There is no doubt about it, all eyes are on Greece this weekend and not just because the Greek national soccer team plays a decisive and difficult game against a superior Russian team this Saturday. Greece, a tiny peninsula which counts itself among the best pieces of real estate on the planet, home to about 10 million souls, producing some of the best thoughts, liquor, olives and olive oil on the planet is, so fear the shakers and makers of the world, the decisive drop in an ocean of world wide debt which may cause the whole damn thing to unravel.
An impressively massive, coordinated, international misinformation campaign feeding partly on the inability of journalism to understand issues, its unquenchable thirst for sensationalism and its immoral entanglement in the very politics it is supposed to keep tabs on is trying to turn the upcoming elections into a dilemma of the form Euro vs Drachma. The Financial Times Germany went so far as to even write its leading Tsipras bashing article in German and in Greek.
To set the record straight:
- Greece has a currency, it is called Euro and it has printing presses for it too. Nobody can take away that currency. Full stop.
- The Greeks are voting for government this weekend. This is not a referendum on the Euro. When Papandreou proposed a referendum, a while back, Merkel practically brought his government down. The demagogues are those who are trying to terrorize the voters that this is a referendum: it is NOT.
- All the Greek parties with chances of entering the parliament are pro European. Some of them do not like Schäuble’s Schwabian Housewife type of economics and that is a good thing.
- Greece’s vital space is Europe. Whoever may want Greece out has one way of achieving that: leave the space themselves. Europe is Greece’s home (and Greece is Europe’s origin) and nobody can force anything different.
- The world will have to negotiate with whoever forms a new government in Greece. Whoever does not like the country’s democratic ways: tough luck!
- Politicians posing ultimatums are bluffing. Those who are not bluffing are the ones who are not in government and for whom an ultimatum is cheap. On Monday everybody will have to play nice with each other. If Syriza wins Tsipras will have a chance of entering the pantheon of the founding fathers of the United States of Europe 100 years from now if he moderates his stance and plays hardball without grave mistakes come Monday. The Merkels of this world nobody will remember if Europe turns out right!
I want SYRIZA to win these elections and form a government in Greece for several reasons:
- The Greek Left has always been proud of its honest ways but this is only because it has never been tested. Staying virtuous in a monastery is easy. Staying so downtown is the real test. It is time the Greek Left grows up and with it everybody sympathetic to its ideas. If not now when?
- Everybody else with chances to govern (ND, Pasok etc) are corrupt and responsible for the mess the country is in. Moreover they are convinced of knowing what needs to be done. Europe is full of political powers who “know” what needs to be done and are bringing the continent to its knees. I like SYRIZA because they do not exactly know what a solution looks like and hence have a better chance at finding one that works.
- None of the other parties is promising to do anything to bring fairness in the picture. The country will be able to make the necessary reforms and sacrifices only if its folk feels they are not be taken advantage of again.
- Europe is in desperate need of pro European and anti-austerity political forces. Setting austerity equal to Europe severely and dangerously damages the European idea and makes space for the radical right to emerge.
It may not be a total coincidence that the continent’s direction is in Greek hands at this critical juncture. The Greek way may not be at its best when it comes to ordinary, incremental, retail banking but it is definitely the continent’s best bet if it needs to do or die.
So if you ask me I wish Greece beats Russia on Saturday and I hope Greece gives the World an uncomfortable, rough edged, left wing government on Monday, one that will make us all rethink our ways.