Thursday, May 31, 2012

Watching Athens die

To be honest, its been hard living in Athens these past few years, and in the past few months a sense of hopelessness has set in.

Two years ago when i was unemployed i had more hope - because i thought that things would change - they had to if Greece was going to get back onto its feet. But no-one wanted that, no-one in power that is.

Going to the supermarket now is a depressing affair. Two years ago the shelves were still stocked with a wide variety of items, 50 cheeses, 17 cereals, and the different juices! Now, things have changed.

The shelves are still stocked. But if you look closer, they are just stocked with more of the same. 10 cheeses instead of 50, 8 cereals instead of 17. Looking inside the shopping trolleys you see more "homebrand" goods. You see a lot of trolleys, especially those of the elderly who still remember depression, and who remember that Feta was the only word for cheese, you see them stocking up on canned goods, rice and pasta, dry milk and even small gas canisters for use in camping stoves which were so popular when i first arrived here in Greece.

In the central square of Syntagma, where before a fountain would gush water all day and night, and lovers would playfully splash water on each other, it now lies green and stagnant, a petri dish for bacteria. The square has still not been repaired from the riots and is a dismal scene.

Where ever i look i see open sores and scabs on the surface of Athens.

But whats worse is that i know Greece still has not hit rock bottom. That there are those who still refuse to change and who are fighting tooth and nail to maintain the status quo and the privileged position of civil servants earning 30 000 euros a month who only got that position for because they voted the right way.

These people are still living in a dream world - while i watch my nightmare unfold before my waking eyes.