OPINION

Commentary

Until Thursday, we observed the crisis from a distance. We enjoyed the convenient status of the commentator who watches events from afar, in spite of the trepidation caused by serious developments. However, the recent hoax with the suspicious pink powder found at the Health Ministry, ridiculous as it was, caused huge mobilization and recreated images from science-fiction movies right in the heart of Athens. Most importantly, however, it caused anxiety, fear and intimidation among the public. Watching the members of the Fire Brigade’s biohazard squad with special uniforms and gas masks carefully entering their work place, disinfecting the area, isolating the employees who had come into contact with the suspect letter, and sending the suspicious powder to the Evangelismos Hospital for analysis, even the coolest of the employees at the Health Ministry began wondering and worrying whether the predicament had, finally, made them reach their threshold. The recent events at the ministry were, unfortunately, a projection of the future, or some version of it (even if a hybrid one), a typical example of the new asymmetric threats which do not distinguish between innocent and guilty but rather haunt everyone indiscriminately, even in the simplest form of psychological pressure. The anthrax bacterium may not constitute a genuine, mass threat to the entire population, but has already introduced the advanced world to a different logic. Greece is no exception, even if we insist on underscoring our singularity and deem that we comprise no direct target. The majority of people may not have realized it yet, but the age of innocence is, unfortunately, over. The times when everyone wandered the streets in free and easy fashion are probably gone. And this is, perhaps, the worst fallout from the devastating events of September 11.