Leaves shaking, but roots safe

Maybe if there had been gunshots – as is normally the case when politicians visit Crete and turn a deaf ear to the noise (probably enraptured by the idea that they are the true heirs of the visionary 20th century statesman Eleftherios Venizelos) – and if the residents of Rethymnon had taken to the streets with their lyres, traditional baggy trousers and glasses of raki, with maybe a cannabis plant or two for good measure, then the country’s television stations may have paid more attention to their rally. But a rally without a bit of local color and without major incident, in which those participating are simply trying to state the obvious – that they are not all criminals – is not real «news.» Naturally, a few politicians hurried to the protest march, true to the tradition of turning up where their presence is least needed. And, naturally, they also made statements. «The government is determined to tackle the lawlessness in Rethymnon, to enforce the obvious that has never been enforced by previous governments, namely law and order,» said MP Olga Kefaloyianni, for example. The following, however, is the most important thing we understood from her statement: that unintentionally, she criticized her government and party, New Democracy, which has been in power for four years without enforcing «the obvious.» Whether New Democracy’s lengthy stupor (which takes up where PASOK’s even lengthier stupor stopped) is intentional or not, or whether it is in some way politically motivated, is something Kefaloyianni did not touch on, either because she never even considered that it might be something worth explaining, or because she could not make a convincing argument. All she could do, therefore, was hide behind generalizations. Statements by PASOK’s Ilias Lambiris are even more interesting: «I can’t say that I didn’t know what was going on,» he said in reference to events at Zoniana, «and no other politician can either.» Basically, the MP confirmed in a roundabout manner the content of a confidential Greek police report recently brought to light by Kathimerini: that the cannabis plantations in Mylopotamos are «fertilized» by the cozy relations between «farmers» and local politicians and other big players, who, in turn, ensure that police, bankers and judges are kept well «watered.» But, we shouldn’t have any illusions. The cleaning up of Rethymnon will be confined only to leaves and the roots will remain intact.