“Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.” – Aristotle
Our adopted country is burning down, sick to death of the coronavirus nightmare, and her people are sledgehammered by idiot leaders incapable of proactive governance. As our hometown of Heraklion goes into another mini-lockdown, Elia Island and large swaths of Greece are still ablaze. As usual, the government in Athens exhibits calm, issues assurances, and proudly shows its face alongside firefighters and other Greek heroes. In the midst of it all, hordes of tourists walk elbow to elbow in Greek airports. The season that never should have started, happens in a land of chaos.
How can I write this report without recollecting how Greece’s early response to the coronavirus pandemic? Is the fact that there were more cases on Tuesday than at the beginning of Summer 2020 pertinent now? For Cretans, I wonder if 554 cases in one day are shocking, considering there were many weeks with no cases early on? I asked the bakery owner Akis, across the street, just to get my fingers on the public pulse. His response was predictable, sardonic, sweet, and sour – “Malakas,” he says, shaking his head and referring to the Mitsotakis officials. As I type, the latest report from EODY puts new coronavirus cases at 3,475 over the past 24 hours. In Mykonos, the case incidence rate has rocketed to 453,92 per 100,000 residents. And here in Heraklion, the average number of new cases per day has risen to almost 180.
Speaking of useless politicians, I wonder, should I mention the Greek Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis once again? Or operation “Blue Freedom” which was supposed to vaccinate all the tiny islands, and to keep Mykonos, Santorini, and other tourist Meccas free from COVID for summer vacation? What should a news report or an op-ed read like nowadays? Al Jazeera reports:
“Hundreds of firefighters battle blazes on Evia, Greece’s second-largest island, as gov’t faces criticism for response.”
I Googled his name and hit “News” to see if he is still in the country. Nope. I looked on Facebook to see if the tourism genius had posted any more fist-bumping, chest-pounding positivity over his ministry’s all our campaign to herd touristic cattle to his country. Nope! His last post was two days ago. Nothing in the past 24 hours. Perhaps he listened to someone suggesting how inappropriate it is to brag when people are dying.
On seeing this, I thought to myself, “Is he on a plane to Porta Villarta or some non-extradition country in Central America.” No, unfortunately, he’s involved himself in getting help for tourism businesses burned down in wildfires. His plan, told at a meeting of ministers headed by Prime Minister Mitsotakis, is to figure out ways to help Evia Island, and other places already destroyed by fire. Brilliant! The retroactive bean-counting politicians of Greece continue to twizzle (urinate) on an inferno of unprecedented proportions.
On the coronavirus front, Greek Reporter tells of daily coronavirus cases in the country skyrocketing to 4,181 on Tuesday. That story tells of “new, more stringent coronavirus restrictions for Heraklion, Crete per an announcement from the Greek government.” I cannot help but think back to May, 2021, and the reports of Greece reopening to tourists. Right after this, I recall reporting how there were only nine cases in the whole country in the wake of drastic lockdown measures that had just been lifted. What happened? I guess we all know by now, don’t we?
And the real Greeks, longsuffering and brave as ever, end up fending for themselves mostly. As the world sends firefighters and other relief, people who’ve lost almost everything because of insufferable politicians must cling to all they have left. The video from Euronews below, tells part of the story.
As the smoke drifts in to choke Athens, with ash all over the city, lightning strikes have set more hectares ablaze. And as I type this, I wonder, did anyone else consider a Greece heatwave and drought as a warning sign before all this? Were Canada’s west and Russia’s Siberia on fire not enough of an alarm for Mitsotakis and his ministers? Did they warn? I can’t honestly remember, let me Google it. Nope! Not in the mainstream anyway. AP reports the intense heatwave, and Reuters’ headline reads:
‘Welcome to global warming’: Greece warns against unnecessary work as temperatures soar”
But wait! Someone in Athens was paying attention, the National Meteorological Service told reporters of a high risk of wildfires during a “dangerous” heatwave. And readers may not believe it, but Athens Mayor Kostas Bakoyiannis did go so far as to appoint a chief heat officer, the first in Europe, to help tackle extreme heat. But this, it was all after more than 40 wildfires had begun around Athens, so.
A chief heat officer. That one is going to keep me awake tonight. Dammit boys! You have to read this story at The Guardian to fully grasp the kind of stupidity my Geek brothers have to put up with. Eleni Myrivili, Athens’ new chief heat officer, had this to say about her appointment:
“We’ve been talking about global warming for decades, but we haven’t talked much about heat.”
According to the news, Myrivili’s job will be to find new and innovative ways to cool off Athens. Based on her comment, and on the fact Athens’ effort to cool itself off so far has been dismal, I would not advise my readers to expect too much from the former deputy mayor of the city. In fairness to Myrivili, my comment is not actually aimed at her intelligence or capability. This interview lets us know she understands what needs to be done. But getting things done in Athens, as a heat officer? And a politician at that? Come on.
Myrivili has her job cut out for her, it seems. With deadly wildfires raging across Turkey, Spain and Greece, and with Siciliy recording the highest ever temperature in Europe (48.8 Centigrade), Greeks may soon be required to wear moon suits to stay alive. As for fire damage, I will probably start advising my friends to pray, once more, to the god Poseidon for protecting Crete.