Sunday, August 26, 2007

Who's Burning Greece?

Not that it ever was a mystery to countries in this part of the world, but since Spain 2003 everybody has been able to witness how catastrophic events can influence an election result: the psychological effects of terrorism, natural disasters and psyops.

The facts:

- The latest poll - three weeks before the general elections - shows the governing right wing Nea Democratia (ND) party at 31% of the vote, against the opposition Socialist Party, PASOK at 29,5%. If one applies a reasonable margin of error, this result can be considered too close to call.

- The present ND government has taken flack for its handling of the last batch of wildfires in June.

- Wildfires are a fixture during hot Greek summers, as they are in other semi-tropical parts of the world.

- On nearby mountain range Hymettos, the site of a fire that raged yesterday (I just wiped the ashes from the yard), burnt gas canisters have been found. Ant1 TV channel just showed video footage of two figures suddenly wrapped in a cloud of smoke.

- Present casualty count: 53 fatalities.


- "The country in state of emergency"
- "Emergency declared in Peloponnese"
- "Dread and disaster"

Comment and observations:

Although PASOK - when in power - haven't fared any better, opposition leader Georgos Papandreou yesterday - fires raging - in an official party political declaration, made it sound as if the government itself is guilty of arson. There are times I really dislike politicians.

Personally I no longer believe in the urban legend of the real estate industry's involvement, the traditional explanation for freak summer fires. This map and satellite image shows the main sites (by no means all!), and how evenly spread these smokers are along the western Peloponnese coast.

... "My wife's on fire in that house!"

Who's burning Arcadia ... ?

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