I cannot but explode after what we experienced this last week in my country.
A rash of fires, an unbelievably weak state response and neglect of duty resulted in:
- 64 people dead (and counting)
- more than 100 villages destroyed
- 1.4% of the Greek land area and about 10% of the Peloponnese peninsula burnt in 3-days time, 2% of the country burnt during the summer
- ancient Olympia site was scorched, while the surrounding area was completely destroyed and some monuments suffered severe burns
- the cost of the catastrophe amounts to many billion euros
Yes, all this didn’t occur because of a hurricane, an earthquake or a war, but from the most typical threat of the summer period: wild fires. The state proved incapable of even informing people in danger that they had to abandon their houses, leaving the rest of us wondering whether we are part of the EU-core, or just a sub-saharian banana republic.
What’s even more, and absolutely non-acceptable, is that, while the state couldn’t protect its citizens, the environment, their possessions and even our 3000 year old heritage (I’m still between the state of absolute anger and hopeless desperation while writing this article), Prime Minister Mr. Caramanlis put on a show a la George Bush and a ridiculous Public Order Minister, directly liable for the state’s incapability, said – without being able to rely on any evidence – that the country is facing an “asymmetrical threat”, putting us again in the map of terror fairy-tales and initiating a witch-hunt, aiming at distracting the public from our government’s incredible poorness and lack of organisation, coordination and communication.
Moreover, some other ministers were spreading rumors that these wildfires – the largest in the history of Europe, which resulted into the largest environmental disaster in Greek history -, occurred by arsonists motivated by – among others – the opposition. While I do believe that the arrest of just one such arsonist, who can indeed be linked to the opposition, is enough to demand the resignation of the opposition’s leader -at least-, I nevertheless have to express my deepest regret in face of the government’s dangerous incapability which did cost my country very much.
Finally, while we’re still waiting for an apology of some kind or even a logical explanation about why the rescue efforts went to dramatically wrong or even better the resignation of the people in charge of this chaos, we have received none of the above.
To me, the solution is simple and pressing: Mr Prime Minister, you have to face your responsibilities and be an example for your cabinet: hand in your resignation now!