Greece’s President Katerina Sakellaropoulou on Tuesday wrote an inspirational message on her personal facebook page calling on Greeks to embrace the spirit of volunteerism and solidarity with each other in these trying times.
The country and the world are experiencing a difficult and unprecedented ordeal, she added, but once this time is over “we will have rebuilt society on the basis of empathy, love of others and shared responsibility.”
The president’s message:
We are living at an unprecedented time. The coronavirus pandemic has gutted the public sphere and sucked public life dry. It has shut us away within the four walls of our home, far from our loved ones, friends, social interactions, and brought us face to face with loneliness, emotional tension, even violence. People without families, the elderly, the sick, the financially weak, mothers – or fathers – that raise their children alone, workers that suddenly lose their job, feel the rug pulled out from under them. At the same time, deliberate misinformation from fake news undermines our faith in scientific knowledge, making the anxiety we feel in the face of this difficult reality even greater.
Within this never-before-seen ordeal that all people are experiencing simultaneously, the humanity of solidarity and responsibility arises. Modern digital technology gives this a new aspect: linked as we are with all the world, we feel even more deeply that we participate in the destiny of all humanity. Another form of this we see in daily voluntary contributions: seamstresses making masks, teachers continuing to give lessons online, businesses providing financial and technical/material support. Such acts provide us with a unique opportunity to rethink human values and the way that we organise our personal, family and social relations. They remind us that, above all, we are bound by a common fate that is none other than the universal human obligation to the Other. Thinking of this, a phrase by Michel de Montaigne, one of the most important humanists of the 16th century, comes to mind: “In every man I see my compatriot.”
It is now absolutely essential, in the gloom of the pandemic, for the State and each one of us to surround those that are weakest with care, to heed those that call on us for help, to not be indifferent to their pain. In a little while, when we have left this difficult time behind us, we will have rebuilt society on the basis of empathy, love of others and shared responsibility.