Besides the Greek "condition" in my opinion is not just Greek, but European overall and in fact it affects all developed countries. It's been around 60 years since the '50s where the world started recovering from WW2 and there was a post war boom in every aspect of life. The economy, population, discoveries, industrialization, innovation, all driven by the rebuilding of Europe and other regions badly affected by WW2.
In my opinion that generation, the generation of post WW2 baby boomers is the main driving force of this crisis. They are all in their 50s or 60s, middle aged and it is the generation that dominates the political and economic life of Greece and Europe. And since they are during their middle life crisis years, they pull our continent with them. Old ideologies, attitudes, political ideas, social stereotypes and way of life, that is what they represent.
And it shows in our political and economic life of today. Yes they do have experience and knowledge, but they suffer from lack of new ideas and vision. That I am afraid will come from us, the younger generation if only we get seriously involved in our country's and Europe's politics.
In Greece the generation of over '50s inherited a country in tatters after an era of numerous Balkan wars that lead to the expansion of Greece's borders but also the Asia Minor disaster. A situation that forced Turkey and Greece to exchange their populations. Many impoverished Greeks arrived in today's Greece with nothing but their own clothes and whatever they could fit in their pockets from their livelihoods.
More than a million people were displaced like this and all efforts of the newly formed Greek state went into providing these people with housing and integrating them. But peace was not meant to last. The great European powers had other plans for the continent of Europe and the region of the Balkans. Two World wars broke out in the space of a few decades and Greece was dragged into both of them.
After those wars the country had to endure a bloody civil war that wrecked and devastated the country, economically, socially, morally and politically. It divided the nation and its scars have not fully healed until today. A few decades later and the country had to endure a military junta with the backing of USA. Another black page in the country's history that caused even further damage in Greece's politics and economy.
Foreign powers always meddled with Greek affairs and politics. They helped to establish kings, democracy and junta all in the space of half a century. But the Greek public was left with deep wounds and negative influences by all this instability.
First of all corruption was established in all levels of the society. When the country was so poor and its people deprived, it is only natural. But it was also established by the state itself, in order to help keep control of the population and oppress them. Greece always had a strong socialist or communist population and in order to control them and keep the country under Western control, Greece became a police state.
If you were suspected of being a communist you were under surveillance by the police and if found guilty you were deported from the country and your fortunes seized by the state. Many children of communist families were given up for adoption in Greece, former communist countries of even in the USA and other western countries.
Such cruel decades of poverty and deprivation, taught the Greek people to seize every opportunity they could to make a living. The state corruption soon became a way of life for everybody, as it was the only way to prosper. Very few people attended school and even fewer managed to go to college or university and get a degree. Emigration was widespread and a lot of the islands and parts of the mainland were abandoned.
For example none from my family finished school. Neither my parents, nor my aunts, uncles never mind my grand parents who did not even go to school. They were all forced to leave studying and receiving any education to go and work at an early age. My father started working at the age of 13. My mother at 15. That was the social norm. Almost none of their cousins or friends ever finished school.
And it was not only the lack of education. They had to deal with a oppressive state that used a strong corrupt police force to oppress them. That is the reason that it is not in the Greek psyche to write to their mayors or ministers to complain about something, but only to court them for favors in return for their vote. You could not freely protest in Greece during the 50s.
The police had too much power, and it kept this power until the '70s and the "Metapolitefsi" years. But even today the police has kept its old mind frame when dealing with its citizens. Authoritarian, corrupt and violent, especially when it comes to Greece's latest citizens, the immigrant communities.
Imagine for example if the British public that are the most "euro-skeptic" of all EU nations, found out the real benefits of their country's EU membership. If they were offered another point view, apart from the obviously and openly "euro-skeptic" media, especially the press. It is again the British populace over 50, the pensioners and others near that age that are most conservative and vocal of their anti-EU sentiments.
It is also true that the German people over '50s are far more inclined on being conservative and oppose any major change in their country's politics, any bail outs or transfer of funds to poorer EU countries. It is them that control the country's economic and political reigns and influence of course European politics as the largest member of the EU.
In Greece too, it is that age group that rules and has an outdated, conservative idea on how to run the country. They do not like change or modernization simply because they will lose all their power and influence in the country, by bringing a new way of doing business or reforming the country's economy. How can anything change with such conservative approach?
What about people in my parents' age group, will we let them be indifferent? They do have the right to vote and they use it. And the more we leave them uninvolved or ignorant in many European issues, the more we will be delaying any real progress in Europe.