Still near the abyss

The reactions by some people to the recent terrorist attacks are truly incredible. I heard hosts on morning TV talk shows yesterday dismiss the significance of the fact that certain «hard-core youngsters» constructed explosive devices that made their way as far as the German chancellor’s office, brushing it off as «no big deal.» On another channel, an expert who knows as much about terrorism as he does about Inca crop rotation, argued that social inequality is to blame for the phenomenon. And, of course, I also heard all the usual conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, we have failed to grasp the severity of the phenomenon, which emerged essentially unfettered after the end of the military dictatorship. Greeks were so anxious to get past the days of the junta, when the police was seen as the bogeyman, that they almost accepted terrorism as a legitimate form of protest. Anyone who argued differently was often portrayed as ridiculous or an agent of nefarious forces. We even introduced terms such as «innocent victim,» as though there are guilty victims of terrorism, as though a higher power gave someone the right to judge who is innocent and who is not, and then execute him. A part of the left has unfortunately raised its children to believe that anything is allowed when done in protest, even, by extension, violence. During the December 2008 riots, however, the public was horrified to see where unbridled violence and anarchy can lead. Then, just a few months ago, when it saw three young people burn to death at a Marfin Bank branch, it began to see the abyss that gaped before it and saw how deep and dark it can be. But the serpent’s eggs never stop hatching and, unfortunately, widespread unemployment, corruption etc, provide fertile ground for terrorism and violence. There was nothing funny about the parcel bombs. In a country that has a rudimentary culture of security, even at the prime minister’s headquarters, it is pure luck that we didn’t mourn any victims. But if we don’t start taking the phenomenon seriously and stop pretending that it is all under control, it will grow and multiply. It is very easy for this country, with all the problems it faces, to still tumble into the abyss.