Culture is our perception of culture
To articulate experience grammatically, to relate discourse and meaning as we do, is to “be greek”.
George Steiner, Antigones (Oxford publications, page 135)
In one of his beautiful poems, Odysseus Elytis says:
And after they annihilate you
The world will still be beautiful thanks to you
This piece is addressed to the friends and admirers of our culture outside Greece, but also to those who dream of the destruction of our country. It was written in the days of crisis.
To our friends, I express my gratitude.
To the others, "dressed as friends", as Elytis called them (they came dressed as friends / countless times my enemies), Europeans and non-Europeans, I feel the need to remind them of some things.
Before bidding us on their bets, let them remember that Greece, even if they annihilate it, will still exist in all their university libraries. And in all their official dictionaries. The words: analysis, synthesis, theory, category, democracy, chemistry, cosmology, psychology, psyche, logical, politics, philosophy, and thousands more they use daily in their scientific, philosophical, political, economic, social life, are not simple words.
They are structures of thought.
Structures of perception.
It is the dynamic of the conversion of speech in transcendence. Words, three thousand years old that are still shining and remain strong and alive. Our language. Every word expresses a piece of culture. Together with the surviving tragedies of our tragic poets and the cosmological visions of the Ionian philosophers that have dominated the global spirit up to date.
Obviously mistakes have been made. But it was impossible not to be made under the pressure of the need to survive. Pressure that was created for us by the sad situations of our "dressed as friends" for years. And always as a means to diminish our language and to humiliate our history in every way. And our children, for years now, have been making their life abroad carrying within them a country that's hurt them.
Perhaps our small, geographically (but great throughout time), country that hails from the depths of the centuries frustrates some people. And they can't stand the fact that they have benefited by it. But also that Greece remains unmovable in it's values. Because the Greek citizen has never lost his values despite all the traumatic experiences. Instead "he carries them inside him" as Heraclitus said "
Besides, culture is not what was passed down on us. Culture is our perception of culture.
But we ordinary citizens are experiencing this absurd chaotic reality that has suddenly become our life. And it lasts for years. As for those, who dream of the annihilation of our country, they should remember that Western culture was founded on Greek thought and philosophy. And they should respect that. Respect. This is what our country deserves.
And if some deliberate or unintentional mistakes have brought it into this dire situation today or in the past, this is only its ephemeral face. Throughout the centuries our culture remains unmovable, as well as our struggles for ideals that never age.
I like to believe that the place that gave birth to Democracy, this supreme creation of human spirit, can only find its primordial powers on its own, as Aeschylus said "For the land itself is their ally".
It's like challenging a miracle. And Greece is the place that gave birth to the miracle literally and metaphorically.