And the translation of the Greek announcement in Heraklion news on the EU Digital Green Certificate for travel reads like a ritual service for his highness Kyriakos Mitsotakis. When I read the share on Facebook from an Open Tourism group member, I had to wag my head and reread. The recent news from Greece is a cartoon, right?
Surely Google Translate made a mistake. The Hellenic Federation of Hoteliers President Grigoris Tasios did not just say Greece has led a historic movement to “regain a foothold and reclaim the rights to safety and freedom of movement.” There must be some mistake, with coronavirus ravaging Greece still, the top hoteliers in Greece go so far as to say Greece has been “vindicated” with the EU proposal of the Green Certificate? I get it, he’s not reading my reports. He must be somehow unaware of the true situation!
Tasios goes on to mention hotel “demand” in the same statement. Well, another Facebook user, a local tour guide, commenting on the Open Tourism post put it this way (Google Translate):
“They work to tell stories to themselves so that they can work for us … that’s all!”
She went on to say she hoped Mitsotakis’ PR campaign did not “Boomerang”, which caused me to belly laugh for a few minutes. And get this. In a Tweet from Tasios, the hotels chief suggests that Harry Theoharis and New Democracy have moved to accept the Russian Sputnik V vaccine now. Which, if you read the Theoharis interview with RIA closely, is not the case. What Theoharis says is the Russians who are vaccinated will be allowed to visit Greece starting May 14. The tourism minister does not say Greece will use the highly effective vaccine, not until the EU approves it first.
Is it just me, or do some Greeks live up to the sneaky attribute attached to them after the fall of Troy?
Η Ελλάδα αποδέχεται το ρωσικό εμβόλιο | Συνέντευξη Θεοχάρη στο RIA Novosti https://t.co/itJUKidKB4— Grigoris tasios (@Grigoristasios) March 17, 2021
Everywhere I look this morning, Greek news outlets are parroting Tasios’ assertion Greece’s contribution to the Digital Green Certificate confirms its leading role in European and global tourism. Tasios further Tweets about how Crete should capitalize on last year’s “safe” season reputation. He cites on Twitter Dimitris Kalaitzidaki, Director of Operations of Grecotel Hotels & Resorts lauding executives who met then, and are meeting now, on their saintlike crusade to rethink, redesign and redefine the customer experience (Rethink – Redesign – Redefine).
On Clean Monday, a day when under normal circumstances almost every Greek would be out flying kites, Tasios was quoting Odysseus, telling the Greek people to be strong, patient, and calm. Yes, this is that “OMG” moment in this story. Yes, he did just echo Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ “Remain calm, we have everything under control” statement recently. Wow, these people desperately need PR representation. No, I am not volunteering, the job would be too hard. What the hell is wrong with these people? This is my sincere question.
Meanwhile, another Tasios Tweet gives me a bit of a chill, to be honest. A few days ago Mitsotakis said social media is the enemy of democracy, a statement that reminds us of darker times and the situation before the start of World War 2. The retweet of reads (translated):
“On the night of the elections, I stressed that I am here to guarantee the unity, security and prosperity of all Greeks. I will not allow anyone to divide us. We will not let anyone turn us back.”
Talk about an Il Duce Mitsotakis pronouncement. What does all this mean? The Prime Minister of Greece and his ministers go about the daily routine as if they’ve been programmed like robots. With people sick and dying in almost every prefecture of the country, Harry Theoharis and the others have gone full cheerleader on every news network that will hear them proclaiming VICTORY and SUMMER2021, ALL YOU NEED IS GREECE!, when old people with heart conditions sit on waiting lists to be vaccinated. It’s a shambles.
Furthermore, there is no mistaking who is standing behind the governors in Athens, pushing and prodding at every turn to get policies and narratives that help a few elites. They are the Greek cheerleaders of Twitter and media. Don’t get me wrong, the Green Certificate program is a great idea, but it’s also just logic, not rocket science. The larger issue of people’s lives seems to be lost in the parliamentary boardroom. Some people have counted beans so long, they can no longer see human beings.
At the end of the day, all this uncontainable joy from big shot hoteliers and politicians is not about emerging from a devastating pandemic and people being able to breathe again, it’s about carving up €875 million from the European Investment Bank for supposedly making Greece more sustainable. Meanwhile, for better or for worse, Mitsotakis’ rival Alexis Tsipras hits the nail on the proverbial head with this Tweet:
“After five months in #lockdown we are at the worst point since the start of the pandemic. I would expect the Prime Minister to take political responsibility. To address the Greek people and say “my fellow citizens, we have failed”.
March 18, Greece record over 3,000 new cases of COVID-19. The other day, there were 3,465 new cases recorded, which was a new record. Now, allow me to be blunt here. Before these geniuses reopened the country to tourism in Summer 2020, the whole country did not have 5,000 cases overall. Theoharis and Mitsotakis proclaimed every other day, that rising cases had nothing to do with tourists. The reports showed relatively few cases coming from across borders. But this was not the problem. The problem was the psychological effect opening borders had on the people of Greece. How can you tell citizens all is clear in one breath, and demand they wear masks and lock themselves in their homes out of the other side of your face?
I sat in tavernas this summer and watched Greeks donning their masks while Australians or Norwegians ran free like careless souvenir hunting fairies all over Heraklion. Gasp the mental image here! None of my friends with small businesses benefitted one iota because of the rebooted tourism season. A few of our friends who own big resorts cut their losses and paid bills with the trickle of guests arriving after June, but overall the people here just suffered. Some got 400 or 500 euros from the government to tide them over, but that was in March or April of last year!
Every day I hear the same stories, of my Cretan friends struggling to make ends meet. They take to the olive groves to toil for sustenance, they lay off their employees, and beg the electric company not to shut off the lights. And in Athens, these bobbing heads proclaim supreme intelligence and stalwartness, in their Greece’s role in making yet another EU policy! Congratulations, Wile E. Coyote, for the ACME rocket of sustainable Greece and COVID response.
Hello World! This is Greece calling. We are appealing to you for more doctors now. Our hospitals are about to be overwhelmed with coronavirus cases. But, TUI has a “special price” for Brits who have been vaccinated to fly to our tiniest islands, where our savior Kyriakos Mitsotakis sent all the COVID-19 vaccines!
God God. Resign, all of you.