OPINION

Commentary

Every cloud has a silver lining. This saying seems appropriate in a backhanded way, given the Greeks’ fatalistic mentality. Excessive optimism over a positive event does not necessarily entail catastrophic consequences; but despair and desperation over a bad thing can sometimes paralyze our body and mind, imbue us with fatalism, and make us accept misery and misfortune as our unavoidable fate. Take a look at the heavy and prolonged winter storm that has hit our country. Greeks at the mercy of mortal winter, traffic has paralyzed, hundreds of villages have been cut off, we are engulfed by torrents and rivers, the helpless State is merely staring at the disaster are some of the typical reactions. Amid this hyperbole, we seem to lose all sense of moderation, the ability to think critically, and attribute the appropriate share of responsibilities to the State. Instead, we, the citizens, seek to rid ourselves of all blame – when, for example, we are cut off because our cars are not equipped with tire chains, when our house collapses because we built it by filling a stream with rubble, or when our life is in danger because we disregarded the elements of nature. Hence, we all seem to agree that the State is to blame for everything. And since the State is always absent, unable to deal with and callous toward any natural disaster, we can only lament our fate. Cowardly and spineless as we are, we can only await the next calamity. Disasters, of course, transcend our human ability to prevent or contain them or to protect ourselves from them. However, the extreme weather conditions that have hit our country recently should not be inflated into a calamity. Bad as the weather may seem, some positive effects may come along. This bring to mind the water shortage, which in recent years has threatened to drain the water company’s savings, leading our farmers to despair. This should allow us to see the destructive rainstorms and heavy snowfalls in a different light – and make us realize that a thin line separates a divine curse from a divine blessing. (In my native village, I have often seen litanies for rain but never for good weather.)