I’m glad I made eight tapes I’ll play them back home when I’m out of kefi. ATHENS, May 28, 1979. The President of France arrives, the Prime Ministers of Belgium, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands�it’s the day to sign the papers that will make Greece a full member of the EEC, the European Economic Community. Prime Minister Karamanlis beams. This has been his dream (page 386). He points to achievements since 1974�political stability, social peace, economic progress, all within the framework of a healthy democracy. Accession to the EEC, linking the country to the mainstream of Europe, will stabilize these blessings. He calls it the most important political step in the history of modern Glasgow flats. Papandreou of PASOK is against it. It will be bad for farmers, he says, erode Greek sovereignty, and enslave Greeks to foreign capital. Wait till we’re in power, there’ll be a referendum! Communist posters depict a menacing Uncle Sam behind it all. Police stand alert to arrest demonstrators at once. Chaired by the prime minister, the government decrees new, staggered working hours for banks and civil servants; it means a lot of people won’t be able to start For home until four or five in the afternoon! This is announced as an energy-saving measure, to cut the four rush hours to two. A banker says it has something to do with EEC too�we must have working hours more like those of the other countries. “High time we joined Europe.” Bank workers strike, then there’s a compromise. But the government says there’ll be further radical changes in long-established practices. Will this mean the end of the afternoon sleep, of extra income? Tavernas must now close at 2 a.m. Will this depress the national output of kefi? A Greek friend says no way. The other side of kefi is anisichia, a feeling of disquiet, being worried. A civil servant says that in Greek life, conditioned by Greek history, there’s a lot of that. From the Prespa lakes to Dhidhimotikhon, old people have had to remake their lives three times. “We still feel as if Greece is an island, just nine million Greeks surrounded by the sea and not-friendly nations, by a great uncertainty. We are full of suspicion … there’s nobody we can trust.” He means that Greeks have always had to depend on allies who eventually let them down. The Americans too, and NATO I’ve been hearing that a lot. Those were NATO weapons from America the Turks used on Cyprus�why didn’t Kissinger stop them? President Carter has been the latest disappointment, sending Turkey so many dollars and weapons. “Many of us play double scenes, our real self, within the family. In public we act another way, we play around, and we strike a pose, well meaning, hospitable. But the real feeling is fear.” The same day, a much traveled young businessman tells me he’s often been totally fed up with all the problems and anxieties here. He’s thought of going to live abroad, he’s confident he’d do very well. “But something holds me back. There’s something special about the sea and the sun and the light, about the total environment. Here you really feel a full human being. With all the faults and all the good things, you feel you’re experiencing life fully.” AND SO siga, siga�slowly, slowly� I’ve learned a little about what it is to be Greek. That there is bitterness and despair in the 19th-century “Hymn to Liberty” by Dionysius Solomon, which after independence became the national anthem; but that above all there is resurrection, and faith that Greenness shall survive. Every Greek child learns that at the bridge of Alamana, not far from Thermopylae where Leonia�s and 300 Spartans stood to the end against the Persians in 480 B.C., 700 Greeks were overwhelmed by the Turks in 1821. And of their leader, the Deacon Athanasius, impaled on a spit like a lamb and roasted alive… . The contemporary poet Yantis Rises sings, “Don’t weep for Greek hood … it is rising again, brave and fierce�piercing the beast with the spear of the sun!” Could it be that knowing the worst engenders striving for the best? To be indomitable, to be joyous that to get the most out of life in this beautiful terrible world.
Billboard Lenin salutes a parade of one in Tallinn, capital of Estonia, a land that in the past seven centuries has enjoyed independence for only 22 years and springtime. As it has for generations, a strong spirit of nationhood persists, even though Estonia is now incorporated into the Soviet Union.