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Without geographic definition.
by Thanos Kalamidas
2014-04-26 12:22:34
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A city without geographic definition. That’s how George describes the reality of the hundreds homeless in Athens.

Last December here in Ovi, we published an open letter from George Barkouris. A 62-year-old homeless man from Athens. It was a call and a scream the same time. A call for all of us to understand how people who lost their home and their life feel, and a scream on how much the Greek social structures have been demolished as the austernity measures unveil in the bankrupt country.

g01_400“Today the majority of the homeless in Athens is mainly constituted by the neo-homeless. People who lost their jobs in one night and found themselves in the streets unable to cover even their basic needs. Then there are the ill people who were left in the streets when the health system and the welfare collapsed with the state unable to help them even with their housing. A new shocking reality in Greece this moment is the existence of homeless families with kids.” George’s words.

The last three years Greece seems so far away from everybody! A country connected with civilization and science, nowadays covers headlines and economic pages with her financial reality and numbers about her debt, ignoring a fundamental element for every civilization, humans.

While four years after, Greece returns to the economic markets, able to borrow more money with some started already talk about the coming growth; with the EU economic executives celebrating for the success of the austerity measures, there are thousands in Greece that lost their lives. While Greece prides her return to the global economy, the Greek people are facing a humanitarian disaster of gigantic dimensions.

With a third of the working force unemployed and nearly 40% of the working population paid not regularly, the changes in the Greek social structure are dramatic. Families extending to kids and grandkids are forced to live together, in small apartments sometimes without electricity, unable to afford the housing cost. Thousands of families that live without running water or electricity because they cannot afford the bills.

Thankfully private organizations and NGOs do their best to help these people but the extent of the problem is so big that even they are unable to help all these people.

But the government kept a last hit for the homeless people. An announcement last week that they found money to help the homeless. Of course there were a series of exclusions. For example the people who were forced to return to their old parents with their kids dispirit because they lost everything, they don’t count as homeless even though they live in the mercy of their old parents. They count as “guests”; a new discovery from the Greek tax-office.

As George says, “help is welcome but what happens when this help comes in the eve of elections and calculating that at least 20,000 of the homeless people will exercise their voting right. Why there was no help the last two years when the situation obvious to everybody started escalating.

“Mr. Samara’s government presents this help as a result of the economic measures that gave a surplus for the first time the last four years. But this is a lie. The money are coming from the EU fund for the homeless and an agreement signed last month between Martin Schulz and the Greek foreign vice-secretary.”

This help the government announced is not a permanent help. Is just a few euros thrown only for one time, just enough to drive people to the voting booth. And then what? Is his re-election going to solve the problem he actually partly created? Nowadays even the homeless settler started feeling the hit of the austerity measures and the people who funded places like that or shown any kind of philanthropy are targeted form the economic ministries and the tax offices, investigating on how they found the money to “spend” them in acts like that when there is recession. Moves of a murderous and cold-hearted government.

But this inhuman and merciless government wants more. Stealing their life was not enough; they also need their essence, their dignity. And they are doing so by throwing at them some euros on the pavements where they live forced from this government. “A city without geographic definition.” Says George, humans without human definition from a state that doesn’t care, I would say. And while austerity measures continues and this government strangles the Greek people to no human limits the problem escalates and one day it will come what they fear most, social unrest with unpredictable consequences.

George’s article and his thoughts about the announcement is published in Greek. Before awaking the European and the international community on the dramatic moments some Greeks live it is good for the Greeks to understand that these people who sleep in their streets are not there by choice or because of wrong choices. They are there because they were forced violently there and then they were ignored to die there as a lot of them already have. And the only way to help them is if first we understand, empathize and stop instead running away trying to avoid their smell or their eyes.


The Greek readers can read George's article: HERE!

And check his personal blog, HERE!


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Mirella Ionta2014-04-26 21:17:54
This is really sad. Really sad. The economic crisis of Greece is heart-breaking. Greece is the heart of Europe and the Western world. I think the world has to wake up and see that Germany has something to do with Greek national debt. A Europe dominated by Germany is very scary. It seems that they like to create trouble, they began two world wars, and now, surprise, surprise, they are trying to create a financial war within the European community. It seems to be their pattern of behaviour to want to dominate. These "PIGS" countries got poorer with the creation of the Euro. Germany is not very worried about their economy. Actually, those little shysters are doing well. Surprise, surprise. I guess when a nation like Germany kills 11 million of its population, the nation gets stronger and richer while the other countries stagger and struggle. Life is easy when one is a robot with no spirit.

Emanuel Paparella2014-04-26 22:40:37
This is quite an eye-opener, Thanos. George has it on target: a city without geographical definition is a city in trouble. This is especially tragic for Athens, the city which is the cradle of Western Civilization and which originally provided Greco-Roman civilization and its subsequent Renaissances with its historical and cultural identity.

Indeed, for a whole continent (i.e., Europe) to be bereft of one’s historical cultural identity is a much worst calamity than to allow a city like Athens to be a city without a geographical definition. As William Butler Yeats aptly put it in his “The Second Coming” all the way back in 1919: “Things fall apart, the center cannot hold/Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world/…The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity.”

That poem was written after World War I but it was also a prediction of World War II and may be also a prediction of World War III as it is being prepared as we speak by the best in the EU without convictions such as the present leaders of the EU and the passionate worst like Vladimir Putin who misguidedly believes he has a superior civilization vis a vis the EU.

Leah Sellers2014-04-27 01:34:02
Greece has become the EU's primary Scapegoat, and its geographicaless peoples are one of the primary Canaries in a Cage. A whole Nation should not be cast away and aside due to the nisbegotten Gains, Ideations and Actions of a Few.
In lifting the poor and down-trodden, Humanity lifts and UpLifts itself.
Thank you for these very difficult Realizations, George and Thanos.

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