The Tragedy of Greece's Referendum

The person who says "I'm voting no" has a point. Not the person who says it out of blind and thoughtless rage. He's just an idiot. But the person who doesn't want his "yes" to be interpreted as an absolution of what happened in the past five years or as an advanced affirmation of the continuation of the same policy without corrections. Or the person that says that they don't want their "yes" to be taken as a vote of doubt towards a government that has only been in power for six months, or much worse, as a vote of confidence towards the old politicians that are ready to return to the arena.

The person who says "I'm voting yes" also has a point. But not out of fear. Because, after the plunder of the internal devaluation that removed 25 percent of our national income, I won't risk going through the ultimate misery of another, even worse, external devaluation when the euro gives its place to a parallel "bad" currency at first and a devaluated national currency later. I will not risk my country's position in the European core, nor do I want to see its identity replaced by Panos Kammenos' folk dancing at army bases and his nationalist ethical teachings in schools. I do not want to give a blank check to a government that admits to having failed in the negotiations so far, for them to continue at will. If we have reached the referendum, it is because the previous deal wouldn't pass the party's vote and wouldn't receive a parliamentary majority. How can I believe that another deal will pass, when the nay-sayers will have the nuclear weapon of the referendum on their side?

Both sides of this debate have a point that has divided us. Maybe that's why the cliché of the "Greek tragedy" that the international media often uses to describe what's happening is accurate this time. Because what sets the Greek tragedy apart from other dramatic arts is that the heroes that do battle on stage are not good or bad, they are not right or wrong. Each of them is right and wrong at the same time. That's why their fate is tragic.

This sounds like what we're going through before the Sunday ballot. Right and wrong, in a way, coexist in all of our consciences, in our families, our friends and the nation. That is a tragedy. And for it to exist, hubris has to be committed. Not against the gods, as in Aeschylus or Sophocles, but against democracy. Because, and this is my opinion, the Sunday referendum is an insult towards the democracy it addresses. Citizens are asked to vote yes or no without knowing what the question is. Like a blind date. Everyone will answer depending on what they think the question is and will discover on Monday that someone will pose the question they answered differently and they cannot change their answers. Except if they answer in a way that cannot be misconstrued.

In order to avoid the worst situation: Let's decide that whatever way we answer, our fate is based on how our German partners will interpret it. That whatever has happened (in the name of decency and self-determination, supposedly) during the past few days, the end of negotiations, the closing of the banks, the sudden fall in our economy, place us defenseless in the hands of our creditors. As the fate of the heroes in an ancient tragedy, the Gods will decide on it.

This post originally appeared on HuffPost Greece and was translated into English.