Breaking the mirror

By Nikos Xydakis

The outcome of Greece?s parliamentary elections -- a politically loaded and unpredictable event -- is anxiously awaited both here and in foreign capitals. (Interestingly, the Greek vote will coincide with presidential elections in France.)

Once again, this country will become the center of attention. It has become clear that what happens in Greece, a state small in size albeit large in symbolism, does not just concern its own crisis-hit citizens, who are being stereotypically portrayed by outsiders as lazy, disorganized and corrupt. Rapid developments in the country over the past couple of years in the economic, social and political spheres have an impact on the populations of the European South as well as the rest of the Old Continent.

What happens in Greece today is a foretaste of what will happen in the rest of Europe. The Greek disease is a local manifestation of a European disease, a systemic disease which first infected the most vulnerable member of the 27-member Union.

Hence, the efforts of the domestic political establishment to convince the local electorate that they have solutions to the crisis or that they expect a return to growth in due course are both sad and futile.

These are simply lies. And those who promise salvation are twice as dangerous: They are either aware of the facts, but consciously chose to sweep them under the carpet, or they ignore reality because they are not intelligent enough to comprehend it.

The crisis is set to persist and spread -- here and elsewhere. Finding a way out will depend on developments in Europe and the rest of the world. Politicians must find the courage to say this to the people.

In fact, telling the truth about the crisis could be a relief. It could mark the end of delusion and the launch of renewed contact with historic reality.

On a psychological level, a courageous confession would sink us to the bottom of the barrel and allow society to realize its own strengths and weaknesses, its desires and tolerance levels.

We must finally turn away from the distorting mirror of blackmail and propaganda, and instead project ourselves into the domain of history and reality.

This is where our future lies.