It’s 3 A.M. on October 28, 1940. The Italian Army (on behalf of the Axis Powers) is knocking at the door of Greece’s border, as your country, your people and your pride are on the brink of war, while you have a major decision to make. What do you do? Do you succumb to the demands of the opposition? Or, do you elegantly relay your message with one simple response. NO. OXI! So strong, so powerful and so great a response that it sparked the rally against the Axis Powers to eventually end the war.
Fast-forward to July 5, 2015. 75 years later and times are different. The world is more connected. Gone are the days of xenophobia and the world, in essence, has become one. This great big idea, that Europe, can function as one sovereign entity has been effect since 1993. The only difference is that Europe is not at war with each other. No guns are being fired, no bombs are being dropped, no one is losing their lives; or so we think. This time around, all seems calm on the surface. Or is it? No, this time the war is being waged using financial instruments, that slowly is draining the life out of the Greek economy and most importantly, out of the Greek people. The main difference is that this time, we have the decision and the opportunity to say the words to the opposition ourselves. OXI! NO! And I will even say it in German, so Europe can understand, NEIN!
It is true, that while none of the horrible atrocities that happen during war are occurring now, but that does not necessarily mean that there is no suffering. A number of European and World banks (with German ministers leading the front of their charge) have given bailouts to the Greek government and have put unrealistic and restrictive terms for repayment on these loans. Not only have these terms proven restrictive, they have also proven to be counterproductive, further forcing the Greek economy into the stagnant and quickly weakening state that it is in.
In no way am I a scholar or expert of any sort in the matter. I am just a normal Greek American with an opinion, but I want to put this into simple perspective. Picture that you have a little brother (Greece) and this little brother is getting picked on and beat up constantly by a mean group of kids (Germany) at school. As the big brother (Supposed to be Europe, but they don’t have the balls to stand up to Germany) what do you do? You are supposed to stand up up and defend the younger brother, correct? Is he not your blood, your family and your friend? Is any wrong doing to him not a wrongdoing to you or your family? Where I come from, I was raised to protect my family and preserve what we believe in, no matter what result might come from it for myself, because without family, what are we? Either way, it looks like the little brother (Greece) has to fight this battle on his own.
As Greeks, we were raised on family values. To protect one another. To help see the rise and success for your people, and in the process help others along the way. We were raised to be strong, wise and willing to stand up for what we believe in. We were the creators of democracy! We sparked and molded the theory behind what the world has turned into this very day.
My main point is that Greece has a decision to make. On July 5, 2015 they will vote on whether to stay in the Eurozone or not. Yes, it will have a direct result on how the world we live in today is shaped and how it functions. Greece will be put into a tough position, and will undoubtedly have even harder times ahead. The question is a matter of time. Stay in the EU and suffer stringent austerity measures for 20, 30 even maybe 40 years to come while being on the end of a whip they cannot control; or take matters into their own hands and control their own destiny that could result in perhaps the same outcome or maybe worse. Time will tell and hopefully the right people are in place with the right intentions. As a believer in democracy and the right to freedom, I firmly believe in the right to your own destiny. For Greece, the choice is theirs and there is nothing more free than that. My only hope is that it works out for a brighter future not only for Greece, but for Europe and the rest of the world.
Either way, if the answer is yes or OXI, rest assured that the Greeks will find a way. We always do, and always will.
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