Recently in my correspondence I had with a friend, I was asked to write about how things were with everyday people here in Greece; I sat back and a storm of thoughts flooded, making me think that If I DO express these experiences, would they be able to understand ? Would they be seen as surrealistic accounts of REALITY, never before experienced in the 21st century to such a nation as Greece? Then I thought, an Interview would help focus because, my account alone just would not count, what do I know, I am just a teacher!


I know, that in the light of things I would  have most certainly wanted to portray another reality: the BEAUTY of the Greek LANDSCAPE and form; the ARRAY OF COLOURS adoring the skies at Sun set over the archipelagos; the TURQUOISE blue of the seas with GENTLE waves rolling on the sandy beaches, the pebble cove beaches and the rocky coast line of a Nation with 3 thousand islands like SCATTERED JEWELS by the  Gods in the Ionian and Aegean Seas of the Mediterranean. I would have wanted to describe the Sun lit MORNINGS, with the  Sun’s rays like arms stretching in the dawn, REACHING in through the wide open windows of the houses waking us up, to meet the day; the morning BREEZE how it is felt and heard as the leaves of the trees are RUSTLED, to inspire thought in the course of things and the sound of birds rushing, as this whole pantomime unfolds into the morning. Each time I would enter these thoughs, reality would ‘home in’ wanting me to describe the raw reality of what we are living. I just thank God that the climate here helps us to survive these austerity measures that are a ‘living hell’!


Now, why wouldn’t they believe me ‘back home ‘ in Australia? The ‘surrealism’, instigated by poitical and economic institutions’ that  vibrantly describes the economic crisis~ or depression or ‘economic war’ , would sound UNREAL, probably exaggerated to some, however SEEING IS BELIEVING and living it, as ‘an average Joe’ would have your hair stand on end. Better still, rememebring the faulse hopes of development, instead of using the taxpayers money; they opted to making Deals in receiving grant packets and scandelous deals with managing public works while lining their pockets. That later led to the ever so granduous perarations of the 2004 Olympic Games with loans from monetary institutions, which brings us to the brink of economic collase, social unrest and insecurity because these thngs that were voiced had stopped with the improper shutting down of ERT.


So,  inthe light of things, I have decided to describe things as I have read them, as I live them and from my accounts of conversations I have had, as I cycle to different places in the city of Athens on a daily basis. I will aslo report accounts that would not be mentioned in the media, or at least by some in the media, that are important to mention due to the fact that they are highly significant issues worthy of investigation by specialized reporters in the fields of political, social and economic issues: after all what am I… ?


This crisis, in the light of 1st July 2013, todays meeting the government are having with he people of Trioka, while at the same time in Brussels the issue of Austerity and the crisis in Greece is being lobbed and heard ; coupled with the simple fact of reading about yet more suicides, notching up the number to well over 4 thousand that have taken their own lives and with the government turning a blind eye to the situation and not opening those deep drawers with all the accounts; DOES make one wonder? Further more, seeing and reading about homeless people not older than myself, fainting from starvation, made my stomach churn. I look at the homeless of all walks of life, some long unemployed trades men, professionals that have no support only through charities and  I read about the backgrounds of those that have taken their lives. The factors around this phenomenon is worth studying.  What is the cause of this ‘genicide’ or loss of life?


 A  few days ago a 40 year old from Laissa city , north of Athens took his life and left a note stating that it was due to economic reason that he could no longer handle;  Yesterday it was a man in Tripoli who committed suicide: Why would they do that?  Last year, in Monastiraki Athens a 40 year  old and his ailing mother jumped from their property because they owed money  to the taxation Dept. their electricity was cut off and they had no water, because they could not pay ,the son was unemployed and they both just did not have money to eat! Where is Austerity driving us! These things are difficult to come to terms with.  Then I think of the land form and climate of Greece and shake my head in disbelief that WE are experiencing these things.


These events provoke questions: Why would a young man take his life? Why would a mother or a father take their lives? Why would a small family business owner take their lives? Why would a single mother become depressed and hand over her children to ophanages and commit suicide? Sure, these property owners, professionals and even small business owners must have had money that was owed to them, but that money was never paid ñever seen. Other small landlords had rents owed to them, and never paid, leaving bills unpaid too. Many people, may have also owed money to others who are now threatening them, or that have made them lose face in their society. Pride in Greeks is very strong…to most at least. To date most of the people that have died were from the private sector who have been living this crisis for well over 4 years. These suicides have made others angry, believing that taking your life is not the solution, in any way…nor by dying and GIVING IN to the ‘vutures’ that are ready to devour their ‘prey’ seeing you at your weakest ~unemployed and owing!!!! It is a FIGHT that must be won with honour and dignity: employment and time.


Those that have died are property owners who have not been able to meet their obligations for obvious reasons. Many have complained that banks , represented by law firms had called continuously recalling money that was borrowed before the crisis, by people. The manner in which that is done so has always been intimidateing , disregarding the past when you were always on time with  payments. Factors have pushed people over the edge. Many others have been ‘scammed’,’úsed’  and even sucked in by individual as well as through  scandelous mismanagement of governenments and the whole course of evens of staging a crisis, that could have been avoided… Now things are going to get worse with the public sector joining the lot of us. Never before has this occured to this extent in Greece….STILL THERE IS HOPE!



The interview I held was at the local Unemployment office in Agia Paraskevi, just  a little further up from the Megaro of ERT, that is turning to a Mecca as people congregate at the open forum there and listen.


As I entered the office, I was advised to get a number from the ticket machine that had run out of numbers.This being the second time I had come, made me feel a little frustrated, other obligations with preparation for the day and  knowing I might not have all the paper work kept me from coming earlier. Two young men in their twenties, prompted me in selecting a ticket from the tickets abandoned by other people who chose to come another day. 263 at 12:58pm was my number. “Earlier there were alot more people at all of the levels of the building.”they said.


This interview is to be written soon…stand by!  Debbie Papadakis 

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