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article imageOp-Ed: World support for Greek people over austerity measures

By Marlene de Wilde     Feb 18, 2012 in World
Rallies are taking place around the world under the banner "We are all Greeks now" in call for solidarity against austerity measures.
The show of solidarity is in response to what is increasingly seen as the suppression of the Greek people by tyrannical banks and financial interests. On the facebook page calling for support in New York, "In adherence to the global day of #Solidarity with #Greece, we protest against the austerity measures imposed on Greece by ECB-EC-IMF and the complicity of the non-elected Greek government. These measures are socially unfair and economically ineffective. We protest against police brutality, corporate greed and the destruction of democracy".
This image sums up what concerns many. First the Greeks, then the other weaker European states, then who knows who will be next? It all comes down to money. No matter the suffering of the common folk as long as the money machine is fed and satiated. It is the same story all the way down the line. As long as institutions and entrepreneurs are making a financial killing, who cares about the people, the forests, the lakes, the air?
According to just one report on Serres TV,a growing number of Greek children are going to school hungry. These kids don't tell anyone they are hungry but it shows. It shows in their pale faces and their listlessness and the fact that they are fainting outside the school gates. The Guardian reported on the growing number of suicides as proud Greeks cannot pay their debts and so cannot face their families and communities. France 24 reports families sleeping in their cars because they can no longer afford to pay the rent or those that can pay the rent, cannot pay the electricity bill and so are facing a very cold winter without heating or even light according to reports like those in SETtimes.
Those who do work are being asked by decision-makers who earn over 10 000 euros a month to work for 500 euros a month. This is not enough to pay rent on an average 2-bedroom home, pay the telephone and electricity bill and buy food for a family of 4. It is not enough. There are people who, after getting their reduced pensions, are left with 50 euros in their hands after they pay their rent. One loaf of bread a day for 30 days costs 25 euros. Throw in a liter of milk every third day and that's their 50 euros gone. On bread and milk. That's not enough either.
A lot has been written about how the Greeks are suffering now because they have lived a life of waste and extravagance. Maybe some of them have but the vast majority have always lived a normal life and have been proud to pay their way. They are proud to pay their bills on time and not be indebted to anyone. Now, many of those who have always paid their way are forced to go to those to whom they owe and, in low voices and pain in their eyes, admit that they just do not have the money to pay this month. It's not that they have forgotten, or don't think it is important but they just do not have the money this month.
And what is making it even worse is that no-one seems to know what to do about it. Politicians not only in Greece but also in Europe and further afield are divided and, at times, bitterly so. No-one has a definitive answer - there are only debates, theories and hidden agendas. Who knows what to believe? Should we, shouldn't we? Will we, won't we? While the older generations struggle, the younger generations despair. And despair is dangerous. It creates desolation, isolation, segregation.
Until now, the Greeks have felt isolated. Naughty children who need to be punished and humiliated. Today marks a change. An international cry for support for a beleaguered people who are doing their best to hold their heads up in painful times.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about We are all greeks, greek solidarity, greek debt crisis, Austerity measures
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