The Romans used to say that Greek texts, written in a very difficult language, could not be read. However, it were the Greeks whose political thought became the foundation of what we call today “Western Civilization”. Great Greek philosophers invented the notion of citizenship, the democratic system and justice according to the rule of law. The essence of Greek liberal thought was very recently incorporated in the “Little Storybook of Greek Liberalism”, and published – in Greek – by KEFIM-Markos Dragoumis and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. The book includes 15 texts from the notorious works of ancient, Byzantine and Modern Greek thinkers.
To raise awareness about the long history of liberal thoguht in Greece, the book was presented at Vretania Theater in Athens. More than 250 people joined the presentation and the panel discussion about “Truths and lies about liberalism in Greece”. Nicos Rompapas, Executive Director of KEFIM, delivered the welcome remarks explaining the progress of his think-tank the last year. He also thanked the editors of the book and promised that there is more to come for the next years.
An introduction to the topic was given by Thanos Veremis, Professor Emeritus at the University of Athens, who spoke about the evolution of the liberal ideas in Greece. The subsequent panel discussion was moderated by Nikos Vatopoulos, journalist for Greek newspaper “Kathimerini”. The panel consisted of Dimitrios Katsoudas, Executive Vice President of KEFIM, Aristides Hatzis, Associate Professor at the University of Athens, and Haris Peitsinis, KEFIM’s advisor on historical topics.
Peitsinis, who served as one of the book’s editors, referred to the process of the compilation of texts, but also expressed the view that the liberal values have always been deeply rooted in Greek history. “The contemporary Greek society should not considered liberal ideas a foreign body”, he argued. Professor Hatzis stated that although many Greeks embrace liberalism there are still serious obstacles which hinders liberalism from becoming more prominent. Dimitrios Katsoudas supported the view that the recent Greek crisis is – at least partially – the result of the false installation of European values in Greece since the establishment of the Greek state. They all agreed that a reform plan is needed as well as further westernization of Greece.
The “Little Storybook on Greek Liberalism” can be bought in selected bookshops in Athens or via mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictures: FNF Greece