One heard harsh rhetoric during the debate in Parliament yesterday on the management of this month’s wildfire.
The prime minister declared that in this year’s fire we were counting stremmas [10 per hectare, of destroyed forests] while at Mati [where 102 people die in a 2018 fire under SYRIZA rule] we were counting corpses.
The main opposition SYRIZA leader, former PM Alexis Tsipras, accused the prime minister of “exploiting the dead and lying”.
KINAL [Movement for Change] leader Fofi Gennimata accused the PM of exhibiting scornful behaviour toward her.
Extreme weather conditions, however, have no political stripe or ideology.
Beyond the unavoidable skirmishes between parties, there were also positive elements that emerged during the debate, and we should take note of them.
One was the PM’s decision to repeat his apology – “not only as acknowledgment of responsibility but also as a call to action” – to the nation in the aftermath of the wildfires.
However the opposition may interpret this apology, it was necessary.
The second positive thing was PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ assurance that the views of the opposition on reconstruction will be taken into account, as the effort to heal the wounds is a national affair.
In a country where each new government usually dismisses the legacy of the previous one, as occurred with the report issued, when SYRIZA was in power, by renowned forest and fire ecologist Johann Georg Goldammer, one must resolve chronic dysfunctions so that all political parties may participate in the national effort.
The third positive element in the parliamentary debate was the plea for the “boulevard of science” to be embraced, and not the “side-road of lies”.
The discussion concerned wind turbines and conspiracy theories that link them to forest fires.
That call to embrace science undoubtedly extends also to the burgeoning, criminal anti-vaccination campaign, which unfortunately includes certain opposition politicians.