OPINION

Constant crime

The terrible road accident which occurred in the Vale of Tempe, killing 21 16-year-old students returning home from a five-day field trip in Athens, has plunged the entire country into grief. But pain soon turns into indignation about so much around us in a country that likes to call itself «European» but which, in fact, is in many ways underdeveloped, without decent infrastructure, rules or social responsibility. Where do you start? The killer roads across the land despite the trillions of drachmas spent on repairing them? The endless roadworks? The much-hyped Patras-Athens-Thessaloniki-Evzonoi national road which has been under construction for 15 years and yet still lacks clear lanes? Our shattered officials are now lost for words, sensing the consequences of their actions, of their parceling out projects so as to satisfy the greedy constructors, and of their failure to draw a comprehensive plan that can be carried out within a set time frame. The Public Works Ministry keeps silent. Its current and former officials have nothing to say about the plethora of half-finished works along the national highways, of these lethal pitfalls which put drivers’ lives at risk. The traffic police force prefers to exhaust its strictness on motorists, leaving the main arteries without police monitoring despite the fact that a special national road department has been set up. Transporters are not much better either. Overloaded, with poor security measures and dilapidated vehicles, their only concern is how to bribe in order to pass a Vehicle Inspection Center (KTEO) test or to renew their license. The drivers jump into their lethal trucks and speed off hell bent for leather. Those who send the load are just as irresponsible. They are merely doing their job, why should they care for what could happen on the road? There are absolutely no precautions and no concern about other people. Whether they’re carrying cotton or iron plates, they’re using the same fabric belts. And then come the tears and mourning. Unfortunately, this is the Greece of shortcomings, of waste, of makeshift solutions, of the «Who cares?» attitude. The absence of misfortune is usually attributable to good luck. But there comes a time when the disaster is unavoidable. This is no accident. This is a continuous crime for which many people are responsible. At some point, we must talk seriously about all the small and big shortcomings. That is, if we really feel any pain for the children who died at such an early age.