The Opposition: Scorched Earth Policies

Last week, I counted at least three large demonstrations that took place in Athens and Thessaloniki. Demonstrations that, unfortunately, were directed by the official opposition of the country.

But, you will tell me, do they not have the constitutional right to demonstrate?

Of course they do.

That is not the question.

The question is whether, in the midst of the worst record of deaths and cases from the pandemic, anyone has the right to violate the rules of protection and endanger the lives of the protesters, as well as other citizens.

When Donald Trump held rallies in which proper health conditions were not met (i.e., social distancing and the use of a mask), the outcry from all of us against him was both great and justified.

It was an irresponsible act.

An act that put his personal interest above the interest of his supporters and society in general.

This reminds me of Tsipras' opposition tactic of fomenting demonstrations. In other words, he invests in the worsening of the pandemic, which will inevitably lead to more deaths and cases, hoping it may pave the way for his possible return to power.

As in America under Trump, so now in Greece, the pandemic is not suitable for political exploitation. Just as Trump was condemned for turning the use of the mask from a health issue into a political issue, it is reprehensible – especially given the medical capacity and capabilities of Greece – that Tsipras is trying to do the same with the protests.

It should come as no surprise that Tsipras is pursuing this policy.

One can only look at the archives of the newspapers to see the kind of opposition leader he was during the economic crisis that Greece was going through at that time. It's just that the issue today is very different.

I cannot argue that the current government has managed the coronavirus crisis flawlessly. It has made a number of mistakes.

But who can deny that these mistakes come partly from the difficulties of dealing with a little-known virus and, of course, from the well-known weaknesses of the country's health system and not from the lack of effort or courage of the government?

Today, the situation in the country is bad. Hospitals are at their limits – if they have not exceeded them – as some doctors with direct knowledge claim. The government has already recruited private doctors and hospitals to help with the situation.

And all this is taking place at the end of March. That is, the time when tourists – those who will travel to Greece – start making their plans. Can Greece withstand losing this year's tourist season as well?

If this catastrophe is the price that the Greek people must pay in order for Tsipras to return to power, then he is following the right policy.

But this does not serve the national interest.

And it is sad that in today's Greece, 200 years after the start of the War of Independence, with the Turks lurking, we have still not learned from our past mistakes. 



The recent editorial in the Times of London, in which the paper declares that it now supports the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece, is an important step towards their not-so-distant return.

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TNH’s Happenings of the Week by Eraklis Diamataris

The National Herald’s Happenings of the Week (Jan 8 – Jan 15) as have been reported at the print and digital editions of TNH and presented by the TNH Editor Eraklis Diamataris.