By Gaurav Sharma
Even as Greeks ticked off the OXI(NO) mark on the referendum proposing austerity measures, the man behind the resounding NO was no longer present in his official capacity.
Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s combative finance minister announced his resignation on Monday morning after “he was made aware of a preference from some European participants that he be absent from the meetings”.
Last week, Varoufakis had threatened to quit in the event of a YES vote. Now that the Greeks have unanimously vote NO, the resignation comes as a rather unexpected call.
Varoufakis, however wears the patriotic heart on his sleeve. Pledging his loyalty to the cause of Greek referendum, Varoufakis said it was his duty to help the Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras to exploit, as he saw fit, the capital that the Greek people granted them through yesterday’s referendum.
“And I shall wear the creditors’ loathing with pride”, exclaimed a contented Varoufakis.
Varoufakis was the fulcrum behind rallying of the resounding NO vote through which Greece rebuffed European leaders’ attempt to stymie Greece with austerity proposals that were precociously bending towards punitive measures.
Instead, the rational and forthright minister suggested a prompt conclusion of an agreement that would consist of less austerity and more debt restructuring and adoption of needy, real reforms.
Fierce and Forthright
The boldness that Varoufakis brought to the diplomatic table was unparalleled with the conventional bureaucratic modus operandi. This was seen in his outspoken, critical and fierce media interactions.
One can define him as a radical leader, especially in reference to his contentious remark that Greece creditors were simply “terrorists”.
The ex-finance minister’s overview of the bailout providers as being built on “rotten foundations”, also proves his no-holds-barred approach as a politician.
“I’d rather cut my arm off”, another of Varoufakis’ outspoken response to signing the bailout proposals not including debt restructuring, shows his dogged determination to withstand alluring temptations.
Witty, Wise and Fearless
Not one to take himself too seriously, Varoufakis’s Twitter bio, “Economics professor, quietly writing obscure academic texts for years, until thrust onto the public scene by Europe’s inane handling of an inevitable crisis”, reveals his humorous side in its full colour.
When being asked for his opinion on Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Varoufakis pulled a jocular yet candid assertion that he was an awful little man.
The vocal peregrinations of Varoufakis swung effortlessly from zestful opinions to serious and damning pronouncements on the crisis afflicting the entire eurozone.
“A clueless political personnel, in denial of the systemic nature of the crisis, is pursuing policies akin to carpet-bombing the economy of proud European nations in order to save them”, Varoufakis summed up present day Europe in his powerful words.
The brutal honesty of Yanis Varoufakis makes him stand out as a top-notch politician. His refusal to bow down before the right wing German autocrats is a testimony of the anti-sycophant attitude with which he worked.
Yet the guy was realistic enough to admit that the left was not yet ready to plug the chasm that a collapse of the European capitalism would open up with a functioning socialist system.
For this reason and for the objective of protecting Greece from going into freefall, he was ready to make the sacrifice of his professional career.
How many politicians work with such a bold sacrificial attitude is a question that should be contemplated and indeed answered by all.