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Irony in the Aftermath

August 27, 2009

Friday’s edition of Athens News features an eyewitness account from yours truly and Anastasia Georgakopoulos based on our travels through Northeastern Attica on Monday and Tuesday.

Everywhere we went we saw the bitter irony of what got burned and what didn’t.

I took about 1,000 pictures and several dozen video clips from the scenes we saw. Only one, which I extracted from a video Anastasia took, fit into our copy for tomorrow.

We also had to cut passages like this one out of tomorrow’s article:

In Marathon, Grammatiko, Varnavas and Nea Makri the story was the same. Good fortune sat right next to the harshest destruction.

Flames scorched the green space for picnics and games in Pendeli’s Kardia (Heart) Park into a charcoal-coloured moonscape with a few smoking pits. But the wooden tables are still there. Two out of three road-side shrines looking over a dead-man’s curve to Marathon are still intact. The middle one is black with soot. One park bench in Rodopoli is a heap of cinders, the one next to it, barely lost a fleck of red paint. All throughout the neighbourhood, rubble now sits next to pristine estates.

Thanks to the unbounded size of the internet and after a great deal of filtering, picking and choosing you can now see what we saw in the aftermath of the Attica fires.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 27, 2009 21:41

    Sadly having only lived here for over a year now, I’ve noticed and had to become involved in a country that can still only react to a problem despite knowing of its obvious immediate problems. We here are often still blind to the obvious issues that need raising and choose to talk about them indefinitely rather than to react to them before the event.

    We live in a country that survives on the debate after the event rather than to be pro active in any aspect that is possible. I know this through dealing with the so called existing legal framework that is apparently there for the public sector. Having raised more than several serious issues that concern government and public sector issues, I’ve been met with a system that chooses to ignore and lie its way throught its own infrastructure. Having raised issues with so called Ministers and Politicians, I’ve been astounded by the ignorance and neglect and contempt shown for such matters that clearly need addressing by people who need and are paid to be dealing with matters that concern them.

    Apart from the obvious corruption that seems common place here in Greece, the fact that lies breed deceit here within itself on a Government level are shocking, even the statutes written for each department are ignored and abused by each sector I have been witness to so far. Public information is at best hidden from the public, and those who are informed enough to pursue it are led to distraction by the systematic lies that are given out by the legal system here that protects itself at all cost..

    If you are fortunate enough to want to implement change on any level, you are frowned upon and seen as a trouble maker, or worse. Those in power, who genuinely can make a difference never do, and its the rest of us who appear as rabble rousers when we raise the issues that meet a brick wall of silence and obscurity with our claims.

    In a country that goes for several months without adequate rain or other moisture, why is it surpising when areas of dense dry shrub land suddenly ignite and lay waste to vast areas similarly unquenched barren land? I live in athens, next to several failed areas that await development and i constantly fear them igniting, so why is it such a shock when this happens year after year to areas that are an obvious threat?

    I only know very brief information about 2007, however i understand that it is a relative sore point due to the amount of deaths that occurred. So far the situation has been relatively economic with its human cost however this is largely due to good fortune rather than situational awareness and prevention.

    From what i have seen, we have a largely under resourced fire service that tries to cope with an outstanding amount of coverage that can’t simply be dealt with in the current period of time. Coupled with the attitude to re-development and development within the areas on fire, its hardly surprising that so many fires are imminent and regularly due each year.

    If there were at least a fire prevention fund that someone could help themselves to, then at least we would have a system in place to criticise whereby now we watch and wonder!

    And we will next year too I’m sure…

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