I cannot imagine the level of desperation that this man felt. I can imagine the anger he felt directed at his government and its usurpation.
The Arabian Spring started after the self-immolation of a 26 year old fruit vendor in Tunisia to protest a life he could no longer live. Will the European Summer set off with a suicide as well? News are crossing that a few hours ago, a 77 year old Greek has killed himself in broad daylight on Athens’ symbolic and inappropriately named Syntagma square to protest the “occupier government” and not wanting to be a burden to his child. As Kathimerini reports, “an elderly man committed suicide on Friday morning in Syntagma Square in Athens, in front of Parliament. Some reports said witnesses claimed the man shouted «I don’t want to leave debts to my children,» before he shot himself in the head. According to Skai TV, witnesses said the man did not say anything. The incident occurred shortly before 9 a.m. when the square was full of people and commuters using Syntagma metro station. The man had positioned himself next to a big tree and was not in view of most people in the square. Two people who were sitting on a bench some 10 meters away have been questioned by the police.” Will this latest tragedy provoke a groundswell popular response? We doubt it – alas the status quo appears set to continue chugging along as per usual, taking advantage of an appathetic and welfare addicted society around the world.
Earlier today, we remarked on the story of a 77-year old Greek, now identified as Dimitris Christoulas, who at around 9 am took his life in the middle of Athens’ central Syntagma Square with a bullet to his head. His full suicide note has been released. The note, presented below, ends in a solemn call to arms to “hang the traitors of this country.”
“The Tsolakoglou government has annihilated all traces for my survival, which was based on a very dignified pension that I alone paid for 35 years with no help from the state. And since my advanced age does not allow me a way of dynamically reacting (although if a fellow Greek were to grab a Kalashnikov, I would be right behind him), I see no other solution than this dignified end to my life, so I don’t find myself fishing through garbage cans for my sustenance. I believe that young people with no future, will one day take up arms and hang the traitors of this country at Syntagma square, just like the Italians did to Mussolini in 1945”
More from Athens News:
Georgios Tsolakoglou was the first collaborationist prime minister during Germany’s occupation of Greece during the Second World War.
The reference has been widely interpreted as a comparison between the wartime collaborationist government and the current government of Lucas Papademos.
The suicide occured shortly before 9am, as people went about their business on the square. Christoulas, 77, shot himself while standing next to a tree on one of the grassy areas on the square. He died from a single shot to the head, reports say.
He was a retired pharmacist, with a wife and a daughter. He sold his pharmacy in 1994.
Laos head Yiorgos Karatzaferis noted in Parliament that the bullet that killed the man in Syntagma, also hit the conscience of the Greek political sphere. “This is not just a person that killed himself”, he said. “This event should make us understand that we have all been behind this, we have all pulled the trigger. What did this man see from us, before deciding to take his own life? He saw shady goings-on, he saw none of those that stole from him and the Greek people go to jail. What else did he see? He saw no help coming his way, as he tried to deal with his loans and debts. What did this man hear from us? He heard that no slack would be given to him, no room to move, while the political parties would get plenty of money. Money they did not deserve”.
“Death isn’t just to die, it’s also to live in despair, with no hope”, New Democracy head Antonis Samaras said of the event, before adding that “incidents like these are what makes the fulfilment of our duty even more important and even more urgent. We must help Greece out of its current state, we must help Greeks escape from despair”.
“We have watched all this time as suicides have escalated dramatically in our country, a product of the disgraceful financial policies followed by New democracy and Pasok”, was Syriza MP Litsa Amanatidou – Pashalidou’s take on the event.
Independent Greeks leader Panos Kamenos called for the suicides of those involved in the country’s current state. “It wasn’t this man who should have commited suicide. Rather, it should have been those politicians that knowingly led Greece to be crushed by this vice”, he said.
Yiannis Dimaras, party leader of the Hellenic Citizens’ Charriot stressed that “those who have voted away all the rights of this country, those who have given our dignity away, are those that are guilty for spilling the blood of this Greek pensioner”.
Dimitris Zafiriadis, party spokesman for the Democratic Alliance said that this action was an indication of the desperation that a large segment of Greek society is currently feeling, as it watches its way of life being violently altered”.
Meanwhile, Pasok MP for Corinthia and former party spokesman Panos Beglitis has come inder heavy fire for his comments while speaking to private television station Skai TV earlier on Wednesday. When asked why no one does anything to help people who are driven to such extremes due to mounting debts, Beglitis repsonded by saying that “in cases like these, we must be very careful when commenting about anything. All I can say, is that this mean was very brave and sensitive. We cannot however connect his suicide with the country’s current financial plight. Besides we do not even know if he amassed the debts, or whether his children had a hand in it”.
The shocked Greek community is issuing calls for a “Syntagma afternoon” later on Wednesday.