“The debate on whether or not to get vaccinated is deeply political, in the sense of the citizen. It is one of the most crucial political debates a society can have,” said Maria Efthimiou, Professor of Early Modern Greek History at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA), who participated in the 49th SNF Dialogues event on Wednesday, December 15. In thefinal webcast of 2021, a year that, for the majority of the world, was filled with anxiety and fear, polarization and doubt, Maria Efthimiou engaged in an open discussion with the audience about the “shelter” history can offer in such difficult global circumstances, as well as what we might prevent in the future by looking back at our past.
“We are a society that has had reasons to be polarized for the last 200 years. In a way, it is normal for us. If we are not polarized, we don’t feel OK,” said Maria Efthimiou referring to the polarization we have been experiencing in recent years, adding that “in human societies there are always groups who question. And it can be said that this thread of questioning has some inherently healthy characteristics, but it also contains a level of sickness and, to a great extent, this polarization we are experiencing now is negative. In Greece, we also have a tradition of polarization. In fact, we are better than most in this respect! So, this is no surprise.”
Regarding the current state of Greek society, she said that “Greek society is experiencing, in my opinion, a period of silent transformation for the better, if this situation continues and does not collapse from something else. We are all on a journey of self-reflection and some of us are already trying to be better citizens or, at least, to want to become better citizens.”
The Dialogues are curated and moderated by Anna-Kynthia Bousdoukou and are held through journalism nonprofit iMEdD (incubator for Media Education and Development).
*The opinions expressed by Dialogues participants, whether representing officially institutions and organizations or themselves, are solely their own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) or iMEdD. Speakers’ remarks are made freely, without prior guidance or intervention from the team.
WhenWednesday 15 December 2021