Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Some Thoughts

I can honestly say that I have learned far more about the Eurozone crisis and possible default by Greece from the Cretan people, cultural experiences, lectures we have had in Alikianos, and the roundtable discussion with the Fulbright students than I would be capable of learning from any lecture given in Boston or from any reading on a laptop. The experiences and memories are invaluable in understanding the crux of the crisis and how much it hits home for the Greek people. Professor Vamvakas did a pretty good job outlining some of the major implications a Grexit would have on the Greek people that would make your stomach turn to think about because after spending two weeks we have come to learn that the Greek people here are top shelf bar none. On the surface, it appears bad things happen to good people, but the issue stems from a gap we mentioned today in our Statecraft lecture (in a different context). The gap in Greece allows for a huge incompatibility and discrepancy between the political elites that are the decision makers and the hardworking folks that are making ends meet here on Crete. The austerity measures that have been implemented combined with the additional proposed increase in those measures are alarming and I would reckon the Greek people will no doubt be raising their concerns at the highest levels if they are carried out. While I did not participate in the Cretan dance night here at the Institute, I did watch my peers enjoy themselves which was very entertaining. And while that was captivating enough, I could not take my eyes off the audience. The locals that came to enjoy the show, see the cultural display, and watch everyone dance were so excited and supportive. They sat on the edge of their seats clapping and laughing, their faces bright with utter satisfaction and happiness. Some may say these people exhibit the denial of Greeks that just cannot come to terms with the crisis at hand but in essence it's just their "living in the moment" mentality and positive life they lead. I think the takeaway in all of this is that their genuinely optimistic attitude should be seen as nothing but an attribute and something that need not be explained to anyone who can not clearly see what respectable and kind people they are and I would encourage anyone that cites denial and naiveté as a reason for this attitude to speak with some of the locals here and learn about their "cushy", laid back island life (If you're missing the sarcasm, stop reading.) to understand that they are not looking for anyone to commiserate with and complain to. They remain cautiously optimistic and continue with their lives in the most normal way possible simply because, at this point, the Eurozone crisis is out of their hands and pessimism and griping is futile in this situation and is more than made up for by the international news media covering the crisis.

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