So Greeks don’t have a right to protest?
It seems only the Greek riot squads are allowed in Syntagma Square. Pandelis Boukalas writes.india Updated: Oct 16, 2011 23:05 IST
Why do Greeks strike all the time? Why do they continuously protest in front of parliament? Why do they cause so many traffic jams with their marches? Why disturb — day after day — the normal life of their cities, their markets, their societies where everything is like clockwork? For what reason were there high-school children in the streets last Tuesday, instead of their classes?
Could it be because they only have two or three of their 15 textbooks, and all in poor condition, or was it because the DVDs they were given instead of books don’t really work on most computers? In addition to e-government we now have e-education, irrespective of the fact that not all children, in every corner of Greece, have computers.
And the Greek students? Why all the shouting? Isn’t the road ahead smooth, with a rich choice of jobs that fit their talents? And the teachers and professors? Why do they strain their vocal cords shouting slogans, so that they cannot lecture in class the following day? So what if their profession is underpaid and they can’t teach children without books? Did every one of Plato’s students, or Aristotle’s, or Zeno’s, have a textbook and a notebook? Why should modern Greeks?
The pensioners? Why should they leave their sunlit, airy penthouses, paid for with their €350-a-month pensions, and exhaust themselves demonstrating? Aren’t they afraid that they might fall ill from exhaustion (no, the teargas thrown at them by the police is good for their lungs) and they’ll have to rush to hospital? And should they be so selfish as to burden the national health system, for which we care so much?
And the unemployed? The “labour reserve” of the Greek public sector? The “partly employed”? The “willing, early retirees”? OK, they can take to the streets. But only in search of work, not to wander about Syntagma Square demonstrating. What do they expect? Everything on a plate?
Indeed. Only the riot squads have a reason to be at the Greek Parliament Square. In fact, they have two reasons: first, to spray their corrective chemicals into the tube station, which had become a hideout of bashibazouks; second, so as to prevent anyone from being tempted to take over the central avenues of Athens. We can get excited and romantic about Spain’s Indignados and the Occupy Wall Street crowd. But with this lot, we must finish quickly.The Guardian
The views expressed by the author are personal
First Published: Oct 16, 2011 23:02 IST