It?s never easy for a people to accept a precipitous drop in living standards, less so when they have seen them rise without too much effort. It is even more difficult to accept the sense of insecurity caused by the recession and the rapid surge of unemployment to levels that fuel social turmoil. Frustration mounts and people grow more receptive to those who cultivate delusions and invest in anger without offering much in concrete proposals.
Whether we like it or not, even during the days of prosperity, Greeks were driven more by sentiment than reason. It comes as no surprise that at times like these collectivity subsides and obstructionism rises — especially against measures that compromise our personal or household budget.
Greece?s new bailout package, also known as the memorandum, has met with a great deal of criticism and outright rejection. The political parties which backed the deal do not really believe in its recommendations and therefore give the impression that they signed it at gunpoint. This is more or less how they have dealt with the situation since we first realized that the country was on the verge of default.
And still, the fresh rescue package includes more than just painful measures. It also calls for changes and reforms which should have been introduced long before crisis struck and which would in fact have been to the benefit of the ordinary citizen.
But truths like these will never reach people?s ears. Rather, people will hear Alexis Tsipras say that ?we are not ruled by Greeks,? they will see a Communist Party official issue threats against alleged traitors, they will be overwhelmed by populism in radio and television programs, and will see journalists lashing out against their colleagues as ?collaborators? simply because they expressed the view that Greece?s survival depends on its eurozone membership.
One might argue that all the above, coupled with the destructive urge of the hooded vandals, create the conditions for civil conflict. Perhaps that would be a step too far. They nevertheless fuel the sort of rage and denial which will not allow the country to recover. The dangers for Greece do not just originate in the nightmarish economic indicators, the flaws of the recipe or the tough stance of our partners and lenders. They also come from the preachers of hatred whose words unfortunately impact on the wounded populated.