Dear Greece – Why Do You Discourage Good Intentions and Attack Positive Initiatives?

Georgios George Stroumboulis

Georgios (George) Stroumboulis, the Greek-Canadian creator of the reality TV show Hellenic Home Hunting, responds to recent criticism he received by the Greek media and explains his intentions behind the show.

By Georgios Stroumboulis* – There is a saying in Greek that goes like this: kane to kalo, na vris to kako. This translates into something along the lines of this – do good, to find the bad. This pretty much sums up what I am experiencing right now.

With the recent launch of my international TV show, Hellenic Home Hunting, I received a very positive response from the international media community, including the world-renowned newspaper, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The television show was an idea for the last couple years after I launched my company GreekPropertyExchange.com. The intent of the show was to feature potential investors of Greek real estate from around the world looking to invest in second-home properties in the beautiful country of Greece, while educating the viewer about the buying process. In addition to this, it was my goal to create a tourism piece that would highlight all that is wonderful about Greece, its culture, its people, its regions and of course, to promote its real estate.

After investing my own money, finding six potential buyers with Greek roots willing to participate, filming six episodes throughout Greece, negotiating an international television deal with Greece’s leading network and successfully launching the show for the world to see on Antenna Satellite, we attracted the attention from the Wall Street Journal and ended up getting a once-in-a-lifetime feature on their front page on February 21, 2013. Yes, the front page (read the article here).

The feature in the WSJ was quite positive in my opinion – highlighting the current state of the economy, housing market trends, quotes from various people in the real estate industry and the goals of the innovative show, Hellenic Home Hunting.

With a positive feature on what we are doing to help attract and stimulate new investment into the economically-battered nation we all love, this is where the switch got flipped.

Enter Greek media.

In an effort to twist the story, put words in my mouth and spin this positive initiative into something negative to fill their newspapers and morning talk shows, a few journalists from reputable Greek newspapers and websites deliberately crossed the “lie” chasm.

Overnight, I became the evil Greek-Canadian looking to exploit Greece, its people and promote taking advantage of those Greeks looking to sell homes to foreigners. Not true at all.

I was referenced by more than a few dozen Greek media outlets as being the mastermind behind a new movement to exploit Greek people, take advantage of their personal economic situations and promote wealthy foreigners to come in and steal properties away from innocent Greeks for next to nothing. Not true at all.

In all this twisting and blatant efforts to fill their newspapers with negativity to cause a media frenzy, only one journalist, I repeat, one journalist showed the courtesy to contact me directly to ask me questions about this initiative and to get all the facts before publishing his story. Thank you!

Dear friends in Greece – when I said that this show is not targeted to the Greeks within Greece – I was stating that Greeks in Greece would generally not be interested in my program at this time because the housing market as it currently stands needs foreign investment to be effectively stimulated. What some journalists spinned this into was me saying that Greeks in Greece are pathetic and can’t afford property and are desperate to find foreigners to come in and save them. WOW! The Greek diaspora, including me, does everything in our power to promote our motherland and where we come from. Why must you paint a negative picture of me, my efforts and my company?

To see viscous comments from their readers posted on the biased articles is very discouraging and cowardly. I have been called a traitor, karagiozi, villain and many other words that can be left off this post for now. I even had “keyboard heroes” telling me to back off and let them fix their own problems in “their” country. Seriously? I didn’t know that Greece is no longer my country.

I have thick skin. I respect opinions. I encourage debate. When I am thrown into a Greek-media frenzy and not given the opportunity to provide the truth or to defend myself, that is where I draw the line.

To all the Greek journalists that published those negative articles and to those who posted negative comments without knowing me or the facts, bravo. Bravo for staying in line with the Greek stereotypes. Bravo for discouraging your fellow Greeks living outside of Greece. Bravo for not appreciating the efforts we are doing to help strengthen the image and brand of Greece abroad. And finally, bravo for not giving me the opportunity to defend myself and my efforts. Bravo!

Discouraged, annoyed… but not defeated,

*Georgios Stroumboulis is the creator of Hellenic home hunting and the founder and president of BouliBrand Media


  • Anna

    I think it’s a great idea – truly! Well done. But I can understand how they’d be put out. The Greek people are proud. Maybe somewhere their sensitive sensibilities were insulted. The key is calm communication. They’ll come around. Don’t take it so personally! Leave the Bravo’s for later.

  • Melia

    greece is in a fragile state. perhaps the time is just too soon and maybe more time should have been spent preparing and building good will and developing some trust. of course a foreigner moving in abruptly and yes, profiting at their poor economic state, (as THEY see it) would be accepted poorly. 

  • Smile

    para poli malakes stin elada. 

  • Lorraine Eyre

    People with any intelligence at all will say ‘Bravo George’ for keeping Greece in the headlines and presenting its positive aspects. I am sad to say that after living in Greece for many years, it seems to be a Greek trait to knock anyone who tries to do some good, people seem to relish in it. As hard as I try to understand this mentality……. I cannot fathem it out.
    Go on and continue to be the proud Greek you are…… those of us in the business, appreciate what you are doing and know for sure that there will be excellent results and that GREECE will reap the awards from your efforts!
    BRAVO!!!!

  • Ari Perry

    “The Housing market needs foreign investment”, could you explain that in plain language? And not in the disguised and combed form you communication advisor tailored for you.

    Because, as a Greek, I interpret this in a plain and direct language to mean the following: ( yes, I am a mind reader) “Hey foreign investors, now is the time to buy the land and houses (that people spilled their blood for) at very affordable prices. They need the money man, they will sell. Here is my grandfather’s house and farm, he can’t afford to keep it, his pension is cut down and he cannot survive… What’s he gonna do man? I tell you over 4000 people have committed suicide, because they couldn’t support their families any more, or because they didn’t want to be a burden to anybody… Yeah yeah, there are some vacancies there as well. Like, my great grandfather, left Greece penniless and went abroad and worked the factories and the restaurants so we, now, can facilitate selling their properties to foreign investors. To serious people with money , like you. What’s he gonna do, he is going to kick the bucket soon like the others. That’s growth man. What do those Greeks in Greece know?  Like that great investment of Eldorado Gold. They offer them help and they fight against it. Like what, Edorado will get a 40billion dollar gold mine and they paid peanuts for it. Plus they got the whole forest around it. Now that’s what I call a smart investment for them. Yeah, they will offer those Greeks jobs. What? jobs to work in the mines that belonged to them in the first place? What do they know about growth and investment. Nothing… By the way, let me check those goat herders in the villages where my family comes from. Maybe they got something for you. You will make a killing. Yeah, I want to help my motherland man. I am going to be rich and famous too! Because I am smart.. Ma! where is my breakfast?”

    Now, please define the meaning of investment and who benefits from that investment, if you do not mind. You may also contemplate about that: the fact that something may seem to be a smart business idea, it does not necessarily make it an ethical one. But you have made your choice, haven’t you. And seriously, how do you define Greece your country too? By what standard?

  • Georgios

    And here comes the neagtive comments again. Mr. Perry – first off, why the hostility? Secondly, I am quite flattered that you think I am using a “communication advisor”. Thank you for that indirect compliment.

    If my parents were born in Greece and I want to buy an apartment in Greece to vacation in the summers, is that a crime? Every single potential buyer featured on the show has Greek roots and wants to invest in their motherland to be able to return to and keep their culture alive. I never viewed it as a negative to to be a part of the diaspora and wanting to stay connected to OUR culture in Greece – while stimulating the economy along the way. 

    As for you implying that Greece is not my country, I am not even going to give a forum to that ignorant comment.

  • Savas

    Envy, surrounds itself by political wrangling when it comes economic issues. All these journalists are linked to media outlets that are facades to one party or the other!
     

    Greek people will, at this stage of collective misery and suffering, be manipulated by any media rants that invades their socio-economic dilemma. One can be assured here in Greece, that if you look at the media outlet behind the journalist you will know which party representative is pulling the strings.
     

    We have Golden Dawn fascists, Aggresive Communists, and every incompetent mix inbetween that have their haunches on media outlets, so take your pick!

    The Greek political pendulum continues to persevere on swinging on its incompetent path. It has not the backbone to restructure the Greek socio-economic system, for fear of losing piece-meal votes.    

  • km

    Ari Perry, gia traba gia ypno kai kane mas th xarh me tis mpourdes sou.

  • Irene Staknys

    As per Ari’s post I see from Facebook that he is “dimosio ippalilo” in Greece so Giorgos being a Greek you should know that that explains his whole mind set…..don’t fix anything, leave us alone and let us retire at 45 and collect 3000 a month in “syntaksi”….and the rest of Greece can starve! NTROPI TOUS OLLA TO DIMOSIO!!!!!!!!

  • Manolis

    As a Greek living in Greece, I am very surprised that even took notice of what you are describing. You should know better! You shouldn’t give a rats … about what some journalists here are saying. An old Greek politician when once was attacked unfairly, replied “who said that? Oh him, so it’s nothing important”. 

  • Ari Perry

    I am sure “Irini” you have a list of all the people that retire at 45 in Greece? I forget, you read the Gazette, the national Post and watch CTV? Facebook and Wikipedia for sure.
    With “ippalilo” I understood something like ‘ippos” and “alilo”, but it is the “alilo” that gives me trouble.
     

  • Greek-American1212

    In the US, we say “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”, and I suppose that comes from the awkward greek version mentioned in the story.

  • Irene Staknys

    Ari magka mou meno stin Ellada kai sorry pou egrapse ipallio lathos, ekei den einai to thema.Ean thelis tha sas steili lista apo anthropi pou pernoune syntaksi apo 45….diavaso Kathimerini, Ethnos, vlepo Skai klp tote kopsete tis ironies sas….to dimosio einai to provlima pou pnigete Ellada…yia peite mou, pou allou tou kosmo dinoun tetia EPAFAKS oso pou tha parete eseis????????

  • Ari Perry

    The criticism, as you called it, is not directed towards your business and technology talents, nor against your communications skills. The criticism is against the opportunism and the ethos of such an endeavour. As Baron Rothschild said once: “when you see blood on the street, it is time to buy property.” I guess the message, your initiative, is just that, it is the same.  And never mind the “doing a favour to your country,”.

    If you are as smart as you and your work claim to be, go to Greece and set an example for all young entrepreneurs abroad, like you, to start something there, regardless of the challenges. I am sure with your smarts you will find a way.
    And all the criticism would turn into admiration for you, someone that practices what he preaches helps his fellow Greeks get out of the slump that they are not responsible for, (never mind what you hear other people say about them).
    As they say, along with “kane to kalo kai richto sto yialo” Idou i Rodos, idou kai to pidima (in greeklisti)
     

  • Kiki

    George, I read this article yesterday and just had time to
    comment and say, I support you!

    I think Ari and other like minded Greeks need to broaden
    their horizons a little bit if they want to start solving problems. The “Ari
    Greeks” have been brain washed by a political system that has immobilized them
    and I am continuously perplexed how Greeks cannot see past their nose.
    Everything is for the short term, with no scalable plan for future generations.
      

    Greeks of Greece need to STOP playing the victim because it’s
    old and non-productive.  Yes, I validate
    them that the government screwed them over (mutually beneficial), yes, I
    validate them that there are no jobs, Yes, Yes, Yes … I hear all that BUT now
    what?…now what?! This is the question Ari…

    George is doing what all the other Greeks need to do which
    is create and implement a business plan to move the economy and yes make money…let
    me remind you the government does not cut him a check. He is (1) creating
    interest in Greece, (2) selling a home for a family that otherwise would have sat
    on it for another 10 years, (3) creating cash for the Greek seller to spend within
    the market place or on other investments, (4) created income for the realtor, (5)
    created revenue for the government via taxable income, transfer tax, property
    tax, (6) brought in a new family with disposable income who will spend money at
    your grocery stores, gas stations, clothing stores, restaurants, beach
    bars,  taxis, ferries, cars, property
    tax, energy bills, hire contractors, buy furniture, etc … I MEAN HELLO GREEKS!!!!!!!
    Wake up and smell the coffee!  Please think
    things all the way through … don’t just fart out your mouth. Sorry but
    sometimes you have to give a visual.

    Is the media commotions that they feel Greeks are selling to
    low? If so, that is not dictated by anyone other than the seller and the competitor
    properties. George and/or his TV show have nothing to do with the fact that
    Greece is a great place to invest right now (for some people) and that some Greek
    people want to sell their properties…this happens every day all over the world.

    Has Ari and the media thought of things from a perspective
    other than some “xeno” is coming to steal something? Is it stealing or is it
    offering greater opportunity? Dealing and stealing are two different things.
    Getting a deal is a business transaction, stealing is when you take something
    from another person without their knowledge and approval. Example of stealing
    is the former mayor of Thessaloniki who embezzled millions … that’s stealing.

    Greeks always see things from the “poniro” because that is
    how they have seen business conducted all their life. Most every business transaction
    in Greece has been “poniro” to maximize profits by avoiding taxes. This is the
    brainwashed mentality that needs to change in order for Greece to progress and this
    is the mentality that is being projected towards you George. They don’t get
    that you are not being poniros and that you are conducting a legitimate business.
    How can they possible get this through their head … someone actually doing
    something legitimately to earn a living…it’s like Chinese to them? (Oh yeah,
    the Chinese came in with affordable products and the media trashed them that
    the cloths caused cancer – who is being poniros)  

    REALITY CHECK (AGAIN) THE GREEK MARKET PLACE NEEDS TO START
    MOVING — Today, a major fund manager reclassified Greece from developed
    country to emerging markets. You can look at this as something bad or you can
    wake the f**k up and make an opportunity out of it for your country.  

    The one thing I have not heard much about in Greek media
    outlets within the last years is something called JOB CREATION. What a
    concept?! Instead of bitching at George about Hellenic house hunters go bitch
    to your government officials on what they are doing to CREATE PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS
    (key word = private). It’s time Greeks dust off their countless educational degrees
    and get busy thinking outside the box.

    I am an American born Greek who is a real estate financier
    and investor and also a Greek citizen who one day hopes to invest and become an
    entrepreneur for Greece. I have tried countless times but have sadly back out
    of many deals because of corruption and the desire of Greeks who prefer to do
    sideways deals and take advantage of people…I don’t play that way.

    I passionately care about Greece and the Greek people. It’s
    time to create solutions and stop playing victim.  There is no greater compliment than an
    individual, who makes a choice to love your country, enjoy your way of living, and
    invest their hard earned money into your country. Think about it, would you
    invest in a place you did not love, like, or believe in?

    George, I have your back on any interview with any Greek
    media outlet, any time, any place…100% with you.

  • Ari Perry

    Whenever there is a clash between “Design” and “Culture”, design always looses.

    A good design is the intersection of viability, feasibility and
    desirability, and a a fine balance needs to be maintained between those
    three so that an idea is indeed qualified as a great idea that makes a difference in
    people’s lives.

    Here then:

    1. The idea is viable, I am sure as a business the numbers add up and peak positively.

    2. The idea is feasible, technically speaking it is indeed very simple to implement.

    3. Now when it comes to desirability, it completely misses the point being one-sided only.
     
    In fact nobody has commented on my raw description about the 4000 people
    that committed suicide, or on any other vivid pictures I described in a
    raw fashion, but instead some looked to see if I am a public servant.
    (btw check proportion of public servants to population in other
    countries, you will be surprised).
    Nobody has commented on the fact that people from one day to the next cannot put food on the table, and cannot face their children and their friends, and that their pride and ethos makes the whole situation unbearable. (You cannot judge a whole people based on a few self-serving Ephialtes crooks, that you can find anywhere anyway).
    Nobody has commented on the historical legacy weighing heavily, on the shoulders of the Greek people.
    Nobody has commented on the fact that there is a sacred relationship between Greeks and property, since the beginning of time. People fought and spilled their blood for it.

    My suspicion is that nobody has commented on those because their understanding of Greek culture differs from the culture they are immersed in every day. Culture is indeed in a fluid and dynamic state all the time, but when
    one is completely cut-off from the real people with the real problem, it
    is just a well preserved picturesque, but dead skin worn by smart, geeky eyed individuals sitting in front of a
    laptop and reading on-line propaganda, visiting the islands in the summer, and thinking that anything goes.

    And that’s what I call the new GMO culture, a culture eroded by the
    ideas of “profit and fun for me at any cost” that poses absolutely no resistance, puts up no fight for anything, and in
    fact it facilitates any design as long as there is profit to be made.

    So yes, it is a design, but believe you me, it is an infuriating one. Like I wrote earlier, Baron Rothschild said “when there is blood on the street, buy property”. This particular design says “there is blood on the street, I can help you find property, I can help you buy it”. In my view, it is unethical.
    .
    No one is playing the role of the victim here, but the world will not let Greece alone. Now either leave it alone, or go there and make the changes you need to see. Do not expect them to happen for your sake and from the luxury of your laptop. Because then, that makes everybody not just a “bad public servant” but an opportunistic one, crying foul when criticism shows its teeth.

    Enough, right? Enough.

  • Peseevengi

    Ari skada fade me salada you pushti

  • MushangaBoy

    bravo Giorgo. keep striving, dont mind the idiots. love the website btw, very eager to watch the show. more youtube clips, perhaps even the pilot episode would be good for non-Greek WSJ readers that dont have antenna satelite  

  • George

     

    Good for you George for your initiative to put on this
    production. I am also a Greek Canadian Entrepreneur living in Toronto and wish
    i had the dedication you have to help out Greece and the Greek People.
    Unfortunately there are people in this world who will always look at a great
    opportunity to help one’s mother country with suspicion. I’m glad to hear you
    are marching on; i love your site and plan on using it when i plan to buy my
    summer home in Greece in the next couple of years. Greece is one of the most
    beautiful countries in the world and i want to retire there one day. You’re
    always welcome to contact me if you require help from  fellow Greek Canadians at
    [email protected]

  • Jimman272002

     XAXAXAXA oraio ayto! Xoris plaka, prospathousa na katalavo poio to noHma olon auton ton protaseon pou kathotan kai egrafe… Kai den ksero an zei kan stHn Ellada ayto to Ari Perry!Plaka exei pou paromoiazei ton george me ton Rothchild.Les kai opoiosdHpote exei lefta kai paei na agorasei sHmera, einai Rothchild!Edo kra kanoune re oi idioktHtes kai oi ergolavoi-kataskeyastes na poulHsoune kana spiti mpas kai glytosoune tHn aftoktonia(entaksei yparxoun kai eksereseis:oi pio plousioi), kai vgainei enas HthikolatrHs na pei ti? oti einai kako na prospathisei kapoios na poulHsei ta spitia pou einai apoulHta?Alla ksero ego ti pezei…. ta kanalia pernoune katefthintHries grammes apo kapoious… pou den theloun na kanei to Kanadopoulo xrHmata stHn Ellada…Sou leei o paliouras o mesHtHs: giati na mH vgalo ego xrHmata kai na vgalei  o ksenos pou leei oti einai EllHnas?Tetoia nootropia exoune.

  • Jimman272002

    Telika ayto to ari Perry zei stHn Ellada?Nomiza oti zouse se kapoion allo planHtH! apo aytes tis treloHthikoplastikes straves idees pou eixe, mono etsi eksygeitai… Zei ston planHtH tou DHMOSIOY!

  • Jimman272002

     Edo re ΩΩΩ tetraperate anthrope oloi oi  ergolavoi H idioktHtes pou exoune kapoio akinHto gia poulHma vazoune angelies kai sto eksoteriko giati GNORIZOUNE oti edo kai xronia den paizei xrHma entopio (DHL apo allous EllHnes) kai tha EnoxlHthoume an arxisei kapoios na fernei pelates apo ekso?
    Se poio sxoleio pHges kai ta emathes ayta? O tropos pou douleyei to myalo sou einai provlHmatikos.Ante, gia sena einai dikaioma sou.Alla epeidH me tis M…#$% soy apasxoleis kai allous, tous prokseneis provlHmata.Kai ayto giati 1)spatalas to xrono ton ypoloipon pou diavazoun to sxolio sou
    2)dHmiourgeis lathos entyposeis se atoma pou den gnorizoun kala to thema,
    3)spatalas to xrono mou -kai ton allon, kai tou George- sto na apantHthoune oi vlakeies pou grafeis gia na mpeis stH thesH sou

  • Jimman272002

     Ναι! αρχίσαμε τωρα τις αποπροσανατολιστικές εξυπνάδες του στύλ:  το “υπάλληλο” δεν μεταφερεται σωστα “ippalilo” γιατί είναι ανορθόγραφο έτσι.Πιό καλά είναι να το γράφεις “YpallHlo” Irini έτσι? Ε βεβαια! δεν εχουμε τι αλλο να πουμε, για να υποτιμήσουμε τον διαφονούντα, ας κάνουμε το πιό εύκολο πράγμα που μας έρχεται στο τετραπέρατο μυαλό μας:Ας βγάλουμε τον άλλον ….Μ@#$%^ με τις ανορθόγραφες κουβέντες που γράφει! Ετσι είναι ! ετσι θα βγούμε εμείς οι σωστοί, και ας πήξαμε τον κόσμο στη Μ@#$%^& με αυτά που γράφουμε! Οτι πιό σωστή κίνηση θα μπορούσε να κάνει κανεις με επίπεδο…. ηθικοπλαστολάτρη (η δε ξερω’γω τι).Ενώ πρίν ήμασταν πρώτοι στα φρου-φρου-κι-αρωματοκουβεντολόγια, αφού γιναμε γνωστοί ως δημόσιοι υπάλληλο μετά το πλούσιο λεκτικό ρεπερτόριό μας περιορίστηκε σε …αζήτητα μαθήματα ορθογραφίας!!!!Αυτα ειναι τα επιχειρηματα μας εδω στην Ελλαδα των δημοσίων υπαλλήλων! Η ορθογραφία! δεν ξερεις καλή ορθογραφία κυρα-ειρήνη; Εισαι χαζή και ανάξια να μου μιλήσεις εμένα το μορφωμένο δημόσιο υπάλληλο, και τουμπεκιάσου! Μπράβο το pallikari to Ari to Perry!
    Τελειώνοντας θα σου πώ ρε τετραπέρατε και ενα αστείο εφάμμυλο της εξυπνάδας σου: αν εσύ ρε Αρη γινόσουνα παπάς!
    πώς θα σε λέγανε;
    ……………………………………….χΑΧΑΧΧΑΧΑΧΑΧΑΧΑ
    Παπαριστείδη;         ΧΑΧΑΧΑΧΑΧΑΧΑΧΑΧ
    ξερω οτι οι υπόλοιποι που θα το διαβάσουνε θα το βρουνε κρύο αστείο, αλλα σε εσένα Ari έχω εμπιστοσύνη:Θα σκάσεις στα γέλια!