Rebecca Elia's Blog

All about Feminine Health, Healing, and Greece

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Responsibility and the Greek Crisis

Many friends have been asking for my POV about the current situation in Greece. I am speaking about the financial crisis and not about the recent deaths.

I’ve been hesitant to address the demonstrations, because I haven’t been clear about what to say or how to say it. The situation is complex, but everyone rushes to simplify it by assigning blame, typically to one party. If we can just blame someone, anyone, find our scapegoat, then we do not have to take any personal responsibility. A lot can be learned by observing how each political party/person/country is reacting to a situation such as this.

I watched the same thing happen after Michael Jackson’s death. A respected doctor (I won’t name this person), was oh-so-quick to blame MJ’s doctor. And, apparently that wasn’t enough, because this same physician went on to blame a whole slew of “doctors of celebrities.” This person was on national news, within minutes of MJ’s death, blaming an entire group of individuals. I was furious. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that MJ’s doctor or these doctors are not to blame or that they do not carry any responsibility. We have a legal system to sort that out. It angered me that this type of quick finger-pointing (that the media adores, by the way) relieved everyone else of any personal responsibility.

Yes, of course there are crooks in this world. There are billions of bad decisions made on a daily basis. Some individuals are malicious and corrupt. But, still using the example of MJ, by so quickly attaching blame to one party, we lose the opportunity to address the other important issues, such as, in this case, the nature of addiction, how the public fails their celebrities, or the long-term effects of emotional and physical abuse.

I so wished that this popular physician had addressed these areas, in front of millions of viewers, because we are in great need of healing.

We’re also in great need of taking responsibility—responsibility for our health, our actions, our beliefs, and our choices.

And so it is the same with the current crisis in Greece. I’ve lost track of who (sounds like a Dr. Seuss book) is on the who’s who list of responsible parties: Papandreou’s administration , Karamanlis, Goldman Sachs, the United States, the European Union, the Greek police, the Greek people, the demonstrators, the anarchists, the government workers who did not strike… Who is asking the bigger, harder questions? Most are content with scapegoating one group, one party, one county. But when we take each issue and ask the real questions of why and how, we begin the process of unpeeling the gigantic onion. As we go through the layers, the stench fills the room and our eyes burn. Impotent tears stream down our cheeks. They cannot clear us from our contribution to this mess.

Please don’t take me literally. Perhaps there is no way that you are personally responsible for what is happening right now in Greece. But, this doesn’t matter if you are American, because many of our decisions affect the rest of the world anyway. It has only been recently that we’ve had a taste of our own medicine. Prior to this financial recession, many of us had no clue as to the effects that our economic and environmental decisions have had on those outside of our own city, state or country. Ask a person from a small European country like Greece, and they won’t hesitate to share this information with you.

The time has come. We can no longer ignore own responsibility, whether it’s our health, our spending habits, our lifestyle choices, our parenting skills, or our environmental practices, we all carry multiple responsibilities that affect our fellow inhabitants of this earth. Time to pay up, literally.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Is there any area of your life for which you have recently claimed responsibility? How have your actions affected our global companions?


  1. I had my own take on the Greek crisis, as you know. Bottom line, it affects the people who had nothing to do with it. Grrrr.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Patricia. Yes, I read your media release.
    When we don't take responsibility for our actions we are not the only ones affected. You and I both have said the same, countless times, about the effect of our own country's financial crisis and political decisions. I've always appreciated your efforts in raising awareness towards more social responsibility both in and out of our country.