Alexis Papachelas ALEXIS PAPACHELAS

Doubly deceived

COMMENT

TAGS: Politics

As cash reserves hidden under mattresses and in closets dry up, more and more families are being swept up by the ongoing crisis. Older people who have worked hard, paid their taxes and met their obligations are now feeling a sense of despair. They had organized their lives around pensions, investments and savings they thought they were certain of and did not expect to have the rug pulled from under their feet.

These people were brought up in a postwar culture which stipulated that owning properties, for instance, was a long-term, unshakable investment. Now they don’t know what to do with these properties. They can’t sell them because no one will buy them, while the property tax, known as ENFIA, is draining their resources. Their fortune, once a source of security, is now weighing heavily on their shoulders.

Politically speaking, many people were deceived, both by the current administration as well as a group of center-right politicians. While the former promised the world, the latter went against their own government, reassuring everyone that an administration led by Alexis Tsipras would be a painless and positive experience. Now the victims of the crisis, people who belonged to the former middle class, are not sure with whom they should be more angry. Their finances have been exhausted, while at the same time they are experiencing the speedy decline of a country becoming accustomed to lower standards across all vital sectors. They never thought that Greece would reach such a state of decay.

You would expect these people to be tougher than those of my own and the following generations. After all, the older generation has experienced a larger number of pivotal disasters and difficulties. Perhaps they felt that Greece, a country which they helped rebuild, would never go through such a period. Then again, understandably, they might have lost their strength. The worst thing, however, is that they don’t see the moral pillars, the institutions and the strong people Greece could lean on to stand on its feet again, which is what the country used to do in the past following defeats and disasters.

They feel that everything they believe in and consider to be obvious sounds foreign to the large majority of Greeks. The most interesting thing in this case is that the majority of those who experienced exile on Greek islands have more or less the same opinion of the current situation as those who enjoyed a more comfortable existence during Greece’s turbulent, postwar decades. They are annoyed by the fact that part of the left, the one adhering to exchange and comfort, is ready to justify even “absolute evil” if this is deemed necessary.

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