Arab Today, arab today no home no bathroom no life grim future for athens homeless
Last Updated : GMT 13:01:46
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

'No home, no bathroom, no life' grim future for Athens homeless

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today 'No home, no bathroom, no life' grim future for Athens homeless

5 years of economic crisis in Greece has had devastating social consequences
Athens - AFP

On a bench beneath a fluttering Greek flag in front of an Orthodox church, two homeless men are philosophising about the financial crisis that has devastated their country and helped push them onto the streets.

"What can I say about the situation?" asks 45-year-old Andreas, who was a builder before the construction work dried up and who has been sleeping rough in Athens for six months.

"Greece never dies," he shrugs. "The Greeks, however, will die. That's how it is. That's the situation."

"No home, no bathroom, no life," adds Michalis in a mixture of English and Greek, smiling kindly.

The bearded 43-year-old leather worker, who has been homeless for three years, opens his rucksack to show his life's possessions.

What little he has includes a book by 20th century humanist poet Giorgos Seferis, a Nobel Prize winner who wrote about alienation, death and Greek heritage, and his own thoughts scrawled in red ink on a crumpled piece of paper, titled 'Loneliness'.

Five years of austerity in Greece has seen pensions and wages slashed, while unemployment has risen to 26 percent, with youth unemployment soaring to nearly 50 percent.

The number of Greeks at risk of poverty more than doubled between 2008 and 2013 to over 44 percent, according to the latest figures from the International Labour Organisation.

The tough reforms eurozone creditors are demanding in return for a new bailout are now set to cause more pain, with higher taxes and further spending cuts.

- 'Take each others' hands' -

While many have been able to rely on their families for support, Andreas and Michalis say they are on their own.
They share a marijuana joint in a small square on the bench they call home, between the outstretched arms of a Virgin Mary, surrounded by pigeons scavenging for food, and behind them a shuttered book store called 'Modern Times'.

Churches, charities, businesses and individuals have sprung into action over the past five years to help the needy.

Beneath the Acropolis in Monistiraki Square a small group of volunteers -- some of them homeless themselves -- prepares a giant pot of spaghetti.

The 'social kitchen' has been cooking communal meals for the past four years, providing not just hot food but also companionship and a little hope.

"I believe that if we take each others' hands there will be solidarity and we're going to succeed," says Roula, a hairdresser overseeing the preparation of today's meal.

Dimitris Fourakis, 50, spent three years on the streets after losing his job in a tyre factory. But after linking up with the group he found somewhere to stay in an abandoned building, and is now hopeful for the future.

"I believe in God but I don't expect him to help me," he says. Asked if he believes in Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, however, the answer is yes.

- 'Still free falling' -

Tsipras on Wednesday pushed through parliament the controversial EU bailout deal that he himself says he does "not believe in", but should stop the country crashing out of the euro.
But Yiannis Kondogiannakis, of the Praksis NGO, says the new deal could make the situation for the poor "even worse" and warns that the government needs a "specific plan" to tackle the problem.

"We have big gaps in basic government services," says Kondoyiannakis, who runs a daycare centre that offers people food, medical services, a shower and clothes-washing.

He has seen the number of people seeking help rise to 130 a day at his Athens centre. And while the majority used to be migrants that had fled desperate poverty and war, now he says Greeks make up between 40 and 50 percent.

Outside a soup kitchen in central Athens run jointly by the Archdiocese and the city, Foteini Kyzouli opens her plastic bag to show what she has been given: two portions of peas with potatoes and some bread.

The 62-year-old used to hand out leaflets telling people where they could find help, but never thought she would need it herself.

"I was living the illusion that the crisis wouldn't touch me," she says. "But it's only natural that what comes to your neighbour will come to you next."

Back on the bench, Andreas and Michalis are warming to the political discussion. "God now is money", "it's a fascist economy", "the euro will crack", they say.

But for now there are more prosaic things to worry about. It's time for them to go to the soup kitchen.

"We haven't seen the fallout from the crisis yet," says Andreas. "We are still free falling. Where will it end?"

 

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today no home no bathroom no life grim future for athens homeless Arab Today, arab today no home no bathroom no life grim future for athens homeless

 



Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today no home no bathroom no life grim future for athens homeless Arab Today, arab today no home no bathroom no life grim future for athens homeless

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Youssra depended on colored foam

GMT 16:53 2017 Tuesday ,05 September

Youssra depended on colored foam
Arab Today, arab today Saudi witnessing a remarkable growth

GMT 09:57 2017 Saturday ,23 September

Saudi witnessing a remarkable growth
Arab Today, arab today Etiquette expert underlines importance of gifts

GMT 17:52 2017 Sunday ,03 September

Etiquette expert underlines importance of gifts
Arab Today, arab today US-made bomb used in fatal strike

GMT 10:16 2017 Saturday ,23 September

US-made bomb used in fatal strike
Arab Today, arab today Saudi Arabia to unblock internet calling apps

GMT 11:31 2017 Wednesday ,20 September

Saudi Arabia to unblock internet calling apps
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Ministry seeks to improve education

GMT 14:49 2017 Sunday ,17 September

Ministry seeks to improve education
Arab Today, arab today All eyes on May as she prepares

GMT 10:16 2017 Friday ,22 September

All eyes on May as she prepares
Arab Today, arab today Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands brace

GMT 12:01 2017 Wednesday ,20 September

Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands brace
Arab Today, arab today The history of solar eclipses

GMT 05:16 2017 Sunday ,20 August

The history of solar eclipses
Arab Today, arab today Carmakers face billions in European

GMT 12:37 2017 Saturday ,23 September

Carmakers face billions in European
Arab Today, arab today Mercedes pumps 1 bln euros    

GMT 06:04 2017 Friday ,22 September

Mercedes pumps 1 bln euros    
Arab Today, arab today Lebleba is preoccupied in filming 'Back Street'

GMT 08:56 2017 Thursday ,21 September

Lebleba is preoccupied in filming 'Back Street'
Arab Today, arab today France hopeful of persuading Trump

GMT 06:21 2017 Wednesday ,20 September

France hopeful of persuading Trump

GMT 08:59 2017 Wednesday ,20 September

Youssra prepares for launching her program

GMT 18:09 2017 Thursday ,21 September

China lifts 10-year travel ban

GMT 16:53 2017 Saturday ,02 September

Mai importance of gifts during Eid Al-Adha

GMT 19:18 2017 Monday ,18 September

5,000 'Dieselgate' deaths in Europe per year

GMT 10:46 2017 Saturday ,05 August

Nanis reveals simple ideas for home renovation

GMT 18:03 2017 Thursday ,21 September

Alarm over flesh-eating ulcer cases

GMT 11:29 2017 Thursday ,21 September

Lufthansa chief eyes up to 78

GMT 17:12 2017 Monday ,07 August

Al-Shawaifi reveals secrets of total solar eclipse

GMT 12:46 2017 Thursday ,21 September

Google likely to buy stake in Taiwan smartphone maker HTC

GMT 11:37 2017 Saturday ,12 August

Fashion designer reveals her new collection
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday