On March 28th, under the bright and shining sun over the blue skies of Dubai, a large group of Greek Nationals came together to attend the 1st ever mini Greek Football Tournament in the UAE, sending their thoughts and solidarity to their co-patriots back home, who are still amidst one of the deepest socio-economic crisis in their country’s history.
They decided to gather with their family and friends and play football, sending a message of hope and resilience to those left behind and reminding them that they still care deeply about their country and its fate. The ever-growing Greek community in the UAE and the greater Middle Eastern region has increased dramatically in the last 12 months.
The country’s economic recession combined with a gloomy outlook for the future, is forcing thousands of Greek professionals to resort to migration all over the world, from Australia to the U.S. in search of a better job opportunity and a brighter future.
An array of qualified professionals in banking and finance, engineers, doctors, hospitality experts, are left with no choice but to pursue a career away from Greece.
Emfasis Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by Greeks living overseas, providing their own response to Greece’s crucial issues, such as homelessness, unemployment, lack of medical care, leading to depression and social malfunction, was the organizer of this effort.
Maria Karra, the Founder, who lives and works in Dubai for many years, explained: “We have a moral obligation to stay next to all Greek citizens who have been affected tremendously in the last 3 years. Just because we don’t live in Greece, it doesn’t exonerate us from our duty to contribute in any way we can. It’s not always about money. Every small act of thoughtfulness, every gesture is enough to lift the spirit of those who have ended up socially marginalized because they have lost everything. They say there is one more Greece outside of Greece. Each one of us can help someone in need, make them feel important and not forgotten.”
The 8 teams (ADAM SHIPPING, ALUMIL M.E., ELLHNARES, IMI GROUP M.E., KAFENEIO, KSEBARKOI, MARK&GEORGE, PUBLIC CAFÉ) consisting mainly of Greek players, played intense football for almost 4 hours culminating to an extraordinary final including penalty shoot-out. Friends, families and lots of young children, created a warm atmosphere showcasing famous home -made cooked delicacies, and watched fixated the passionate teams.
The Champions, Public Café, danced a zeibekiko, one traditionally brave man’s dance, to the cheering of those in attendance, followed by the vow of having many more community events in the months to follow, strengthening their unity and displaying generosity of heart and Greek defiance towards all those who believe that their country is fatally wounded.
“I felt very proud to have witnessed how everyone came together today to commemorate their country. There was an overwhelming consensus by all present to take an active part in supporting the country until it can stand on its own feet. This is a testament to the true Greek spirit”, said Karra.