OPINION

The real parade

the-real-parade

The parades on Ochi Day are just the pretext. Underneath, the climate is heating up and anti-vaxxers are upon us. They, too, vote in elections – and no politician wants to be deprived of their vote – which is not a negligible percentage.

This cocktail is not only toxic but also effective. Professor Vana Papaevangelou, a member of the expert committee advising the government on the coronavirus, made it clear: “We have increasing pressure on the National Healthcare System, especially in northern Greece. We have a significant increase in hospitalizations and deaths in Xanthi and Drama. What is impressive is that no increase in vaccination has been observed in northern Greece.” 

And why would there be? “Every Sunday, groups of anti-vaxxers come to Drama, extreme and fanaticized, who say indescribable things, with the crowds cheering,” say prudent politicians from the north. In schools in the regional unit, parents who are Covid deniers are putting on a show, stating that they do not want their children to wear a mask. In their “struggle,” they are supported by law firms that provide them with identical, ready-made forms with which to claim their “rights.”

Yesterday, the announcements of the Interior Ministry initially contradicted those of the Regional Authority of Western Macedonia, indicating confusion, as well as disagreement: One said there would be an army parade in Thessaloniki and school parades all over Greece. The other said only some units of the Armed Forces would parade in Thessaloniki. Finally, the Interior Ministry clarified that “all parades will have a maximum duration of 60 minutes” and that due to the measures put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus, “the festive events will be held in accordance with the applicable health regulations.”

Right. So with a watch and a mask in hand, the virus is exorcised. Along with any unpleasant political decisions. Because who wants to anger those who love parades? Even those who know full well that there will inevitably be consequences for allowing them succumb to the fear of reactions, or even their possibility.

The real parade, after all, does not appear only on anniversaries. It has been traversing the country for decades now, and it is based on an unacknowledged agreement: Politicians pretend not to see it and those who march pretend to obey the rules.