OPINION

All is changing, all is frightening

One of the reasons for the impasse in Greece is the clash between two opposite, irreconcilable forces: On one side are those who insist on administering dangerous medicine to Greece?s weakened body, on the other are those who will accept no treatment. Even as both conspire toward the worst possible result, they accuse each other of the crime and persist with their methods. Caught in the middle of this ?ideological? battle, the citizens have no convictions, they have no hope.

Uncertainty is worsened by our politicians? either being terrified of what they must do or excited by the prospect of elections. They know that all is changing, that hitherto dominant forces will be swept away while others — mainly leftist parties — which were marginal, will pick up a heavy burden in a difficult climate. Citizens are continually exposed to conflicting arguments. Neither international organizations, nor our partners? governments, nor our own politicians have persuaded them that we are following the right policy.

There is no synthesis of ideas, no vision, an idea that will unite and inspire the nation. Lucas Papademos?s government gave our politicians a way out, allowing them to share responsibility for difficult decisions, but the continued prospect of elections, the infighting by government members and the left?s unmitigated hostility do not permit any sense of security.

The consequences of strategic mistakes and political paralysis are worsened by the sloppiness of our state — a sloppiness that betrays the great indifference that our politicians and state officials showed the citizens over many years. Before the crisis, this indifference was papered over by excessive spending, by the ?generosity? of a disorganized country. Today we see all the weaknesses in their full glory: Back taxes and pay cuts result in empty pay packets, electricity production is uncertain, prisons are overflowing, the health and pension systems are depriving citizens at precisely the time that they need them most, the country?s finances depend not on our partners? solidarity but on their fear of our collapse, the recession is deepening, and state and individual incomes are down while expenses are rocketing.

The next few days will be decisive with regard to our debt reduction, the new loan agreement with its difficult terms, with the continued ?internal devaluation.? All is changing, all is frightening. Because we do not believe that the war is about victory, but about limiting our defeat.