Noth­ing but a fig leaf

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY MARIA KATSOUNAKI

We are in­creas­ingly wit­ness­ing the re­al­iza­tion that Greece is not in cri­sis ex­actly, but in a state of con­stant de­cline. This opin­ion was also ex­pressed at a re­cent dis­cus­sion at the Athens Con­cert Hall with politi­cians and aca­demics on the theme “Seven Years of Cri­sis: Where are we? Where are we go­ing? What should we be do­ing?” Among the many dif­fer­ent pro­pos­als that have emerged in re­cent years in re­sponse to the last ques­tion, the pre­vail­ing view is that the coun­try needs an al­liance of po­lit­i­cal forces from the broad cen­ter of the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum. How­ever, there are cer­tain ques­tions we need to think about. Have the coun­try’s politi­cians ma­tured enough to put aside their egos and join forces in such a for­ma­tion? Will they be able to co­op­er­ate in prac­ti­cal terms, tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for re­build­ing the na­tion and putting the needs of the coun­try above their own in­ter­ests? There are al­ready quite a few ini­tia­tives in Greece and col­lec­tive ac­tions that have been prompted by the re­al­iza­tion that a sig­nif­i­cant per­cent­age of vot­ers re­mains on the fence. But if the peo­ple lead­ing th­ese move­ments do not work hard to re­draw solid po­lit­i­cal bound­aries, then mov­ing on from the ini­tial idea will be al­most im­pos­si­ble. Ba­si­cally, the prob­lem lies in the fact that po­lit­i­cal life in Greece is shat­tered and trapped in a state of in­tran­si­gence, led by politi­cians who have not found a way to deal with fail­ure or – even harder for them – with de­feat. They there­fore con­tinue to re­cy­cle the same lies and man­age ev­ery cri­sis with po­lit­i­cal shenani­gans that sim­ply ex­ac­er­bate the peo­ple’s in­se­cu­rity and desta­bi­liza­tion. Can new ini­tia­tives, col­lec­tive ac­tions, move­ments etc help the coun­try free it­self from the same old for­mula? Can they open a way to­ward re­ju­ve­nat­ing the po­lit­i­cal agenda by ad­dress­ing is­sues that don’t con­stantly cir­cle back to vested in­ter­ests, cor­rup­tion, the fi- nances of politi­cians – those rich foun­tains of real or made-up scan­dal? Can they stay away from is­sues that are merely fod­der for the scan­dal-vo­ra­cious me­dia and that only add to the peo­ple’s sense of anger and dis­gust? In a world that is chang­ing dra­mat­i­cally and where gen­er­a­tions face crip­pling un­cer­tainty over their jobs and fu­tures, bow­ing to forms of la­bor that are lit­tle more than a softer ver­sion of unem­ploy­ment, the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem re­mains stuck on the same old is­sues. Of course, this is the world our politi­cians know; it was this agenda that got them elected. But such fa­mil­iar and con­ve­nient is­sues are lit­tle more than a fig leaf any­more.

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