I respect your past, but get to know my present

Sophia Trachioti 001

Almost 5 years have passed since that rainy Sunday.

During those 5 years, I’ve met my husband, I made close friends, I learned how to live in 30 square meters, I learned how to hit the bottom and stand up on my feet again, I loved the Germans for knowing how to evaluate, I met people (black, white, immigrants, refugees), I loved the saltiness of the emotions they carry with them, I loved the wrinkles underneath their eyes. I got disappointed, I saw exploitation, malice, I forgot my Greek with some people, I saw “black money”, I saw “lives” begging for a plate of food and others not giving it. “Antigone” worked for 7 days a week for 2 years, slept in 7 square meters and certainly had to thank them for it. I saw Greeks accusing other Greeks (the newcomers) because they write the truth and get threatened for it.

I saw Greeks speaking about Greece as if they know it, without having ever lived there. I saw Greeks filling their homes with songs on October 28th (Greek national holiday), dressing up their kids in blue uniforms, ordering books from homeland and reading ancient Greek mythology next to their child’s bed. I saw Greeks crying in Gasteig, listening to songs of “lost homelands”.

I also saw Greeks comparing Germany to paradise, buying expensive cars and eating the same food for an entire week.

And now, let’s start all over again… All those I mentioned above were not just the Greeks.

Whenever there is need, exploitation grows. Whenever there is fear, there is also subservience. Whenever there is lack of economic freedom, there is a dictatorship of the powerful. When there are white sheep for so many years, when the newcomer arrives (the black sheep), then s/he is the untamed one…

It’s not your fault, dear. What can you do? You were born in a small village and came to a big city. You made money, lived together with other 10 people, your hands got sore from work, and after many years you “made it”, and now the newbie comes to play smart. You have to think of your past only for those newcomers’ sake, where they were, how they lived; maybe they hadn’t toiled as much as you had, but belongs to a generation that got its eyes hurting from reading and its soul hurting from dead dreams. Yes, dear, the newcomer in front of you was born with dead dreams, swore and got a degree in a country that only offered clientelism instead of meritocracy. Maybe that’s why this newcomer is so much different from you…

You are also different. You faced other kind of difficulties… the train in Munich station has hosted many tears, and you are the one to talk about them, not me. It’s good to talk about what we know and not about what we imagine.

The solution? Patience and love. Don’t “shoot” at me, I’m talking about the two sheep. Once, an African girl who helped me told me “Sophia, I don’t want anything for helping you. Years ago, someone helped me too… time will come when you’ll do the same…”. These words are my aid. What’s important is that people sleep calm at nights, without guilt, without worries if they hurt, exploited or harmed anybody. Remember your past and know my present, only then there is going to be understanding among us. We don’t have anything to split. In a country that hosts us we will always be the immigrants, no matter how many citizenships we get or how many Mercedes cars we drive. The same “mother Greece” sent us here. The pie is small, share it. We weren’t taught to look at dollars; love and help each other without expecting rewards.

With love for reflection,

Sophia Trachioti, Munich


1 Comment

  1. mai says:

    Good writing.. so much talent here on this site, open-letter after letter…

    the love for life living and leaving and the bitter-sweet melancholy, the grit, is it only us expatriates or… is it in our roots? our culture, the songs, the movies, our readings, our school-ing, history, present time and too, the same old problems on an ever high wave, our land-size, our fate? our fate?
    Change is still afar, but why?

    Where vision meets approx. 1/2 a year, or 4-6 months of summer-like climate, or even appropriate weather-like.. apathy, to say it nice, or perhaps better put here, the known syndrome of’learned helplessness’ since children, things won’t change.
    It’s not our society. Society is people, us. People can learn to organize, contribute and influence, and be kind to one another.

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