Greece’s Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias told Apha radio listeners this week; “Travellers trust Greece as a safe destination.” But wasn’t this somewhat clear when they arrived in the country for their vacations with families? The reverberating nature of official messages on COVID and travel here in Greece makes many people wonder why we need officials at all. It’s time we all started to “think” for ourselves.
With another wave of COVID-19 threatening everything we know, politicians in Athens are still bragging about advance bookings for a future the rest of us are totally unsure of. For instance, Kikilias told his radio host October advance bookings for the summer of 2022 were 30 pct higher compared to the October 2018 advance bookings for the summer of 2019. He also spoke about cruises increasing, while adding the pointedly obvious of beach preparedness. If you thought like I did, that former Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis was a spineless bobbing head politician, the new version is the Frankenstein of logic and humanness. Read what he says about how Greece saved the world with its tourism product. No, I am not kidding. Here, read for yourself:
“Even when there was no vaccination, we had a tourism product in 2020, that is, when we did not have vaccines and all the other Mediterranean countries were closed.”
The minister went on to brag about tourism revenues beating projections, and how the final numbers will be even better once economists get done tabulating what businesses and the country won. Nowhere in any of these discussions is there mention of the more than 18,000 citizens who’ve lost their lives because of the pandemic, and to an extent, the casual treatment of a health crisis of unspeakable proportions by the Greek government. The continued apathy for human suffering, deprioritization of human life in favor of economics, is sickening. People died because of this false sense of security Athens put forward with regard to COVID and travel, and more will die in the coming weeks. 90 or 100 are succumbing to the disease each day, and largely because the disease was not checked early on.
We’ve covered the pandemic in Greece more closely than most media outlets. When the government instituted the so-called “Operation Blue Freedom“, we were one of the only media institutions critical of the move to innoculate small, popular islands first, before more critical larger areas. Only our dedicated readers were paying attention. And, the greater psychological effect slinging wide open the doors to tourists had? It never made a dent in the civic psyche because not one media outlet on Earth presented our case.
Vaccine drives are not working, but why? How can the young people of Greece be expected to take seriously a disease that will not stop TUI, for instance, from sending droves of budget travelers to their country? With ministers chirping how well Greece is doing, how tourism numbers are outstanding, and when they are seen galloping all over the globe selling, selling, selling – the youthful and the old are watching, wondering…. Study something called “my side bias” in this report about the Trump response to this pandemic, for more insight. The bias, in the case of Greece, is weighted irresistible to the German investment banks, the tourism corporations, and the Greek oligarchs running the industry show in this country.
Now there are 6,000 new cases per day. The government is forced to pressure the population to get vaccinated. And the moment is almost lost because new mutations threaten the entire immunity strategy of the world’s healthcare systems. These politicians, the corporations that move them around like chess pawns, they’re the ones responsible for every single death that occurs now. This is the view of many people in the public. Only in Greece, the people gave up on politicians a long, long time ago.
The Week just reported on the “vaccine trust deficit” be the fuel that is driving the new pandemic wave across easthern Europe. And who can really blame college students across Europe for doubting recommended vaccines, when the leadership is talking out of both sides of their faces? On the one hand politicians blame youth for their lack of civic duty, but on the other these leaders have waved the “all clear” so many times. It’s like idiots are running the show and yelling, “Emergency” on one side of the state, while other state actors hold up big signs saying, “Relax, it’s all good.”
But it’s not time to relax, Greece is among the worst destinations in the world for the incidence rates of COVID according to the most recent data. And you did not read that via the bullhorns of the corporate state either. What you see from these politicians, is the shimmery shadow of the underlying strategy. The one that puts human beings last.
Meanwhile, an organization called National Plan against Resistance to Antibiotics (PRAN) is warning that this extended coronavirus pandemic will render our antibiotics useless against even the smallest bacterial infections. While the politicians and business zombies out there stay on selling autopilot, even greater catastrophes threaten all we know. But October to October revenues? Well, they look damned good to bean counters whose souls left at intermission.
For those who are skeptical or critical of our tone COVID and travel, consider that Christmas celebrations in the Greek peninsula of Chalkidiki have been cancelled due to the high number of coronavirus infections. Five mayors of the region announced this on Monday. Now guess how many media outlets reported this. I found three or four sentences. I’ll wager this is news to anyone reading this current post. Now, imagine you were just told there’s a pandemic and you or a loved one could die. Then superimpose the 40 stories about how the Greek Tourism Minister says….
Think, for God’s sake. One-in-ten Greeks have had COVID already, and the most contageus strain of all is headed this way.