Stepping back from the abyss

I will try to be clear and fair. What Prime Minister George Papandreou did on Monday was dangerous and irresponsible. With a reckless move, he put the country at risk of a disorderly default that would bear his own stamp.

Contrary to what he did in June, when he offered to step down for the sake of the common good, Monday Papandreou elevated his personal ambitions above the national interest causing serious damage to the country?s credibility. PASOK?s old guard and a good dose of victimization to dubious interests sent him into panic.

At the same time, we must criticize the blatant hypocrisy and irresponsibility of Greece?s opposition parties, media and pundits. The same people who have been demanding direct democracy were all of a sudden angry at the prospect of a referendum. The same people who were slamming outside supervision and interference were now expressing their concern about the reaction from Brussels officials. The same people who were certain that Greece would never be kicked out of the eurozone, were now shaking. The same people who proposed unreservedly the haircut later said it was a disaster but yesterday were afraid that it may not happen at all.

We give the impression of being a country that with glee and self-destructive zeal has climbed onto the international stage and is threatening to commit suicide. On Monday, a prime minister who panicked took center stage. He took the gun from others? hands and made Beijing, Washington, Berlin and everybody else wonder what is going on in this country and with Papandreou.

Meanwhile, ordinary people are losing their minds. They can?t make ends meet and they are starting to wonder what the difference is between a slow, torturous death in the euro and the sudden death of the drachma. None of us has the answers and we are all responsible for the fate of this country, which our parents and grandparents handed over in a much better state than the one we will pass on to our children.

Against the odds, I try to be optimistic. The only hope is that Papandreou?s irresponsible and juvenile action will make us all come to our senses, to step back from the edge of the abyss and find a solution that will satisfy the public but which will be based on realism and truth.