On Jan. 25, Greece turned a new page in its political history. The political stage of the past few decades has been turned inside out.
New forces have emerged; the people expressed their anger. They said, “Enough is enough.” Enough… austerity, poverty, hopelessness. They rolled the dice.
The day saw SYRIZA finish first. New Democracy – which frightened some people into voting for it – came in second. Golden Dawn finished third, despite the fact that its leadership is in jail.
If we are correctly interpreting the beliefs and feelings of our community, there are heartfelt wishes that the new coalition government – comprised of the left SYRIZA and the new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, with a small complement by the right-wing Independent Greeks of Panos Kammenos – will succeed, for the good of the homeland.
The interest of the Diaspora in these elections was unusually great. It was reminiscent of the days of 1981, when Andreas Papandreou and PASOK rose to power.
Now, as then, we expatriates were mere spectators. We are obviously unfit, incompetent to vote. It does not matter that expatriates from Turkey, and throughout Europe and South America, vote in the elections of the lands of their birth. Apparently they are more patriotic than we are.
And Tsipras failed to make a single reference to the Greek Diaspora in his victory speech. So be it. We hope that he keeps his sight at the history books. We wish for him to become one of the best Prime Ministers in the history of the country.
We will need time to draw reliable conclusions. We will have to see whom he chooses for his cabinet, and see him make some important decisions.
Unfortunately, one of his first actions was to interrupt the stream of tradition by not taking his oath of office on the Bible in the presence of the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece. We hope is not indicative of broader poor judgment on his part.
Why did he do that? What was he trying to prove, and to whom? What message was he sending to the people, to the youth?
Even in multicultural America, with the separation of Church and State, American Presidents take the oath of office on the Bible.
Mr. Prime Minister, it is history, traditions, religion, and culture that make Greece stand apart from other countries. If we lose these, along with so many other things we have lost, what will be left?
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