Some readers may be upset by what I’m about to write, but I never believed that our job is to be pleasant. Greece is going through one of the most toxic pre-election periods it has experienced in decades. We are, unfortunately, about to hit the bottom of the proverbial barrel once again.
A lot happened during SYRIZA’s period of rule that came at a heavy price. A complete lack of preparation or a rudimentary sense of duty before it came to power were compounded by the criminal acrobatics that resulted in the third memorandum. Greece’s institutions were trampled on, and particularly the justice system, among others. Politicians and other public figures were systematically targeted and subjected to an unprecedented level of bullying.
SYRIZA had promised to uproot the old establishment. Instead, it dug down into the worst layers of the old right and the old PASOK to find people to do its bidding. Just as it heralded an era of respect for the word of the Constitution, we were instead treated to a repetition of the vilest practices and incidents of the post-1967-74 dictatorship era.
A lot of people suffered for all this on a very personal level and now they want payback. What we need, though, is prudence and moderation. Forming things like investigative committees and special courts is something that should only be considered after a major institutional crisis and should be a rare exception. Otherwise, it will embroil the country in an endless vicious cycle, and that at a time when it hasn’t got a moment to lose or a drop of energy to waste. Not to mention that such persecution usually has a boomerang effect from a political standpoint.
What is more important is to learn the truth about certain things and to come to terms with it. Instead of an investigation into the events of 2015, we could have something like a truth committee of respected experts who would examine what went wrong and it what it cost the country. For anything else, the justice system should be allowed to do its job, without spotlights and fireworks. Greece’s institutions have suffered enough and need to be treated responsibly. The justice system cannot take any more drama, nor can it tolerate any more division.
It goes without saying that anyone who commits a crime should be punished; but this needs to follow due process and not absorb all the energy of a country that is already spent and anxious about the future. SYRIZA treated division like a tool of politics. Now, respecting the institutions is the only way to bury it for good.