On 1 March 2023, a tragic accident occurred in Greece. A passenger train and a commercial train collided head-on in the area of Tempi (near the city of Larissa in Central Greece), resulting in the deaths of 57 people. This incident, however, was not exactly an accident. Many refer to this incident as a “foreshadowed crime.” Workers’ unions have been warning for several months about the risk of an accident due to the deplorable state of the railway network.
The information that came to light after the accident caused many people across the country to reflect on life as the luck of the draw. The unjust loss of these 57 lives is preceded by other losses of human lives at sea and on land. Losses that have not reached the larger public discourse, like those in the waters of the Aegean after a shipwreck on Lesvos on 6 October 2022, which cost the life of 19 people.
We ought to mourn and grieve for all these lives inexcusably lost. At the same time, we must demand truth and justice for the circumstances and responsibilities that led to these deaths. We refuse to either “live by chance” or die because it was “bad timing.”
When the crimes of shipwrecks and pushbacks in the Aegean go unpunished without anyone taking responsibility, it is inevitable that “accidents” like the train collision will happen again.
We must bring this point of intersection to light if we intend to give due dignity and respect to human life. After all, we must not forget what history has taught us in the most brutal way: that the devaluation of the lives and deaths of a few paves the way for the devaluation of more and more. Or in other words, “Today them, tomorrow us.”
We pray to find each other in the struggles for social justice and grow stronger together.