OPINION

Survivors and suicides

What is it that determines how we act in time of crisis, which leads us either to overcome our weaknesses or succumb to them? When our ship is sinking, what makes one captain stand steady on the bridge when another rushes to abandon ship before his passengers? As our country heads toward the rocks of bankruptcy, what induces some to make desperate efforts to avoid the crash while others continue to pursue their own interests? Why do some undertake difficult political assignments while others wait to harvest the people?s anger, indifferent to what this will lead to? Why, in the face of immediate danger, do we remain suspicious and divided?

Perhaps the most important problem is that we do not share the same vision of reality. Today we are divided between those who see bankruptcy as an immediate danger and eviction from the eurozone as a national tragedy, and those who claim that the economic crisis is no more than a trick to terrorize the people into agreeing to the loss of their rights and benefits.

The state, which has tricked us so many times, shares the greatest blame for this. We are convinced that there is no such thing as truth, that there is only the ability of the powerful and the determined to impose their will, to secure their own interests. We are suspicious, we don?t trust what we are told. We do not want to believe what is unpleasant, even when it rears up before us.

We find it difficult to express solidarity with each other, fearing that someone is getting the better of us — whether he be our employer, a colleague, a foreign creditor, a bank, or the neighbor who doesn?t pay his taxes or manages to legalize his illegal building. We wait for someone else to do the dirty work for us — whether we be politicians in search of votes, or zealots of disobedience campaigns.

In this treacherous universe, faced with unprecedented dangers, forced to accept painful changes to our lives, it is natural that some will turn to the comfort of routine rather than deal with reality. We see this in the way the Communist Party persists in trying to impose its position that it is better to destroy jobs than accept changes to labor laws; we see it in the many news media strikes at a time when the people thirst for information and not for silence; we see it in unions that put benefits above their company?s survival, in bureaucrats who obstruct development, in shortsighted business practices.

It may be comforting to stick to yesterday?s tactics, but if we do not do what needs to be done, the crash will determine our new roles. In the debris field.