2 minutes reading time (369 words)

Greek Fire

The classic scene in Fawlty Towers - you must have seen it (if you have not, do not yet get involved in hospitality) - with the facility on fire, where Basil, the unsurpassable John Cleese, gathers the guests in the lobby and attempts to explain the dire situation in a gradual manner: "fa fa fa fire, fa fa fire, fire !" but the guests don't get it, so he starts shouting. It is not all too different from the attempt by our authorities to explain the rather dangerous situation in many parts of the Greek mainland to the relatively few tourists who braved covid to visit us and support our crumbling tourism sector. More importantly, this year's wild fires may signify the advent of the climate crisis to a vocal minority of our compatriots, conservative-religious types, who were (still are?) deep-down still unconvinced of the merits of climate change science (covid inoculation science or any type of science for that matter). The Causa Proxima of the huge damage on rural settlements is... Fire of course, along with the lack of preparations by local authorities (from regional down to village level) and an incompetent fire-fighting force. Nepotism, favouritism, underfunding, understaffing, party-politics, holy monastery entrepreneurialism, wind power mania, bad laws, bad waste management, lack of maintenance and bad placement of power cables and infrastructure, haphazard land-planning, land speculation, crazy arsonists, terrorists, spies (not yet extraterrestrials) - have all been cited as underlying causes in the ensuing political-media brawl. But the main culprit, the elephant in the room, is a popular culture of indifference and low environmental awareness. This is inexcusable and incomprehensible for a country largely living off Tourism and Hospitality, one of the few Greek sectors that is world class and which has managed to pull its act together without government patronage. Perhaps it is the time for tourism decision-makers to really get involved, and also fund, wildfire prevention? Do they have the guts? Alternatively, we need some sort of a tyrant / deus ex machina (the EU perhaps?) who is able to create serious fire protection zones around every village, without ifs and buts, and be cruel enough to demolish anything that goes on or up inside forests. Pick and choose, but preferably before next August.

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