Looking down the bottomless pit in Greece…

A 45-something mother of two threatens to jump to her death from her office in central Athens, which is scheduled to be closed dawn due to the austerity measures of the Greek government. She had earlier sold everything in a provincial town and moved to Athens where better care for her seriously ill child was available. Both she and her husband work in the same office and are now facing joblessnes.  After several hours of contemplation and negotiation the woman gave up and went back inside. (Kalle Koponen)

Austerity measures drove a Greek woman to the edge.

I saw a woman almost kill herself in Athens because of the austerity measures imposed on Greece. It shook me badly. Her office is due to be closed down and she faces unemployment together with her husband working in the same office. As if not having enough troubles, the family desperately needed these jobs to finance the care for their child suffering from a difficult heart disease. So she snapped and spent several hours on the window weeping and at times screaming in agony. A growing crowd watched in fear from the street level. In the end she didn´t jump, but one thing became clear. Hundreds of thousands of Greeks are giving up their lives as they were to save western banks these days. Wolfgang Schäuble, Jutta Urpilainen and other ministers of finance are ever more loudly demanding “guarantees” from Greece and accuse it being a bottomless pit sucking in all the money. No doubt the Greek regime has been extremely sloppy before and is at best unreliable now. But I have a feeling the ministers and bankers riding in black cars do not fully grasp the havoc these austerity measures are wreaking in Greek families. Lives are crushed as salaries are cut and jobs lost. For financiers a bottomless pit is an abstract concept. The woman on the office wall, however, was really looking down to a very deep, dark  abyss.

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