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Greece, The Tragic Meaning Of That "No"

Supporters of 'No' in Athens' Syntagma square Sunday night.
Supporters of 'No' in Athens' Syntagma square Sunday night.
Nicolas Barré

PARIS — The Eurozone is going through the most serious crisis of its short history. It will emerge from it either stronger — but this requires exceptional leadership from European leaders who, so far, have shown none — or deeply weakened.

If the latter is the case, we will look back in history and say that Europe was not ready for this single currency "experience." And the political project of a whole generation will be crushed, just as other major regions of the planet are extending their influence.

This is why the moment is historic. The tragedy is that this history is being written on the street, amid tension, blackmail and often also in the hatred of the other, as was the case during the electoral campaign in Greece; where Angela Merkel and Wolfgang Schaüble were used as heinous scapegoats.

By massively answering "No" to the biased question that a manipulative government asked them, the Greeks conspicuously turned their backs on what Europe suggested: new aid measures against reforms. History will remember that they did it with some staggering help from the International Monetary Fund, which, a few days away from the vote, suddenly gave credit to Alexis Tsipras' theories that demand a massive restructuring of the Greek debt — in addition to the already agreed to reductions, which, let's not forget, represent one year's GDP!

The result is disastrous. From now on, the European Central Bank (ECB) is on the front line, having to play the firefighter for a state that deems the debts it owes to its European neighbors illegitimate, but is also in a rush, every day, like it did again on Sunday evening, to ask the ECB a few extra billions to save its banks.

This performance cannot go on. If a referendum took place in Europe, how many countries would still accept to support Greece?

The Greek electors chose to leap into the unknown. All the options are now on the table, including that of Greece leaving the Eurozone, in which it never should have entered. This exit could happen sooner that we'd expect, with a collapse of the banking system that could happen at any moment.

The situation hangs by a single thread, the ECB, which has already gone very far in the exegesis of its rules. Tsipras keeps speculating that Europe has more to lose with Greece leaving the euro than maintaining it on his conditions. But, by dint of pushing his partners to their limits, he has ruined his chances of finding a compromise. He's now facing a Europe that, in turn, can now succumb to the temptation to say "No" to him. This is what the ancient Greeks called a tragedy.

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Migrant Lives

A Train Journey With Bengal Migrants Looking For A Living Far Away

Finding a seat on the Karmabhoomi Express is close to impossible. A closer look at why so many migrant workers travel on it, and out of Bengal, offers a grim picture.

image of a train

The Karmabhoomi Express runs from Kamakhya to Mumbai in a 3 day journey.

India Rail Info
Joydeep Sarkar

WEST BENGAL — Welcome aboard the 22512 Kamakhya-LTT Karmabhoomi Express — a metaphor, if any, of the acuteness of Bengal’s unemployment problem.

It is 10.28 pm at north Bengal’s Alipurduar Junction and the crowd has swollen to its peak. This is when the Karmabhoomi Express appears at the station. It is bound for Mumbai. Finding a seat on it is close to impossible. It is always chock full and there are always hundreds struggling to get a spot in the unreserved general compartment.

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