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Civil protest against the crisis in Greece organized on Facebook

20 December 2010 / 11:12:32  GRReporter
5110 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

Athens usually takes a rest of protests on Sunday. All shops were open, the trees on Syntagma Square shone with lights and the children enjoyed the little pony and clowns that entertained them with balloon figures. Children from several schools and some tourists had gathered up in the square late in the afternoon to see the changing ceremony of the honour guard at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier. A small group of people gathered shyly and slowly to hold a sitting protest against what happened in Greece the last year.

This protest was different for many reasons. First, the protest was organized through Facebook. Secondly, the participants were friends. They were not related in any other way. Many of them did not even meet before in the real world.

About 30 people gathered. A few compared to the 303 who pressed the attending option of the invitation sent. The participants commented differently on this fact and the general conclusion was that it is easy to click on the keyboard, but it is hard to leave the soft armchair at home.

Initiator of the protest is Amalia. She is the owner of a software company but has her own blog and explained the reasons for the sitting protest for GRReporter.

Amalia, when and why did you decide to start this initiative?

I started it the day when Theodoros Pangalos made the next shocking statements. First, he had said that politicians and people have "eaten the money together" and then he said that we the people are to be blamed for the poor state of Greece. I also think that the media do not cover the events fairly but create an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty. The media only show the collisions during the protests and never the true significance of the protests.

As a result of this misinformation people are numb, scared and terrified, but believe that the evil will pass. They are wrong. It will happen to all of us once we actually have pledged our country. The bad thing is that we have not understood this. The way the IMF operates is known from what happened in Argentina, Guatemala and Hungary. It is also known that its staff does not care about people’s fate but only about numbers. We are not doing anything if we are unable to understand that the IMF presence in our country means that what we do is to pay only the interests on the loans instead of the loans themselves and thus we are subject to bondage at least in the next 20-25 years and pledge our children’s lives.

Going out in the streets and breaking everything around means nothing. What matters is to "rouse" the people through initiatives of independent-minded people outside political parties and trade unions, which already showed how close is their relationship with the parties; to begin to express our protest through peaceful means. That’s why we are here today.

How would you comment on the number of people who came to the protest?

I'm not happy with the number of people who attended, of course. I think this is due to the fact that we are used to express the potential anger - I say potential because some are still asleep, not even angry – through the computer keyboard and on walls, forums and blogs, believing that we have fulfilled our duty to the country. This duty, however, is to understand what happens, to wake up and then wake up one more person each time. This unfortunately can not only be done on the Internet. It is an exceptional tool to spread the truth, but those who rule the country do not understand such things. The only way to make them understand would be the presence of 10000 people outside the Parliament on Syntagma Square every day. To block it every day, the police to disperse them with tear gas and 10000 more to come the next day. We should understand that we need to change our consumer behaviour and everyday life. We should understand that the values that were the base of our life before are hollow. We had the ground of a ridiculous sense of bliss which faded away. What concerns us now is what will happen tomorrow. We should not be wrong that similar initiatives could revoke the Memorandum, but we must understand that our life has changed and if we do not change ourselves our children's future won’t be bright. I think we could change something if we succeed to increase the number of the people that came today with at least one more person for the next protest and another one for the next.

I asked some of the participants what provoked them to take part in the protest. Here is what they replied:

Costas, a teacher of chemistry

I teach only private lessons now. The labour market is very limited, the situation is difficult and I think we are not even at the beginning of the hard times. We have not yet entered the tunnel to expect to see the light. Having in mind the government’s ruling I think that more difficult days are coming because our politicians lack empathy and conscience. They are concerned only about their pockets.
 
I came here today to protest this policy and to contribute our voice, the voice of ordinary people to be heard, if this is possible at all. I think we the Greeks as a nation we are stronger on words and less on action. Therefore, our politicians act uncontrollably.
 
Takis, journalist

We came here to protest against the poor economic condition of the country and against the political decision making manner. I do not define the decisions as good or bad but I think they are being taken very quickly without any respect for people's needs.

Tags: SocietyCivil protestCrisis
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