Mati is not only a resort area of Athens but ironically an area settled by Greek refugees fleeing Smyrna after the Asia Minor catastrophe of 1922.
Ninety-six years later, this second catastrophe was a deep stab in the heart of the Greek soul. The image of people jumping into the sea to escape the flames reminded us of Smyrna– a wound that has yet to heal. The Nation today is mourning for the unprecedented loss of life inside metropolitan Athens.
Today we are searching for our lost friends and family members who are still unaccounted. As we slowly digest the tragedy, our sorrow turns to frustration, disgust and anger because of the virtually non-existent coordination among government agencies; National; Prefecture, Municipal; Police; Fire Brigade.
The fire revealed that we have “nothing.” We are naked of any sort of government leadership. Coupled by the totally, if not criminal attitudes of many civil servants that transcend the political spectrum: Greece resembles a failed State.
The fire and the failure of the “system” to react before, during and after the blaze symbolizes the state of the country. Our neighbors see and feel our weakness, and this has and will continue to have collateral effects on our geopolitical position. They perceive Hellenism in decline: Cyprus in 1974; Imia in 1996; Prespes in 2018. Not to mention the more than 600,000 young professionals who have immigrated to other countries since 2010: the country is totally demoralized.
This is not a time for simple change! This is the time of total transformation. Enough is enough. Not one politician or even institution has the confidence of the people. The only hope is the Hellenic diaspora. The only element of the Nation that is unbiased and politically untainted.
I am sure that the ingredients for a new “filiki eteria” exist in America, Australia, Canada, Europe and around the world. The question is only who will come forward to lead the country out of this depression?
Partner, Nakou & Associates Law
Former US Army Foreign Area Officer