‘What you have to understand is, it’s not their fault, its not our fault, it’s all our faults really.’ These were not the words I was expecting to hear from the 32 year old fashion editor standing, bags in hand , on a metro heading towards the center of Athens. We had stopped her to ask for directions and two minutes in we were already discussing the crisis, we were professionals.
It seemed that the issues of the crisis were never too far away from the minds of young Greek people. It started with me grumbling about the strikes, she explained to me that these had become common place recently and that we were actually lucky that the metros and the taxis were not down at the same time. All the taxes are going up and at the same time her Mother’s pension was being taken from her. Her job had made her reduce her hours to just four days a week and so she could not even afford to go on strike. At the same time the Government was threatening to cut off her electricity unless she paid the new property taxes, she was in a bind.
I explained that we had just arrived from Germany, where Merkel was trying to fight for a way to ‘save’ Greece. Who does she blame? Then she said that ‘What you have to understand is, it’s not our fault it’s all our fault really.’ She recognised the the Greek Government had overspent and could not envision a return to the Drachma. The idea of waking up bankrupt, with a currency with very little value did not sound like a good option to her. Neither did years of this…slowly and gruelingly attempting to drag their way out of this recession.
The solution was that there was no solution
So the solution was that there was no solution. The people striking were from all strata of society, they offered their anger and were waiting for solutions. They knew what was wrong but they did not know how the fix it, just like our politicians.