Monday, March 8, 2010

Greece's Economic "Excitement"

Greece is in a considerable economic bind (ah, the plight of Detroit follows me everywhere!). The actual country's debt is four times greater than originally thought, and the European Union is not happy.

Since the Greek government's announcement of new [and rather strict] austerity measures last week, there has been a colorful variety of strikes emerging from both the private and public sectors. The latest one in Athens was last Friday, 5 March. I do not have pictures of the occasion because I was not present, but from seeing others' digital cameras and hearing first hand accounts from other students, I can tell you that there existed the following sorts of [literally] deconstructive activities:

  • Loud music
  • Thousands of irate people
  • Burnings on the street of various objects
  • Bashings of numerous objects, i.e. payphones, marble walls, glass-covered signs
  • Bashings of actual people (not a surprise, because they themselves were violent too)
  • Throwing of yogurt onto prominent figures of authority
  • A new layer of graffiti
  • Lots and lots of tear gas

To give you a sense of this type of animosity that is occurring in a more inter-state fashion, read the following quote from the New York Times:

"A pair of German politicians...suggested Thursday that the Greeks consider plugging the large hole in their budget by selling off some of their lovely islands. Several Greek politicians and commentators have argued that the Germans should pony up reparations for the death and destruction wrought by the Nazis during World War II." (Read the rest here: Kulish. NY Times. 5 March 2010)

After the demonstrators had vacated Syntagma Square, I walked through the area to get to Starbucks, my objective for the day. Little did I know that tear gas was still in the air. My eyes and lungs started burning. After emerging from the gas-filled area and thinking that I had done so permanently, I sat down at the outdoor cafe seating of Starbucks with Chelsea and her mom only to be met with yet another round of tear gas. We escaped to Plaka safely. Yikes indeed!

1 comment:

  1. AH! SO SCARY! it was good to hear from you that day over spring break!

    im glad youre ok, and havent lost permanent function of any senses!