When a Coffee Break Turns into a Modern Greek Nightmare...
Having stopped off briefly for a coffee break near Dafni Metro station to catch up with some work emails a crowd developed at the entrance for some unknown reason. It was clear the station had closed but no one initially knew why. What happened next is a microcosm of a society in terminal decline.
Suddenly police ambulance and fire crews arrived and the crowd in front had to make way and it was stated someone had fallen on the tracks. No one initially knew the cause or the age of the victim. After more than thirty minutes a mobile stretcher arrived on wheels and it was positioned eerily at the entrance. It epitomised what happened next. They brought a black body bag fully wrapped and wheeled it away.
It was then revealed it was a 75 year old Greek who had jumped in front of a train. The mythology that Greece has ‘turned the corner’ ‘development is back’ ‘unemployment has been reduced from 27% to 19%’ are words that don’t relate to the human dramas unfolding infront of everyones eyes. The massive expansion of part time work the destruction of full time work and wages that could end up as low as Euro 250 a month one can understand how easily figures are manipulated.
Quite a few Athenians the majority of which arrived from the villages in the 1950’s and 1960s built their houses from cash without the necessity of mortgages or loans from the banking system. When the Great Crash of 2010 arrived the IMF imposed property taxes. Many families had an ancestral home in a village and possibly one in four had built small holiday homes that were never properly legalised as they were built in designated ‘forest’ or non-planning areas. The irony of this is that one cannot then sell a property of such nature but the government does tax it!
With the collapse in pension payment by at least 50% which hasn’t been reversed but continued under Syriza a retired pensioner could end up owning 2-3 property taxes and go up on the scale of tax bands as he is considered ‘wealthy’. Thus added all together the reduction in fixed income could be as high as 70% and without the capacity of reducing overheads or transferring it to ones children’s (who have their own problems) many seek the option of suicide.
It is alleged more than 10,000 have committed suicide since the onset of the crisis but many aren’t registered as such as it brings shame on the family and the figure could be much closer to 30,000. The most infamous case being that of the pensioner Christos Soulas who hanged himself in 2012 publically in Sindagma Square. Added with all the robberies of pensioners inside their homes or on the streets this economic war against the third generation has as an aim to destroy Greek families and break the nation apart. Social justice has been erased from the lexicon of the modern mass media and the parties that govern. It’s all forecasts and targets with made up figures. Not long ago a government Minister Loverdos stated that the problem with Greek pensions ‘is that Greek pensioners live too long’. Taken literally one understands how a short coffee break turns into a modern Greek nightmare...