Thursday, May 6, 2010
"The Biggest Mess Since 1974" : Greece from the Inside.
Those living under a rock may be unaware of what "social unrest" has commenced in Greece in the last 48 hours. As a result of this unrest, a true tragedy ensued involving the violent actions of a rogue few in a group up three to four thousand walking in peace. While riots occured everywhere, including my residnet city of Thessaloniki, the prevalent riot I am referring to occured in Athens. A small number of protestors elected to throw Molotov Cocktails through the window of a Bank building. A Molotov cocktails is a home-made fire bomb, a glass bottle containing a portion of alcohol and a rag stuffed in teh open top. The rag is lit, when the bottle is thrown and crashed the alcohol hits the lit rag and a small fire explosion occurs. When these cocktails were thrown into the window they lit a bit more than a small fire, rather what turned into a deadly fire. Most people inside the building escaped in time, with the exception of three people who died of asphyxiation. To make a sad story sadder, one was a woman who was four months pregnant. Some call this a death of four people because of this fact. To be here the next day reminds me of the actions taken by the people of the U.S. after 9/11. While the magnitude of the destruction, and horridity is incomparable; the aftermath appears to have some comparitive qualities. On the day of 9/11, I remember very clearly, daily activities stopped. There was one focus. I, like anyone else alive and old enough to understand, will never forget where I was when it happened and the events that followed that day. For some Americans, this can be a very clear and very painful memory. One of the reprocussions of that day was that in school, every classroom had a television aptly tuned to the news. The video of the towers being crashed into was on a constant replay, and it was all too easily seen that people were jumping out of the windows...stories upon stories high. I assure you, these people were not jumping to their safety, but rather in avoidance of death by fire and a building collapse. And last night, on the major news channels, there was only one story. The riots and the fire. Just as in 2001 in school, education plans switched, and here today I have had no regular class. We have been discussing the event, the unusuality of it, and reading prominent articles on the reasons for the riot. One professor made an interesting comparison, in Turkey it is not unusual to see deaths in riots, but in Greece it is all too unusual. I remember, in the states, speaking to adults about the attack and seeing this terrible hurt in their eyes. In a select few of professors today, I have seen a similar ache. I suppose to some Greeks this tragedy is sad, but not so prevalent while to others it is truly grave. It only took a select few demonstrators to ruin what was the largest protest in Greece since 1974, and very well had numbers great enough to cause a peaceful awareness of the aversion to the IMFs restructuring of the budget. But instead, this feat will be the time that a bunch of Greeks got violent - and you will hear , " violence solves nothing." The protestors may now be given a connotation of people childish and angry, acting out.. when in actuality they were not. This is such an act by such a small number people that ruined the efforts of the thousands that walked yesterday, in Athens and other cities in Greece. Those that go rogue have no idea the fundamental mistakes they are making, now what effect their actions have on their movement. Furthermore I do wonder mr. and Mrs. Molotov - did you think you were the only ones wanting to make a point? Or just the only ones naive enough to commit involuntary manslaughter?