I’m sorry if this is way off topic but I can’t think about anything else. I’m not sure who coined the term but, in case you can’t guess, it is an amalgamation of Greece and exit, referring to Greece’s potential exit from the Eurozone. This was once described as being unthinkable but now people are openly talking about the possibility of cutting Greece adrift. Being half Greek, having family there and having spent a lot of time there obviously means that this issue is close to me. Until recently I have continued to laugh at the predictability of it all and in particular at the playing out of cultural stereotypes on all sides.
I’m not laughing anymore.
What’s going on inside Greece is scary. A European country is becoming a third world country where people can’t afford to eat. Ordinary people are giving up their children. They are being pushed to the brink, as demonstrated today by the woman who threatened to jump out of her office window after learning she would be made redundant. Her story is surely not unique. Hatred is being ignited to the extent that people are actually bringing up WWII which I would not have thought possible. I’m amazed that we have let this happen.
The fascinating thing is the seeming irrationality in the way this Eurozone crisis has played out. I’m finally getting a real sense of how senseless upheavals like wars come about. Despite the facade of refined diplomacy and calculated politics, crisis can stem from trivial cultural misunderstandings (see “Homeopathic psychiatrist” for possible examples…) and actions can be determined by basic instincts. I can’t help but think that human beings were not designed to interact on this scale.
From a mental health point of view, I don’t know how Greeks will adapt to cope with the hardships that they are facing. Things are incredibly tough and also so far outside the realms of what people could have imagined a few years ago. However, with the prospect of a deepening recession with or without a grexit, I wonder whether it might genuinely be worth something to the Greek people for Greece to just choose its financial freedom and return to the Drachma. People might then be able to regain a sense of pride and dignity that they have lost and reinforce their collective identity. I’m not kidding. People really need that.