The people of Greece are tonight gearing up for the ultimate climax in what has been a monumental and historical build up in this so called Greek crisis. Tomorrow the Greek people will take to the polls in the very home of democracy to determine how they will move forward in these financially turbulent times.
A vote of 'yes' in the referendum will mean more of what the people have lived through over the last few years ever since the impact of the global financial crisis knocked on their doors. What do we know about the future of Greece in the scenario of a 'yes' victory? More bail-outs and more austerity. Two words artificially coupled and in complete contradiction. I have never known the phrase 'bail-out' to be so wholly misrepresented in popular media. For what kind of 'bail-out' only provides topical anaesthesia to a wound that requires a greater level of care and attention? What kind of 'bail-out' penalises and only serves to further burden and unethically grip the soul of an already struggling people?
Greek Prime Minister Mr Tsipras couldn't be clearer in his directive to the Greek people; vote 'no' he has said, with vigour and passion, to maintain Greek dignity and to restore hope. So what would a 'no' vote actually mean for Greece and for Europe as a whole? Well, the result of a 'no' vote is largely unknown. I have witnessed much speculation, fear mongering, and what I believe to be irresponsible reporting on this perspective in recent weeks, but I must take liberties where I can, and since this is my personal blog and I can say what I wish, I will say this - a vote of 'no' will allow the people of Greece to find a way to move forward on their own terms.
Yes, you're right, I am not neutral in my position. As I only represent myself and my own views, I am not required to be. It is time that Greece put its people first. With youth unemployment at an all time high, an alarmingly raised suicide rate, and a lack of essential services, it is little wonder that the Greek people are fearful and hesitant to take a leap of faith with their government.
You might be wondering why any of this even matters. And why are people in Australia, people who are so far away, seemingly so far removed from the people of Greece, showing concern at this time.
Without speaking for, and on behalf of anybody else, allow me to offer some form of explanation as to why this issue is important to me and why I have taken such a personal interest in what happens to this small country with a huge heart.
Why do I feel this strong connection to the country of Greece, to its land, and to its people? I feel this way because my parents, my grandparents, my forefathers (and foremothers), lived and worked on that land. They toiled for that country. They fought for its freedom. It is their blood that has been spilled on that land. It is their tears that have seeped into the historic ground. They also made difficult decisions there. One such decision is what makes me call Australia home. They uprooted their lives. They boldly took their families on an unknown journey, holding tightly onto the hope that they had decided wisely, and that everything would work out.
And so, seeing the people of Greece suffering, makes my heart ache. Seeing them mourn the loss of the gains they worked so hard to achieve, is deeply upsetting. Knowing that my highly educated cousins are unemployed, is distressing. Feeling the despair and the hysteria being promoted in media outlets around the world is appalling.
Greece (and Ireland, Italy, Spain, and Portugal) has a number of creditors who want their money back. So surely by voting 'no' and showing some resistance instead of falling to its knees in acquiescence, Greece will serve to increase its bargaining position. Voting 'no' will be like taking a step forward into a dark room with nothing but a glow in the dark stick to shed some light and stop you tripping over the sacks of exorbitant interest rates Germany has left scattered on the floor. Don't get me wrong, this pitiful situation didn't happen overnight and the Greeks are not blameless. A great deal has gone wrong and there is blame enough for all of the European Union to take a share. But what's done is done. Where to from now? Hopefully we see more negotiations taking place, a forgiveness of debt, and a restructured debt recovery payment plan set up.
The people of Greece must make a decision tomorrow. No matter which monosyllabic word wins out on the day, one certainty will be facing each citizen squarely in the eye, there will be a tough road ahead.
We have famously said 'No' once before. Let us once again say 'No' with defiance.
Oxi to austerity.
Love as always,