OPINION

Yes to self-awareness, no to the witch hunts

yes-to-self-awareness-no-to-the-witch-hunts

We don’t need more parliamentary committees, what we need is some self-awareness. House committees rarely lead to any tangible results. The level of investigation is invariably poor and insufficient, while the results are predictable and politically tinged. And, above all, they ultimately lead to a vicious political circle which ends up perpetually dividing the country, while keeping political passions alive. Fanatics of all political shades usually disagree with this point of view and want to see some blood being shed in the arena. They are wrong.

So many years have gone by and we still don’t know why the country faced a debt crisis and had to resort to bailout programs. Seemingly serious people are still adhering to conspiracy theories which continue to provocatively ignore reality. Our collective obsessions and lack of self-awareness led to the notorious negotiations of last year. The Greek people gave Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras a mandate to try his talents in a tough poker game with the country’s partners and creditors. We are aware of the results, living them every day. The historical truth must be recorded. Criminalization, however, rarely leads to the truth, while it often gives rise to martyrs, some of them undeserving.

Do we have an alternative? Yes, we should set up a committee of “wise men” with different political views, who would undertake to impartially examine the Greek economy, the way in which the debt developed, why the country entered the bailout era and the negotiations carried out in the Varoufakis era. That is what happens in countries with similar political cultures. It’s not very sexy, it does not involve catchy tabloid headlines and could last for a very long time. But it would offer the Greek people a chance to develop a mature and cool-headed idea regarding what went wrong and how the country ended up in its current state.

Pressure on political leaders is always greater when exercised by zealots leading the so-called catharsis process.

Catharsis, however, in the ancient Greek meaning of the term, is never accomplished. On the contrary, people become cynical and believe that they are not being told the truth. At a certain point, Greece’s political forces will have to reach some kind of understanding for the country to move on.

National division and the criminalization of political life may prove the greatest obstacle in this kind of effort. We’ve experienced this several times in the past and now we must avoid it. Instead of conducting a witch hunt, over and again, let’s try to understand what exactly happened to us.