Want to know why the Greek population is in such trouble? Read the pages of Greek news and one learns that even Greek billionaires have at most only two children. One shakes one’s head – they cannot afford nannies? Their homes are too small for another child? When one reads of a Greek with more than two children one quickly notices that it is because he has a foreign wife. This should come as no surprise as Greece seems to be a nation that celebrates abortions while they do their ‘stavro’ – make the sign of the cross. There is one anecdote from my travels to Greece I have never been able to shake – I will not mention the island to avoid embarrassing those involved. During one of my many visits to Greece, I mentioned to my family about a local who had treated my children graciously – giving us a tour of his small soft drink bottling plant. Their response? A cacophony of ridicule because this fellow had six children (the number is the best I can recall). Can we understand a nation from one anecdote? Certainly not – but this observation fits into a pattern. Some time ago, an organization purchased a small billboard style advertisement in the Athens Subway. How long did it last until public opposition required it to be taken down? About one day. How many toy stores does one notice driving around Athens versus how many bars?
Even the ‘yiayaides’ – grandmothers – get into the act, advising the next generation that two children is enough. The story is even more grim – how many times have you met Greeks with two children who confide in a whisper – “my second child was an accident.”
Greece’s seeming hatred of children (is there any other way to characterize it?) would not be so glaring were it not for the mantra that I grew up hearing – “we Greeks, we are the family-oriented people.”
Having larger families in Greece is long overdue by decades. And not to get too far afield, but when you wonder why a leader such as Erdogan has so much contempt for Greeks, could it be that he has sized us up as a contemptible people who cut down their children in the womb?
Why am I not afraid to raise such a sorrowful story? People who cannot be bothered to raise the next generation of children don’t have the energy to go after me.
Nicholas Kalis (Kallivroussis) lives in McLean, VA and holds a JD and a Master’s in International Affairs.