What kind of country is this, that forces foreign animal welfare volunteers and adopters to prove that they do not engage in bestiality?
Greece is a country dependent on tourism and philhellenism.
“Philhellenism (“the love of Greek culture”) and philhellene (“the admirer of Greeks and everything Greek”), from the Greek φίλος philos “friend, lover” and ἑλληνισμός hellênismos “Greek”, was an intellectual movement prominent mostly at the turn of the 19th century. It contributed to the sentiments that led Europeans such as Lord Byron or Charles Nicolas Fabvier to advocate for Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire.“
In tourist offices, advertisements and campaigns, Greece is presented as the cradle of Western civilization, the land of the sun, the sea, and hospitality. The country of “filotimo“, an untranslated and purely Greek word.
“Filotimo (or Philotimo) is best understood as ones responsibility to himself as a human being to always act in accordance with righteousness and honor. The idea of filotimo goes beyond the idea that one needs no motive to act in good faith and for a good cause, and suggests that for a sentient being, right and honorable actions should be the only acceptable behavior.”
For decades, a myth that was made up by one woman, and was unfortunately legitimized by the Greek state, calls European animal welfare volunteers and adopters “abusers, traffickers”, and much more.
A deeply xenophobic and even racist rhetoric grew roots in the state apparatus itself, with ministers calling adoption trafficking, and extreme slander pages trying to falsely convince that volunteers from abroad “buy” Greek strays to make them sausages, to abuse them, to exploit them in brothels.”
The people that have adopted strays from Greece respond to such slanderous claims. They stand in front of the camera, along with their dogs and their families, along with their children, and tell us their story, always with respect, but also with disappointment.
They are not only responding to an extreme, xenophobic minority, they are responding to the systemic xenophobia of an entire state, a state that welcomes them with a false smile as tourists and at the same time humiliates them behind their backs.
Most of them are people who have visited Greece. They are people who have stayed in our hotels, they have eaten in our restauransts, they have visited our monuments, and have admired our culture, our hospitality and our honor – our “filotimo”. These are people who learned a few words of Greek so they could communicate with us. They greeted us with “geia sou” (hello in Greek) and we answered back with a fake smile.
It is a disgrace for a country like Greece, which has supported its independence in Europe’s philhellenic movement and which relies financially on tourism, to be spo xenophobic in its core. It is a disgrace to force families to come out, in front of the camera, along with their children, and state the obvious: “this is our dog and we love him”, while at the same time it relies financially on the money of the same people it slanders.
The false articles and unsubstantiated accusations about European citizens buying Greek strays in order to abuse them, were debunked years ago, but this myth continues to reproduced, presenting a very bad image of our country towards Europe.
Such accusations and the racism behind them DO NOT represent the majority of us. They represent only an extreme minority, that has somehow poisoned with its crazy rhetoric polititians, journalists and unfortunately a part of the Greek public.
These slanders, and the persecution of volunteers, that are being slandered by politicians in Greece, journalists and even the Greek Vets Association, forced more than 180 unions from Greece and abroad to co-sign an open letter to the government (read HERE)
For more information about the topic, please follow THIS LINK.
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