The Reaction Of a Bankrupted Country to Obama’s Visit

Barack Obama  in a joint news conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens
Barack Obama in a joint news conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens

The visit of the outgoing President of the United States, Barack Obama in Athens on the 15th of November is an event that many Greek citizens will certainly remember for a long time.

The glorious Leader of the Free World , whose popularity could only be compared to that of a long-range star, has literally captivated the crowds. Those who had the chance to see him giving his speeches from a short distance, were more that excited and described him as a real leader with a brilliant communicative charisma.

The biggest number of the Greek citizens, who couldn’t see him live, watched his whereabouts on the TV and didn’t stop updating the social media. The comments praising the appearance of the American President were rapidly being posted, while the video from the Acropolis, which Barack Obama posted on his Website on Facebook, made the Greeks proud of their country, even if it was just for three minutes, as much as the video lasts.

At the same time, there were plenty of disapproving comments on the appearance of the Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. He was being described as a miserous, uninterested, dowdy and ill-mannered person, something that the foreign media either didn’t notice, or didn’t pay attention to. However the vast majority of both the Greek media and the citizens, who expressed themselves through the social media, were harshly critical towards the Prime Minister, as he…..”wasn’t wearing a tie” during his meeting with Barack Obama. In addition to this, there are many articles that even today four days after Obama’s visit, comment on Mr. Tsipras’s suit.

The paradox of the whole case is that, despite the numerous reasons one really has to criticize the Greek Prime Minister, it was the first time that I noticed such fury against him. Perhaps for the greatest part of the Greek people the fact that Mr. Tsipras has abrogated his promises doesn’t matter as much as the fact that in a meeting with Barack Obama he didn’t externalize that kind of cosmopolitanism that would make them feel like real Europeans, even if their monthly salary ranges between 300€ and 500€.

Lately, I have stopped hoping for my country and its people and maybe I’m one of the few Greeks that didn’t feel any pride seeing Barack Obama’s video on the Acropolis. Personally, I have no reason to feel proud of Greece, which is heading full speed towards a precipice. But even now, just before the end, the Greeks refuse to face the reality, they refuse to react to the austerity measures that become harder and harder as time goes by, they are not annoyed by the fact that nothing in this country works while there is no Welfare State at all, they don’t care about the unemployment among young people, which is getting higher, while the pensions are almost passing the threshold of poverty, but they can’t stand it when their Prime Minister doesn’t wear a tie during his meeting with the President of the World.

Here one could contrast my views with the argument that in the last years the Greeks have been mentally tired by the memoranda and their effects on their lives and much worse, they have accepted their destruction and the annihilation of the middle class. Ok, I’d say. But even then, we end up at the same conclusion: there is no hope for Greece any more.

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