Dimitris Karavasilis was born and grew up in Imvros, Turkey. He attended the Turkish primary school, while at the same time secretly learning the basic Greek language. Forced to emigrate, he settled in Greece. He went on to study both Theology and Greek Literature at the University of Athens, where he also attended post-graduate classes in the field of Comparative Paedagogics. He has been a radio producer at the local ecclesiastical radio station of the Metropolis of Pereus for 23 years. He still teaches religion and ethics at the High School level.
I have always wondered about the human limits of endurance during hardship so, ironically speaking of course, I am getting the chance to find out… in Greece.
There is a “dark” joke circulating among the Greeks lately, that goes like this:
If you are diagnosed with a fatal illness and short life expectancy, you should come and live in Greece. Your limited lifetime will feel like ages. Time passes quickly when you are having fun, on the contrary it moves so slowly when you suffer. And the suffering in Greece seems eternal.
Officially the financial crisis started during 2009 but its roots of go deeper in the past.
The “sins” of the past though seem to torture the present a lot and it is not the same for everyone.
The middle class, that used to be the backbone of the society and the economy, does not exist anymore. After the continuous heavy taxation and the closure of thousands of companies people are left unemployed, homeless and hopeless. Everyone was hoping that things will get better, that the political system will help to get back on the track of financial development. But the “sins” mentioned above did not, and still do not allow it. So after 6 years of recession the dark future affects our lives more than ever.
Every ill person is looking forward to the cure that sooner or later arrives. This is hope. Still this is not to be found in the society. People that have to live on low wages, if they find them, are called to pay and pay taxes after taxes. But all we hear is that things now are worse than 2009. So where have all the sacrifices gone?
Homes are sold, people are forced to live on the streets, the private sector abuses the young people who wish to work, cuts are made in the public sector, and people have to carry their own bandages, and medicines to hospitals, if they have to get treatment there. Wherever you go you see sad helpless faces.
Not to mention the old people who see day by day their pension being cut to the point that indirectly forces them to euthanasia, so to speak. People who have worked so many years, saved money for their old age, and now they see that their savings were actually stolen from them. If they need to protest they face the brutal side of the state. You cannot claim your life any more.
There is this general feeling that there is no Greece any more. It is been granted to the loaners. Nothing belongs to us. There is also this feeling that the politicians do not care about the Greek people rather than they care to pay the loans and the bankers. There is lack of plan and serious people to carry it on.
So nothing to defend, no more Greece, nothing to hope for, if you get sick and need treatment, you have to pray a lot for a miracle, which sometimes might be a doctor who is willing to help you without any fee.
Schools cannot afford oil for winter so the students will have to rely on heavy clothing. Teachers are hard to find as there is not enough money to hire them. In many cases they have to bring their own paper to be able to photocopy educating material for the pupils. You see the time has come to test our filotimo. But after that there is nothing.
People turned to God for help. The Church is doing the best it can to feed the body and the soul of the homeless but I guess the end of that is arriving as well. The donators have become scarce.
The wages are getting lower but the prices at the stores are getting higher, the taxes heavier.
So how long can anyone bear this?
Maybe the time has come to evaluate life, people and ourselves. Maybe we deserved such a treatment, maybe not. Some say it is an ethical crisis that has to shake the society which is a matter of a great discussion, to assign the faults. The reality is dreadful and it becomes more dreadful if you do not believe any of the politicians who assure you that sometime in the future things will begin to turn better. For now the end of the tunnel is dark as is life.
The only light we see is coming from Christmas. Our only hope is the mercy from newborn Jesus, all else has been tested and proved fake.
Dimitris Karavasilis was born and grew up in Imvros, Turkey. He attended the Turkish primary school, while at the same time secretly learning the basic Greek language. Forced to emigrate, he settled in Greece. He went on to study both Theology and Greek Literature at the University of Athens, where he also attended post-graduate classes in the field of Comparative Paedagogics. He has been a radio producer at the local ecclesiastical radio station of the Metropolis of Pereus for 23 years and produces Come Receive the Light Greek for OCN.
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