After the EU referendum, the United Kingdom is less united than ever, the idea of a united Europe is more wounded than ever, and the global economy faces disaster, once more. Is this an exaggerated assessment? Let's take a closer look.
The referendum divided Great Britain. The young population voted differently than the older population. The Welsh and the English voted differently than the Scots and the Irish. The results that came out of London and the big metropolitan cities were vastly different from those coming out of rural England.
The two major parties have proven that they have shallow influence. Perhaps there was a patriotic-nostalgic-xenophobic motivation to Brexit. It could have also been a plebeian uprising by those who suffered in the shadows of globalization, as the city's elite continued to profit. In all cases, it is definitely a result that divides Britain and calls its cohesion into question.
There is no doubt that Europe was defeated in the British referendum. In fact, this is its worst defeat since March of 1975, when the six states founded the EEC. But which Europe was defeated? Was it the Europe of Brussels, which -- led by the well-fed and affluent -- issues regulations on the length of cod's fins or the thickness of toilet paper? Or was it the sullen, Protestant Europe, which seeks to punish the sinners with austerity? I fear that the Europe that has been defeated is actually the Europe that was a safe haven for freedoms, rights, tolerance and solidarity.
Athens can not afford to remain inactive or rest. It must react as vigorously as it can, and speak out in favor of those who champion democracy.
As for the economic turmoil, it remains to be seen if it will last as long as the current shock, or if it will prove to be a fatal blow to an already-fragile environment. Western economies are still struggling to recover, and the progress by the emerging economies of the BRICS has halted.
For Athens, this situation is troubling. On one hand, there is the fear that the referendum results would open a can of worms, and that Nigel Farage's friends would come to the fore, and that we would soon find ourselves in a world that is ruled by the likes of Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Le Pen, Orban, Grillo, Putin and Erdogan. On the other hand, there is the fear that, in order to recover from Brexit, Europe will need to shrink and return to the borders of Charlemagne's Europe -- a rigorous holy empire of economic orthodoxy.
With either of these two scenarios -- which are clearly intertwined -- the future is predicted to be dry and anhydrous. Athens can not afford to remain inactive or rest. It must react as vigorously as it can, and speak out in favor of those who champion democracy -- those who would like the British referendum to be a clarion call and not the sound of mournful cemetery bells.
This post first appeared on HuffPost Greece. It has been translated into English and edited for clarity.