Can Europe Make It?

A negotiation, a betrayal and an endless summer

As Syriza capitulates to the creditors' demands, the question on everyone's lips is: will fear and resignation now preside? I hardly think so.

Antonis Vradis
13 July 2015

A still from Future SuspendedThese days, Greeks seem to have become experts in picking up even the most minuscule of detail in the footnote of any proposed framework of an agreement; in many ways, the level by which the vast majority of the population is following and reading into the neck-breaking speed of the developments spitting out of Brussels is staggering.

Myth mixed in with fact, rumour with actual developments, hope blended in with fear: even still, in-between this strangest of amalgams of information and their ensuing psychological toll, there seems to be a peculiar consensus emerging. This consensus lies in the realisation that the once beloved Eurozone – for most – is little other than a financial mafia determined to utterly destroy lives in the name of fiscal discipline. It has come down to this, the barest, most crude of orders: bank profits will always come before human lives.

I was at a party on Saturday night: a party that has become something of a legend, an institution bringing together some of the finest local DJ's enjoying playing for friends, away from commercial venues, tucked away at a remote, mountainous suburb of the city of Patras. What you would normally expect to find is a big, raucous crowd, heavy beats and frantic dancing. This Saturday, at the opening of the party what I felt instead was a tampered mood.

For those first few hours, a big circle of us formed by the door entrance discussing the ELA,& the privatisation fund proposed by Schäuble and the utter colonisation of the country's national economy and politics. Anything Schäuble-involving is hardly a party-lifting discussion topic.

The irony did not escape us. But what is one supposed to do, we told ourselves? This is not some academic discussion concerning the evils of capitalism that can be postponed for later on, for a more appropriate time; that can squeeze itself into university auditoriums and in our platforms of political propaganda.

Right now, this is something affecting every single one of us, in the most direct of ways. But soon enough, as the night took its course, the realisation that we were missing out on what we had gathered to do silently kicked in: the circle of financial expertise breaking away, the dancefloor filling up.

We have spent what feels like an eternity following negotiations that have now led, it seems, to a colossal betrayal of anyone who may have thought it would be possible for the will of the majority of the voting population in this territory to be listened to. What is supposed to be the flagship of the global left, a left-wing government has shown, in the most resounding of ways, that any radical politics in the EU framework is a pure contradiction in terms.

Is that a bad thing? Will fear or resignation now preside? I hardly think so. Just over a year ago, our collective produced Future Suspended, a documentary that had tried to capture the footprint of the crisis on the psyche of the Athenian population, to show how this endless financial uncertainty had put people's lives on hold.

I had never experienced this feeling as much, as vividly as I had this summer, until this morning. Our entire summer has felt more excruciatingly suspended than ever. In many ways, today's news of Syriza capitulating to the Brussels order is liberating and exhilarating: now that we are certain that no hope lies in parliamentary representation, now that so many of us know we can expect no outside saviours, now is the time to finally take our lives out of hold. Let the future begin.

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