OPINION

The virus of division

the-virus-of-division

At the risk of sounding tiresome or quirky – you choose – it seems self-evident to me that the last thing we need as a society is to be divided again. It would be easy for that to happen.

We have it in our DNA and we really like to be divided precisely when we shouldn’t be. Twitter, Facebook and other social media have simply given us more tools to practice division and indulge in irrational conflicts. Instead of this happening in cafes, as it used to in the old days, it is now happening on the internet.

So here it is: ethno-nihilists against fascists over developments in the border region of Evros, patriots against Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s secret agents, Christians against unbelievers over the continuation or not of Holy Communion, and so on.

Let’s take a deep breath. Let’s take a step back. Let’s see what we are facing as a country – a “perfect storm” created by a cocktail of asymmetric threats. Then we must rein in our bad selves.

The country’s political leadership has to draw some red lines for itself and not exceed certain limits. Not for aesthetic reasons, but rather because every effort to reach a consensus is being viciously undermined. Any bridges to national consensus that might be needed in difficult times are being burnt.

Our opponents rub their hands when they see us quarreling. At a time when we need power multipliers we have our own power reducer – or underminer. Diaspora Greeks are concerned, anxious and sometimes “turned off” by our domestic divisions. This is certainly not the way to inspire and motivate them to mobilize in favor of Greek interests.

The events in Evros created a rare moment of unity. We needed it after 10 years of humiliation. We brought out our best selves and probably surprised both friends and foes who thought we’d gone soft.

Criticism is legitimate, even extreme criticism. But when we start throwing horrible accusations around, we simply hurt ourselves.

Considering that difficult times lie ahead, and because, at the end of the day, we will all be here and have to sit around the same table to talk to each other, a little restraint would not hurt.