Daily Archives: 19/12/2013

Law and morality on discounts

Racism and ethnic discrimination is not something new in Greek society. The emergence of Golden Dawn as a player in the Greek political scene gave a sense that everything racist in Greece is somehow connected with these thugs. But racism is everywhere, from the governing New Democracy party that frequently lashes out against immigrants in hope of not losing more votes to Golden Dawn to everyday matters. Like working at a super market.

According to the newspaper Avgi, an employee from the former Soviet Union was working at a promotion company advertising cosmetics. She was sent to promote the products at a branch of Galaxias super market chain. After two hours the manager of the branch told the woman that she can’t work there anymore because of her origin, since the super market chain was Greek and is only for Greeks. She replied that she has been living in Greece for more than 20 years and that she has recently even got the Greek citizenship. The manager insisted and later the promotion company  fired her since they only cooperate with Galaxias super markets.

When I first read this article I thought that it’s probably the manager who took the initiative to apply such labour practices in 2013. However, with a quick visit at the company’s website, I found out that the vision of Galaxias is:

Galaxias was founded and continues to operate as a purely Greek Super Market with Greek funds and Greek employees.

What the fuck? How can a company advertise such racist policies on its website? Since when did the Greek legal system start to tolerate ethnic discrimination at work on such a high level?

Treaty of Amsterdam (1997) - the signature of Theodoros Pangalos, then Foreign Affairs Minister of Greece.

Treaty of Amsterdam (1997) – the signature of Theodoros Pangalos, then Foreign Affairs Minister of Greece.

Greece has signed the Treaty of Amsterdam and the Racial Equality Directive, both within its EU integration, that were supposed to be incorporated (and effectively applied) since more than ten years ago. Not to mention the Universal Declaration of Human Rights half a century ago.

Toilet paper on offer this week - on the top of the leaflet it says "100% Greek Super Market"

Toilet paper on offer this week – on the top of the leaflet it says “100% Greek Super Market”

But no. These treaties are rubbish. Stains of ink on diplomatic toilet paper. The countries that abide with these law and principles are stupid suckers. And yes, a mediocre super market chain like Galaxias, living on its own fascist galaxy, can make all the discounts that it wants. On the prices of the toilet paper. On Greek and European legislation. On morality. On humanism itself.

Greece is on fire or the altar of austerity

A new austerity-related epidemic of deaths has appeared in Greece.

First we had the epidemic of suicides. Now the fires at houses has been added. Meteorologists have reckoned that last November was one of the warmest in recent years. But we’re now in mid-December, the weather turned cold and the fireplaces have been filled with firewood to keep this nation warm.

Last night a middle-aged woman (possibly coz they can’t tell until now from the state she was found in) was found dead from a fire in an apartment near my neighbourhood. Two days ago another middle-aged man was found dead from a fire in his apartment in Kato Patisia area of Athens. Almost every second day someone is dying from a fire at his/her house. They’re all people who have no heating and are trying to burn wood in order to get a bit of warmth. A couple of weeks ago Greece was shocked to wake up to the news that a 13-year old girl died from carbon monoxide poisoning from the fumes of a make-shift brazier. The girl from Serbia was living together with her mother in an apartment without even electricity in  Thessaloniki. Last year two students died in the same way in Larisa, Central Greece. The list is endless.

The high-tax on heating oil, combined with the absence of income, has driven thousands of residential buildings to turn off their central heating systems. I live 10 mins from the Parliament in the centre of Athens and, at night, I smell the burned wood from the fireplaces. The laundry have the same smell when they are left at the balcony to dry. A usual part of the daily weather chit-chat is “Do you still have heating at your building? No, most of the residents can’t pay so we turned it off this year”.

fire

Greece 2013. In the land where Prometheus gave fire to humanity,  an act that was supposed to enable progress and civilisation, people are suffocated or burned to death on a daily basis, in their attempt to keep warm.

Statistics are a bit blurry and this is more worrying, adding to the general suspicion that the government is trying to play down these ugly numbers, same like the deaths from labour “accidents” during the 2004 Olympics’ construction craze. But one day, at some point in the future, we ought to count the martyrs who were sacrificed on the altar of austerity.