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Amalia Negreponti

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Explosively 'Interesting Times' in Greece

Posted: 05/09/2012 2:07 pm

"May you live in interesting times" says an ancient Chinese proverb -- a curse. In Greece, for the past three years since our existential financial crisis erupted, we have been bearing the full brunt of the proverb's curse-value. The shockingly unpredictable, life-threatening twists of our still ongoing Greek tragedy have also affected European markets (and governments), as well as the U.S.

Yet, the more time passes and the more EU banks dump more and more of Greek bonds back on to Greece or the European Central Bank, the general feeling in Europe becomes less panicked and more stoically accepting of the prospect of an all-out Greek default. This became especially evident after the recent -- in mid February -- endorsement of the bondswap and the second aid deal. For those who claim it would be in Greece's interest to declare bankruptcy even now, and return to the drachma, a reminder: the second aid deal we signed with the EU mortgaged the entire country (under British tort law) and its sovereign rights and resources, and will have to be paid back at an alarming interest rate by the Greeks, whether or not the country remains in the Eurozone or declares bankruptcy.

Greece's current ungoverned state that began three nights ago when the electoral result plunged the country into uncertainty and political discord is bringing the bankruptcy scenario even closer to us.

At the moment this is being written (Tuesday night), every possibility is still, theoretically at least, open: from new elections, to the creation of an extreme left (Syriza) government that will be supported by another left-wing party, and 'tolerated' by the socialist party that had been in power until now (Pasok).

The first scenario is the most probable one. This is because Syriza does not seem to wish to form a government of its own, faced with the, obviously horrifying, implications of actually having to take upon them the responsibility of Greece at this crucial time, and therefore be forced to bear the consequences of possibly bankrupting the country if their new "radical" policies fail. Yet Syriza does not want to own up to its terror of having to implement its nebulous in substance, strong on rhetoric, agenda "for a peaceful revolution," so for now we are still playing charades.

The outcome will probably be a new round of elections with the 17th of June as the most possible date. These elections will determine two things: whether we want to remain within the EU, and whether we really want a fascist party to enter our parliament for the first time in Greek history. I am referring to Golden Dawn, the party that gathered a horrifying 6.9% of the vote on Sunday.

Most of their voters have turned out to be old people struggling to survive against all odds -- their severely reduced pensions, the unavailability of health care resources, and the fact that they are the easiest target of the gangs of illegal immigrants roaming the poorer streets of Athens. The rest were very young voters, who voted for Golden Dawn for no deeper reason than that the establishment and the "grown-ups" are fanatically against them and against the possibility of them entering the parliament. Therefore, what do enraged teenagers usually do? Whatever shocks and provokes the "adult" population -- that has, truth be told, the greatest responsibility for the sad and bankrupt situation Greece is in today.

Yet the mainstream media share part of the responsibility for the election of these, not just extreme rightist but truly fascist, thugs of Golden Dawn: they thought by condemning them through totally ignoring them, they would be condemning them to inexistence. Unfortunately we are currently living through an era where everything "establishment" -- from politics to media -- here in Greece is considered to have betrayed the people and therefore whatever the 'establishment' endorses is suspect and whatever it rails against, good... Now, while for these past two days the media have been constantly airing videos of Golden Dawn gatherings and manifestos of theirs that prove the fascist nature of the party, the whole country is in shock at finally realizing who these dangerous people are and what they stand for.

Therefore, in light of new elections, I would tell young voters to consider what they really believe. Do they believe that Adolf Hitler was a visionary? That extreme right-wing totalitarianism is the way to go? That fascism can be condoned? Because this is what Golden Dawn stands for. And whoever votes for them stands for that.

So, although holding new elections will cost us 100 million euros (approximately 129 million dollars) it might be our only way of averting national catastrophe in every aspect. These elections will probably be a chance for us to really take responsibility for our future as a people: to indicate whether we truly want to remain in Europe, and -- maybe even more importantly -- whether we rationally want to go ahead with the abomination that would be the entrance of a fascist party in our national parliament. These elections will be our last chance.

 

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