Greek Fires and the Shock Doctrine

Naomi Klein has been in the news and on the road with her new book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. She has been reviewed as aprêt-à-porter radical, here and and a compelling reporter, here.

She certainly hit the mark in describing the reaction of certain Greeks to the incredible fires that swept over the Peloponnese this summer. [Two percent of the surface area of Greece was destroyed by forest fires this summer, including some of Europe’s lushest nature reserves. The extent of the damage wrought by the infernos is much larger than initially thought, with rare species of reptiles, mammals and endemic plants being lost, according to the conservation group WWF.]

Greeks have been incensed by evidence that investors, scenting profit, are moving in to the Peloponnese, one of the last parts of Greece to have escaped mass tourism.

Ecologists point to a deal that paves the way for construction on up to 10 miles of virgin coastline around the southern seaside town of Zacharo. The deal, signed by the former deputy finance minister Petros Doukas and the mayor of Zacharo, Pantazis Chronopoulos, appears to have gone through, despite the region being on a list of protected sites drawn up by the EU.

The approximately 6,000 people who were made homeless by the fires have also been encouraged to ignore otherwise stringent environmental rules when they apply for housing subsidies. In the absence of a land registry and forest maps, Greeks invariably have been able to build with impunity in areas that would normally be protected.

WWF In Despair over Damage

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