Tomorrow’s cover today: amid growing risk of a Greek exit, the euro zone has yet to face up to the task of saving the single currency itself.
- Old School Nouveau.
(posts are not mine unless stated.)
When Economic Policy Threatens Cultural Security
In times of economic crisis, a nation’s artistic and cultural programs often suffer harsh fates. The financial woes facing Greece have forced the struggling country to levy strict economic austerity measures to combat years of government corruption and deficit spending.
These drastic measures have forced the Greek Ministry of Culture to begin firing up to 50% of its personnel , including archaeologists, civil servants and guards assigned to protect and preserve cultural heritage sites and museums. Such cutbacks already have resulted in the looting of museums in Olympia and Athens.
Government plans to raise funds by allowing advertising at Greek cultural heritage sites, such as the Acropolis, have been met with shock and outrage. In a particularly ironic twist, as Greek archaeologists struggle to find funding for legitimate excavations and face the threat of unemployment, smugglers of illicit antiquities continue to thrive.
From the public suicide of a single citizen to protests involving thousands, Greeks have taken to the streets to protest the dire economic situation, and the resulting threat to Greek cultural heritage. Unfortunately, after almost two years of violence and civil unrest, an end to this crisis and the subsequent threat to cultural security seems nowhere in sight.
For similar news stories visit http://culturalsecurity.net/newssummary.htm
Greek debt suicide sparks Athens protests
Today, in Syntagma square, just next to the Greek parliament, a 77 year old man shot himself in the head. His last words, according to passers-by, were “I don’t want to leave a debt on my children”. Since this morning, people have swarmed around the tree, next to which the man took his own life, leaving notes and silently honoring his memory.
His suicide note reads:
“The Tsolakoglou government has annihilated all traces for my survival, which was based on a very dignified pension that I alone paid for 35 years with no help from the state. And since my advanced age does not allow me a way of dynamically reacting (although if a fellow Greek were to grab a Kalashnikov, I would be right behind him), I see no other solution than this dignified end to my life, so I don’t find myself fishing through garbage cans for my sustenance. I believe that young people with no future, will one day take up arms and hang the traitors of this country at Syntagma square, just like the Italians did to Mussolini in 1945”
(Note: Tsolakoglou was the first collaborationist prime minister during Germany’s occupation of Greece during the Second World War and the 77-year-old man compared the currently assigned prime minister Papademos to the traitor Tsolakoglou.)