A riot itself is mostly kind of sad to behold. You've got nurses, doctors, teachers, workers, and students marching all hungry and malarial on one side of the street. And on the other side, you've got a stressed and overworked police force that's supposed to beat them if things go wrong. It's old hat for all parties by now.
Even my mom, a tiny woman over 50, has gotten to the point where being shoved by a riot cop doesn't faze her. Not even a blink. She didn't even get angry at the guy when it happened -- she figured that if the only way the man could get a salary was to push retired teachers around, he was probably having a rough life already. Unless he was one of those cops not getting a paycheck mentioned earlier, in which case he's doing all this shoving pro bono. That would be a pretty dick move.
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Or maybe he was paid sweet TEMs by one of her former students.
Everyone Blames the Citizens for the Nation's Problems
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When I first contacted Cracked, I tried to warn them about this comment section. You see, I have read enough articles on Greece on foreign sites to notice that when your country is in a financial crisis, suddenly everybody hates you. Survey after survey shows that no one in the EU has a very positive attitude towards Greece. A friend studying in the Netherlands had a drink poured over her head at a party out of the blue, because she is Greek and we are apparently to blame for "the ruin of the EU." She spent the night at a police station for fighting back, got released when she threatened to call a lawyer, and was told to be a bit more humble in the future. A barista in London heard two customers speaking Greek and asked if they could afford to pay before handing them their coffee.
Order a gyro elsewhere in the Eurozone, and they'll say, "We don't serve that kind here."
Every Internet article on Greece is followed by angry comments about how lazy (we actually work more hours than most European countries), deceitful, and deserving of our plight we are. Also, our "free" healthcare is obviously the reason we went bankrupt, somehow -- even though our welfare state is not as thorough as Germany's or Sweden's, and they are doing fine. A bit pale, but fine.
Are the Greeks blameless? Of course not. Many of us haven't been paying our taxes, which you may recognize as a less-than-brilliant idea. But we're also working our asses off to try to fix things. The average Greek puts in 600 more work hours per year than the average German. The true reasons for a financial crisis are massively complicated, and in no way lay on the shoulders of the average citizen. Do you feel at fault when the S&P 500 takes a nosedive? Of course not; you just Googled it to make sure that wasn't some sort of NASCAR race.
Jerry Markland/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
NASCAR crashes are way less dangerous.
It's like seeing a homeless person in the streets and trying to convince yourself that their situation isn't something that can happen to you. People who can hardly find our country on the map suddenly become experts in our economy. It's easier than admitting that there can be something bigger at work, that the well-being of your entire country might be out of your hands, and that if things go badly and you want to maintain your same quality of life, you may have to volunteer as the meat in a malaria-ridden hump-sandwich.
Dimitra Nikolaou is a Greek journalist and writer, currently doing her PhD on Role-Playing games. If you speak Greek you can find her work here.
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