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The apocalyptic disaster in North Evia [Greece]

Rough translation of a statement by anarchists from Evia on the wildfires in north Evia (Greek territory). We hope you will forgive possible minor translation mistakes.

Originally published by Athens Indymedia. Translated by Riot Turtle (with assistance of translation software)

The wildfire in North Evia is the biggest environmental and political crime the country has ever seen. Thousands of acres of forest were burned, countless animals and hundreds of homes. Dozens of villages were evacuated and some of them burned down to the ground. The inability of the fire brigade to cope and especially the lack of airborne resources allowed the fire to spread so widely. For four whole days North Evia has been burning and the government and the bigwigs have been sitting around watching the fire and eating pâté. Now the situation has now gone completely out of control, we just sit and watch the fire fronts coming towards us burning everything in their path until they end up on the beaches and extinguish themselves.

The state’s strategy did not include extinguishing the fire as no attempt was made to extinguish the fire fronts, the aim was simply to prevent the flames from entering residential areas. Their primary concern was to evacuate the villages so that there would be no loss of life and thus no accompanying political costs. After all, Koulis’ grandstanding about the fires in Mati is still fresh. The loss of life would give this tragic event a different dimension and would be very difficult to cover up by the mainstream media. But even the villages were not successfully protected, the flames destroyed many of them and many ordinary people saw their living space reduced to ashes. Most of the villages, especially those in the mountains, belonged to ordinary people who were engaged in agriculture and a major source of their income came from working in the forest. Now their lives have been blown away and many are considering immigration. At the time of writing, we do not know how many people have been injured or even killed.

And somewhere here, after this brief introduction, the description of the firefighting efforts ends. The fire department didn’t even manage to save the residential areas in a fire that had only one outbreak and was relatively small, so no mention of the forest. There was not even the slightest attempt to extinguish the fire that was moving towards the mountain and according to testimonies, this intervention was not even done in the cases where it was possible even with the small number of firefighters. The mountains of North Evia were left to burn.

The core fronts became huge in length and with flames over thirty meters high. For the first two days no planes were coming to fight the fires. There was only one firefighting helicopter which was totally inadequate for the condition and the excuses for this glaring absence in some cases reached the level of a joke. In the following days and while the fire was growing, some sporadic water drops appeared, but they did not succeed in bringing the fire under control. The inadequacy of the fire brigade to cope was exposed in all its glory, the many simultaneous fires around Greece far exceeded its operational capacity and so the areas in rural areas were left to the mercy of the fire. Hundreds of thousands of acres of forest have been burnt, most of the villages of North Evia have been evacuated and some of them burnt down to the ground. We cannot yet make any estimates because the fire remains out of control and all figures are growing rapidly. At the same time, videos have begun to circulate on the internet of desperate residents left helpless in the blaze fury. Thousands of people have been displaced and are seeking shelter from anyone who can help them. The scum media apparently report little about the events, in an attempt to hide the extent of the devastation. The situation is no longer manageable; the few firefighters are performing a life-or-death struggle against a powerful adversary. All we can do is sit on our perch and watch our island burn. We just wait for the fires to reach the beaches as they pass our homes, our fields and our places of memories.

But why would they send planes for some forested mountains located in an area that is planned to become a wind energy park, let alone when other areas are at risk at the same time?

The attitude of Capital and by extension of New Democracy (The governing party in the Greek state, Enough 14), which is its political expression, has been known for many years. The arsons in the forest areas of the country have succeeded each other in order to create the appropriate legal framework for the exploitation of the area through construction, mining, renewable energy sources and so on. Koulis had even let slip that “The forest will eventually burn down…” even in front of the cameras. The fire in this particular area is a relief for the capitalists who were already planning to install wind turbines in the mountains from which the fire started. The same thing has also happened in other parts of Greece. This huge disaster that literally crushed local communities resonates as good news to a section of capital and the indifference of the rulers to the fire was the best attitude they could have had being their loyal political servants. But then the situation got out of hand and now the disaster is unprecedented. All they are trying to do now is to keep up the facade, to convince people that they tried and failed, that they will pay compensation and all that, so that they can escape the wave of anger that will come.

So, both Alexis and Koulis visit the affected areas to reassure poor people and give them beads and chaplets to help them forget their pain. Such visits can be extremely fruitful for campaigners of all colours, especially now that we are entering election times. In this way, the elections are once again intended to act as a valve to relieve society by giving affected people the false impression that they can do something to express their outrage. But elections are nothing more than a mechanism for the system to renew itself, simply by changing the mask of oppression. Regardless of which government is next, the Greek capitalist state will have exactly the same needs for continued growth and will continue to let our mountains be ravaged by fire.

Unfortunately, the destruction of North Evia by the fire is not limited to what has been described, as the hours go by the situation gets worse. Also, after such large fires, floods follow. Companions, be strong and have no illusions. Difficult days are coming. Organize horizontally and claim the human right for a decent life.

Anarchists from Evia, August 6, 2021

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