If we had to identify the strongest and most consistent demands of Greek public opinion during the post-dictatorship period, it would come to the following three: democracy, freedom, and equal treatment of the underprivileged. A set of values that could also be described as “I want to live freely with a right to hope”. In the mid-2000s, though, this changed. It may seem inferior, but decent employment or “a good job” became the main demand.
A job is now the most significant determinant of people’s lives: whether and when to start a family, how many children to have and when, where to live (55.6% would leave the country under appropriate conditions), relationship with the community, it all depends on the job. Any decision made and any strategies followed are somehow attached to employment status because this constitutes the individual’s new relationship with society.
Three years ago, a young unemployed Tunisian, in protest, set himself on fire. Chain reactions brought about the eruption of the Arab Spring. The interesting part of this story is that before doing it he did not yell “God is great” or “Death to America”; rather, his last words were “…And how do you expect me to earn a living?”
At the end of 2013 the challenge in Greece remains the same and even stronger. With the only difference being that the crisis has now hit its core: the demand for a decent job becomes mathematically impossible because the job openings today are not enough. Thus, the anonymous unemployed emerges as the “person of the year” that passed. Also, unemployment at 27% is the “most important event of the year” which without exact date of realization or recognizable historical subjects, constantly develops in the shadow of the official political agenda and with absolute and direct effects on the lives involved.
Every crisis, as a break with the past, appears abruptly, but is preceded by an incubation period in which small, quiet, and gradual changes take place and are later transformed into something “radically different”. This ” radically different” today is unemployment. It shows who are “keepers”and who are “innovators” of the system, presents the battle between them, and determines whether a whole generation of young people will be lost or not.