A study published two years ago revealed that when someone, a politician for instance, achieves a degree of power, it rewires the brain in a way that impairs a specific neural process that is a key part of empathy. New neural pathways are created that instead bring forward such negative traits as self-interest.
Even without the science behind it, it is obvious to everyone, except our non-self-aware politicians that their behaviour over the past week has been despicable as they try to gain political capital on the backs of two or more dead woman and probably a dead child.
Is asking for the resignation of the police chief and justice minister to score a point over your political opponents really the first thing that come to mind? What about the fear and terror of the victims and the continued agony of their families? Just an afterthought, most likely.
Akel, the so-called party of the working class and underdogs of society, fired the first volleys, and yes, everyone knows the police have a lot of tough questions to answer when this investigation is over.
Then it got worse. On Tuesday after some media outlets published pictures of the suspect – whose side job was a photographer – in a roomful of public figures at an Akel event to honour Demetris Christofias, three days after the first body was found, the party rushed to distance itself.
A back-and-forth ensued on social media with politicians accusing each other of having the suspect as a member of their party, anything to damage the image of their opponents in the run-up to the European Parliament elections next month. A suspected serial killer being associated with a political party could cost a lot of votes.
Such behaviour shows what’s really important to our politicians. And then there’s the female MP from Akel who yesterday called for an emergency meeting of the House gender-equality committee to discuss the issue of missing foreign women. Where were our female deputies when an article appeared in Politis last August sounding the alarm a month after the woman who was probably second victim went missing? Where was the emergency meeting then?
And it was not only Akel. No one from any political party thought it worthy to take up the issue back then, and there is no way the majority of them did not see the Politis article by Louis Koutroukides, a domestic help agent. No one contacted him, and he was so desperate he went to a former minister to help him get in contact with a politician, but it never happened.
So it was not only the police who dropped the ball on this one, but it’s probably too much to hope that our politicians might become self-aware enough to realise there is plenty of blame to go around and they ought to look in the mirror.