OPINION

Heading toward the iceberg

These are tough times we’re going through. Society has reached its limit and has every right to react angrily, if not irrationally. The country’s political staff has made a real mess of things. Greeks no longer trust institutions or officials, let alone the media. We have to choose between a system of corruption and comfort and the extreme, dangerous ignorance of others. What a dilemma.

Despite the crisis and all that we’ve been through, the country’s main pillars of entanglement and corruption remain unfazed. Sometimes you get the feeling that we have already turned into a kind of mini-Ukraine where oligarchs do as they please behind the scenes, where sectors of the deep state are acting autonomously and armed gangs are in charge in some areas. All this is taking place in a society which feels the need to raze everything. It feels like we’re on board the Titanic and even if someone screams out: “Turn the other way! We’re heading to the rocks!” a thousand people will stand up and shout, “Get out of here! Why didn’t you speak up before?” The Titanic’s crew appears lost, the passengers have revolted and the towboat keeps adding conditions in order to conclude the rescue.

In the midst of this morose situation, which calls to mind a failed state in the early stages, it’s worth remembering a few things. We are still one of the world’s 40 richest countries. We still have a higher standard of living as well as higher pensions than certain other European states. We are a European state which belongs to the West’s most exclusive clubs: the EU, the eurozone and NATO. All of this means nothing to our fellow countrymen who have lost everything. Nevertheless, if we fall off the cliff we will long for 2014, no matter how strange this might seem. We should have realized by now that we were the weakest link in an aging, decaying, over-debted Europe. Assets, business culture vigor, education and competitiveness are all abandoning Europe and moving east. Europe is putting up a fight to maintain a standard of living currently threatened by tectonic global changes. Greece has made tremendous progress compared to France and Italy, but remains the weakest link. On the one hand is a failed establishment which refuses to change its thinking and is solely interested in protecting its clients and maintaining a system lacking meritocracy. On the other are the powers of extreme, post-dictatorship populism, throwing accusations right and left, while promising a return to the supposedly comfortable past.

Thick fog lies ahead. Our minds are not thinking straight and sangfroid has disappeared. While we’re beating each other up on the deck, some are taking care of loose ends, others are dreaming of a revolution while the Titanic carries on, all but adrift. Is there any point in highlighting any of this? One way or another, the chorus, from both right and left, is ready to cry out, “Shut up!”