Waiting for Bourboulia

«What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum? … Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas? Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts, and rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds? Why are they carrying elegant canes beautifully worked in silver and gold?» Once more, let us beg the forgiveness of Constantine Cavafy as, in our anger and speechlessness, we take recourse to him for the words to express outrage. A spectacle has been played out before our eyes over the past few days and broadcast nationwide on television networks. Announcers have been breathlessly interrupting their normal programs to cut live to the airport, then to police security headquarters, to report on the arrival not of the barbarians but of former investigating magistrate Constantina Bourboulia, escorted by police from Paris. Not even Osama bin Laden, or even the legendary Greek bandit Yagoulas! So why all the fuss? What was the connection between the means and the end? How necessary was the dance of panic-stricken observers and the emergency measures? What was the point of mobilizing dozens of police patrol cars, of lining her route with countless police officers? Was it possible for Bourboulia to escape the clutches of the five police officers escorting her? Who could have tried to mount an operation to free or silence her? Have we been watching too much television? More and more often, meanwhile, these shows coincide with news broadcasts. The only clear purpose of this performance was to confirm that the state of frivolity is alive and kicking.