A light on the underworld

This summer has gone terribly awry and, despite the rather slapdash efforts to set it right, our sorrow runs deep, as does our responsibility for the underworld that we allow to flourish among us and stare us right in the face. The murder of the young Australian on Myconos ought to be constantly on our minds, a reminder, despite the efforts being made to close the case simply by punishing the culprits, despite public praise of the father for donating his son’s organs and despite the desire of local and regional authorities to chalk it up as an «unfortunate» event. The murder of the 20-year-old tourist is not just of moral and emotional significance, it is also heavily symbolic. It happened on Myconos, the most emblematic island of the Aegean. This is not because other islands are less beautiful, but because Myconos is a small-scale version of Greece that represents the developmental course of the entire country. It is the paradigm of the «tourism miracle,» as we often like to call rampant construction at the cost of the environment. Television personalities and politicos, dressed in their best casual chic, stroll around getting their photographs taken among the jam-packed streets. Among them walk the bouncers, who are a law unto themselves, as well as their semi-legit bosses. A human sea, a cross between Beverly Hills, gritty Loutsa and glitzy Glyfada, a construct of society itself that we call «summer on Myconos.» The noise of human activity drowns out (if not amplifying) the sound of the huge profits being made, shady exchanges, and the strong presence of the underworld. This is the same underworld that has spread its tentacles across Greece, starting from the north, working its way down the mainland, heading to the islands, racing through Athens. Until, one summer night, a happy night, a young man was beaten to death by bouncers and this thing that everyone knew was there but no one dared to talk about was brought into the light – we suddenly saw the elephant in the room.