Don´t confuse me with my country: living in Athens in 2014

Posted on 14. February 2014

by Konstantina Karydi

Konstantina KarydiStereotypes, in & out / In: living in Athens in 2014. The positive stereotype of the “wonderful” EU has crashed. I guess not only here but all over Europe. “Free” spirited, pro-European minorities, speak about the political EU we aim for, about the values on which it is based, the Ideas, the opportunities a united Europe offers.

The truth is, nobody agrees with the course the EU is following today. The bad German stereotype has lessened, yet everyone speaks about the policies superimposed to us, by the “troika”, in “truth”, by Germany. Greeks do not feel free. The stereotype of the poor Greek of the 50s, the civil war “syndromes” acquiring an alarming edge of material reality in the Golden Dawn marches, and the “uniqueness” of  the “Greek fighter, victim and survivor”, are haunting me. Out: Traveling in “Europe”. Greeks cannot really travel as much. They cannot afford it. The right to free movement across the EU cannot be manifested in practice. Nowadays, being Greek, actually means you cannot find a job easily, you cannot rent a flat easily, if you do, you will have to pay half of the annual rent in advance. You see, our economy might crash, and our money begone. Greeks are lazy, or very poor. And corrupted. I am Greek, well-educated, well-travelled, and politicized. I create, and my city, Athens, is vibrant, and nowadays, out of need, innovative. And very, very active. The EU I am seeking for, is re-born in its cities. And Athens, is at the forefront.

About this article:

All Spaniards are lazy, all Greeks are corrupt and Romanians work for the mafia: Everywhere in Europe stereotypes are in full bloom. For the German newspaper, six FutureLab Europe participants describe the impact of prejudices about their home country on their everyday life. This article is part a part of a series of reflections by young Europeans, prepared in cooperation between FutureLab and Süddeutsche Zeitung Online.