The Greek crisis is not affecting Crete as much as Athens or many other places. There are very few overt signs of hardship if you just pass through, although you will notice many closed shops in the streets of Chania. There are no violent protests, (almost) no homeless people. In fact recent visitors have wondered what this “Greek crisis” is about and whether Crete is a different world or if the foreign press has blown the problems out of proportion.
In a sense, Crete is a bit of a privileged case when compared to Athens or some poorer areas of Greece. For a start we have an income from tourism. It might have declined a little in the last decade but it is still a big part of the Cretan economy. Then we have agriculture. That too has not been doing too well but it is still a source of income. Last but not least Crete still has more or less intact family structures so that people who have fallen on hard times (and there are plenty) can somewhat be supported by other family members.
What is the biggest problem right now is the continuing uncertainty, the sense that this is not finished, that all the sacrifices, extra taxes and hardships are not a solution out of Greece’s problems and that our Greek leaders as well as our foreign ‘saviours’ have only one thing on their agenda: save their investment and/or win elections.
More and more we get the sense that hope is being killed, that we are hostages to bigger forces and that it cannot go on, that something will happen soon.
But what? For many, right now, life is on hold.
And more and more are hoping for a default of Greece so that we can move on. Maybe with a lot of hardships, some chaos, but hopefully in a clear direction and renewed hope.