Can books be of help in times of a severe crisis? As concerns Greece the answer is “yes” – under two preconditions: First, the authors have to understand the substance and the effects of the crisis. Second, the citizens have to feel the need to take refuge in literature. In fact, literature and fiction can help to ease survival in difficult times. But, the citizens and most authors in Greece are both unwilling to perceive the crisis.
Since its beginning, the modern Greek state has been founded on two columns – Europe and the Balkans. This twofold foundation has been generally most productive for fiction, literature and art. Poets, narrators, stage artists and filmmakers have always tried to build a bridge between the Balkans and Europe. Only since the last decades, a “time of false illusions” has begun and Greek intellectuals have forgotten these important roots and have avoided coming to terms with their country’s past.
Greece, within its present most disastrous situation, needs a public discussion about the mistakes that have been made. And, Greece and Europe as a whole are in an urgent need to discuss European values instead of rates and figures only. Writers, creative artists, intellectuals and academics have to break the silence and not leave the public stage to economists and politicians.