OPINION

Like prophets on a mountaintop

Last night, I got angry with a friend. We were discussing the prospect of a national disaster that would result from a Greek default, when he turned round and said, ?The country deserves no better.?

This is something I cannot accept. Greece has been left at the mercy of an army of incompetent and corrupt political officials, a swarm of nouveau riche and state-dependent businesspeople and media tycoons, vested interests and career unionists who have collectively pulled this poor country to the verge of catastrophe. And we are all to blame for letting it happen.

But there is another side of Greece, where people work, pay their taxes and are productive. They actually care. This side of Greece is, in part, also responsible for the current state of affairs. But it does not deserve the devastating implications of a return to the drachma.

However, there is one more thing. I am deeply frustrated with the arrogance of a certain elite that insists on staring at the Greek drama from a distance as if it has no dog in this fight. These people hold debate after debate, lunch after lunch, and meeting after meeting in posh hotels. But they produce nothing concrete.

Some behave like forgotten prophets who have retreated to a mountaintop, waiting for an invitation from the people. Others appear to think that a discussion over lunch could transform the political situation.

Society is at boiling point and, for the first time in many years, it is out searching for fresh political ideas and proposals. Soon the dividing lines will become clearer: Europeanists pitted against the champions of a humble, unambitious Greece, the supporters of sweeping reforms pitted against those who want to shift the gear to reverse.

No one however can afford to snub society and expect it to understand what needs to be done without even telling it the truth. Today?s politicians, with few exceptions, refuse to do so because they think they will once again get away with it, or because they are horrified at the speed of developments.

The onus falls on those who know, on those who have the clarity to see what is coming and the desire to impact on development. Let them leave the pompous egotism, the prima-donna posturing and enter into the fray of politics and public confrontation.

Those who know have no right to stay silent.