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Sunday, September 24, 2023

We, the “sprayed” and inequalities

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{ARXIGRAMMA} Π {ARXIGRAMMA. Before condemning the people next door as “sprayed”, before we put our fellow citizens in the category of something less than human, we should try to understand what has happened in Cypriot society. What changes have taken place that push us to once again split into camps to be beaten. The logic of crushing our “others” and “eating our flesh” will not go far. If we want to be constructive, we must carefully consider the inequality indicators published by the Ministry of Finance. The answer to the problem will be found in education and social support, in lifelong learning and not in conflict and exclusion.

In 2019, 21.3% of the population or 188,000 people were at risk of poverty or social exclusion (AROPE index), according to a survey by the Ministry of Finance. The figures are better than in previous years, but I think you will agree with me that we should not expect this improvement to continue in 2020-21. The pandemic and the consequent loss of jobs and incomes combined with significant increases in basic goods have drowned in poverty many who were on the verge of extinction. In fact, it is possible that others were added who until then were unsuspecting of how close they were to poverty. Among them is a portion of the population that now participates in development only through the consumption of state or family money that it received as assistance and that will soon end.

After all, there are many who send messages on the radio show “Show me the Money” on “Politis 107.6” and complain about the high growth rates that we present to them. Their question is why do they “not see it”? These are groups of the population whose work has not been going well for years now. Small and medium-sized shopkeepers whose goods are in demand, workers in jobs lost through rapid technological change, and employees who, while working on wage stagnation and inflation, have reduced their purchasing power. Many have adapted, acquired new skills or developed others. But many ignored, could not or did not want to see the new realities as they were formed. They are the ones who are left behind and you will find them on the streets or on social media “shouting” about almost everything.

These are our fellow citizens with a lot of anger for their personal failure. Some of them focus all their energy on conspiracies, prophecies, nationalism and racism. They are ready to radicalize, ready to blow up the “system” that is fixing them. Whether they are fans of the “Yellow Vests” in France slapping President Macron or fans of Trump in America rushing to the Capitol or anti-vaccines attacking the “Jupiter” band, the root of the problem is often the same: They are people who they could not follow in the footsteps of the times, unable to take personal responsibility to rectify their situation. Where the “victims” are permanently and who are always to blame for their condition by some “others”. For them, the world ends and they will take care of the verification of the “prophecy”. Until then, there are several willing out there who are ready to use them as well as use “us” against them.

This is a polarization that suits those who are politically favored by the tension and those who do not like real solutions to the problem. Solutions related to the need for the state to invest heavily in lifelong learning and early retraining of employees. Solutions that will reconsider the quality of education, the mentalities of the “victim” cultivated by the media in society but also the opportunities for professional career and economic prestige of women. On how the person feels safe when he fails and how the welfare state helps him raise his head. Let's see how arbitrary behaviors and practices that lead to corruption are punished through the institutions and how the trust of the society is regained. These should be the goal and not how to exclude a group of the population that is already far behind. Let us not send them to the Middle Ages because in the end they may take others with them.

ΥΓ. Of course, I am in favor of vaccinations and I share the concerns that arise from all those who choose not to be vaccinated.

Source: politis.com.cy

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