A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Greek Tragedy

Something is burning, baby, are you aware?
Something is the matter, baby, there's smoke in your hair
BOB DYLAN Something's Burning, Baby from Empire Burlesque
The fires in southern Greece have raged for almost a fortnight. Much of the devastation is centred on the western Peloponnese, that beautiful, mountainous peninsula separated from the northern mainland by the Corinth Canal, which links the Aegean and Ionian seas. Around 500,000 acres of farmland and forest have been ravaged, 6000 homes are believed to have been destroyed and at least 65 people have died. An Athenian schoolteacher was found dead in her car with her 4 children. She had tried but failed to outrace the flames. These have been the most extensive wildfires in Europe's history - much more serious than the ones which engulfed the northern Peloponnese in 2000. It's the biggest environmental disaster Greece has ever known. Helena Smith wrote this in the Guardian: In the Peloponnese, the peninsula worst hit by the fires, the signs of death are everywhere: in the stumps of still smouldering olive trees; the silver ash that carpets the land; the charred remains of carcasses putrefying in the summer heat; the trees tinged orange as if they are wearing wigs; and the thousands of others turned charcoal black, their baldness too awful to contemplate for those whose families have lived in these parts for centuries.

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