Friday, August 31, 2007

To Those Who Stand Between Fire and the Land of the Gods

I want to bow deeply.

I want to say thank you.

I want to tell you that no words can be adequate to convey the gratitude of all those who love this beautiful country of our beginnings.

I want to tell you that no words can be adequate to convey our sorrow and grief for those among you who lost their lives fighting against Hell itself.

Tomorrow, I will be there, and I will cross the Peloponnese. I will see for myself the devastation, the desert of ashes where forests and nature held dominion.

I will see the wasteland caused by people’s criminal and murderous intents—created by people’s criminal negligence. I know Greece. And I know that while a good number of fires were deliberately lit, a good number of others might as well have been deliberately lit. Because Greece is plagued by a terrible bane: negligence.

An absence of ecological consciousness.

In Greece, people throw cigarettes out the windows of their cars even though they’re still alight, even though it’s more than 40°C outside and the wind is blowing.

In Greece, people clean up areas used to dry their small grapes by lighting fire to those areas, no matter that the temperatures are beyond 40°C and the wind is blowing.

In Greece, junkyards are everywhere, in the open, and authorities set fire to them during Summer so as to have more space to store the waste created by the hordes of tourists who flood this beautiful country. And it doesn’t matter if it’s above 40°C outside and if the wind is blowing.

And so, beyond the anger and the sorrow I feel, I hope that this catastrophe will at least be useful in sparking this ecological consciousness to life in the general Greek population. I hope things will be safer, cleaner, more rational.

But whether or not that happens, most of all, to all of you who stood and keep standing between Fire and the Land of the Gods, I wanted to say:

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

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