OPINION

Finger-pointing

In the happy days when it was in opposition, New Democracy was quick to lay the blame on the government and demand the resignation of ministers. The conservative administration is equally quick, in its more constrained time in power, to shrug off responsibility, declaring that there is no political culpability for the helicopter tragedy, or «accident,» as the government spokesman put it in an effort to play down the damage. The PASOK party was itself very swift at shifting the blame when in power (remember the Samina sinking, the deadly Falcon dive and Ricomex disaster during the Athens earthquake) but is now first to pin the blame on the government. This opportunistic change of perspective, the absence of consistent behavior, has become a national trait. «I is another» Arthur Rimbaud said, a verse that is paradoxically – and sometimes nightmarishly – reflected in the behavior of parties as they alternate in office. Even if the helicopter crash had been spotted right after it occurred, even if the air force and civil aviation authorities had coordinated their efforts – as they should have, as parts of the same apparatus – even if the responsible ministers had been informed in time and reacted swiftly, the 17 passengers of the Chinook would still have been killed. But at least the officials could have taken some comfort in the thought that they did what they could, faced with what we tend to call fate, or with what some clerics (who went on to mourn on television programs, an unlikely site for prayers) described as «God’s will.» To the sadness over the death of so many people is added the sadness about the stand of the living who fail to grasp their own share of responsibility. And among the pack of generals and other military officials, in uniform or otherwise, all fingers are pointed at an anonymous soldier, a corporal based at the Hortiatis radar station.