On 21 January 2019, FNF Greece presented its first project for 2019 with an alternative touch! A special event named “Freedom Talks” brought together liberals across the country not only to discuss about freedom but also to celebrate the New Year with the local custom of Vasilopita (“Kings’ Pie”).
At the epicenter of the talks was the concept of “change”. In liberalism, change is not a mere word but a state linked to progress and the shaping of the future. After all, liberals are at the forefront when it comes to new opportunities and challenges, so in a period with lots of turmoil we wanted to discuss the situation with creative professionals who fight for individual rights and have their own views for the future.
Financially, Greece is not in adjustment programs anymore. The economy seems to be stabilized and the country back on track; but there is a lot of work to do if one wants to talk about returning to normality. At the EU level, European citizens are calling for bold decisions and choices in the upcoming European elections. The same time, new social dynamics debate about rights connected to expression and identity politics. To address all these issues we invited Paschos Mandravelis, journalist for Kathimerini, Eirini Cheirdari, writer and anti-trafficking activist, and Lampros Fisfis, a well-known and outspoken comedian.
Mr Mandravelis argued that a lot of groundwork is still necessary in Greece, especially when it comes to civic education. He supported a political change with a liberal character and reforms at the European level. Ms Cheirdari discussed about human relationships and how they are connected to the expression of freedom at the grassroots or the political level. She said that people today tend to be more isolated and become reluctant in showing trust. This, she added, has negative effects on the sense of freedom and political participation. Last, Mr Fisfis praised the Greek public for being generally tolerant with comedy and satire. However, he pointed out that freedom of expression must be safeguarded by the citizens themselves because, just like in the ancient years, it is a form of pressure to the elites enriching democratic dialogue.
More than 120 participants joined the event hosted at “Six Dogs”, one of Athens’ most prominent youth hubs. After the discussions, our Director Thomas Ilka, cut the Kings’ Pie and wished a happy and liberal new year 2019. The gathering ended with a small music concert by the distinguished singer Costas Bigalis.
Markus Kaiser, Project Director Greece