Once again, Greece has been rocked and mourns the tragic loss of dozens of our fellow human beings in conditions of incredible horror, just a few kilometres from the centre of the capital. Entire families – small children and aged people – were consumed by a deadly, hellish inferno that leveled human lives and properties.
The weather conditions prevailing in the area were truly extreme. Yet, this cannot be an alibi for anyone. We are the country that constantly experiences repeated tragedies, unfortunately without learning from our errors and losses.
We usually speak after the fact, about the super-human efforts of firefighters, teams that save the afflicted, and police, yet we are unable to prevent or at least limit the tragedies.
Since 1980, the broader region of Attica has been burned by wildfires at regular intervals, yet the mechanisms of preventing and handling natural catastrophes are perpetually inadequate and deficient. Protection and rescue plans are organised on paper, but remain unimplemented in practice.
The first priority at this time is offering solidarity to the families of the victims and restoring a rudimentary normalcy in the areas that have been afflicted.
The vindication of so many unjustly lost human lives is not accomplished by a three-day national mourning or expressions of sorrow. It is impermissible to constantly leave the country at the mercy of nature, mourn the innocent victims for a while, and then continue as if nothing had happened.
Indeed, there are diachronic responsibilities, as the main opposition leader noted. Yet, we cannot constantly blame the past for everything that happens to us, and for the perpetual inadequacy of state mechanisms.
There are specific responsibilities in each case, which at some point must be attributed to those who each time are responsible and irresponsible.
It cannot be that we drown or burn without anyone being responsible. We cannot shift the blame to extreme weather conditions, and constantly search for why there was no coordinated plan, why there was no preventive plan, and why local and other interests undermine, for their own benefit, measures and necessary interventions.
Other countries also have extreme and unpredictable disasters. Yet, they are the exception and not the rule, as they are in Greece, where you cannot know what comes next.
Let the dozens of victims that we mourn today be the last sacrifice to the invincible incompetence of state and local authorities to perform their basic duty – to protect and preserve the lives and property of our fellow citizens.