Greece: Strikes Are Different Story

November 13, 2010 Updated: November 13, 2010

ATHENS, Greece—Strikes and protests have become a weekly occurrence in Greece where the bad economy, low salaries, high taxes, and unsure futures are bringing people into the streets screaming abuse and using physical violence in an effort to assert their rights.
Despite these hard times though, there remains an element of ancient Greek wisdom that brings a feeling of positivity. This attitude (meaning “love of wisdom”), involves not taking the unrest so seriously—even when it actually is—and facing uncertainty philosophically and with humour.

The people who haven’t forgotten this wisdom bring hope to others, and help open people’s minds to different ways of looking at things.

Last week, I came upon what has become a weekly occurrence in Athens—a 24-hour strike in the center of the city at Syntagma Square in front of Parliament. I crossed the street to avoid the angry crowd, but could not escape the noise of the desperate, angry, unharmonious protesters beating their waist drums and yelling slogans.

Suddenly, I detected a different sound cutting through the protest din—a sound that immediately relaxed my mind. To my surprise, ahead of me was a small ensemble playing “My Heart Will Go On,” the instrumental soundtrack of the 1997 movie, “Titanic.”

As my mind absorbed the music, I thought, “Wow, look at these people, using their talent to uplift people’s hearts despite the chaos and risk of protest violence turning against them.”

I thought how great it was to see people with a different way of thinking and a different way of approaching a situation. The power of art performed its miracle as soon as I entered its field.

The atmosphere, the calmness, and positive attitude of the musicians made me marvel. They were protesting in their own way, meeting the violence and tension with music that imparted harmony and hope.

Maybe the Greek wisdom of how to deal with problems will win out in the end.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.