greeks provide lessons to world
DrMarty | April 7, 2012 at 06:00 amby
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Last night again several thousand people gathered by the site where 77-year-old pensioner Dimitris Christoulas committed suicide on April 4, which is now being seen as an act of politicial resistance against to the "bankers democracy" as one demonstrator told the press.
The police continue to overreact when the usual handful of youths conduct provocations. The use of teargas and deployment of riot police is an obvious attempt to keep peaceful demonstrators away from the site, so it does not escalate into mass demonstrations over the next days. Last night protesters chanted "Killers! Killers!" as police responded with tear gas and flash grenades during the clashes, which lasted about 20 minutes.
It is now reported that Dimitris Christoulas was politically active and had participated in the anti-austerity protests at Syntagma Square over the last year. He had a banner on his balcony reading "I won't pay," referring to an anti-austerity movement refusal to pay the increased fees for toll-roads and public transport.
Police have reported at least four people have tried to kill themselves because of financial troubles this week.
"My father's handwritten note leaves no room for misinterpretation. His whole life was spent as a leftist fighter, a selfless visionary," his only daughter Emy Christoulas, 43, said in a statement.
"This final act was a conscious political act, entirely consistent with what he believed and did in his life." She recalled as a child attending a 1975 concert by Greek leftist composer Mikis Theodorakis, where she and her father sang together. For some dreamers, she said, "committing suicide is not an escape but a cry of awakening."
His friends saw Christoulas as a quiet and gentle man, who was also a passionate leftist, deeply outraged by the suffering inflicted on the people of Greece. He also fought the spread of narcotics his neighborhood, while at the same he had difficulty acquiring the medicines he needed, because of the health-care cuts.
"The way he did it made the difference. It was a political act," said 91-year-old fellow-member of Christoulas' neighborhood association.
"Maybe the right thing would be to keep fighting but his act was symbolic: He went into the politicians' 'nest' parliament -- and humiliated them. I used to tell him that taking to the streets is the only way to protest. But in one of our last meetings he said: 'I take to the streets and go to rallies but maybe I should go to Parliament to blow my brains out,'" he said.
"What he did was very courageous. Often it is from the people you least expect that something starts, like a spark," said Spiro Tsironis, 50, who owns a bookstore that Christoulas frequented.
"A few days ago, he told a friend that he could not understand this apathy and asked how could people sit around without protesting," said Ilias Sirakos, owner of a store where Christoulas came to pay his power bills. "He is a hero. It takes guts to do something like that."
The Independent Citizens Movement, also known as the Spark founded by Mikis Theodorakis, denounced the policies of the Troika's Memorandum as responsible for Christoulas' death, and pointed to the recent dramatic increase in suicides, saying "The wave of suicides has become a symbol of the situation our country is experiencing right now.
It is unacceptable in democracies (assuming we're still under a democracy) that citizens are driven to suicide through despair, anger and despair. The Independent Citizens Movement denounces the policy of the Greek government.
The only solution is the struggle of the people, who with tenacity and stubbornness will fight for the overthrow of the conditions imposed," the statement said. The statement called upon Greeks to channel their anger against "the tyrants who dominate them" rather than commit suicide.
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