It may go down in history as the slap seen 'round the world. I am of course talking about the shocking attack by a neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party spokesman upon a Greek parliamentary candidate, that was caught live on TV before instantly going viral on the internet. As outrageous and unacceptable as this assault was, it has also angered and unified this nation more than any single event in its recent history.
Yes folks, the slap may just turn out to be the unexpected and unintended game-changer that Greece, and the entire Eurozone, so badly need.
"The Golden Dawn (neo Nazi party) is done. Being on the far right is done. No one wants to associate themselves with that and so this changes the election, I think it defines it," my co-host Jeff Macke says in the attached video.
In fact, just 9 days before the citizens of Europe's oldest but most ailing country go back to the polls again, and the pre-election dialogue has nothing to do with austerity and unemployment or bailout money and the economy. No, the talk from Athens to Mykonos is now about outrage and disgust over an incident that has proven to be far more embarrassing than anything that has happened since the debt crisis began more than 3 years ago.
It is a sad, but well known fact that dramatic events, often violent ones, frequently precede change. The Tunisian fruit seller who set himself on fire, the lone protestor standing up to a tank in Tienanmen Square. And now this latest moment of madness may have brought just enough disgrace and international shame to Greece's doorstep that exhausted citizens there finally say, "Enough. We are better than this."
All the while, another great nation is facing its own moment of reckoning 2,000 miles West across the Mediterranean Sea. The crisis in Spain has become so large and so dire that the country is about to admit that it can no longer handle its own problems and needs external help. If you think surrendering your sovereignty and swallowing your national pride will be easy for the 4th largest economy in Europe, than you probably do not know anyone who hails from the land of the matador.
Assuming reports are true, and Spain does request EU assistance this weekend to shore up its crippled banking system and rein in its lofty borrowing costs, then this too may mark a critical turning p0int in a process that, by all accounts, has lingered far too long.
A slap in the face for Greece. A matador stripped of his cape. Symbolic but important gestures that maybe, just maybe, are a sign that the crisis has hit rock bottom.