News / USA

    Greeks in America React to Greek Financial Crisis

    Greeks in Baltimore, Maryland discuss the Greek financial crisis
    Greeks in Baltimore, Maryland discuss the Greek financial crisis
    Penelope Poulou

    The almost $1 trillion EU bailout package has not quelled the Greek financial crisis, nor has it erased the memories of last week's deadly demonstrations in Athens, in which hundreds of thousands of  Greeks took to the streets to protest the government's austerity measures. These events have made headlines worldwide. They have also stirred emotions in the Greek - American community. VOA's Penelope Poulou has more.

    In the Baltimore, Maryland neighborhood known as "Greek Town," one feels transported to the Greece of 40 years ago. Shopkeepers sit outside their little stores enjoying a warm spring breeze. Greek flags are flying proudly next to American ones and local coffee shops, like this one, are hangouts for Greek men who gather for a game of cards and a debate on Greek politics.

    These days their conversations are heated because of the Greek economic crisis which, they say, they have watched brewing for years. One of them, Nikos a swimming pool contractor, criticizes the Greek political establishment. He says for decades Greek administrations have usurped people's money and have gotten away with it. Now, he says it's payback time.

    "Thieves ought to be punished and there should be transparency in the state's finances," said Nikos. "Greece has to assemble a national court of justice that should investigate everybody and should find out how huge government loans of the past 30 years were spent."

    Nikos's views are shared by the rest of the company.  But John says it's also the lack of work ethic that has brought Greece to its knees.

    "Greeks don't have money but they borrow to go on vacation," said John. "The young people spend their whole day drinking coffee. The Albanian immigrants work our fields, fix our homes and to top it, Greeks, rich and poor, they all evade taxes.

    The discussion goes on and on. They talk about a sluggish Greek bureaucracy, a socio - economic system based on bribery and an inflated public sector which employs  the majority of the Greek middle class. These Greek - Americans are pessimistic. But others are not.  Basil Mossaidis is the executive director of AHEPA, a Greek - American association based in Washington.  He says don't write the Greeks off so quickly.

    "I think they are very resilient people," said Basil Mossaidis. "They are very educated people, too. They are not fooling themselves into thinking everything is fine. They know what challenges they face. In every society, the media always accentuates the complainers. Not the hard working people that go to work every day."

    What began as a protest against harsh austerity measures and government corruption turned deadly on May fifth, when a bank was firebombed.  That event marred what could otherwise have been seen as righteous public anger. That's the view of Dr. Harris Mylonas a Political Science professor at George Washington University.

    "Violence is not part of politics, and every time that something like that happened in the past there was a clear condemnation [by the Greek government]," said Harris Mylonas.

    But Dr. Mylonas says on this occasion, some Greek opposition party members took a much softer stance towards violence, calling it "collateral damage."

    Nevertheless, the political divisiveness economic turmoil and pessimism in Greece do not dampen  Greek -Americans' love and longing for the old country.

    "I have brothers and sisters in Greece, I have nieces and nephews," said an older man on the street. "In a couple of years I hope to go live with them there.  Greeks are compassionate, hospitable. They are not terrorists. Why did we have to come to such low point?  It's the fault of the political establishment."

    Optimists or pessimists, the Greek Americans are watching the daily news deeply concerned about their homeland.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora