I don’t know how many of you have noticed that for some time now I’ve refrained from writing about the situation in Greece. Yes, there’s been the occasional allusion or throwaway line, but never a solid on the mark effort at saying what I think is going to happen over here.
It’s not been for a lack of caring or concern. I’m immersed in it all, besieged virtually every moment of every day with stories, rumors, flash, and dance. The New York Times runs several stories every week focused on Greece as its lynchpin, a far cry from the days when one only heard about Greece in the international news when its forests were burning. There’s a sort of moth to the flame attraction to the mess: Will Greece default or won’t it? And if so, what disasters might follow?
Schadenfreude? Perhaps, though to use that word loads the debate for it is German.
To some it’s a Grand Kabuki performance with predictable players doing predictable things toward a predictable outcome, drawing speculators, speculation, and waiting profiteers.
To others it’s utter chaos—unchecked, unguided, unknown—unleashing despair, depression, Nero-fiddling, and resignation to the fates.
Most here no longer want to talk about it, think about, or hear about it. They’ve lived with it for so long the marinade is complete.
What marinade is that you ask? Germany and Greece, together again.
|Prime Ministers Merkel and Tsipras|
Siger, are you mad? They hate each other! Greece blames Germany for its ills, and Germany faults Greece as unappreciative. The words between the two nations are harsh, the anger between their citizens relentlessly rising, their futures clouded by past history.
All true. It’s a great conflagration, a battle of classically conflicting cultural attitudes pitting the grand practitioners of the laissez faire Mediterranean lifestyle against a nation epitomizing Northern Europe’s precision mentality.
But guess what folks; they need each other. The two nations have a tangled history far beyond Greece’s first king after its 1821 Revolution being German, and their opposition in two world wars. Their economies and peoples have been inextricably linked for decades, despite the indelible memories of World War II.
|King Otto of Greece|
They are going to fight, they are going to scream, they are going to fume, but ultimately they will return to normalized relations—though never in a marriage made in heaven. The big question is, when is ultimately? For now tempers are far too short, trust too low, and each side expects any concession by one to be greeted with braggadocio by the other rather than thanks.
I think it’s safe to say that many on our planet are uneasy at the moment, wondering who is charging like Tennyson’s Light Brigade into a valley of death. Is it a government leader, a political party, a nation, the EU, the world?
There will certainly be casualties, but with time and a renewed appreciation of what each nation has to offer the other, Germany and Greece will find their way back to mutual respect.
As for how things will shake out until then, let’s just say I’m working on that as a subject for my new Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis book for 2016 publication.
See, I’m learning from headline writers how to create suspense.