Rebuilding Greece

11/15/2011 05:34 pm ET | Updated Jan 15, 2012

Everything has to do with politics. Every country is governed by politicians; any economy runs based on political decisions; our own future is defined by the choices of those leaders who we have elected.

As I have pointed out in the past, the crisis that Greece is experiencing today is ultimately a political one and not just a pure financial crisis. It's a crisis of political credibility, a crisis of political effectiveness, a crisis of breached confidence between the people and politicians. Basically, it's a crisis endangering the stability of our democracy.

But let's be honest, although there are no easy solutions, there are solutions driven by common logic. However, these solutions will never emerge unless we are determined to push them forward. At this moment the people of Greece have forced the political system to accept such a solution. It's the solution of political collaboration, political cooperation and political consensus among the political parties within the country. These are the first days of an unprecedented coalition government in Greece, this government is comprised of the two major parties of the country.

This historical political achievement signifies a new era in Greek politics and, mostly, creates high expectations for all of us. Expectations coming from abroad, including European partners, international media, financial markets, all of which believe that it's time for Greece to demonstrate political solidarity. Mostly, it creates even higher expectations for the majority of Greek people who are looking forward to a new era within which the sterile political clashes, the ideological prejudice and the partisan tactics no longer have a role.

This development is actually a positive step forward, however this alone is not enough. There is much more to be accomplished. Although a new chapter in the political history of Greece is now open, it is just the beginning. There are many steps that still need to be taken, and action must be quick and immediate. The reason is obvious: the country is currently under a real threat, facing the danger of a new national catastrophe as a result of its potential uncontrolled default, departure from the Eurozone and isolation in the European and international stage for many decades ahead.

When trying to figure out the political problem in Greece, I would not simply refer to those unpunished politicians who stole or mismanaged the public assets.

In my opinion, the political problem in Greece is deeper and even more complicated. One issue is the lack of political collaboration and consensus on major problems and issues that face the country. What the political parties and politicians in Greece did not realize on time is that "the future will not be the same, as they had predicted." We live in the era of change where political parties alone are not as effective at fulfilling the needs of the society as they once were.

In such an era of rapid economic, political and social evolution, the new challenges are not the same as in the past. If in the past the ways to resolve problems were prompted by right or left ideologies, by the ideologies of socialism or neoliberalism, nowadays resolving complicated challenges requires complicated solutions. It is essential that we have politicians with open minds instead of dogmatic views, determined to sacrifice their own personal or partisan interest in favor of the national interest. This is a transition that unfortunately has not happened in Greece over the last decades.

A second fundamental issue associated with the political crisis in Greece, is the nepotism within which the Greek political life is trapped. As a result, many young, capable and professional individuals are discouraged from becoming involved with politics. They realize that the Greek political system is like a private club, accessible only to those who come from families with prior political involvement. It is not by chance that Greece has been governed for the last three decades by leaders who come from two or three political families. If the political parties in Greece are not ready or willing to modernize and open their doors to socially competent individuals rather than partisan elites, the political system in the country will plummet.

Lets take a look at the broader picture. This crisis is occurring not only on a national level in Greece, but also, on a European and international level. The current financial turmoil sparks even larger social reactions with unpredictable outcomes. Examples of these social reactions have already developed not only Greece, but in many other European countries and even here in the United States with the movement of Occupy Wall Street. Even though their demands are not unified, one thing is for sure: citizens, on both sides of the Atlantic, feel that they are underrepresented and that the political leaders of the modern Democracies around the world are not accountable to the people but rather, to those who have economic power. What we have to do is redefine the functions of our modern democracy and correct problems created by the lack of transparency and the divide between those who make decisions and those who are affected by them.

One his speeches, American president John F. Kennedy stated that "the future is not a gift, but rather, an achievement." And I would say that to achieve the future is not possible simply by waiting or hoping for it; it is necessary to do something more. This "something more" for Greece cannot be achieved by those who contemplate the past. We should understand that becoming the agents for change in our country is not just an obligation but rather a responsibility that we must endure. It is necessary as the youth of Greece, both within the country and abroad, that we take action as a unified group with new ideas and beliefs. To give Greece the know-how and prospects to make a new beginning.

The new generation of Greek people is capable of sending a message around the world that although Greece is financially defaulted, it is not a politically declined and nationally humbled country. It is our duty to help Greece turn the page in its history. And as the poet Odyssea Elitis wrote in one of his poems,"If you break Greece apart into small pieces you will see that what is left is one olive tree, a vineyard, and a fishing boat, which means that with these three items Greece can be rebuilt. That's why I believe that we can make it. Greece can make it."

The above story is a part of a speech, held by Thanos Dimadis at Boston University on the Greek political crisis, addressing the National Community of Hellenic Students of all the American Universities across the U.S.