By Vasilis Kanellis
There are times that I must admit that Kostas Zouraris was right when he famously declared in parliament (in a different context) that “they are busting our genitals”.
What with the fatigue from the pandemic, people’s inability to take any more inanity, and the occasionally incomprehensible statements of politicians and scientists, this last phase of the pandemic is turning into something of a parody.
At times we laugh with all this, at times we cry, and times we become enraged by unacceptable situations.
For example, when you have a former prime minister who is now opposition leader coming out and declaring that the government’s “unstocking” [AstraZeneca] of vaccines that led thirty-somethings to hasten to be vaccinated, then that can only mean that they don’t give a hoot about what we think and they say whatever comes to mind.
No doubt Alexis Tsipras bitterly regrets what he said. His exaggerated rhetoric and his eagerness to oppose even what is by all accounts a successful vaccine rollout leads him to extremes.
Certainly he must now be aware that the tens of thousands of younger people that rushed to make a vaccination appointment have given him a resounding answer to his remark about “unstocking”.
This incident demonstrates how easy it is for even a quite clever politician to make a gaffe. After all, he himself was putting down vaccines just a few months ago.
Everyone makes a gaffe every now and then. The first stage of the vaccine rollout was a huge gaffe, if not just complete indifference about public opinion, as cronies, MPs, relatives of politicians, and even low-level party hacks rushed and were allowed to be vaccinated when the rules did not entitle them to do so.
Adding insult to injury, they happily took selfies to advertise their accomplishment – getting the jab when it was not their turn so that we would not lose the “fathers of the nation”.
Another gaffe that the sent the wrong message was the meal [in the presence of the PM] without social distancing on the island of Ikaria. So was the statement by [Syriza party secretary Dimitris] Tzanakopoulos about a “purge” [in the civil service if his party returns to power].
There have also been countless gaffes made by scientists, most recently when they decided not to allow restaurants, cafes and bars [scheduled to re-open on 3 May] to play music for customers, the rationale being that they will not be able to clearly hear each other speaking so they will huddle closer and the risk of transmitting the COVID-19 virus will be greater. That strikes one as more of a funerary silence than an outing.
Of course, citizens also thumb their nose at the rest of society when they resort to incredible ruses to violate public health rules just to have a good time. With travel between prefectures banned for the Easter holiday, one driver when confronted with a check at the highway tolls said that …his mother-in-law is pregnant and that he was traveling to the province in order to be of assistance.
One can in general find countless decisions and actions that demonstrate that often certain people either don’t know what they are doing or just don’t give a darn about what the rest of us think.
It is simply impermissible to fool with people who have suffered great travails, and you cannot make decisions without factoring in their fatigue.
One is dealing with a political system that frequently buries its head in the sand and often enough makes decisions based on its own perceived interests.
The government does so because it feels omnipotent and the opposition because of a lack of proposals and arguments.
Yet, the country even at this stage needs a cohesive plan to transcend the public health crisis and avert an economic one.
If each person does whatever he or she pleases and humours them then one can be certain that we shall not fare well either as regards the pandemic or the imminent economic crisis.
Then, alas, one will have affirmed the famed declaration of the late PM and president Constantine Karamanlis that the country has turned into a boundless lunatic asylum.