In yesterday’s postscript I mentioned that the results of Metron Analysis’ latest poll revealed an overwhelming majority of the people who stated they had positive feelings about Greece (even though concepts such as “state”, “right wing”, “left wing” had lost all meaning).
It is very likely, that under these conditions of social unrest, struggle and despair that Greeks are finally led to search out something real to believe in and support them. Support for the traditional political parties of “right”, “center” and “left” has dwindled and those that still do identify with any particular party haven’t any conscious reason to or motivation to declare their support publically anymore.
In the same vein, the government is treated daily with open hostility, and blamed for being the source of all society’s ills and the demise of the economy. Truly the only thing left to turn to is Greece, the country, itself.
What Greece means for every Greek is obviously a very subjective issue. However, there is one common denominator in this shift towards Greece and Hellenism- and that is the search for dignity. The majority of Greeks feel they have lost their dignity.
As one man cannot pay his rent, another has a padlock in his shop, another who cannot financially support his children’s education, others in jail because they chose to not pay their taxes in order to feed their starving family, all the time watching the country used as a guinea pig for recipes to recover from this crisis – all of which have failed publically but continue to be applied to no avail- it is no wonder that Greece itself is all there is left to love.
The country found itself in the midst of the deepest crisis in the history of the country since the last war. The crisis deepened further because of the absence of a strong national leadership which could carry the burden of major challenges on its shoulders and give decisive battles to protect the Greek self-esteem.. This loss of national dignity inevitably has permeated the entire social structure and gradually eroded any sense of self-respect left in the populace.
Greeks woke up one morning and saw their allies and partners put a gun to their heads. These allies were suddenly “lenders” and treated Greece as the enemy. The country was reviled; lost one battle after another throughout the negotiations and finally are threatened with economic ruin and social collapse. This really hurt Greeks deeply.
Now, Greeks look back to their past, ancient and modern, in order to recover their lost dignity. The words of Dionysios Solomos, (author of the Hymn to Liberty, of which the first two stanzas, set to music by Nikolaos Mantzaros, became the Greek national anthem in 1865) come to mind: “One cries while telling the story of past achievements.”
But this is not enough. Crying is perhaps the first reaction to the shock of loss. But life must go on. Greece is at a turning point and to this day nothing has changed with regard to the ability of this country’s leaders to manage the least of this country’s critical issues.
If we consider the privatization of DEPA (Dimosia Epichirisi Paroxis Aeriou – the Greek natural gas company) – the Russians have the money – the Americans have objections. What does the Greek government do? It ruins its relationship with both countries, as usual. Why? Because there is no strategy.
One possibility would be to say: I will respect the objections of the U.S. but I would ask they back us up with the delimitation of the EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) in the Aegean, since I can’t do it myself being in such a bad state. If the Americans help me here, I have achieved a strategic victory. If they decline then I just turn around and legally go for the money with the Russians. All this has to be negotiated by people who have the ability and experience to collaborate on a deal.
What we can conclude from these statistics is that the less hopeful people are in the capabilities of the national leaders to negotiate the interest of the nation, the more the populace seeks their dignity in the “concept” of Greece.
P.S. #1: The political system continues to do what it only knows how to do. It creates tensions in order to separate the Greeks into ‘us and them’. However, more and more Greeks are realizing, as the poll reveals, that “we and they” is a game played by the political system and for the Greeks is the time has come for the “we.” In order for this to be accomplished a key platform of any national leader in Greece- must guarantee national unity.
P.S. #2: The platform can be a single line. “Love for Greece and common sense.” No need for manifestos or “sheets” to conceal hidden agendas.