‘Dora was under heaven’s protection,’ says her mother

There were intense family moments at the home of former Prime Minister Constantinos Mitsotakis yesterday, Friday, December 13, in Rigillis. It was just before 3 p.m. when the telephone rang and Mitsotakis answered, as usual. «They hit us, but I’m not hurt; I’m all right. That’s why I came back to the office to call you, so that you and Mom don’t find about it first from television.» On the line was Athens Mayor-elect Dora Bakoyianni who, despite the blood on her face from a shattered car window, insisted on going back from Syngrou to her office on Dionysiou Aeropagitou to telephone her father, beyond the reach of cameras and crowds, and to reassure him. Ashen-faced, Mitsotakis told his wife Marika, who had already guessed something was wrong from his manner. «They’ve hit Doraki» – as the family calls their first-born daughter – «but she’s all right; she wasn’t hurt. But her driver was wounded in the neck.» «Our child was under heaven’s protection,» said her mother, whose mind immediately went to her grandchildren, Bakoyianni’s children, whose father, Pavlos Bakoyiannis was killed by terrorists in 1989. «They can’t lose their mother, not after losing Pavlos,» the public said, when they learnt of the attempt on the life of Bakoyianni, who was leaving her office, just as her husband was when he was attacked. In the car was the driver and one of her security men, who ran and caught the assailant with the sawn-off shotgun. He had aimed at the rear right window of the car where Bakoyianni was sitting. But in that fraction of a second which might have cost her her life, Bakoyianni leant forward to get something out of her bag which was on the floor in front of her. The shot hit the driver in the neck, luckily not wounding him seriously. Covered in blood, he was taken to the General State Hospital, while Bakoyianni went to her office, then collected her father and went to Evangelismos Hospital to have the scratches on her cheek, chin, eyelid and left arm attended to. As there were no serious injuries, she was allowed to leave and return to her apartment on Aravantinou, where she lives with her husband Isidoros Kouvelos, above the guarded office of Mitsotakis. Her mother’s comment – «She was under heaven’s protection» – made front-page news. Christodoulos, the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece, declared, «It was a miracle.» Bakoyianni did not have an armored car or tinted windows, because she wants to see people and them to see her. That was until yesterday. Now, she may have to change her ways, because there are plenty of maniacs and the traffic jams of Athens help provide a target. In 17 days, however, she takes up her post as mayor of Athens, as of January 1, 2003, a post she won with 61 percent of the vote, seeming proof that God wants her there, and in politics, and above all, with her children. Anyone who thought nothing could push Cyprus and Copenhagen off the front page knows better now.

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