Society?s great battle

Greece is entering a new era, burdened with old debts and sins, under foreign stewardship, with its people tired, unsettled and deprived. Its economy, politics and society are changing radically, passing through the ritual of loss, denial, anger and acceptance. Our future, however, will not be determined so much by the economy and politics but by how, as a society, we handle today?s difficulties.

The new loan and debt reduction agreement, when they are completed, will determine the framework of our economy for many years — leaving no room for the arbitrary decisions, incompetence and improvisation that brought us to the impasse. If the demands of the troika are accompanied by an immediate inflow of funds and investments, the reforms may soon offer the Greeks the opportunity to rebuild their economy on a sounder basis.

The political system, too, is caught in a vise. Deprived of the funds and benefits with which they bought votes, our politicians find themselves face to face with the reality of the obligations of an overindebted country and with their responsibilities. The passions and ideological differences of the past are now meaningless. In the next few years, the only difference will be between those parties that say ?Yes, but…? to the demands of our partners and creditors and those that reject any thought of adjusting to the new situation. The conflict will be hard and may prove too much for many current players, opening the way for new faces and new political groups.

The limitations on economic policy and on the political system as a whole are the new framework for our society. This is the sphere where the weaknesses of our state were always evident — even though they were papered over somewhat by the treacherous benevolence of yesterday?s waste. But it is also the critical point where we can call on the qualities that Greeks have repeatedly displayed in the past — solidarity, unity, self-sacrifice, endurance and the will to win. How our society faces today?s deprivation, disappointment and opportunities is our responsibility, not that of our partners.

We are responsible for the hardship any citizen suffers because of an incompetent state, because of politicians? indifference, the lack of organization and the selective imposition of the law.

Until now, we sat and waited to see whether our partners would save us and what they would demand in return. Now is the time for our society to wage its own battle — a battle in which each of us must do all everything possible so that no one is left alone.