about how your ancestors would feel if they heard you degrading Greece and Greeks like this. You are a disgrace to Hellenism. And to tell you the truth, we would be better off if you distance yourself from us.

    Thank You for your time. Peggy.

  7. Χριστίνα Says:

    Καλημέρα από Ελλάδα,

    δεν μπορώ να καταλάβω και πολλά στα αγγλικά, γιατί δεν την κατέχω άριστα την γλώσσα.

    Να ξέρετε ότι έχετε τον σεβασμό μας και την αγάπη μας από εδώ γιατί πολλοί απο εσάς, μας κάνετε περήφανους και “διαφημίζετε” την πατρίδα.

    Μεγάλωσα με έναν πατέρα με μεγάλη ευαισθησία για τους Έλληνες του εξωτερικού και πάντα μου έλεγε ότι: “οι Έλληνες έξω, είναι πολλές φορές πιο Έλληνες απο τους μέσα….” Ίσως, έχει δίκιο……

    Η κρίση εδώ, έχει επηρεάσει την τσέπη μας και ο κόσμος άρχισε να υποφέρει. Θα το ξεπεράσουμε και αυτό, όπως και τόσα άλλα στο παρελθόν. Εμείς οι Έλληνες, έχουμε μεγάλη καρδιά και ψυχή και το έχουν αποδείξει και πρόγονοι μας… Θα αντέξουμε. Μονιασμένοι και αγαπημένοι να είμαστε.

    Να είστε περήφανοι που είστε Έλληνες… κρύβονται πολλά απο πίσω… η ιστορία τα καταγράφει όλα…

    Με εκτίμηση και σεβασμό,


  8. Elena Says:

    I think perhaps the centuries of suffering wore us out. We tried to live up to philotimo–and we did for so very long. Watching the rest of the West have simply decent lives while we hurt again and again took its toll at last. We are human, after all.

  9. Nick Says:

    “The Greek people are a difficult if not impossible people to tame, and for this reason we must strike deep into their cultural roots. Perhaps then we can force them to conform. I mean, of course, to strike at their language, their religion, their cultural and historical reserves, so that we can neutralize their ability to develop, to distinguish themselves, or to prevail; thereby removing them as an obstacle to our strategically vital plans in the Balkans, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.”
    ” Henry Kissinger 1974 ”

  10. Orama Says:

    I dont dissagree with anyting you say my friend. However ” outside the dance, everyone knows how to dance”…… if you trully want to do smng about your country go there and fight to change it. To criticise while being not there to live the true problems and the true ppl , not the malakes who give bad name , but the honest hard working ppl who were never given any other choice…

  11. panayotis Says:

    Mafia-style is of course the favorite style for many Greeks , a kind of addiction if you like . But on the international scene , the very well known government for this style of ruling is -you should know that- the government of the USA .

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