It was after the shipwreck of the Express Samina in which 81 passengers lost their lives on 26 September, 2000, that then PM Costas Simitis declared, “This is Greece.”

It was the Greece of imbecility, incompetence, and inertia which unfortunately is still with us as was evidenced in the deadly Mati wildfire.

It was also apparent with the botched handling of the construction of a Greek school in Munich. Because the Greek state did not keep its part of the bargain, the building shell of the school will be demolished and title to the land will revert to the municipality of Munich which had ceded it.

The school will not be built.

Fortunately, that is not the only face of Greece.

Greece is also a country of creativity, innovation, and productivity, of a younger generation that is champing at the bit and which can spread its wings and fly if only it is given the right opportunities and tools, if only someone from the state or the business class were to take an interest in them.

That part of Greece must not be left to its own devices. Only if it is supported and bolstered can we defeat the other Greece which does not instill pride in citizens but instead hurts and injures them and should be abandoned for the sake of both the older and younger generations.

Progress was always a collective affair, and one must not forget this as our country strives to meet the challenges of the 21st century.