Update: As of 2/21/2018, in affirmation of the claims presented below, a group of Greek Twitter spammers has taken to relentlessly harassing a 19-year old Macedonian girl online whose only affiliation to the writing of this article was her ethnicity.
Ideological purity. Intolerance of dissent. Denial of facts. College campuses in America have been run amock by all this due to a culture of hypersensitivity. Hear ideas you disagree with? Shut them down, resort to violence if necessary. Feeling attacked by the curriculum? Destroy the professor’s reputation. Dislike another group? Exclude them entirely. The impetus for such an inane perspective rests on a three-pronged view of the world:
- The validity or invalidity of a statement can be judged solely by the ethnic, cultural, or political association of the claimant
- Anybody who disagrees with (1) is engaging in a dangerous and harmful ideology
- Repression, sometimes violence, is necessary to stamp out such an ideology.
What’s worse, of course, is the college authorities and campus police that cater to the whims of an otherwise coddled group. While concerning to say the least, for the time being, it is at least localized to a campus setting. No country has yet risen to this level of absurdity…or so we think.
Enter Greece, the country equivilant of a modern-day college student: terrible at saving, selective in its approach to work, and consistently given everything it wants.
While already drawing the distinction as one of the most debt-ridden countries in Europe, few dare also call Greece one of Europe’s most hypersensitive countries in existence. Disagree with a Greek historian? Threaten her life. Offended by the use of “Macedonia” in Indiana Jones? Threaten to sue Steven Spielberg. Overly traumatized by the existence of a Greek-Macedonian dictionary? Assault the academics presenting it. Of course, the problem with Greece’s hypersensitivity does not begin nor end with Macedonia. In 2016, despite previously almost bankrupting the entire European economy and still being given a bailout, many Greeks conjured up fanciful anti-Hellenic global conspiracy theories to explain their problems.
So, why has it come to this?
Greece has long been the darling of Europe and the West; not only did the Phillhellenes of 19th century Europe help resurrect a modern Greek state amidst a hodgepodge of ethnic groups, but being the one country in the Balkans to stave off the spread of communism saw the West pamper Greece with an unearned sense of moral superiority and entitlement. In other words, Greece has been a silver-spoon baby of Europe with its first steps.
Like the trophy generation of today, Greece’s sense of entitlement continues to fuel its hysteria, much to the chagrin of Europe. After all, the West created it. It was the West that first caved during Greece’s tantrums over claims that Macedonia’s flag and name threatened the entire security and integrity of Greece. Of course, back in reality, we recognize that Greece’s military budget is larger than the GDP of Macedonia. But facts do not matter here, feelings do. It only mattered that Greece felt like it was threatened for Europe to respond. Much like college professors caving to the absurd demands of trauma from students reading Shakespeare in an English class, so too did the West with Greece.
Greece can only derive a sense of purpose by feeling purely Hellenic–the cultural giants who gave us philosophy, arts, music, and the New Testament Bible. It has been force fed this continuous message from the days of Lord Byron: “You are special, no one else is like you”. Again and again, it was repeated and reinforced, much like the millennial generation of today. (Unfortunately, none of us is special) The comical “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” might have accidentally shed a truthful side of the Greek mentality when one of its characters stated that he believed there were only two types of people: “Greeks and those who wish they were Greek”. For Greece, being Greek can mean only being a Greek-speaking Orthodox Christian, direct descendent of Pericles and Herodotus. Anything outside of that narrow chasm is a direct and dangerous threat to their identity. After all, how else can we make sense of a Greek populace that was once partially Albanian-speaking, partially imported from Turkey, and all ruled by a German king?
-Create the biggest safe space in modern Europe, free from all dissent and opposing facts.
The biggest enemy to Greece is not the Macedonians, Turks, or elite international bankers– it is their own leadership, who continue to propagate and enforce a dangerous ideological purity with a brutal intolerance of dissent and change. Greece may herald itself as the cradle of democracy, but it was within the cradle of fantasies and pampering that modern-day Greece was born. And this swaddled fantasy cannot survive, so long as the Macedonians are allowed to exist.
The views of the author may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Macedonian Diaspora and Generation M.