If Greeks do amazing things, then Greece can do amazing things.


This post is inspired and influenced by a discussion with Twitter friends Kyriakos Pierrakakis (@Pierrakakis) and Abraham Tsoukalidis (@atsoukalidis) earlier today.

The bulk of this conversation is reproduced above.

This conversation got me thinking about a number of things.
But most of all this. 

I come from a family of Greek refugees who fled to South Africa in search of better lives.
My maternal grandparents were refugees from the island of Imbros, forced to leave by socio-political disruption.
My paternal grandparents were refugees from northern Greece, forced to leave by poverty.

Now imagine the strength of the emotional pull they must have felt …
Okay, my maternal grandparents had no choice but to leave. But Greece would have been closer, geographically and emotionally, than what was then a very dark Africa.
And my paternal grandparents? The impact of poverty must have been huge …

I never thought of it in these terms.
I never thought of the courage it must have taken to move to the bottom tip of this strange continent.
It never struck me what remarkable strength, self-confidence and emotional sacrifice such a move would have involved.
I never thought of what truly remarkable people they were.

Until today.

A nation is nothing more than its people.

If Greeks do amazing things, then Greece can do amazing things.
As I said in one of my Twiiter posts, Greece can only if Greeks can. 

The biggest threat that Greece faces today is that Greeks who can will leave, driven by the threat of poverty.
Or the desire for something more than what they can envision for themselves and for their children in Greece.
Not because they have the economic power to do so, but because they have the balls to do so. 

We will lose some of our best people.
The people with the strength and the courage and the vision and the creativity to leave are some of our best people.

Maybe this explains why there are so many accomplished Greeks in the diaspora.
Look anywhere. You will find Greeks in positions of power and influence, making a dent on the world, creating value, making their adopted countries a better place.

Where do I start?

Maria Callas
George Lois, advertising legend.
Bill Tragos founder of TBWAWorldwide.
Jim Gianopoulos, CEO of Fox Filmed Entertainment.
Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post 
George Bizos, attorney to Nelson Mandela and a South African national hero.
Nicholas Negroponte, head of MIT Medialab.

And then there is my father, Jim Economides, whose vision and hard work led to the establishment of the heavy machine tool industry in South Africa.

We need the current generation of people like these to stay here.
Because Greece can only if Greeks can.

Kyriakos said, brilliantly, that emotions are the lens through which you process alternatives.
This lens should never become blurred and unfocused. 




4 thoughts on “If Greeks do amazing things, then Greece can do amazing things.

  1. elsasahnas

    Thank you for this post. I also come from a greek family that left greece in search of something better. They left with very little and built a life in an unfamiliar country with hard work and sacrifice. I moved to Greece last year with hope that a crisis would be impetus for change. Slowly, I saw young, bright colleauges leaving to work abroad. I cannot blame them. Yet, as you write, we need smart and creative individuals here to move Greece forward so that it can realize its potential. This is an amazing country. And it deserves more.

  2. Lena

    It saddens me when I see young people depressed and despondent when they look upon what looks like a bleak future and seriously discussing leaving their home country in search for something better…I like to believe there is opportunity in crisis…. I know from myself that what has been missing are the ‘crazy makers’ of Greece to lift our spirits and make us believe in ourselves and make us believe in the impossible…because no-thing is impossible when Greeks put their minds to it….. I’ve seen it time and time again…. the Greek spirit is tireless, proud, genius, innovative, revolutionary, brilliant, inspiring…. but over the last decades it seems we have fallen into an attitude of complacency, lethargy, taking things for granted and, dare I say it, selfishness…. parents are supposed to give us a good example.. well, our political parents have given us the worst example and that needs to change…. our children are rebelling…. don’t let them run away too far…. we need them….. I’ve travelled a great deal in my life and I often get asked the question "where would you prefer to live?"… funny…..I always come back to Greece….. we have so much to offer, so much to be proud of. Thank you for reminding me! (apologies for going on a bit – I get a little carried away!)


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