You have read the headlines, seen the protests, listened to the commentaries.
However, one voice seems to be missing, the voice of the Greek people themselves talking about their lives, their mistakes and the future.
For the next week or two I will be publishing interviews with young Greeks living in Athens or London. Even thought they are all in their early ’20s, their background, experiences and political views vary significantly, offering a diversity of views, though not the quantitative accuracy of an exit poll. However, sometimes it may be effective to let a few people talk in order to hear the voice of the crowd.
The first interviewee is Eleni Tziakou, a 24-year-old speech therapist living in Athens. She enjoys her work and is particularly fond of animals.
- How do you personally experience the financial crisis in Greece?
I try to be optimistic about it. The difficult financial situation has certainly influenced everybody but I think that if we don’t fight for a better quality of life then things will get even tougher.
- What is the psychological impact of the situation on Greeks?
Most of my acquaintances and even myself at times look tired and disappointed. But I think we are holding on.
- How much are people to blame and how much the politicians for the situation?
In my opinion, a great share of the blame lies on the people. Maybe not on everybody, but at least on several citizens. I think the percentage of responsibility is divided in 70% for the politicians and 30% for the people.
- What is your opinion on the relation between politics and economy?
I think the situation speaks for itself. Nowadays politics has changed completely. The “war” [the power struggle] has become financial and Greece has yet to realise it. They caught us off guard.
- What is your opinion on corruption?
There is plenty in Greece and we come across it every day.
- What is the role of the country in the European Union and the Eurozone?
They always saw us as an investment for the future exploitation of our natural wealth.
- Do foreigners have a clear image of the situation in Greece?
No. I think this situation has been over-dramatized. I can tell from relatives living abroad who keep asking me if I have enough money to get by.
- Will the change of Prime Minister improve the country’s position?
No, I think our government is just a pawn. I don’t think we have politicians strong enough to turn this game around (Do you think that Adonis [Georgiades, deputy Minister of Development, Competitiveness and Shipping and member of the nationalist party LAOS] is such a personality?)
- In which ways should the Greek system change?
We Greeks first need to change our attitude as a nation. We need to get rid of the mummy’s boy attitude and the inclination for comfort. If we achieve that then we will be able to change the system ourselves and to establish a conditions of quality without the existence of social classes. A genuine Socialism and not a PASOKism [PASOK is the socialist party of the former Prime Minster George Papandreou].
- Will this ordeal have any positive outcomes for the political, social or economic situation in Greece?
In my opinion, yes. It will. We have already become better drivers. Who drives now faster than 150 km/h? It is not [economically] worthwhile. Overconsumption of goods has reduced. We no longer shamelessly consume the natural resources. Well, something will last.
- Are you afraid of what the future holds?
Considerably… More so because even though this whole situation should have brought us closer together, it has isolated us.