Sad things are happening in Greece

A homeless man from from Thessaloniki begs and sleeps on the street of Athens. The continuing recession and repeated austerity measures has visibly increased the amount of beggars on the streets. The Greek parliament is due to hold a key vote on new austerity measures on Wednesday. Both public and private sector unions have scheduled a general strike to coincide with the vote. The measures, including controversial tax hikes, wage reductions and other changes in labor regulations have to be passed if Greece hopes to receive fresh aid for the EU and the IMF. (Kalle Koponen)

A homeless man from from Thessaloniki begs and sleeps on the street of Athens.

One thing became clear on my latest trip to Athens: poverty is increasing. More shops had been closed since my last trip. More beggars were on the streets. More aggressive graffiti adorned the walls everywhere. More people are trying to make a living with a smaller salary than before and ever more people are totally losing their jobs. At the gates of a municipal soup kitchen, hungry people were leaning on the fence before is was time to open. Formerly middle class people have joined the line of traditional penniless in the soup kitchen. Meanwhile there is a section of the society that seems to survive whatever hardships. The cafes and bars of up market Kolonaki – a stone throw from Syntagma square were real stones are regularly thrown – are full of fashionable people sipping expensive drinks and enjoying quality dinners. Greece seems to be polarizing terribly and violently. Extremist right wingers of the Golden Dawn party harass and beat up immigrants with impunity, sometimes with the passive co-operation of the police. A measure of how bad things have become is that a Bangladeshi shop keeper we met actually was contemplating returning to his homeland. Think about that. See more images from Athens here.

Be Sociable, Share!
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • email
  • StumbleUpon
  • Delicious
  • Google Reader
  • LinkedIn
  • BlinkList

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.