Monday, October 8, 2007

Greek Fires Revisted

Its worth remembering the past every now and again. So cast your mind back to the fires that raged all across Greece. Remember the Foreign Affairs minister who vaguely blamed 'foreign interests'. Or the Public Order minister who blamed it on 'Asymmetrical threats' (whatever that means. Or what about the minister of the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works who said... well he didn't say anything, what a smart cookie! And lets not forget the people who took to the streets to say NO to Building on Burnt land. People who were branded as left wing reactionaries and accused of working for the opposition, and therefore to be ignored.

Building has Begun
I wanted to remind you of this because, yes, building has begun!
Here are photo's taken in Parnitha (sent to me by a friend), well whats left of it after the fires. Parnitha is a forest reserve in Greece, and building there is prohibited. I mentioned before that it is illegal to build even within 50 meters of a forest. Following the forest fires, now we know why. Well we do, these builders obviously dont care. And why should they if they are building there in the first place.

Meanwhile the minister of the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works, Mr Souflias has allegedly been cought building a luxury villa on the hill Anavyssos without a building permit. But since it was outside the town planning zone, does he need one? And by sheer coincidence a new road will be built that way, built coincidently by his ministry.

Meanwhile the brother of the minister of Agriculture has been cought allegedly re-zoning forest land as land intended for building, for an annual fee of course.

And as for me, I am looking for a new place, either to buy or rent. But housing prices are really expensive, hmm, the houses in the pictures look nice. I wonder...


Bubble said...


Has there been any coverage of this latest land-grab by the major news organisations?

If not, why?

If so what reaction has there been by the public, the opposition and more importantly the government which promised that this wouldn't happen?

Once again thanks for the great work

CaliforniaKat said...

Vassili mou, did you see the excellent report on TV last night where they had taped secret footage of several ministers talking about their illegal properties, bribes of 3000-5000 to secure something and maps of forest areas where they're building? One minister would get on the phone and deny stuff, so then they'd play the tape with his voice on it. Classic!

The sad thing is, the government cannot prosecute (and why would they when it's they're own ministers doing it) until there's a forest registry. And they've been dragging their feet for decades about this. Even the EU has been unable to force Greece to do something; as it is, they've already warned them to NOT rezone burnt area to not be included and I suspect will be taking to court sometime soon.

The ministers, when they thought they weren't being taped, also admitted that they're going to stall any attempt to protect the forests and push for a registry.

After about 90 minutes of that nonsense, I had to turn it off because I realized Greece has (again) learned nothing and it made me too sad to watch any further.

Vassili - Mike said...

Wow Kat. I didn't see that, Which channel.
Bubble: Here in Greece, Major news organisations either follow a party line, or their journalists do not know what Journalism is and back down from major confrontations. Things like what KAt just mentioned do pop up now and again, But is never followed up or continued. Greece suffers from short term memory loss?
SKAI, which, despite it being a channel for its owner and New Democracy has hired some editors who are concerned for the environment, hence it and His paper Kathimerini are the only ones who talk about the environment.
The government hasnt really promised much, other than to turn the old airport into a park... the rest is vague

graffic said...

Kat: I didn't see that report! But I guess for them is like: "ok, record as much as you want, I'm more powerful than you".

Vassilis: The only thing lef to do is try to go to an EU tribunal :(

Kat said...

Ela file,

The show is "Apodeixeis" with Nikos Evangelatos on Antenna. It's on every Wednesday night.

It's very funny when he has the ministers on and they deny everything, and Nikos says "let me play you something (video/audio), then you can tell me if I'm a good journalist or not."

Fine, the MPs still rule but at least they know someone is breathing down their necks and they're not as clever as they think. I'd do a show like that if I could, but it'd never work because I'm not Greek and I'd probably be assassinated within a month ;)

Vassili - Mike said...

I avoid Evangelatos. I have no doubt as to the veracity of his actions. Its his timing, Before the election he was cought screening questions people would ask ministers - and telling them what to say.
Makis Triantafilopoulos has recieved many death threats and flaunts his bodyguards.
Unfortunately the journalist with the most death threats is ... Giorgos Georgiou the sports journalist. His missing teeth are for comments he made against Panathinaikos, his broken arm for comments against Olympiakos etc etc... So as long as you stay away from Sports you should be safe

CaliforniaKat said...

I don't like Evangelatos much either, but the content of the program was interesting enough and provided enough entertainment that I could ignore him.