Εvery time timeliness required it, we presented in the articles of our newspaper “MANIOT SOLIDARITY”, the divisions that were manifested during the 200 years of life of the modern Greek state. Many of these divisions were explosive and lasted decades. If we examine their duration and intensity, in combination with the external circumstances and their effects on the internal affairs of our country, we cannot, unfortunately, conclude that these divisions are decreasing in intensity and duration as the years go by. They seem to be fed by some form of genetic character, which is not eliminated over time.
Of course, behind the divisions are the interests of individuals and groups, who believe that with the divisions they promote, they will eventually emerge victorious and benefit from the conflict. Despite the fact that national slogans are mixed in with the theoretical background on which these groups attempt to base their divisive arguments, the results, in most cases, bring national losses! Let us remember just two such disasters: the loss of the Great Idea as a result of the division of the 1910s and the loss of any positive development on the Cyprus issue as a result of the division of the 1940s.
Could the 1975 Constitution, whose provisions have been described as groundbreaking for the time it was voted, be a framework of common acceptance for citizens and politicians? This constitution stabilises, in a balanced way, the rights and obligations of citizens and forms a commonly accepted framework for the political debate on the policies to be applied in the governance of the country. Its provisions are broad enough to accommodate all political debates, which can be carried out within the specified framework and can be relaxed before they become deep, thus leading to divisions.
No conscientious citizen wishes to impose his opinion on any issue on a fellow citizen who has a different opinion from him/her. Persuasion and dialogue, either directly or through modern discussion forums, are the best methods to bridge differences. At the end of the exchange of arguments and the formulation of improvements to the initial positions, it is necessary to have a final position, the one that emerges from the views of most citizens on the basis of the common course agreed, through the constitution.
The divisions of the last decade have ultimately resulted in the escalation of the economic crisis and the deterioration of the financial situation of all citizens, and especially of many of the social groups that have played a leading role in divisive actions. The outcome, of course, would be even worse for the country and the citizens, if the majority tendency formed on the basis of theoretical approaches was applied in practice. It seems, however, that a tendency towards divisions is a permanent characteristic of some social groups, those that are formed on the basis of common beliefs which are completely disconnected from the prevailing beliefs of society.
The latest split in pro-vaccination / anti-vaccination groups for protection against the novel coronavirus, is evolving in much the same way. Anti-vaccination groups, each with a different starting point, focus on the individual rights of citizens, which are of course protected by the constitution, but not in an absolute way. Individual rights are related to the general interests of the society to which the constitution refers, thus shaping the interests of society as a whole in relation to the views or interests of minority groups, especially when the context of the conflict is about health and the lives of citizens. In other words, the decision of each citizen, which concerns his/her personal attitude and decision on an issue, cannot be disconnected from the damage that this attitude can cause to the wider society.
What constitutes, in addition to the constitutional requirement, common sense in the context of the voluntary coexistence of social groups, came to be confirmed by the decisions of the courts. These courts were called to rule on the constitutionality of government measures, related to the mandatory vaccination of social groups in close contact with large groups of citizens. Let us respect these decisions, avoiding another pointless division…
In Mani, it seems that the situation has somewhat improved. The old divisions, culminating in the vendettas, have disappeared as the population thinned out and tourism invaded. There are still low-intensity conflicts, mainly of a local nature, which are far from being divisive. Let us hope that these too will be eliminated soon.
THE EDITORIAL BOARD