Summer – the endless Greek summer - is traditionally associated with a lapse in the tensions always present in Greek political life. From the moment in mid-July, certainly in August that people get off to their summer vacation (or even to shorter breaks), in their villages or at friends’ retreats or wherever, and up to the moment in mid-September that the “political cycle” starts anew with the Thessaloniki Fair (where political platforms get tried out and forward-looking strategies start to be implemented) a sort of spontaneous détente prevails.
Not this year. The 2018 summer is – for Greece, for Greeks, for the Greek political system – a summer blocked. The Government benches were hoping that the end of the Adjustment Programmes era for Greece would herald something akin to “back to normal” for the country, the economy, the Greek people (who are edging closer to become “the Greek voters”). But then, came along the horrific fires at a prosperous suburb some 15 miles east of Athens, with more than 80 dead, atrociously, (and dozens of people missing) : total lack of organization to evacuate – or even to try to… - realization that unplanned, almost anarchic urbanization caused a trap where innocent people perished, plus stubborn denial of any sort of responsibility on part of Government officials blackened peoples’ souls – and this is not just a figure of speech.
What will this summer, thus blocked, amount to for social life – and ultimately for political future – in Greece? Too early to tell. But calls to try and turn the sense of urgency towards some sort of preparation for the future – as, some months earlier, after flash-floods in more popular districts of Athens – looked domed from the first moment; even the promising initiative taken by the Opposition leadership to try and convince the Government to take joint action so as to build better defenses for natural disaster seems condemned to fail. The blocked Greek summer of 2018 is set to lead to more acrimony, more enmity, more tensions.