Much ink has been spilled – and undoubtedly will be in the future – regarding whether the agreement by which FYROM is recognised by our country as North Macedonia is good or bad.
From the enraged reactions, however, one can draw an indisputable conclusion. The procedure followed was the worst possible. The SYRIZA-Independent Greeks ruling coalition handled the naming issue in the worst possible way.
Firstly, it handled a national issue on the terms of partisan motivations. Instead of pursuing a minimum consensus, it attempted to break up the opposition.
The immediate result was the government’s indifference to public opinion.
This is where it made the second fundamental mistake. Believing that Greek citizens had forgotten the Macedonian issue, the government forgot people’s sensitivities, their emotional charge, their identification with historical memory, and the place that memory has in their identity.
The inadequate preparation of public opinion on an issue which is both national and a matter of identity, and the clash with the opposition, made the confrontation flare up.
Those in power are now experiencing what they fueled while in the opposition: the rage of citizens over the economic crisis, the reaction that often surpassed the limits of outrage and even of violence in its purest form.
SYRIZA and ANEL back then justified everything. They should not forget that, because that is the only way they can understand what is happening today.