The following is an account of the riots and austerity protests that took place in Greece in late May 2011, presented in parallel with the experience of a struggling addict. One of our interns, on vacation at the time, found herself in the middle of the protests. Her story inspired another here at BTS Communicationsto retell his own conflict through a new lens…
KF: It felt surreal, suspended in the midst of a civil crisis more foreign to me than the land I was visiting. From the balcony of my hotel, I could only watch on as the crowd gathered, their demand for answers falling on deaf ears. They too had been helplessly watching for years as the government they relied on continued to perpetuate its failures. A great deal of the population was caught in a bleak cycle of lost jobs and vanished hope for a comfortable future.
JZ: It feels like I’m dreaming, stuck within a personal conflict more familiar to me than my own home. From the ceiling of my dorm room, I can only watch on as I isolate from the world, my screams that I should change my life falling silent before they hit my ears. Consumed by helplessness, I have been watching myself like this for years now as I continue to do the same things yet hope for different results. I spend a great deal of my time cycling between menial jobs and avoiding any thought of my future.
KF: I began to focus on the individuals that made up the formidable attendance. A crowd of clenched fists stood on a street corner, zealous teenagers rebelling against their government with youthful opinionated views. To their left, a tired man settled on the sidewalk wearing a tattered tweed jacket; his hair was thinning, as was his hope for his students whose families could no longer pay their tuition. A mother and father clasped hands and stood with their child between them, two pillars in a stoic stance trying not to show their fear. As a tourist, I felt no attention, negative or otherwise, directed at me; the protesters were all of one mind with a singular focus. Still, as continuous waves of people flowed into Syntagma Square, my shock refused to subside.
JZ: I begin to visualize the individual qualities that make up my formidable internal foe. A cloud of crazed passion appears first, an all-consuming and teenager-like instinct to rebel against my better interests. Not much is left, only a tired and worn out voice that begs me to reclaim my education; it’s a thin voice, hollow where it once held hope that anything, even the cost of tuition to my family, would make me take my schooling more seriously. Now my parents enter my thoughts, how tightly they’ve clung to me as two pillars of support that blindly believe I’m on the right path. As an addict, I feel no concern, negative or otherwise, towards myself; my demon has only one goal with a singular focus. Still, as continuous waves of apathy flow into my central nervous system, somewhere, my conscience in shock refuses to die.
- Indignants gather in Syntagma Square (mysatelite.wordpress.com)
- #615 | The popular assembly of Syntagma square calls for the blockade of Parliament – the new IMF agreement shall not pass | From the Greek Streets (yzerfonteinchronicles.blogspot.com)