OPINION

The silent majority

Greece has entered an extremely difficult phase. Worse still, it is constantly flirting with self-destruction.

To demonstrate is one thing, but to engage in acts of violence, hooliganism and violation of constitutional law is quite another. It is unthinkable that some people are able to block the country?s borders for hours and escape unpunished. It is unthinkable that some people can beat a politician and walk away unpunished. It is unthinkable that residents of Keratea are able to attack policemen and keep a central Attica road closed for months. It is unthinkable that a few people can destroy ticket machines at metro stations and walk away unpunished.

This is not a manifesto about law and order. But any sober-minded person will agree that if everyone who is right, or who thinks they are right, starts to destroy public property, beat people up or hurl rocks and firebombs at police stations, the country will sooner or later fall apart.

Things are set to become harder in 2011 than last year. However, whether we manage to save ourselves will depend not only on decisions taken in Brussels but also on whether or not we press the self-destruct button.

I am not interested in who is in charge of this country today or who will be in charge of this country tomorrow. The real question is whether this country can indeed be governed even by the most powerful and skilled ruler. The PASOK government has issued strong-worded statements and announced new, stricter measures but it is helpless when faced with this burgeoning violence and lawlessness. New Democracy?s statements are ludicrous. ?The roads and the borders should remain open,? conservative officials say, ?but no one should be arrested? either. The police are horrified at the thought they could be called upon to handle a crisis ranging from Keratea to Promachonas and the migrant ghettos.

Unfortunately, the only people with a plan appear to be the minority of left-wing populists who seek to pour more oil into the flames with acts of disobedience or anarchic violence. The country?s pseudo-establishment, an irresponsible, vulgar nouveau riche bunch, is trying to find shelter along with their savings.

The only thing left is the vast majority of a hardworking middle class that does not want to see the country fall apart. They want punishment for the thieves who squandered the country?s wealth and for the violent thugs. The problem is these people are mostly silent and rarely take to the streets.