Monday, April 22, 2013

Standing in for Mr. Gage today...


If you’re asking yourself what is a Greece-based writer doing in a Brazilian’s slot, let me assure you I’m only visiting, which seems appropriate considering how much Greeks and Brazilians enjoy each other’s country.  I guess that’s because they share the same sort of samba/bouzoukia mentality that keeps things going all night.  And if there’s a soccer game involved, fuggedaboutit.  Yes, Greeks and Brazilians do love their sports.  Greece hosted the Olympics in 2004 and Brazil will do the same in 2016 preceded by holding the FIFA World Cup in 2014.



Both countries employ a national language largely unique to its citizens and perhaps that accounts in part for why each country’s citizens are so easily stereotyped by much of the uninformed world as dancing Zorbas, if your flag is blue and white, or nearly-naked carnivalistas prancing under a deep green, yellow, and blue banner. 


By the way, both flags carry meaningful symbols of their respective country’s revolutionary struggles.  Brazil’s deep blue globe bears the precise arrangement of stars in the night sky over Rio de Janeiro at the moment the republic was proclaimed, Greece’s nine alternating blue and white stripes are said to represent the nine syllables of the country’s revolutionary battle cry, “freedom or death.”  [For those of you counting, it’s nine syllables in Greek.]

In an effort to get a better grip on why Greeks and Brazilians get along so well—20,000 Greeks live Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city—I looked up some basic statistics.

Brazil is the world’s 5th largest country geographically (replacing the US as #4 if you don’t count Alaska), 5th in population at just over 200 million, and 8th largest economy.  Greece is slightly smaller than the state of Alabama, ranks #78 in population at 10.8 million (one million less than the population of Brazil’s second largest city, Rio de Janeiro), and its economy ranks #46 (with caveats).


Not much help there in drawing any parallels. So, I delved deeper into the figures, searching among the most esoteric for any that would help me draw some meaningful explanation for the two countries’ obvious affinity for one another:  Brazil’s population is 75% Roman Catholic, Greece’s is 98% Greek Orthodox; ethnically, Brazil is 53% mulatto and 38.5% black, Greece is 93% Greeks; in overall global competiveness Brazil ranks #48 in the world, Greece #96; in tourist competitiveness Greece ranks #32, Brazil #51; in arable land Greece ranks #51, Brazil #138…I’ll stop now (unless you want their relative rankings on comparative elevation extremes and the like) for I think you get my point: I found nothing in those figures giving me any insight into why Greeks have such a natural attraction to Brazil and Brazilians to Greece.

Pause.

In the interest of furthering international relations in the finest tradition of my Brazilian colleague, Mr. Gage, and to do so in a manner intended to hasten his return to this slot, I am honored to exclaim, “Eureka!”  I found the figures explaining Greek-Brazilian camaraderie:


Greece

Brazil
Greece
Brazil
Greeece
Brazil
Greece
Brazil
Greece
Jeff—in for Leighton on Monday

7 comments:

  1. Interesting. The research for this must have been very difficult. It really was interesting.

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    1. I'm still perspiring, Lil, as I think of it.

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  2. Ah! I see. Your scholarship in these matters is quite impressive.

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    1. Yes, Annamaria, all those years of hard work definitely paid off in the...

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Be glad it wasn't hands on..if u were sweating before..who knows what could have happened! xox...always and a day.

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  5. I don't even want to think about it...

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