Sooner or later, everything refers back to ancient myth.
The Greek people today feel like Odysseus, forced to navigate between Scylla and Charibdis, two monsters guarding the straits of Messina. They were only an arrow’s throw from each other, so sailors found it almost impossible to escape them. We have to vote in a referendum on Sunday.
Vote YES, and we face having to crawl back to our creditors, begging for a deal probably much worse than the one we had before. Greece will struggle along for years, unable to climb out of recession.
Vote NO, and we sail into unknown waters. Will we be forced out of the euro, maybe out of the EU? How will this exit be organized, and by whom? The way ahead is dark, and full of eddies and reefs.
What’s more, almost everything is still unclear.
This is what they’re saying:
The YES vote say they are voting for Europe.
The NO vote say they do not accept anymore to be threatened and blackmailed (by Europe).
The PM, Mr. Tsipras, says that a NO win does not mean Greece will leave Europe or even the euro, just that it will increase his bargaining power.
The President of the European Commission Mr. Junker disagrees, and, only this morning, warned Greece against a NO vote (which must have angered NO voters even more). He said: “If the Greeks vote NO, the Greek position is dramatically weakened.”
Mr. Varoufakis, the Greek Finance minister, said today a new deal was in the offing.
Mr. Junker denies this.
This morning SYRIZA Minister and chief negotiator Mr. Tsakalotos declared on a televised interview that the PM called the referendum because the deal offered “would never have been ratified by Parliament and would have brought down the government.”
As we speak, there are two demonstrations starting in Athens, one for YES and one for NO. People in their thousands are standing around, waving flags. Whatever happens, Mr. Tsipras cannot be proud that he’s managed to divide the Greek people. He cannot be proud of the scenes playing over and over on the television, of elderly people standing in line for hours, jostling and pushing, and in some cases in tears. Odysseus managed in the end to escape both Scylla and Charibdis and survive. Let’s hope we can do the same.