Some politicians have often crossed the line in their skirmishes. They have betrayed the spirit of political culture, behaving improperly, insulting, and engaging in invective against their political opponents, and turning television talk shows and the parliament into an arena.
More recently, some politicians have followed the same tactics with citizens, with those who lost their loved ones and property in the disastrous Mati wildfire, with the people who experienced the fire not only in the hour of “pitiful publicity”, as the PM described press coverage, but who will continue to be impacted by the tragedy for many years to come.
The defence minister led the way, when during his visit to the disaster zone he blamed the fire-stricken, as if only they were responsible for the catastrophe, and he went as far as to accuse them of lying.
Then came the infrastructure and transportation minister, who during his visit to the area two days ago displayed egregious behavior. “Whoever is not ashamed of or frightened by the actions of their forebears should now go to apply for a building permit,” he was quoted as saying, alluding to illegal construction in the area.
A government which is not ashamed and afraid when confronted with mourning lacks political culture. It shows that it has lost every sense of human measure. It shows that it has not only abandoned the concept of shame, but that it has also entered the realm of barbarism.