As the situation continues to worsen in Greece, many decided to skip 2013 and go directly to 2014, hoping that it might be better. The air of Athens is full of wood smoke as many inhabitants cannot afford the highly taxed heating oil. Many apartment buildings and houses did not purchase heating oil and instead used wood or gas heaters and the fortunate ones, their fireplace. Death became expensive as many people lacked money to bury their relatives. Bodies started piling up in the refrigerators at the morgues. Fortunately the Church decided to accommodate the situation by providing free burial in some cases. Many households cannot even afford to pay their electricity bills that have become so expensive that they resemble a second rent. People scavenging the garbage cans for food is now considered as something normal, as is the distribution of free food to the needy. And the State continues to strangulate its citizens in order to save the country. To save it from what? (more…)
Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos was a career diplomat with the Greek foreign ministry. As a junior officer with the service in the 1970s, he helped assure the then freshly democratic nation’s accession to the European Union (at the time the EEC). He was at different times Athens’ ambassador to Poland, Albania and Canada, and finally the director general of EU Affairs in the ministry.
Last year, he finally resigned as secretary general of the Black Sea Cooperation organisation, and entered the private sector, and now feels free to speak openly about his fury at what he says Europe and international lenders are doing to his country.
“At a certain moment, quite soon, there will be an explosion of social unrest. It will be very unpleasant,” he says, referring to 15 armed incidents in the previous ten days. In the past few weeks, offices of the governing parties have been firebombed as well as the homes of pro-government journalists. The headquarters of the prime minister’s conservative New Democracy party was machine-gunned, and days later a bomb exploded at a shopping mall belonging to the country’s second wealthiest citizen, although no one has been badly injured by the attacks.
“It is an escalation of activities,” he worries, adding that he expects the “explosion” to occur sooner rather than later. He predicts the spark will be when new, retroactive and sizeable tax bills come due in the coming months that people simply cannot pay. “There will be further increases in armed actions. There will be bloody demonstrations.” (more…)