Thursday, April 26, 2007

Put on a Happy Face

This morning the Danish were highlighted as the happiest people on Earth by Good Morning America, a popular morning TV program in the States. Despite cold weather, high taxes and questionable cuisine, the show indicated that low expectations, great welfare and an emphasis on simplicity help make the Danish so happy.

This struck me as interesting given that despite the old reputation of happy-go-lucky and hospitable, today's Greeks are increasingly gloomy. This was recently epitomized on a website that provided information to those interested to moving to Greece. On the message boards, a Greek responder indicated that some things are better left as dreams and that readers should avoid moving to the country.

Put simply, I find it downright irritating! While the country justifiable depends on and invests millions in tourism to showcase its beauty and charm, this attitude threatens to drive away the lifeblood. Why?

Depressing Environment? Not nature anyway. Millions flock to the country for a chance to come closer to the best nature has to offer. Mountains, agriculture, seas and skies!

Distrust in Government? The same survey that found the Danes happy also found Italians as cheerful. Italy's government has been plagued with credibility issues for years and years!

Opportunity? More than ever before the Greek government is offering incentives for new businesses for those that want to put in a little effort. Is unemployment a problem? Yes, but solutions are also available for those that take the initiative to find them.

While it is natural for life's daily problems to haze our perceptions of happiness, this wallowing in "poor me" attitude only brings on more stress and depression.

Greeks live in the most beautiful country in the world - how about we start using our famous brains... the ones that we boast brought the world democracy and philosophy (along with advances in near every field of study) to come up with smart, creative ways to leverage our resources for our individual and collective benefit!

Ande bravo!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

5th Avenue Goes Greek

After massive rains postponed NY's Greek Independence Day parade on April 15th, the Gods themselves joined in the festivities this past Sunday as the famed 5th Avenue sparkled in blue and white. Parade-goers revelled in solidarity alongside prominent personalities as a record 60 groups marched to the sounds of the Greek celebratory cry of "ZHTO!"

The parade, which was televised for the first time on NY's My9 Network (WWOR-TV) and hosted by Greek-Americans Ernie Anastos and Nick Gregory, as well as anchor Rosanna Scotto, supported a broader theme of religious freedom this year. While Greek Independence was declared in 1821, the theme is unfortunately very timely as religious suppression still plagues many parts of the world.

While I work to update the site with pictures and a "who's who" list of attendees to come soon, I'd love to hear from you about this year's parade...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Greek Authorities Rescue Stranded Cruise Ship

With Easter, the unofficial start of pre-tourist season in Greece not even upon us, AP reported this afternoon that a cruise ship run by Cypriot Louis Cruise Lines, SEA DIAMOND, hit rocks off the coast of Santorini, took on water and required an impressive rescue consisting of 12 ships, along with six navy rescue helicopters, two military transport plans and four warships.

The rescue of the nearly 1,200 tourists and 400-member crew was extensive, comparable to the equivalent of evacuating a 12-story building floating at sea, and resulted in the safe return of passengers and crew either to Athens or back to Santorini.

- The rescue process and result went off without a hitch based on accounts from officials and rescuees alike.
- Naysayers questioning Greek organizational capability should and will likely be silenced (at least for a bit).
- Skeptical and pessimistic Greeks concerned about media can find solace in balanced and glowing coverage of a potentially disastrous scenario.

While I have no doubt that this was taxing for all involved, I am thrilled that this was handled and presented famously - kudos to Greek efforts and those that reported it objectively (unlike me).

For more information, click here for the AP story.

Yet Another YouTube Stand-off

For the second time in as many months, YouTube is engaged in a standoff against yet another country thanks to offensive videos posted about the country's leadership. This time, Thailand has blocked YouTube because the site refused to remove a video depicting their beloved king's (or more specifically stand-in female) feet over his head - a major Buddhist taboo. As you may know this follows a similar stand off the popular website had with Turkey and it's similarly military-backed government in March.

If history is a lesson, YouTube will:

- Refuse to remove the clip initially, then
- Be blocked by the country in question, then
- Bend to their whim by removing the clip ...

... so that the respective population with limited freedoms of speech can access trite videos once again.

If the similar scenario does not play out, I will have to wonder why the site is taking such different approaches for a similar incursion as opposed to following a set "policy". That, my friends, will be a much longer discussion.

More info available on


Related Posts with Thumbnails