My Big Fat Greek Referendum
In a group therapy session the roll call would go like this:My name is Peter and I am alcohol free for 1 year. I am Peter and I am good.
My name is Jenny and I am drug free for 2 years. I am Jenny and I am good.
My name is Ioanna and I am NOT problem-free for 5 years now. I am Ioanna and I am Greek.
It may sound funny but this is the reality the majority of the Greek citizens face since 2009.
All I want to say for us -the Greek citizens- is this: IT IS NOT OUR FAULT.
And I can definitely explain. Because this is not just another article where a Greek wants to be the victim and ask for sympathy. No, this is an explanatory article of the real Greek situation.
I would never write something useless or without substance. Because:
1.I don’t have the luxury of time
2.I am a Civil Society expert. Not in words but in reality. I was a Civil Society activist for 2 years in Sarajevo and Belgrade, led awareness campaigns all over Balkans against corruption, gave a speech regarding Greek corruption and provided tangible solutions to combat it, in One Young World Summit in South Africa. We are now implementing with my team, YouRule, the first democratic tool for transparent communication between citizens and local politicians. Won a Social Impact Award on Impact Hub, am an active member of Goethe Institute and the grass root Civil Society initiatives we create in collaboration.
I know Civil Society. Thus I tell you. THE CURRENT SITUATION IS NOT THE GREEK CITIZENS’ FAULT.
You will tell me that this is not the case
because we elected them. Well this would be true in a real democracy. But in Greece we don’t have one. We are
the country where Democracy was born but today we have an Oligarchy of the
Let me guide you through:300 MPs constitute the Greek Government
-Did you know that 50 are not elected by Greek people, but are given as a boost to the political party with the highest percentage in the elections?
Thus, 250 MPs to be elected by citizens
-Did you know that 12 of these spots are filled with unelected political appointees?
So, only 238 MPs elect the Greek citizens.
-Did you know that this is just a number and hardly any of these 238 MPs take on a governmental position, since Ministers are appointed from among the political lackeys of the Prime Minister?
But this number is not the only non-democratic thing.
-Did you know that even if 90% of the Greek population voted White or Invalid, or even worse abstained from the procedure,WE WOULD STILL HAVE A GOVERNMENT FORMED according to the votes of the 2% that actually voted? (According to the Greek constitution)
Do you think this is democratic? Do you think that the Citizens can do something about it?
It gets worse:
Greek citizens are asked to vote and express their opinion. But how on earth can they do that when even the people running in the elections are chosen from the head of each political party?
It is not like in U.S. where the citizens choose who is going to run in the elections (primaries) and then vote for their favorite option among the nominees. In Greece you only run if you years after years follow a political party. Thus, it’s high likely that after elected you care more for the political party than the citizens.
After the above, you understand why this Referendum was also undemocratic.
The citizens didn’t ask for it. It was just announced. The citizens were not asked how the question should be posed – and in a referendum, the one that has the power to set the question is the one that has the power to manipulate the result as well.
But still, Greek people have had enough. I understand both the NO and the YES.
Let’s say that the economy of every country
is a sponge. For 5 years now Greek economy is squeezed again and again. In the
beginning water was running out of the sponge. However, today, no matter how
hard you squeeze there is simply no water left. You could get some drops but no
water, believe me. I see people living on the streets, I see pensioners that
cannot have enough money to survive searching every night in the garbage. One
night I talked with one of them that told me: I do it in the night so that
people don’t see me. I don’t want them to feel sorry. I have dignity.
And it is this dignity that brought this NO result in the referendum.
However, the YES was not the part of the population that believes this austerity should continue. On the contrary, YES people also believe austerity is no longer the way.
But be absolutely certain that the majority of Greek population wants to be part of the Eurozone, part of the European Union. Part of the CAP, the Erasmus, the free movement of labor, market, goods, capital.
We all want this, and this is the reason why I completely disagree with this referendum. It simply split the Greek Population in half, fighting who is more wrong than right, when they were advocating for the same thing.
And for this I clearly blame you Alexis. I blame you not for the economic or social situation (this is not something that can be solved in just 5 months obviously). But I blame you for this rhetoric of hate, for this division, for this stress you put us through just in order to have the legitimacy to stay longer in your Prime Minister chair. I blame you for manipulating such an important aspect of democracy like the referendum just to create some fireworks.