The sudden decline of the once bright and clean Kypseli

During September 2010, I was in Greece and passed through Kypseli. I was appalled at what I saw. The area looked awful and my traveling companion asked me why I had gone to a slum ghetto? She was correct. Graffiti decorated the walls of buildings. The streets were grimy. The sidewalks were littered. I have been going to Greece since 1971. I lived through coup, countercoup, PASOK, ND and the Olympics. When I first came to Greece, Kypseli was a lively place, made better when the area’s namesake road was closed and turned into a pedestrian park. Children played outside and laughed. People walked about socializing. The streets were clean, reflecting the pride of its residents. My last time in Greece was 2007 but even then I had noticed the area was in a poor state. Now it is horrible. What had changed? A plague? An earthquake? No, the area’s residents have changed. Now before anyone makes racist or anti-immigrant accusations, I will say that I have been in many places where the was a large immigrant population and those areas were pleasant and even gorgeous. My point is that paradise is what you make and you get what you deserve. To the residents of Kypseli, I beg and urge you to show your self-respect and take pride in yourself and your surroundings. JOHN-WILLIAM DE CLARIS

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