Sunday, August 26, 2007

Blood tax

GREECE FIRES, originally uploaded by UNIQUE2007.

As forest fires continue to rage across much of Greece, the death toll has reached 52, an unprecedented number for a country so used to dealing with this kind of natural disaster. While there have always been deaths associated with fires they were usually limited to members of the fire brigade or the occasional inhabitant of an isolated village.

Alas, this tragic loss of life is another example of the "blood tax" (φορος αιματος) that the state requires in order to do an adequate job of enforcing the laws already on the books. Coaches full of kids have to slam into trucks before the police decide to do regular checks on drivers. Planes have to fall out of the sky before the airports upgrade their equipment. In fact, unless people die and then only in large numbers and in a spectacular manner do the authorities decide that it might be time to do the job they are entrusted with.

What will see in the next is the ugly spectacle of the politicians gleefully making capital out of the tragedy and the conspiracy theorist coming up with ever more convoluted schemes "proving" that this was all a carefully calculated plan by ..... (choose the political party/country/religious/ethnic group you despise most).

For more updates in English click here, in Greek here.

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