Euboea, a collective affair | eKathimerini.com
Scorched by forest fires last year, northern Evia serves well for exercises in populism. Thursday’s visit to the region by SYRIZA’s main opposition leader, Alexis Tsipras, did not reassure people there, as he merely spoke of the opposition’s usual repertoire: “The deception and public relations stunts have their limits, and those limits have been crossed here. “, he proclaimed, against a background of still obvious destruction, to try to capitalize on the anger of the inhabitants and to transform it into votes during a useless visit.
Ten months have passed since the fires that razed 512,000 square meters of forest land, homes and livelihoods, and people are still trying to get back on their feet. Local authorities are contributing to this effort (we witnessed this in Aidipsos, Limni and Agia Anna) but frustration with delays at central government level is inevitable as some recovery efforts (such as compensation waivers) stall while others progress. But the fact is that the recovery will be a complicated affair because the problems are complicated – and many.
But, there are also initiatives that give us a glimpse of what the future might look like for northern Evia and one of them is the Fotodotes (Light-Givers) development project for the reconstruction from Euboea. The Ministry of Culture participates in the program with three of its companies: the Thessaloniki International Film Festival, the Athens Concert Hall and the National Opera of Greece.
Among its events is the Evia Film Project, which ends tomorrow. Can the island evolve into an international center for the promotion of “green cinema”? The approximately 500 guests from Greece and abroad attending the five-day meeting in Aidipsos believe it is possible. And it’s not just about the life that such initiatives bring to a territory and the revitalization of the local economy; it’s also about the collective effort they inspire. In this particular case, people from the community and beyond have teamed up to reactivate an open-air cinema, open masterclass rooms, promote local products and entrepreneurship, and create networks of communication and cooperation between foreign film professionals and Greek film students.
Reboots in society don’t happen by magic or by pushing a button. But initiatives like this can – because they take hard work and professionalism to succeed – banish populism and silence opponents, the destructive politics of promises without commitments. The future, as we have seen, lies in cooperation which can, indeed, bring about rebirth.