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Not even dream Not even dream
by Thanos Kalamidas
2013-04-27 08:00:31
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In the anniversary of the three years since the day Greece officially entered deep recession - where recession the obviously political correct word for bankruptcy – except of the people who were forced to deal with the ugliest reality there is another part, unfortunately still the majority that tries to find excuses and lives in denial. And truth is that the situation is so bad, with families lacking even the necessary to heat or feed themselves, without hope and more taxes or cuts on the way that denial is the only defence to gain some comfort in their lives.

Most of the officials and the politicians from the other side definitely live in another planet. It is like they never hear anything or see anything. They act like nothing really happens, like it is all a war game they are just watching unveiling in front of them and when the time comes they can press the button and stop the game.

In the meantime with the unemployment and the cuts there are families that live on 400 and 500 Euros a month while only their rent is usually up to 400 Euros a month creating a new class, the neo-poor. People who had jobs and a dignifying income that excused a conservative life with a car and money for the kids to have all the extras from one day to another found themselves having difficulties to bring the basics in the house even enough food to feed their kids. So nowadays you see in Athens people with trendy and once fashionable clothes digging the rubbish for some food or begging in the shadow corners.

Two years ago started appearing the public kitchens offering food and even though in the beginning there were a few tens visiting them nowadays you see cues of hundreds waiting for hours for a cup of potato soup and a piece of bread. You see people carrying laptops, a last reminder of their former life and a dispirit effect to keep some of their old dignity and find a job waiting in the same place with old ladies dressed in past fashionable cloths and beggars with old rip offs for clothes. All of them waiting for a plate of watery soup with a couple of potatoes swimming here and there.

And two weeks ago in an opening of one of those kitchens prominent and very young politician, sadly and supposedly liberal said the unbelievable “my dream is to see one of those kitchens in every neighbourhood” and people cheered him happily and reading it I felt like crying. I felt like crying for my poor country but most of it for my countrymen’s lost dignity. Just think what the man said. His dream was to see one of those kitchens in every neighbourhood. Think please again. Perhaps he wanted to emphasize that his aim was to make sure that everybody in every neighbourhood was fed, perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. But what came out was his denial to face reality.

An opening for a place where homeless people go to get some food? This is the first thing that should have bothered him. You are not making an opening in a place of suffering and loss of dignity. You go there quietly to help the people to fill the plates, you don’t go there to make a speech and tell your dream. The seriousness of the citation demands there necessary modesty. There is no I there, there is no them or we. There are just us.

And yes when you stand in front of this humanitarian disaster you don’t have dreams but aims. His aim should have been no hungry in any neighbourhood. No unemployed, no suffering, no people without medicine, no kids without education, no elder without caring. His dreams should have been so different. But there were people there cheering and hoping that with hard collective work there will be one kitchen like that in every neighbourhood to feed the hungry. They had accepted that this was the future and they could do absolutely nothing to change it. Not even dream!

The same time under the instructions of the IMF the European Solidarity and the German management the government has entered the sell out mood in the name to find money and privatization of public property. The failed state enterprises are sold for nothing and the profitable ones for pennies. All of them under the close instructions of the German EU management and coincidentally to German buyers. And slowly every single neighbourhood gets its own open kitchen for the hungry.

Our nightmares somebody’s dreams! 

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Emanuel Paparella2013-04-27 08:46:13
Quite an insightful political anecdote, Thanos. The young Greek liberal politician depicted here has it definitely it up-side-down. Ethically speaking, as the ancients have well taught us and as a genuinely Christian ethics ought to reflect too, charity may be the highest of the cardinal virtues but it ought to remain a necessary measure of last resort, not the preferred remedy; a chance for hypocrites to congratulate each other on their virtues. One ought not to wish poor-houses all over the world but social justice blooming all over the world. What ought to take precedence in fact is social distributive justice.

The papal encyclicals of the last one hundred years address this conundrum of charity vs. justice frontally but it seems that they are voices crying in the desert to deaf ears. We find it easier to bash the messenger when we don’t much like the message or accuse him of Communism or even hypocrisy for not carrying out in practice what his words proclaim on paper; which may make us feel good for letting it off our chest, but that, alas, does not further social justice and does not get any of us off the hook for our general complicity (direct or indirect) for the lack of fairness and social harmony.

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