All the events surrounding the deadly 23 July, 2018 wildfire in the Attica seaside resort of Mati that are being recounted these days in an Athens lower court have much to teach us.
The eyewitness accounts published by Ta Nea today complete the horrific puzzle, and every detail of the experiences of the town’s residents should be heard and widely publicised.
Beyond the political crime and the operational crimes of competent services, where a combination of cynicism and incompetence led to tragic results, there is an obligation to let these stories of horror, pain, and irrationality become a springboard for a restart of the entire state and of a flexible civil protection authority that will not be used as an arena for political skirmishes.
Mati is here, with its open wounds, which render it necessary to review that tragedy again and again, in order to avoid similar criminal errors and behaviours in the future.
Mati is with us through the scream of its residents telling us that we must understand that we are living in the 21st century and that we have the means and collective experience to avert such scenes of horror and unspeakable tragedy in the future.
That requires will, maturity, and a sense of duty, while also attributing responsibility to those who were responsible at the time.
Mati is not a story that has passed or an unfortunate moment on anyone’s shift.
It is the result of a string of responsibilities, with those who managed the crisis back then playing the leading role.
This is a matter of memory and duty, and of making sure that we shall never again see such images and wounds.