In difficult moments we need to be reminded that we’re all in this together. Some must shoulder greater responsibilities, especially regarding the running of the state; but the fate of the country, the quality of our lives, the future of our children is everybody’s business. It is not just the government that is at fault in the Mati tragedy, as opposition parties claim. Nor, of course, is it innocent, as its apologists declare. Unprepared and reckless, they chose to seek power, they swayed enough voters as to their abilities and now, for the last three years, they have been running the country. They can be judged for what they have done and not done.
It is not only governments that shape the political climate. All parties, and their supporters, contribute to this. Whether they are in government or in opposition, they can choose whether they will serve the country’s interests or take the easy way, with lies and division. SYRIZA and Independent Greeks, when in opposition, took to the latter practice with great zeal. They contributed to polarization, they subverted achievements and sacrifices and, by tolerating extremist and violent behavior by some groups, encouraged a climate of lawlessness.
They tried to present the world as they wished it to be and not as it was.
The people rewarded this delusion with their vote – perhaps because they, too, suffered illusions, perhaps because they could see reality but liked to be told of easy solutions.
Now that citizens’ last delusions must have died in the flames, government officials and their camp followers in the news media and social networks are still trying to persuade everyone that reality is different to what we see.
Instead of shouldering the weight of their responsibility – not only regarding what has happened but also in order to heal the wounds – they attack the victims, previous governments, news media and journalists. Anyone, that is, but themselves.
“At times like this what we need is few words, more silence, contemplation, prayer, a search inside us and, mostly, solidarity,” Archbishop Ieronymos said. We need, also, specific actions by those in power to show that they have the maturity, the moral authority to pursue a measure of consensus with other political forces.
In respect for the nation’s mourning, they should pursue unity. Lacking leadership capable of absorbing the pain and fear that the fires spread, democracy provides a way out through elections. Whenever they are held, we will all shoulder our own responsibilities.