Wednesday April 22, 2015 Search
Weather | Athens
14o C
09o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
We breathe the crisis

By Nikos Konstandaras

The crisis has found its symbol – the thick and bitter smoke that smothers the capital as soon as it gets dark. It covers everything, it slides in everywhere. It drives home the fact that we are living in another era. We all breathe the air of defeat. We still don’t have scientific readings and analyses on the effects that it will have on our health, on our monuments and environment, but we know that the smog is the product of our inability to deal with our problems. From symptom, though, it is also becoming the cause of worse problems.

This new plague appears to be democratic, spreading out all over Athens’s coastal basin, over the center and suburbs, over rich and poor, over young and old, natives and immigrants. Wherever we go, the smoke clings to our clothes, our skin, our hair, our eyes, our lungs. It waits for us to leave our work and follows us inside when we enter our homes. It creeps through every crack.

But the veneer of universality is thin – again it is the poor who suffer most: They live on lower floors, where the toxins congregate, they are forced to burn whatever they find, huddling around open fires and buckets of embers. They will not be able to send vulnerable family members to the countryside. But in the richer areas, too, where fireplaces were just decorative, this year there are no Christmas trees lying on sidewalks, stripped of ornaments, waiting for the dump truck: They have been burned, along with the forests and parks feeding the insatiable capital and other cities and towns.

The reddened eyes, the heavy hearts, the burning throats – are they messages from a forgotten past or from a future dystopia? Will the smog disappear as quickly as it came or is this how we will live from now on? Will it harm the children? To the many fears of our time, we add this one.

Our days are deceptive. Cars, trucks and motorbikes go about their business, people rush to work. The image of normality hides the 1.3 million unemployed and innumerable closed businesses. But every night the smog falls on everyone, confirming that we are all in crisis. Higher taxes on heating oil, along with people’s reduced incomes, have driven the search for alternative fuels. The government did not anticipate this. Citizens were not informed of alternative sources of heat, nor were they warned of the dangers of burning whatever is available. Even those entitled to fuel subsidies are unaware of how to get help.

Now nothing can control the pollution. If a solution is not found immediately, this new plague will eat at us for years. Like our debt.

ekathimerini.com , Thursday Jan 10, 2013 (22:14)  
IMF needs to correct its big Greek bailout mistake
Tragedy in the Mediterranean
Silence is not an option
Understanding Greek drama´s latest twists
Greek PM eyes Merkel support
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras is to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel Thursday in Brussels in a bid to secure a statement of political support from Berlin amid tough negotiations wit...
Mayors resist coalition´s demand to hand over cash reserves
Mayors insisted on Tuesday that they would not allow their municipalities’ cash reserves to be transferred to the Bank of Greece, as the government wants, at least until they have held a mee...
Inside News
Carrot to pay income tax all in one go
In an effort to bolster crumbling budget revenues, the Finance Ministry is considering offering a 10-15 percent income tax discount for those who choose to pay their dues in a lump sum this ...
IOBE: No agreement would be a huge failure
Greece’s Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE) on Tuesday revised this year’s growth estimate from 3 to 1 percent, while its head, Nikos Vettas, described the possible lack ...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
Second win for the Reds over Barca in four days
Olympiakos is one step from the Euroleague Final Four in Madrid after downing Barcelona on Tuesday for the second time in four days, to edge ahead 2-1 in the best-of-five play-off series. Th...
BASKETBALL
Panathinaikos recovers to beat CSKA for 2-1
Three-pointer master Panathinaikos had the last laugh at the end of Game 3 of its series with CSKA Moscow on Monday winning 86-85 and reducing the Russians' lead to 2-1 in the best-of-five p...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Second win for the Reds over Barca in four days
2. Carrot to pay income tax all in one go
3. IOBE: No agreement would be a huge failure
4. Haircut on Greek banks’ collateral?
5. Uncertainty hits bookings from Germany and the UK
6. No leap in relations with Russia
more news
Today
This Week
1. Greek government's popularity takes a hit as talks drag on
2. Tragedy in the Mediterranean
3. No ferries on Labor Day as seamen take industrial action
4. Silence is not an option
5. Two men accused of migrant smuggling face prosecutor over deadly shipwreck
6. ECB studying curbs on Greek bank support
Today
This Week
1. Quarantine for Greek bank subsidiaries in neighboring countries
2. Time to get serious
3. Putting off payments led to Q1 budget primary surplus
4. Obama calls for flexibility in Greek reform talks in brief exchange with Varoufakis
5. Greece denies report that it is preparing for debt default
6. Greek government's popularity takes a hit as talks drag on
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2015, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.