Greeks seeking to solve
problems on their own
In the (K)now correspondent Alex Ghawi is seen in Athens, where he is reporting on the economic crisis for the blog. Click image to enlarge. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
Correspondent Alex Ghawi reports from Athens.
THE ECONOMIC CRISIS in Greece has hit the country and its people more severely than many outsiders are aware.
This is my impression after three days on the ground at ground zero of the Euro-zone economic crisis.
Everywhere I looked there seemed to be some type of workers who were “downsized” – highly qualified people were working the front counters in almost every store, but opening times were quite good in a country supposedly enduring an economic crisis.
IT SOON DAWNED ON ME, though, how wrong I had been.
Talking to one of the vendors standing on a busy street, I noticed that the clothes placed out on his blanket on the ground for sale were his own!
Alexandros Skordis has been forced to sell his own clothes on the street to make an income. Photo by Alex Ghawi. Click image to enlarge. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
He was selling his own clothes to get by.
This man, who gave his name as Alexandros Skordis, had earlier been working as a waiter and bartender and got extra work during summer on various islands around Greece.
However, he told me that his only stream of income was selling his own clothes and buying used bottles for cheap and selling them for one Euro more at certain places.
He was now averaging sales of 20 to 60 Euros per day. This man used to be a bartender and a waiter, now he was on the brink of bankruptcy!
ANOTHER GREEK who gave his name as Chris had previously been an air conditioning engineer and had studied English at the university level.
A sidewalk is filled with vendors selling their wares to make ends meet as unemployment soars in Greece. Photo by Alex Ghawi. Click image to enlarge. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
He is now out of a job and has been unemployed for the past three years.
Everyone I talked to always said the same thing: “It’s a day-to-day living.”
When asked who could fix the problem, they all gave the same answer:
“Only the people of Greece can fix it,” they said.
Maybe they are right.
If anything I can understand, it is the urge to feel independent as a nation.
I was born in Denmark, which was invaded by Sweden many years ago. But the Danes have never forgiven the Swedes. The enmity still runs high. I can understand the Greek’s need to solve their own problems.
And who knows? With the steady income from tourists, Greece might again be ready to stand on its feet sooner than expected.
In the (K)now correspondent Alex Ghawi is on an educational tour of Europe. He will be reporting for the blog from his future destinations. See his breaking-news story on the protests in Egypt here.
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