Is catharsis needed or desired?

From 2009, as SYRIZA has decided? From 2004 as PASOK would like it? Or from 1981, as New Democracy has requested? The time frame preferences for the investigation into the causes behind Greece’s current predicament depend on the parties’ legitimate and partisan motives and concerns. In order to push for the time frame to be shortened or lengthened, they use the same cliche phrases, phrases that are so overused they are simply depressing to hear: “to let the truth shine,” “to get to the bottom of the issue.”

Other than these cliches, investigations of this nature have nothing else in common and never did, which is why they have always been disappointing affairs that cannot be relied on. The rationale behind them reduces historical truth to mere numbers by basing it entirely on the balance of power, a factor that is not only temporary but also reversible. Therefore, they highlight evidence that simply confirms each party’s version of events instead of bringing new facts about the issue to light and challenging preconceptions.

The inevitable result is two, three or even four rulings that are identical to the original positions stated by the parties at the start of the process. The supposed outcome of these in-depth investigations has been decided ahead of the actual examination in an attempt to maintain control over the consequences. We cannot hope to achieve the most important thing this way: curing the deep wounds of the political system and the Parliament so that they can regain the people’s trust and their status. Parliament’s image is certainly not improved by the recent move of House Speaker Zoe Constantopoulou, who failed to invite the parties of the opposition to the first meeting of the debt audit committee. She single-handedly undermined – we don’t know why – the importance of an event that would otherwise have been quite great indeed.

The investigative committee is supposed to examine how Greece was obliged – after a string of bad decisions – to give up some of its national sovereignty, as has already been broadly admitted, and to agree to a program that would demolish such a large part of society without even improving the numbers, almost all of which (unemployment, recession, brain drain) were negatively impacted. Essentially, Parliament should be investigating the ideological and moral defeat of a system that operated foremost as a client in order to save itself. Catharsis is necessary. But for it to become possibly it first needs to be desired.

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