In the winter of 2003 about 10 months before the Olympic Games were due to start in Athens a number of articles started appearing in the British and German press (maybe in other countries too but I only read the news in English, German, French and to a lesser extent Greek so I have a bias in my perception of things) doubting that Greece would manage to hold the Olympics: stadiums would not be ready on time, the infrastructure need was not ready, the country was too chaotic…etc.
I don’t live in Athens and have little interest in most sports so I was not really in a position to make an informed decision on how things stood. Maybe things were late…time-keeping has never been a strong point of Greece. Maybe things were chaotic..a Greek word by the way. But as time went by and more and more articles were appearing it was obvious that some organs of press were positively waiting with trepidation for things to fail, a kind of anticipatory Schadenfreude (a German word for which there is interestingly no translation in English) and that really surprised me.
Why were some journalists hating Greece and Greeks so much? What had Greece, a small country with less than 1.5% of Europe’s population done to offend them?
At the time my conclusion was that it was probably derived from jealousy, envy. Greeks might be poorer but their food is nice, their sea is bluer and warmer than in Britain, Holland or Germany. The sun shines more often. Greeks know how to enjoy the good things in life.
When the 2004 Olympics came and turned out to be a huge success with possibly the best opening ceremony ever staged I was incredibly please for Greece. They showed the world that they could. And they shut the nasty comments…for a while.
Since the beginning of the Greek crisis (that seems to be going back a while now) the press have had a ball again. Back with the old clichés, lies and a huge amount of….Schadenfreude. It seems that many people are not happy enough with criticizing Greece and pointing out the mistakes it made (and there have been plenty, nobody in Greece is disputing that) they want to see its people crushed, humiliated and made into pariahs. Why? Is this maybe for the same old reasons already noted?
If you have any theories, please give me some of your answers below…