The Real Face of Greece’s downfall


An innocent post about humanity and tolerance the other day brought about a wave of comments that surprised me– but didn’t shock me.

I had the curses of 100,000 dead Greeks in Smyrna hurled my way (because it was the Jews who colluded with the Turks to burn the city, according to the bright historian).

I was accused of being a Mossad agent and heard one angry conspiracy theory after another about dark forces (usually always Jews involved) colluding to bring Greece to her knees.

The antisemitism amongst people is sad. But what’s worse is ignorance.

One person after another mentioned the same culprits in the Greek financial crisis… Big bad Jewish bankers, Rothchilds, Siemens, Goldman Sachs…

Sadly, no one mentioned the name Akis Tsohadzopoulos… Or Lavrentis Lavrentiadis… Or Giorgos Voulgarakis… or Petros Doukas… or Yiannos Papantoniou… Or Ephraim… Or Vatopedi.

While there were numerous forces at work that eventually brought Greece and her people to their knees… The real face of Greece’s demise is a Greek one– and not a foreign one.



  1. Stefanos Sitaras on

    Greece is a polarized country. Ideologically, ethnically, ethically.

    Do not be disappointed at how mean-spirited some people can sound, they probably have every right to be that way. I always find solace in the fact that it’s not them, but rather, some larger-than-life dogma on whose behalf they bark and brawl.

    People adore simplifications. Especially now. Greece is going through a very challenging time, and people’s lives are changing rapidly.

    I suppose they are seeking the quickest and easiest way out, and the absolutist regimes have always been very good at alleviating people of their socio-existential anxieties.

    I imagine all of these extremist parties extending their big arms, casting a shadow/hug over people and saying “you’re not alone anymore, you’re with us.” And internet hatred is the most harmless expression of this phenomenon.

    People will do anything for their dogmas. For people are in such desperate need to be told what to do. It’s sad. And it’s greek.

    The greek youth is turning to the left, because that’s what young people generally do. Young people are rebellious, young people are lonely, and young people are easily persuaded. When I say “left” I also mean “right,” because in Greece they are one and the same. But it is neither their fault nor their responsibility. It is the natural result of a “crisis.”

    I am an artist. So people generally assume that I’m part of some movement, and my work is my way of fueling my political beliefs. It’s completely untrue. I, like most people, am just frustrated with whatever extreme threatens our happy medium.

    However. People have the right to express themselves. And you cannot hold that against them. There was nothing wrong with your blog-post, as well as there was nothing wrong with people voicing their negative reactions to it.

    I suppose my point is this: it is to be expected. It is our job to turn this into a CONVERSATION, instead of magnifying the size of the conflict. The Greek political and social spectrum is so polarized that it’s getting scary. People only care to fight. Let’s please find a way to get people to talk to each other.

  2. The truth is always somewhere in the middle. [see: Aristotelian theory of the golden mean]

    I do agree that the majority of the contemporary Greek society tends to ‘blame others’ – and only others – for the problems (economic, social, political, structural, etc.) that have engulfed Greece, and the extreme conditions in which they themselves, and their own families, have been subjugated.

    People in Greece usually tend to forget who voted these politicians, who supported party-politics when in university, who did not pay (any) taxes (at all), who helped an under-qualified friend get a job over a highly skilled and qualified other, who was given a job in the public sector in exchange of his vote, who spent and spent and spent at bouzoukia instead of saving for difficult times (such as the current economic crisis), who went every year at Mykonos (some even taking those famous ‘diakopodania’, or even during the crisis itself – just to forget, because, meh, ‘toy xronou ehei o theos’), …. such examples continue ad infinitum.

    Nevertheless, I do not see how this justifies your super-polemic stance towards your commenters on your website. I have read all of them (and quite frankly, they aren’t even as many as to qualify for the formation of a ‘wave’ – except if you have deleted any). Are the comments – and the general rhetoric of such unreflecting Greek individuals – narrowminded? Sure! Are they unhistorical? Quite possibly (and that goes both ways). Are they depressing? OF COURSE! It pains every half-rational Greek person, who genuinely loves his country and his heritage. Are they personally offensive? A couple of them sure are. But, Mr. Pappas, this is your blog, it is not a temple dedicated to ‘self-praising’. You should value both the positive and the negative feedback. Both the opinions you like, and those you do not. And even if you find them offensive, the best thing to do is to learn from it, rather than become all-mad and rant about it. Heck, if you need to come back on them, do it with dignity and style. Not with irony and counter-polemic rhetoric.

    Stefanos (with his comment on 14April), through his pure and simple argumentation, encapsulates best what has to happen in order to survive the crisis – but also learn how to avoid the problems that have brought us here. I am but going to repeat his rustic, yet beautiful words:

    “I suppose my point is this: it is to be expected. It is our job to turn this into a CONVERSATION, instead of magnifying the size of the conflict. The Greek political and social spectrum is so polarized that it’s getting scary. People only care to fight. Let’s please find a way to get people to talk to each other.”

    • I’ve just had the curses of 100k dead people hurled at me… Accused of being a Mossad agent and been called random obscenities. Would you like me to sit back and allow it without responding? The fact that I even allow the comments to appear is enough for you to understand that I welcome criticism but will not sit idly by and not respond. Furthermore… After having received a single comment here and a single comment there on my previous posts– and all of the sudden more than 20… My friend, I’d call that a wave. Thanks for writing.

      • Thank you for the quick reply.

        I know I might have oversimplified (under-weighing the personally offensive comments) the situation, but I also tried to play a (moderate) devil’s advocate.

        I hope my comment does not come in any way as a personal attack. I have been following your initiatives for a while now, and I admire your passion, as well as value your work.

        Keep it real, keep it classy!

        • Thank you, sir. Sometimes though, you must get to their level so they understand you. I won’t sit back and let some trash-talking Internet troll hurl insults at me… Nor will I dignify her with a sophisticated or historic response– because she won’t understand it. Appreciate your involvement and interest. Be well.

          • I have to agree with some posters that your reaction was a little over the top. People are entitled to their opinions, just because you don’t agree with them it doesn’t mean your version of things is correct and they are complete idiots. Your a smart guy and seem to be very likeable in many ways but you need to learn to temper your criticism of people who don’t agree with you. It is not a pretty sight, I can tell you that and I’ve never met you and have no idea what you are really like in person. Peace

  3. I’m a little bit hesitant to voice my opinion here, as I am new to this site (although I have been following a number of Mr. Pappas’ organizations without knowing that he is the person behind all of them, until just now).

    However, I feel strongly about this subject and want to briefly voice my support and understanding for his position.

    I lived in Greece for a short time and fell completely in love with her and her people, and I have strong admiration for the contributions they have made and continue to make to the world. However, there are a few things that I never grew comfortable with and that always dismayed me. One of these is what seems to be a widespread proclivity towards conspiracy theories. More often than not, if I got to know a Greek friend well enough, I eventually would hear that 9-11 was an inside job, or that the US military’s underground testing was responsible for the majority of earthquakes and tsunamis in the world, or that autism is caused by vaccines. Of course, the Greeks do not have a monopoly in this kind of thinking by any means, but it pains me to think that the citizens of the culture that are responsible for bringing rational thought and the scientific method to the world so often find themselves victim to this sort of twisted and often dangerous thinking.

    It happens that I am reading a book right now titled “Voodoo Histories: The Role of Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History”. Before beginning this book I was unaware of how widespread and deeply entrenched the Jewish conspiracy theories are. It has been a real eye-opener, and not a pleasant one. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a detailed view of and counter-argument against many of today’s most widely held conspiracy theories. If your mind is already made up to believe these things, then it’s probably not going to change your thinking. I believe that as humans, we tend to arrive at our beliefs through a complicated path of largely subconscious events and lazy thinking, and then we go about finding the evidence that fits or bolsters our beliefs. However, if you’re genuinely open-minded and maybe on the fence, you might want to give it a try.

    It was Mr. Pappas’ mention of being accused of being Mossad that grabbed my attention, because that seems to be a favorite ploy of conspiracy theorists.

    I don’t know enough about Smyrna to get into a detailed argument on the subject, nor do I have any desire to do so. That Mr. Pappas has been the brunt of what seems to be a very common type of slur/accusation is sufficient for me to fall in on his side in this debate, for whatever that’s worth. I applaud him for defending himself in no uncertain terms.

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