The gathering that took place in Mati on 25 August in memory of the 96 dead in the disastrous wildfire was not simply an act of mourning.
The hundreds of our fellow human beings were there not only to mourn. They were present in order to remember. Beyond the need for mourning, the duty to preserve memory is part of the human condition.
It is precisely that duty to remember that our fellow human beings fulfiled by reading out the names of the dead who were so unjustly lost. The dead are not the number 96. They have names and identities. They had their daily lives, plans, dreams, and people whom they loved and cared for. They were not just a number, but people with flesh and bones. The reading of the names was the fulfilment of a duty to remember them as people, so that they will not be forgotten.
Ta Nea paid tribute to the dead when it decided to publish the names of the victims of this unprecedented tragedy on its front page.
Only if the victims are not forgotten, and only if the significance of the tragedy does not degenerate into a mere number, can one lay the foundations for it not to be repeated.
The debt of memory does not concern only those who died, but also those who stayed behind. It is not only those who faced an unjust death who must not be forgotten. It is also the living, who have the duty to remember how unjustly these lives were lost.