OPINION

White days, gray thoughts

We are used to being exclusively in the right, whatever we may do. And the world has to be turned upside-down before we accept that we might possibly have made a mistake. Our little world, which we thought of as perfectly secure, was indeed turned upside-down by a snowstorm, yet our behavior changed not one whit. Government officials appeared (on television, of course, where else could they appear?) wholly convinced that they had committed no errors, and that they thus deserved praise – even though for two consecutive days they had failed to demonstrate why the so-called Athens-Lamia national highway should be called a national highway. Their main concern was how to appear on screen in the most flamboyant outfit in their wardrobe. The opposition figures, led by a super-mayor, who actually ought to give a speech in his defense before going from channel to channel to utter his glossy, albeit vacuous words, all seemed to be interested in the potential gain from the pain of the snow-bound. And what about the citizens? What about us? Here are two characteristic scenes: First scene: The old artist, cut off because of the snowstorm, takes the utmost pleasure in castigating the state before the television cameras which took to the mountains to exploit his grumble. Behind him, there is a mansion, and further back, there are even more similar mansions in an area which has been burned down and then «reforested» again and again. The artist is a famous figure, hence he thinks he is right more than he actually is and, chiefly, he is vindicated more often than he should be. Second scene: In the camps set up for the earthquake victims, an old woman, possessing the dignity of a person who acknowledges she cannot expect anything from anyone apart from God, describes her situation without complaining: She is cold, hungry and all she gets is 5,000 drachmas a month from the church to help her survive. There is no question that this woman is in the right. But she is meant always to find much less justice than she deserves. For her anonymity can only provide her with pride; she has to burn this to warm herself, she has to taste it to fill her stomach. Road gives way