Acting helpless

” I do not apportion blame. I take responsibility,» he said, before sacking the Civil Defense Agency chief. The statements of Public Administration Minister Costas Skandalidis on the night of Tuesday’s catastrophic floods could be regarded as historic as they are the perfect example of a new form of empty rhetoric increasingly relied on by those who govern us. This new, transmuted version of the stilted political rhetoric we have grown accustomed to goes beyond double talk and evasive tactics, combining feigned accountability with simple whining, ambiguity and the boundless ability of those in power to play the part of helpless observers. Let us suppose that the National Meteorological Service failed to warn the government in time that anti-flooding measures needed to be implemented. Were these government officials unable to react independently at the sight of the ominous black clouds? Perhaps, but the ministerial mansion in central Athens is at a safe distance from the Kifissos River… Skandalidis added insult to injury to those citizens whose homes were flooded once again on Tuesday by demonstrating this empty rhetoric even more skilfully than Nikos Christodoulakis (the economy minister who protests against price hikes). But at least he asked rescue workers to «show understanding» for the flood victims’ situation. Let’s give credit where credit’s due…

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