Beyond the Crisis Blog: Athens- Life in the Slow Lane

We started to understand the problems in Greece before the plane had even taken off at Berlin airport. We had boarded, put our luggage away, our seat-belts on and safety checks were completed. Just as we were ready to sit back and relax the captain said ‘I’m afraid we are going to have to wait two hours on the runway due to the strikes currently taking place in Greece.’

There were sighs, different translations, ipods plugged in, phones out and water passed around. I cursed myself for not packing some more snacks. The strikes have been one of the ways that the Greek people have been expressing their rage. Punishing those who they believe are punishing them. Here we were in a limbo between Berlin and Athens, stuck in a rut, it said a lot about our relations.

This gave me some time to ponder what we were going into. I’ve been following the slow car crash that has been the Sovereign Debt Crisis for the last three years and here I was finally confronted, head on with the slow down, economically and literally.

Everyone seems to have an opinion on Greece. It has been a controversial country ever since it’s first entrance into the Union. Now it threatened to tear the Union apart. In Berlin this morning the news was in…Greece was going to be ‘saved’! Sitting on the runway we were reminded that many Greeks did not want to be ‘saved’ or at least, not in this way. The crippling austerity measures which has been the grand bargain of the bailout has many believing that their future has been stolen and their prosperity hijacked.

Now there is news that the Greek people were searching for new alternatives, instead of ‘handouts and bailouts’ many just wanted ‘out’. This was highlighted in a new documentary ‘Debtocracy’ released recently in Greece calls for more democracy, the end to IMF loans, a write down of the debt. It showed the human consequences behind the numbers, stereotyping and politiking. This was what we were here to hear.

Now we land in Greece, two hours late, hungry and thirsty literally, for knowledge. Also with the important understanding that no matter what happens in Berlin, it will be here in the cradle of democracy that the people will determine future of the Union.Beyond the Crisisbeyond the crisis