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