OPINION

Public boycotts?

Now that’s a boycott – four days without fruit and vegetables as a way of protesting against the inflation-sensitive tomato and effectively exposing ourselves to scurvy; what modern-day heroes we are! And so we turn to meat, the staple fodder of our nation – due to necessity in the old days and now because bifteki is cheaper than salad. This reminds me of our trips to French greengrocers in the ’80s, when the tomato was virtually a luxury good, this humble vegetable which is the basis of so many Greek dishes. Whatever happens, we must always have the tomato, we thought. But look at us now that the tomato has become the smoked salmon of our diet; now that we are being asked to defend its lost value by not buying it. So, will this second boycott be more successful because it will last longer? Sadly, probably not. Like another boycott which started on Monday alongside an EU initiative to curb car use (and which happens to coincide with a rise in petrol prices and road taxes), it resembles a kick in the face. But somehow it appeases thwarted consumers by making them players on the larger stage. The thing with symbolic protests is that they distance us from the crux of the issue, from a spontaneous demonstration which is not organized by the Economy or Public Works ministries but by the citizens, who need less guidance than the government assumes to express their acute grievances…