The international media's favorite soap opera is back... this time, with even more suspense and scandal, triumph and tragedy. The Greek elections, true to the Greek psyche, are full of pathos.
Leading stars? The three main parties -- the ruling (and conservative) New Democracy, the socialist Pasok and the leftist Syriza -- and a handful of their ideological offspring, including fledgling parties created by everyone from former TV journalists and sexy actors to head shaved extremists and starry-eyed environmentalists.
With the dawn of 2015, elections were announced for January 25, giving players less than three weeks to groom, grill and sway voters into dropping their ballot for the best man (or woman, or singer, or...).
And then the spotlight turned to world's naysayers, who were quick to point out that Greece is doomed should the leftist Syriza party (which polls are hinting could win) clinch to the country's top spot.
The EU, the IMF, our lenders, all sorts of financial, political and economics analysts, Germany, and so many others participating in (and benefiting from) this constructed crisis are warning that if Greeks break the two-party hold -- responsible for bringing Greece to the brink of destruction some five years ago -- they may as well cry their savings and lives goodbye.
Truly, do people believe that in the 21st century, the Peron-styled Alexis Tsipras and his clan will just break our piggy banks, steal our cash (or what has remained of it) and send us to a Greek version of gulag camps?
Just for the sake of argument, should we remember the Cyprus haircut a couple of years back which robbed Cypriot depositors of almost 50 percent of their savings? Should we remind ourselves that almost half of Greece's young people under 25 are without a job? Or how about even take a stroll down central Patission Ave, once bustling with life, where every one in three shops has closed?
And all this... with a little help from our friends, who are neither leftist nor radical. I'm sure this is not what the Beatles had in mind. And yes, our friends and (EU counterparts) in northern Europe, plagued by a selective memory, seem to forget that it was after all Germany's debt that was suspended after World War I and then dropped altogether (courtesy of the Lausanne Conference) in order for the country to stand back on its own two feet.
So does Greece have anything to lose with these elections? Well, yes and no. It could be a Greece Groundhog Day yet again, or it could change. Either way, the saying goes something like this: you have nothing to lose when you really have nothing. And liberally tweaking Karl Marx's words, Greece's has nothing to lose but its chains....
The Greek myth of Pandora (her name meaning 'of all gifts') probably best describes the Greeks' current predicament. Greece, much like the maiden Pandora, is all gifted. Located in one of the world's most geographically strategic locations, with endless miles of coastline, hundreds of islands, majestic mountains, with a mild climate all year round, boasting one of the world's healthiest diets and home to a fresh, educated and diligent workforce, Greece has it all.
And yet, like Pandora, all is never enough. So she opens the box (or jar) and releases all wickedness onto the world. Well, the evil has already taken its toll, its time now for the last item in the box to emerge... hope, if not for a better future at least for a different one.