Nikos Konstandaras NIKOS KONSTANDARAS

The cost of standing alone

COMMENT

TAGS: Society, Coronavirus

The suicide of a care home owner, after a patient, two employees and he tested positive for Covid-19, highlights how war today is waged not only on battlefields and with mass mobilizations. It is in our daily lives. Whether we stand with the rest of society or alone against illness and despair, there comes a moment when we must confront the weaknesses which expose us to greater dangers than the situation warrants. No one is immortal, no castle can stand forever, but sometimes we lose the war before our resources are exhausted. When the struggle seems hopeless. 

Our society is plagued by a pandemic of division and confusion which is seldom under control. A recent example: at the moment that a court declared neo-Nazi Golden Dawn a criminal organization, at that victory for the rule of law, various “anti-establishment” types could not help but start trouble in order to make their presence felt, the riot police could not help but respond with teargas, while the political parties, as always, presented the issue in whichever way suited them.

From the very beginning of the state of Greece, the only thing that our politicians can agree on is each other’s venality. They distort reality to such an extent, they confuse good and bad so much, that citizens can choose the “truth” that confirms their prejudices. (The United States, among others, is currently being contaminated by this virus, too).

These methods have cost us dearly through our history. This is why we commemorate the rare instances of their absence, as in the national unity with which Greece entered World War II on October 28, 1940, and the blowing up of Gorgopotamos bridge by resistance fighters from the Left, Right and Britain in 1942. In the best case, division has deprived us of victories; in times of danger it has caused national defeats. 

The war against the new coronavirus, like every war, demands that society be united, from the politicians to the stranger beside us on the bus. Because we are all in this together yet each fights alone we all have an extra responsibility. When some are indifferent and reckless, this increases the burden on the rest. When we stand on firm ground, when we feel that society is functioning responsibly and that we are not exposed, we can face our challenges.

But when, despite our efforts, the enemy breaches the walls, when we struggle with our anxieties while others party, the weight of responsibility can make us feel defeated and alone. It is not enough to have 24-hour helplines (1018 in this case). We need a society in which, from an early age, everyone will learn to support and to forgive, in which they acknowledge the good and isolate the bad – and not the other way around.

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