In a country struggling to wake up from its socioeconomic nightmare, the people are tossing and turning not knowing where to put the blame.
Immigrants often become the perfect scapegoat, while Greece keeps sinking in the harrowing detriments of the financial crisis.
A single act of bravery however, is enough to help us keep our head above the surface of the waves.
An ordinary man, a father, a husband, a son -army sergeant Antonis Deligiorgis- jumped off the sharp cliffs and into the relentless sea that was devouring 93 migrants.
The wooden sailboat that was carrying the tormented souls from Syria and Eritrea had capsized off the coast of the Greek island of Rhodes, following the drowning of 900 hundred migrants outside Libya a few days ago.
At the time, Antonis Deligiorgis accompanied his wife, Theodora- and two kids, on the school run. It was 8.00 am when they stopped at a café on the seafront.
“We thought we’d grab a coffee,” Antonis Deligiorgis told.
Six hours after the boat had left the Turkish port of Marmaris it was hitting the rocks off Zefyros Beach, its parts were floating in the troubled waters and its exhausted and famished passengers were struggling to stay alive.
“The boat disintegrated in a matter of minutes,” the sergeant recalled.
“It was as if it was made of paper. By the time I left the café at 10.10, a lot of people had rushed to the scene.”
“The coastguard was there, a Super Puma [helicopter] was in the air, the ambulance brigade had come, fishermen had gathered in their caiques.”
“Without really giving it a second’s thought, I did what I had to do. By 10.15 I had taken off my shirt and was in the water,” Deligiorgis said- restoring our faith in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.
“At first I wore my shoes but soon had to take them off,” he said.
“The water was full of oil from the boat and was very bitter and the rocks were slippery and very sharp. I cut myself quite badly on my hands and feet, but all I could think of was saving those poor people.”
“What I do remember was seeing a man who was around 40 die. He was flailing about, he couldn’t breathe, he was choking, and though I tried he was impossible to reach. Anyone who could was hanging on to the wreckage,” Deligiorgis remembered.
How many men, women, and children he carried out of the water can’t recall. All he remembers is trying to fight the waves and save as more souls as he could, staying alive himself.
At some point he saw Wegasi Nebiat, a 24-year-old Eritrean woman gripping the buoy.
“She was having great problems breathing,” he said.
“There were some guys from the coastguard around me who had jumped in with all their clothes on. I was having trouble lifting her out of the sea.”
“They helped and then, instinctively, I put her over my shoulder.”
“I will never forget her face,” he says. “Ever.”
Hopefully, we won’t either.
Deligiorgis’ photo and video footage plucking Nebiat out of the sea against the strong currents, has gone viral making front pages in newspapers not only in Greece, but around the world.
The Guardian and New York Times have extensively honoured the Greek hero who risked his own life to bring ashore as many migrants trying to enter Greece illegally, as he could.
This compelling image portraying one man’s devotion to human life- regardless of its place of origin on the map has turned Antonis Deligiorgis into a role-model, making Greeks proud.
One of the women Deligiorgis rescued, 26-year-old Eritrean Elizabeth Abraha, was heavily pregnant, and gave birth to a baby boy at a hospital on Rhodes this week.
She chose to name her little boy after the man who saved her life. “Her hero.”
Deligiorgis sighs at this mention as he doesn’t consider himself as one.
“There was nothing brave, I did my duty as a human, as a man”.
Greece’s Defense Ministry awarded the Cross of Excellency to the army sergeant on Monday for his heroic act.
The heroism of valuing all human life as equal, the heroism of doing his duty as a human being.
“They are souls, like us,” said fisherman Babis Manias, after saving a child from drowning.
Deligiorgis, who we praise for placing the lives of others before his own is a man able to see beyond borers and colour.
A man able to see beyond the terrorised unknown faces of the survivors and decipher their stories.
Stories of once proud individuals, now deprived of their homes, their country, fleeing persecution for belonging to a certain race; people who want to give their family a chance to live free, with dignity.
Greek bravery and humanitarian spirit is being praised because of this man.
Greeks across the globe are taking pride, identifying with this everyday hero.
Deligiorgis, with his act, has led the way, taking not only the weight of twenty immigrants, but the weight of Greece on his shoulders.
Should we let him carry it alone?