OPINION

Rebirth is the only way

In one of its most crucial sessions, probably the most crucial of the Third Hellenic Republic, Parliament voted «yes» to the support package and the accompanying austerity measures dictated by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union on the votes of members of the ruling PASOK party and the far-right LAOS. The «IMF or bankruptcy» dilemma was answered and the prospect of defaulting was temporarily pushed away. The price the country will have to pay looms painfully. Basically, this is an unprecedented test, not just for Greece, but for any Western society: Can Greece survive the cutbacks that will have such a profound impact on its way of life? Can Greece, in very little time, in just six months essentially, reform almost every one of its fundamental sectors – pensions, insurance, tax, public administration and competitiveness? Experienced European politicians and economists have said that Greece may fold under the pressure of such change. Anyone would, they say. However, other possible scenarios, such as the restructuring of public debt or the country’s ouster from the eurozone, seem at present equally if not more painful. Irrespective of the outcome, Greece has embarked on a new chapter in its history – economically, culturally and anthropologically. Greeks were suddenly ejected from their comfort zone of prosperity and nonchalance and thrust into the cold sphere of need, wants and poverty, into a life that they thought was far behind them. So many things we have taken for granted are being shaken at their core, together with our plans and our way of life. And these reverberations need to be absorbed right now. Numbness, anger and rage are the natural consequences that come with sudden change and we need to overcome them as fast as possible because time is a factor and it is nipping at our heels; there is not a moment to spare. We need to digest the new facts, perceive ourselves living in this new world and at the same time, we need to act, and act in concert, with equity and discipline. We need to move forward, toward a real rebirth of institutions, structures and mentalities. Rebirth is the only way to go.