I have this recurring nightmare about what Greece would come to look like if fate did not smile down upon us and save us at the last minute.
What really worries me is whether the crisis-hit country already resembles a runaway truck with no brakes on an endless downhill gradient, and we simply fail to understand what is going on.
My nightmare is that of a Greece that degenerates into a failed state. What would our country look like on the basis of that nightmare scenario?
This is more or less what I think: Real power and management would be in the hands of a new generation of oligarchs that would make the notorious political and business entanglement that dogged Greece in the 1990s look like an innocent pastime.
Their hegemony would be based on the combination of a mechanism of physical violence and personality assassination via slander and systematic misinformation. The country will be jolted by the occasional skirmishing between these oligarchs which, like in the past, will have negative repercussions on the political system as a whole.
The response from the healthy entrepreneurial class, as it were, would be fear and cowardice mainly drawn from the good-old principle of non-engagement: “It’s safer to mind your own business.”
Meanwhile, gangs will exercise control over entire sectors, neighborhoods, towns, ports and so on. These gangs would operate under a neo-Nazi or other cloak. At the end of the day, the mantle would be inconsequential.
For outsiders, surviving under these violent conditions would be extremely difficult without “protection.”
And this is where the difficult part begins. A state is really a failed state when its citizens are not exactly certain who the people in key posts in the state apparatus are working for. That is, are they working in the interests of the law and the state, or are they rather serving third-party motives?
An expert, who also happens to be a friend of mine, suggests that this is the thin, red line. It’s crossing this very line that essentially shoves a country into banana republic territory.
I want to believe that Greece is not close to that, that the institutions are still in operation, that we are far from turning into a failed state.
My friend says that I am simply used to hearing and seeing things that should be unthinkable in a European state. Perhaps he is right on this one.