NEWS

Omonia: Dark life and white death

Omonia Square, well after midnight. Young Frenchwomen in colorful miniskirts cross the square on their way to local nightclubs. The holiday season in Athens has just begun. Behind them, four or five young men not wearing shirts and with seemingly little contact with their environment are hanging out on the steps. Another youth is trying to beg but his gait falters and his eyes are half closed. A group of around 10 tourists are standing in a circle, laughing and talking. In the shadows of the square, human figures are dealing drugs. Meanwhile, well-dressed young women in a convertible car make a final stop at a souvlaki stand before heading to the seaside clubs. Beside them at the fast-food outlet, a young man and woman are tripping together, arm in arm, their heads hanging down to the floor. A smartly dressed bellhop at a hotel carries the cases of an amorous couple, also arm in arm, who have decided to spend the weekend in the heart of Athens. A prosperous looking woman in her 20s walks past them into the shadows, where she finds her boyfriend semi-conscious. «Come with me, please. Come on, let’s go. Give it up, will you?» she shouts at him, in tears. These are just some of the contrasting images of Omonia Square: an expensive car, a ragged old man, a provocatively dressed woman and a man who can barely walk on heroin trying to break into a kiosk.