Sunday, 23 August 2009
Greece burns… but who are the arsonists?
Many thoughts spring to mind watching on Greek TV the fires wreaking havoc and destroying towns and suburbs north east of Athens. One, obviously, is horror at the ecological disaster, the further ruin of the Greek landscape and the property and way of life in Greece's small towns. Second, is disgust at the government's wholly inadequate response to the ever-present danger of wildfires in Greece. You would have thought that, given that these huge fires are an annual event, Greece would have the best-prepared, trained and equipped fire-fighters and volunteers in the world, able to prevent or deal promptly with outbreaks before they reach these overwhelming proportions; but this is clearly nowhere near the case. Third, I can barely watch the TV news reports of the fires, which seem to revel in the images of catastrophe they have captured and can't resist presenting a complex news event as if it were a Hollywood disaster film. Fourth, the hysterical and hyperbolic presentation of the fires obscures and minimises the most significant detail of these Attica fires, which is that they were started deliberately and in a co-ordinated fashion, and overlooks the most pertinent question, which is: who are the arsonists?
There are a number of possibilities.
A. The mentally disturbed or sociopaths.
B. Land developers.
(But since the fires were started in a number of different locations, simultaneously, and in remote, inaccessible areas, A and B do not seem likely in this case, which leaves:)
C. Anarchists, attempting to bring the same destruction to Attica's environs as they brought to Athens proper during last winter's riots.
D. Albanian immigrants, who have any number of grudges against Greece. (In Britain, those who carried out terrorist attacks on London's transport system in 2005 were disenchanted Pakistani, West Indian and Somali immigrants).
E. Turkish agents. Given that Greece and Turkey are in a state of cold war over the Aegean, Cyprus, Thrace and so on, it would be naive not to acknowledge that Turkey will have as a significant aim the weakening and destabilisation of Greece economically, politically and psychologically.