Wednesday, 20 April 2011
Are Greeks the ‘chosen people’?
Pantelis Boukalas was complaining today in an opinion piece for Kathimerini that the crisis affecting Greece has made the country an international byword for economic and moral debasement representing ‘the fall of an entire nation and its people’.
He goes on: ‘We seem to be heading back to the days when some Western dictionaries would cite the words “swindler” and “cheat” as synonyms for “Greek.”
‘All that of course means that we will have to find a cure for our delusions of national supremacy that were instilled in our brains from an early age, when we were taught that we were the chosen people, a nation worthy of respect from the entire universe.’
I’ll just make a quick point on this, which is that Greece fell not because Greeks believed in ‘delusions of national supremacy’ and ‘that we were the chosen people’; but because it ceased to believe these things, and only when Greeks start believing in these things again will the country recover. And this is not a nationalist rant about the superiority of Greek blood and civilisation, but a recognition of the fact that nations only prosper and progress when they are assertive, self-confident and, most importantly, convinced of their uniqueness.
The clip above, which I’ve posted before, is from Robert Rossen’s 1956 film, Alexander the Great, in which Aristotle argues that indeed Greeks are the ‘chosen people’; and we all know what Alexander and the Greeks achieved imbued with this conviction that they were ‘the best’.