After what he said was a meaningful “voyage of discovery through the ancient world,” Joe Hildebrand, an Australian blogger for the British newspaper the Daily Telegraph, decided to explain why Greece is suffering that unprecedented economic crisis.
The writer’s “pilgrimage ended in Athens, where two-and-a-half millennia ago the Greeks gave birth to democracy and laid the foundation stone of the Western world.” But, it was all wrong from the beginning, he claimed.
“Not long after Athens declared itself (?) the cultural capital of the known world it was overrun by uncouth barbarians, namely the Macedonians who then went on to conquer half of Asia. By way of perspective, it was a bit like if Woollahra had been taken over by the residents of Mt. Druitt, who then went on to invade New Zealand.” It appears his voyage made the writer see it all wrong; that is concluded by the absurd parallelisms.
It’s not just the Greeks who will be angry with this historical-criticizing-irrational opinion article, but a number of other nations as well: “Not long after that Athens fell to the Romans – also uncouth barbarians – and the Byzantines. Then the Burgundians, the Catalans, the Florentines and (for a brisk seven years) the Venetians, before being conquered by the Turks for about four centuries. All, needless to say, also uncouth barbarians.”
“Even when Greece was liberated it came with many hardships and many strings attached. But then at last, after century upon century of invasion and occupation, Greece was finally able to bring a great global power to its knees. Unfortunately that power was the European Union,” he continues.
It is a great surprise that this respected newspaper allowed this man to use such words to describe a whole nation: “tiny battered nation” with “indestructible and indefatigable laziness,” not to mention his taste in clothing: “By way of illustration here is a verbatim exchange of me attempting to purchase a Justin Bieber T-shirt from a street vendor:
Me: How much is that T-shirt?
Vendor: Normally 20 euro, but for you special price: 17
Me: I’ll take it.
Vendor: Okay, okay: 15”
The man, who nevertheless came to Greece and apparently not for professional reasons, also found our hospitality annoying: “If you go to a Greek restaurant they will refuse to bring you the bill, as they fear this would seem impolite. Then after you finally beg them to hand it over they pretend to acquiese and then come back with a football-sized plate of dessert, a pile of watermelon and a small bottle of spirits, no doubt hoping that if they get you drunk enough you’ll forget to ask for the bill again.” Even the free coffee offered to this peculiar person by a Greek tavern owner seemed annoying and wrong to him!
And his final conclusion: “A world where hundreds of millions of people who work hard every day and are already sacrificing the pleasures of family and free time are being held to ransom by a culture of people who do nothing but laze around all day eating and drinking and chatting to each other about everything under the sun. And we think they’re the ones who are backward. What uncouth barbarians we are…”
This man needs to reconsider some things. He came on vacation and disliked the way he was treated. I get it. He wanted to pay more for the gyros he ate (he found the price very low and saw waiters as beggars to ask for so little) and wanted to be treated impolitely. But why waste someone’s brain cells to write so many arbitrary assumptions? Luckily enough, there are numerous experts, such as historians, economists and sociologists who can actually explain how and why we, as a nation, reached this decadence.
Starting from ancient Greece where that alien thing democracy was born, and jumping to a modern Greek seaside tavern where the gyros were cheap, in order to explain how Western Civilization was screwed up is a rather weird and unscientific approach. Hope he doesn’t get paid to write such things, or is this how he claims himself not to be lazy? At least he got himself a nice Justin Bieber T-shirt!
Hildebrand’s opinion article is at blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/