Whats the big deal?

on . Posted in English texts


Greece has not been crippled by the problems it faces. Even the best of countries have their fair share of woes. Even greater than our problems here in Greece is that fact that we are completely incapable of reaching any kind of agreement on how to deal with them. We can't define them, prioritize them or even isolate them from others.

For example, talk about immunity from police intervention on university grounds and someone will counter that when you've got degree holders without jobs, asylum is the least of our worries. But does asylum help anyone to get a job? Could the fact that universities are shut down by protesters for half the year be somehow responsible for the difficulty in finding work?

Then you might talk about the damage done to university property during sit-in protests. "Big deal! What's a couple of broken desks compared to the Vatopedi land-swap scandal?" someone may say.

Of course, at the rate the country's universities are being demolished, they may run to the same cost. Furthermore, the Vatopedi Monastery affair is a crime that needs to be solved, while the destruction of universities is something that needs to be stopped. They are incomparable phenomena that do not even belong in the same conversation.

Public discourse has become this big ocean of problems and, instead of dealing with each one individually, step by step, we are constantly changing the focus of the conversation, citing a different problem, a "bigger deal" and making no progress as a result.

By solving the smaller problems first, maybe then we can gather some momentum to deal with the bigger ones, because if we don't, and we keep comparing one thing to another, then nothing will seem like any big deal after all.

KATHIMERINI English Edition, 06/02/2009