OPINION

The politics of cliches

We made use of every cliche in the book to describe the recent floods in Evia that left one person dead: «Biblical disaster,» «wrath of God,» «nature’s revenge.» The use of such cliches is not some knee-jerk reaction, as it too has a political dimension. By using such terms, we assign the blame for such disasters to a higher authority. We not only describe the event, but interpret it as well. And we interpret it in a way that rids us of all guilt and responsibility: fatalistically ignoring every technological advancement made by man over the centuries in forecasting, preventing and planning for such disasters and all similar tasks that we have gone to the polls to elect officials to take care of – officials and politicians who end up using the same cliches to pass the buck. So, if it is the wrath of God that brings us floods and fires, just who is this god? Is it maybe our very selves. Is talking about nature’s revenge an admission that we have ravaged our natural environment to satisfy our greed, that we have built up our riverbeds and erected illegal buildings with no thought of the consequences? If so, then that’s fine. However, laying the blame on a higher power, on the God in which we believe, is not just an act of eschewing ourselves of guilt. It is a self-destructive act to believe blindly in Murphy’s law and say that everything comes down to the perversity of the universe. So, with this tidy excuse that rids us of all guilt out of hand, we ensure that disasters happen again and again, and that they happen on an even bigger scale, that anything that could possibly go wrong, does. There is no god who has built an illegal home in the middle of the Pendeli forest and no vengeful force of nature that has dumped construction material into riverbeds or left mountain slopes razed by fire to the mercy of the heavy rains.