An Unfamiliar Greece

Spetses, Greece -- This familiar country has suddenly turned unfamiliar. I spent time here in the mid-1970s during college and played semi-pro basketball in Athens. My parents come from Crete and I speak the language.

But I’m feeling lost after an 11th hour political move by radical leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to call a snap referendum, shut the banks and campaign for rejecting a multinational lending program calling for more painful economic austerity.

 Those urging a "no" vote in the upcoming euro referendum rally at Syntagma Square in Athens on Monday.  Petros Karadjias - Associated Press

Those urging a "no" vote in the upcoming euro referendum rally at Syntagma Square in Athens on Monday.  Petros Karadjias - Associated Press

“What are we voting for? I don’t really know,” said housekeeper Maria Moriati, voicing a common sentiment.

The opposition parties say the referendum scheduled for Sunday is simple: Should Greece keep the euro as its currency or not? The answer could ultimately decide whether Greece remains in the European Union.

The country is wracked by uncertainty and fear, but not panic. It has endured the humiliation of economic depression and cycled through governments as a result of financial crises. The bank closures are the final indignity and have raised the level of uncertainty to new levels.  Read more