This is a post not so relevant to my research but I feel the need to express my view about what is currently happening in my country and communicate it to foreign people. This is my personal experience after spending the last week in Thessaloniki, Greece. Greece has become very popular these days because of its financial condition and the attention given globally from all sorts of media.
I believe that Tsipras and his team have done an extreme amount of work in a very short period. Syriza is actually the first one negotiating the austerity measures with Troika. This did not happen with the previous governments in the last 5 years, either naively because of courage or corruption. Syriza is not a corrupted political party -at least so far- so they can put more pressure to the Troika reaching a fair agreement for the citizens. Austerity measures need to be taken inevitably but Syriza managed to bring to light the political aspects of the debt along the question of debt sustainability.
In order to vote in this Referendum I had to fly back home but it was very important for me to be in Greece at this moment and support my family and friends. I believe Tsipras and his team were much looking to negotiate a sustainable solution for Greek People that are suffering and this referendum could give them a strong “negotiation card” showing that people cannot suffer more horizontal austerity measures. I was back home and voted for the future of the country I grew up in and to which I want to go back one day (sooner or later). I want to have the choice to live and work back home and now this is not the case with the growing number in the percentages of unemployment.
Media incessantly communicates the fact that we cannot access our money. I am not worried about being able to access my money. Me, as the vast majority of Greeks, have almost no money at the banks after five years of extreme austerity measures. The Greek media is trying to make people believe that the problem lies in the last 5 months and not the last 40 years.
What is happening at the moment is cultivating fear and misinforming people. The fact that media was informing (or threatening) people that the banks will not open in a possible “NO” answer in the referendum made people to make queues outside the ATMs and get all the money they could, even a few hundreds of Euros. This brought the Bank Run and eventually the Capital Control. I think that people are not informed from independent, not corrupt, mediums.
The situation is indeed critical but we need to stay calm. On Sunday people showed that despite the media terrorism they voted NO to the current austerity measures that Troika wants to impose. So, the media propaganda failed this time.
Greeks are calm and they are more cautious with what they shop, they are spending less money than before. The dignity Greeks have shown in this situation is memorable. Because they understand that this is a struggle of all of us to get back to the values that our country has spawned and nurtured such as democracy, freedom, equality, solidarity and ethics on which the European Union was also built.
Additionally, what is significant is that yesterday after the Referendum, the public prosecutor intervened to start investigations on the way greek media covered last week’s events (i.e. the banks closure, the queues in the ATMs), how media managed the publications with regards to possible haircuts on Greek people’s stakes and what a possible “NO” answer will bring after the referendum. In other words, it will be investigated whether media attempted to influence voters and made an effort to distort election results. According to the relevant law, the election day and the day before the elections programs (talk shows) with political content are prohibited in order not to affect the voters, So the prosecutor will check this. It is also interesting that most media do not pay the taxes they should and stay live through continuous loans without substantial warrants.
As Noam Chomsky said austerity is just a class war because austerity under recession does not make sense. The situation becomes worse. The referendum results echoed that. For example rich areas in Athens brought over 80 % of YES to the austerity measures last Sunday.
Some info about my background.
I moved to the UK five years ago. I completed two MA degrees during which I worked in areas irrelevant to my studies as I could not find a job neither in Greece or the UK. Currently, I am based at the Open University in the UK doing funded research at the Institute of Educational Technology.