Amidst the implementation of the latest round of austerity measures, which were voted last Autumn but are “felt” slowly only now, there is a further shrinking of the so-called “state sector”. Part of these measures dictate the merging of regional hospitals, tax offices and regional universities.
The citizens of Crete’s easternmost region, Lasithi, have found a creative way to protest this shrinking which will mean either less money circulating in the province or simply making their lives more difficult. So they issued this protest paper resembling a passport (even though it actually looks more like the old driving licences). Welcome to the newly-found Republic of Lasithistan or, as they call it “the Devil’s Mother” (a colloquial expression in Greek that means “an extremely remote place”).
On the right side they say:
The take from us the Universities, the hospitals, the public services, the marinas, the salaries, the pensions, the unemployment benefits.
They are bringing upon us Industrial Renewable Energy (a disputed plan to place wind powere generators in many parts of the island, including areas of ecological interest), special property taxes, unemployment, poverty, depression.
Source: Radio Lasithi
Last Monday, a young man from the north-western Greek city of Ptolemaida committed suicide. He was 37 years old and was facing serious economic problems. He constructed a makeshift gallows at home and hung himself. Seconds before he sent an SMS to the wife of his brother who arrived at his apartment and saw him dead. A note was found next to him where he explained that he took that decision because he couldn’t take it any more being chased by the banks for his debts.
Two days earlier, on Saturday night another man in the nearby town of Proastio Eordeas committed suicide for similar reasons. He was 58 years old and was found hanged inside his home’s garage by his daughter.
The Police hasn’t found any clues that would connect the deaths to an assassination or accident.
They are the two last additions to a long list of suicides which have taken place in Greece due to the economic crisis. Even though we are discussing the consequences of a capitalist phenomenon, I will paraphrase Stalin’s famous quote and say “When two men die it is a tragedy, when thousands die it’s statistics”.
According to Kostas Lolis, Director of Sismanoglion Hospital’s Psychiatric Clinic, in 2009 there has been about 1 suicide per day in Greece. In 2010 this number was doubled. This is generally attributed to the economic crisis as media reports often mention suicides of either businessmen who went bankrupt or people who were unemployed for a long period of time. The island of Crete has a special mention in this (although there is no explanation as to why the number is higher there). Additionally, the number of people who called the “1018” emergency number to seek advise on the issue, has also been doubled in 2010. The study of Mr. Lolis can be found here (in Greek.
Posted in Society
Tagged bankruptcy, banks, Crete, debt, Greece, Greek crisis, greek economic crisis, Joseph Stalin, Kostas Lolis, police, Proastio Eordeas, Ptolemaida, Sismanoglion Hospital, suicides, unemployment