Ex­trem­ism from a by­gone era

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY ALEXIS PAPACHELAS

mat­ter how much you may dis­agree with the tac­tics oc­cas­sion­ally em­ployed by the riot po­lice. Even­tu­ally we be­come in­ured to the ex­ag­ger­a­tion, to the hys­te­ria that causes such po­lar­iza­tion and de­stroys any bridge of un­der­stand­ing. We should know by now that the pop­ulist beast will bite any­one, even those who nur­tured it to be­gin with. Those who once re­ferred to their po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents as traitors are get­ting the same treat­ment to­day. It’s a vi­cious cy­cle of mad­ness. Some cyn­ics can’t wait to see SYRIZA taste the sour fruit of its own ster­ile, ex­trem­ist protes­ta­tions. But a vic­tory is not what’s at is­sue here; it’s the coun­try’s fu­ture. Ev­ery­one in­volved in games of ex­treme po­lar­iza- tion is caus­ing harm. SYRIZA’s rhetoric may be ir­re­spon­si­ble but it can­not be seen as Round Three for those wish­ing to take their re­venge for the Vark­iza Treaty of 1945, which dis­armed the coun­try’s com­mu­nists. Per­haps there’s a group of 20 or 30 peo­ple who would like to go back to that time. Greek so­ci­ety will not al­low it, how­ever, as there are still enough peo­ple who are fully aware of what’s been lost but are un­will­ing to al­low the coun­try to be­come like Egypt. Can we put an end to hy­per­bole, vit­riol and fa­nati­cism? Surely we don’t wish to re­live another pe­riod of di­vi­sion, civil war and un­rest? But as long as we em­ploy by­gone terms in our daily speech we are in­creas­ing the dan­ger of re­liv­ing the night­mare. We must iso­late the ex­trem­ist voices, no mat­ter where they’re com­ing from. We may not be con­scious of it but it is this kind of bar­bar­ity that makes us stand apart from the rest of Euro­pean na­tions. Of course it is deeply rooted in our DNA. Nev­er­the­less, we have gone through 40 years of in­sti­tu­tional sta­bil­ity and have reached a level of pros­per­ity, which even to­day, places the coun­try among the world’s 40 rich­est na­tions. We are go­ing through a tough pe­riod, with grave dan­gers loom­ing both inside the coun­try and out. Let’s turn our backs to the fa­nat­ics and lay the foun­da­tions for a new chap­ter based on mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and self-re­straint. We will need both qual­i­ties in the tough days ahead.

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