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ITHAKA ON THE HORIZON: A Greek-American Journey



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14 July 2015



Vre Stavro
Great work.

john akritas

S. This is hilarious. Have you put it up on youtube? If you haven't, you should – for the sake of Greek morale.


I'm really glad you guys like it.


Good piece in today's NYTimes.
"Banks Bet Greece Defaults on Debt They Helped Hide "
"Bets by some of the same banks that helped Greece shroud its mounting debts may actually now be pushing the nation closer to the brink of financial ruin."

That is not to completely externalize the causes of the problem. Those of us who know Greece know the problem arises from many directions: internal causes, external causes, the simple fact of the size of Greece, fairly unique defense needs, a populist political culture, the relative permanence of a Greece as a client state with various patrons (UK, US, EU), an social contract affected by the civil war, etc. But it is noteworthy that small countries like Greece can become the pawns of larger interests and games, not just in the political interests of larger states/empires, but in the financial interests of transnational financial players.

I am a devils advocate. So when I am in Greece I always assert to my Greek friends that they need to stop using external forces (real or imagined) as explanations for difficulties.

But it is important for those of us outside of Greece, say Greek Americans, to admit that we don't just excel because of the Protestant work ethic and the political culture of the US, or because the smartest hardest working people left Greece, but in the main our success also derives from factors like scale, insulation of the US from external manipulation and plentiful resources for our main period of economic assent.

After going to Greece on and off for 40 years, including with people older, who recall the country from the 1910's through 1940s, I just can't help but look at the big picture, which is that the country has gone through enormous beneficial development politically and economically. Not to say there isn't along way to go, and some reflection and discipline needed by the Greek people, but it is not as bad as it seems


The Greek debt crisis virus is unfortunatelly prone to be infecting the eurozone leading to fears that the crisis will spread to other eurozone nations like Spain, Poratugal, Italy or Ireland. Engineered by the same financial group involved in provoking the US supprime mortgage crisis, chances stand that the Greek debt crisis has a big potential to destabilize the EU but also to kick back to the US economy as well ... The world economies and finances are so interconnected within the global economy, that it became literally impossible for a financial shock like the one in Greece to remain without consequences for the other (remote) countries as well ... Stay tunes for what will happen next, and how EU will decide to go about it - the issue might reveal some interesting aspects and connections


If only we didn’t have the mehmetides, our neighbors, last year alone Greece spent around $9.5 billion on defense. Multiply that kind of ridiculous spending by such a small economy from around the mid 70’s onwards and you have one of the biggest contributors for todays financial mess. Greece for arguments sake has a bigger air force than Italy, which has a much larger population and a more developed and industrialized economy.

I’m certainly not saying that the Greeks don’t have their own internal issues, which need to be sorted, eg the “eho Barbra stin Koroni” attitude, where meson becomes more important than your individual ability. I guess we still need to shake off some of the Ottoman attitudes. But then again if you consider what we have achieved since the metapolitefsi, which has really the only period of peace and stability, then it’s actually not so bad. The westerners had hundreds of years of relative peace and stability with enormous resources, which they were amassing form their numerous colonies throughout the world. This is how they built the good systems we now admire. It did not happen overnight.

For Greece to improve you need perhaps another one or two generations to pass, with newer and refined attitudes towards the state and their responsibility towards the common good, not just their individual tsepi.



I don't disagree with anything you say. It's spot on. There is no doubt that Greece lives in a bad neighborhood and unfortunately the NATO alliance often seems counter-productive when one of your so-called allies poses a real threat to your territorial integrity.

I am not sure Greece has one or two generations to get it house in order however, given is dismal birthrate and lack of visionary leadership. Like you I hope that things improve. that said I despair at the lack of hopeful signs for the future. Then again, Greece has looked down into the abyss more than once in her history and stepped back. If Greeks are anything they are resilient and they are survivors.


Kala les, the other big issue is the massive amount of illegal refugees that enter our shores through Turkey.
Ase vriskomaste se poli diskoli stigmi stin istoria mas, and unfortunately our leaders have let us down.
My main hope is in God, and I take particular comfort in the words of Elder Paisios who spoke about a resurrected Greece.
O Theos na mas filaxi.
Pantos bravo, I love your site. It is so relevant to what we experience here in Australia.


Na se kala.

E Elines etan pantote theofovemeni. San oli mas, ton ehoune xehasi to Theo. Se diskoles stigmes tha ton vrome pali giati mono autos mas soni.


Dear Stavros, thanks a lot for the things you post here. It is all very interesting and worthy. Not sure if people would read this, but I'm inserting a link to an article By Michael Hanlon published on 21/06/2011 in the DAILY MAIL. It does some justice with Greece, in my opinion:


Excellent article, often the historical perspective is missing not to mention that many people who write silly things about Greece have never lived there or have any context for the things they write. I think Greeks are getting a taste of what Israelis have been living with for a long time, the sudden realization that they must rely on themselves for answers and not so-called friends and allies.

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