Stopping the waves of fear

By Nikos Xydakis

Thursday, June 6, was a highly charged day; one filled with violence, hatred, blindness and fear. We saw thuggery playing out on television, a citizen taking the law into his own hands and killing another person, robberies and armed attacks, the kidnapping of a teenage boy, and, of course, a new record in unemployment. We also saw foreign correspondents striking a line through Greece?s place in the eurozone and disdain in the eyes of our international peers, who lost whatever pro-Greek sentiment they still felt.

It was violence that left its mark that day and it manifested itself in a variety of different ways. There was nothing really new about it, except the fact that it was especially magnified, especially raw and very swift. Moreover, a lot of different trends that are running through society right now pouring into that stream of violence, creating a mixture that is much more explosive that its component parts.

The result of the events of June 6 is that one part of the population reacted impetuously, applauding the violence with various degrees of approbation, and another felt horror and froze in its stead, unable to react. Some are now looking for ways to defend themselves, and others believe that this explosive day was a herald for more such days in the near future. This latter emotion, the feeling that the worst is yet to come, is an alarm bell that we should all heed as a civil society and react to accordingly, at least while there is still time for rational reactions by rational beings.

We need to think about what happened on June 6 deeply and with clarity. We need to appreciate that many of our compatriots are suffering unjustly, entire families are struggling to survive, and honest, hardworking businessmen and women are being crushed by the weight of the crisis. This is reality. But violence and annihilation are not the answer.

In contrast, institutions, political values and respect for the law, dignity and humanity are our most precious resources, the things we ought to be fighting for in order to achieve the rebirth that we all crave so much. Without these, we are nothing as a society. And because these are intangible social values and assets, no one can take them away from us, unless we surrender them to the waves of fear and the path of social Darwinism.