As the pace slows down and summer enters the final stretch, we are reminded of how violently last August’s usual sense of calm was disrupted by the devastating wildfires in northern Evia (not to mention other parts of the country).
This August, anxiety is rife. The rampant speculation about early elections has been halted, but the tension from seemingly relentless polarization persists. Perhaps it is an opportunity to ponder how we reached this state of constant and intense uncertainty, this state of division. We need to take stock, not to punish ourselves, but to give ourselves a break. Because truth be told, it feels like we haven’t had a break since 2010.
We have suffered through successive crises, which cannot all be blamed on “Greek madness.” From climate change and the terrible heatwaves scorching Europe, India and other parts of the world, to the war in Ukraine that threatens major European economies and the humanitarian crisis, the entire world is in a state of tension and flux.
The pandemic, which keeps flaring up with new variants just when we think it’s coming to an end, has taken a heavy toll, particularly on morale, and created a kind of “institutionalization” among many who want to live their lives but are still frightened to.
The economic meltdown, austerity and capital controls, the eurozone crisis, Brexit and Trump, the war in Syria and the refugee crisis, the rise of extreme populism across Europe, a Turkey in a state of nervous breakdown, the coronavirus pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ever-present climate crisis – all of it, in the space of just 12 years.
So let’s admit it: It has been tough. Reminders that older generations survived wars, occupations, civil strife and dictatorships are sobering and informative. But let’s also tell it like it is: it’s been 12 relentless years – and there’s little end in sight.
We’re starting to crack, and it is clouding our judgment. So every once in a while, you need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. It’s not easy, because we’re in deep. But clarity is the most precious thing we have right now.