The fanatics musn?t get their way

Fanaticism and hatred are gradually infiltrating Greece?s public language. Almost nothing shocks anymore. You read statements issued by unions, even those groups affiliated with the conservative parties, and you think that Red October is upon us.

People are demanding nooses and public executions to punish guilty politicians. It makes you wonder why other nations have responded to crises in such different ways. Even our religious officials, the purported preachers of love for all our fellow humans and solidarity, are flirting with bigotry and fundamentalism.

In conditions of growing poverty and rising unemployment, this sort of fanaticism is dangerous, and it has the power to drag society closer to civil conflict. Some people actually seem to be looking forward to such an eventuality. I fail to see whether their anticipation is generated by ignorance and stupidity or by some kind of sadistic impulse that is aimed against other people and oneself.

But you can?t live on hatred. Instead, hatred is animated by hunger, by extremist political and unionist rhetoric, and by populism — the kind that habitually dominates our television panels.

Hatred itself, of course, is blind and leads to nothing good.

Greece is no stranger to civil strife, which has jeopardized the nation?s very existence on a number of occasions throughout the country?s history. We were never taught this at school — probably in order to sustain our self-loving historical myths — but outside Tripolitsa, after the fall of the city to the Greek forces, there was civil conflict and the same happened in the Middle East, at the same time when Churchill wanted the Greek army to be the first to parade into the streets of Rome.

We all have an obligation to keep the country on its feet. Regardless of what we may think about the memorandum signed with the Europeans and the International Monetary Fund or the euro currency, we must not allow the country?s reactionary fringes to drag us back several decades.

Of course, in order to ensure that this does not happen, we must urgently do two things: First, a dynamic clampdown against the law-breaking habits of the mighty and, second, create jobs for the army of unemployed whose frustration becomes tinder in the hands of extremists.