Greece seeking space to breathe

The METAPHOR

You’ve lost your job, your child was given a detention, you’ve had a drink or two. Your partner tries to be supportive but in the heat of the previous events you begin to question your relationship, everything your partner does is wrong, stinks, is unfair – but you have a child together. You continue to drink, it makes everything feel better – are you ready to take a decision on the future of your family and indeed, your future?

The REALITY

Your economy has failed, the euro has been hit, you’ve heard promises. Your European partners resolve to bailing you out, to at least stop the fire, for now, but you begin to question their intents, you get aggressive, you call their actions unfair and terrorising. But you’re in this together. You elect another government, it numbs you further, with more promises. Are you ready to vote on a referendum that will dictate your relationship with Europe and indeed, the future of Greece?

The COMMENT

Alexis Tsipras and his ruling party, Syriza, currently governing in Greece have called for a referendum, that they themselves had previously baptised a disaster, to decide on Greece’s future in the euro and the European Union (linked relationships). The referendum was called after 5 months of unsuccessful negotiations between the Greek government and its international and european lenders, criminally, only with a week’s warning. Now, misinformed and partially understanding of the issues they are facing, Greek people must vote on a referendum that will inform the rest of Europe and the world, of the publics perception of the EU and their willingness to be a part of it. However the government is unhappy with the interpretation and insists that the referendum is a YES or NO question to accepting or not the bailout package previously offered (now invalid) by its European partners, and that a NO vote would give it the momentum to carry on its “anti-austerity” agenda. However, as a friend recently told me, relationships are not black and white and that is exactly what we have in the case of Greece. A government that is arguing that the the referendum is a black and white question while European leaders are arguing that the referendum will in fact express much more than that, especially as it will influence perception of Greece and Greek people amongst the rest of the European public (from north to south, and east to west). A Yes vote is a brave vote that is consistent with Greece’s continuous effort to change, adapt and improve. A No vote is a cowards decision, I hope you made while drunk, that is short-sighted, nationalistic but unpatriotic, filled with false pride, false promises and empty words. Vote Yes.

This is not an election, any other day I would agree that there is no person in Greek politics worthy of governing, no person, no party no exceptional leader to provide a structure or a plan to begin to envision the future of this small, grand country. This is not an election, this is a referendum on the future of Greece, its relationship with Europe, the globalised world… This is a referendum on whether Greece belongs to its past or to a brighter future.

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