It is incredible how quickly a country that was pleasant and friendly to live in, can deteriorate to an unbelievable state of deprivation and misery. In the years that I visited Greece, I don't ever recall seeing a beggar or anyone sleeping on the streets. Not that everybody was rich, of course not, it was still a capitalist country. Now however, doorways are a welcome shelter from the cold Greek winter nights.
I found this Teacher Dude photo particularly haunting. It probably wasn't that long ago that this child had a home and slept in a warm bed, her dad had a job, they probably laughed and joked. What effect will her new lifestyle have on her health, physical and mental? What will the future hold for her, what will now be her life expectancy? How will her dad feel parading his daughter around the streets looking for food and a doorway in which to sleep? This is the manifestation of the financial Mafia's fiscal readjustment.
Teacher Dude's comment on his photo is very apt:
Remember, Greece is not the victim of an insane policy of austerity but a shining example of the benefits of fiscal readjustment.
This rapid destruction of living standards that the people of Greece are having forced on to them, manifests itself in many ways. Even if you still manage to hold onto your home, and still have a job, the chances of you eating properly and heating yourself will have gone. Trees are disappearing as people cut them down to burn for cooking and heating, furniture is going the same way. Athenians are now living in a fog of wood smoke.
"Someone must have been burning a door with the windows still set in," she says. "When the girls and I were walking home, it was hard to breathe. We used our coats as masks."
Greeks may actually be burning old furniture to stay warm, says Stephanos Sambatakakis of the Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Scientists are studying the particles in the noxious fumes, which could soon leave people suffering from inflamed eyes, respiratory problems, headaches and nausea, he says. Long-term effects could include lung inflammation and, "in extreme cases, lung cancer," he says.