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Saturday, 25 February 2012

My piece of the pie (Και να έχουμε και να τρώμε την πίτα)

The lesser of two evils:
"If we had gone bankrupt, Greeks would have lost everything. Now they have lost a lot. That's a huge difference."
The lesser of two evils makes up for what had been happening for so long in Greece's recent past, when a great many people had all of the pie and ate it too. You generally can't have them both now. There will always be those who fight to keep what they believe is rightfully theirs, but they need to remember that this will probably always be at the expense of those who never had access to it:
‎"Workers in our country refuse to accept the barbarity of the tougher neo-liberal measures that have been extortionately imposed by our creditors," the GSEE private sector trade union warned earlier this week. And that is why they will continue and step up their struggle... to block the destruction of our society" (BBC, 22/2/2012).
So GSEE will continue to fight for their noble cause, even though they know full well that they will get nothing. They continue to live in hope, believing in the eventual good will of the same people who took away their privileges. And hope always dies last. No doubt the GSEE does not accept that it did its bit to help destroy the country, and their actions will simply provide another occasion for opportunists, vandals and criminals to destroy/burn/loot what remained from the last time, as if it were not enough. They want to have their pie and eat it too.
 
Above: Greek protesters in Athens, 1980. Below: Greek protesters in Thessaloniki, now. We often see same generation still protesting. They got older and fatter, and they continue to protest. Are they biting off more than they really need to chew? Spartan thinking, man! We’ve got to get lean and smart. All of these state subsidies that Greeks got, they make you fat and lazy (Cocomat owner).”


In a civil war, one nation divides itself into two factions. Don't have any doubts that this is what has now happened in Greece. There are still a good number of people, both private sector and public sector employees, that will not admit that the bringing down of the system (which was totally chaotic and served only a certain sector of Greek society, always less than 50%) is going to make Greece a fairer society for their children. But their own parents suffered to raise them, while their offspring simply jumped onto a higher platform. The way the older and middle-aged generations of today lived is as different as black and white - the latter now has to make sacrifices for their own children, instead of just expecting things to get even better and even easier for them, which usually means blocking others' access to the same privileges.

 
Before I lay me down to sleep, 
I pray the Lord my pita keeps.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray to have my pita ate. 

There's still plenty of spinach growing in our garden, so I can still hope for plenty of home-made pie to have in the near future. It's always been a great source of pride for me and my husband to say that we've always worked hard to both have and eat it. To ensure this, I make it in stages: The first day, I harvest and clean the spinach, allowing it to dry before I use it in the pie (the pie will not be good if the spinach isn't dry). The next day, I chop and mix it with all the herbs and cheese. The next day I make the pastry and assemble the pie, or pies to be more precise, because a good deal will go in the freezer and I won't have to make them again in the next 5-6 weeks. Everything gets done one step at a time. So I can say that most times in our home, we deservedly have our pie and eat it too.

A word of caution: If you are Greek and you remember your grandmother making huge pies in 45-60cm tapsi, just remember that a 30cm tapsi is probably big enough for our families, which are much smaller than our grandparents'. I don't make them much bigger than that. So our piece of the pie is possibly smaller than our ancestors', but it's probably just enough anyway, and it takes less time to make than the effort yiayia put in hers. We can't and won't and don't need to work as hard as that generation did in the physical sense; that is the privilege of living in more modern times.

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