Like many in the diaspora, I have been sitting back, watching all of the rhetoric and news reports coming out of Athens over the past month since snap elections were called. And like many, I have been concerned. Of course I care about the country of my parents’ birth and a country that has given me a lot— much more than summers on the beach and a heritage that I continue to live— even being born far away from its shores.
But unlike many, I have reserved judgement and comment both during the days leading up to the elections and after its results last night.
There are a lot of Cassandras out there— those who predict the end of the country as we know it. “The fucking commie won,” stated one friend on her Facebook page, perched in her Upper East Side swanky apartment. “Hello Middle Ages” and “Who’s going to Cuba— I mean Athens— this summer?” wrote others on their social media channels.
From New York to California and everywhere in between, people I know and many I don’t, all had their cataclysmic projections about the election of a man named Alexis Tsipras as the new prime minister of Greece.
On The Pappas Post Facebook page others presumed the “un-Greekness” of Tsipras, commenting about why Tsipras didn’t parade the Greek flag (what was it after all, a beauty pageant?) or the various colored and different flags that were waving at the congratulatory rally where Tsipras accepted the election results. There were various colors indeed– from the various organizations and groups that comprise Tsipras’ coalition.
Several made bigoted comments about the presence of gay rainbow flags that greeted Tsipras’ victory. In most cases, after clicking to see the location of these arm-chair commentators, they were in places like Iowa, New York, Niagara Falls and Chicago.
I wonder if any of these people commenting so vociferously against Tsipras hold a Greece passport, or have ever waited in line to get their pension check. I wonder if any of these commentators had to deal with a son or daughter being forced to lave home and the country in search for a better life in a faraway land. I wonder if any of these commentators ever experienced their salaries being trimmed down to a paltry figure, barely able to make ends meet.
I haven’t experienced any of this— exactly as so many family and friends in Greece have. And this is exactly why I’m reserving both comment and judgement on the election of Alexis Tsipras and his SYRIZA government.
What I will say— and this shouldn’t be taken as an affirmation of Tsipras, his policies or his party in any way shape or form— It’s the first time a political party other than New Democracy and Pasok have ruled Greece in more than 40 decades— two political parties whose policies and sycophantic and greedy leaders have destroyed Greece and brought millions of her people to their knees.
It’s only fair at this stage for me to hope and wish for the best for Alexis Tsipras as the new prime minister of Greece and extend wishes for good luck, good sense and wisdom– for Greece. And for this reason, I stand with Alexis Tsipras– for Greece, as we ALL should.
PS— For a very good, fair and balanced analysis of the Greek election results see Endy Zemenides’ analysis via The Hellenic American Leadership Council and the Greek Current news site.