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Sat Feb 9, 2013, 09:41 AM

Athens in Winter

By Panagiotis Grigoriou

Source: Le Monde Diplomatique

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Up in smoke — Late 2012: a group of workers, pensioners and unemployed sit in a café in central Athens discussing the vote to be held in their apartment block in a few days. Should they get the building’s tanks refilled with oil for central heating? Should the heating for the whole building, which, as usual in Greece, is centrally controlled, be switched on? These are the burning questions in Athens, where democratic decision-making is more preoccupied now with the cold weather and the price of oil (which has almost tripled since 2010) than with the national debt.

Outside in the street there is an argument, the second of the day. Christos, a new tenant on the block’s second floor, has a neighbour pinned to the wall. “You know I’m broke. If you all decide to fill the oil tanks this year, you’ll have to have to pay for it yourselves!”

Every Athenian knew it was going to be a chilly winter. Those who can still afford it are stocking up. And people are switching to wood as fuel. When the wood runs out, other things are burned. Athenians have recently discovered that the wood pellets they have bought — supposedly made from sawdust — may contain harmful compacted waste, including bio-waste from hospitals.

Athens lies under a permanent smog. Its inhabitants regret opening their windows, even for a short time: the smoke immediately gets into their apartments, coating the walls and floor. “Have you seen the smog cloud?” people ask. “It’s like our grandparents’ day.” Older people remember when schoolchildren used to carry a log to school — “heating contributions”, which had stopped in the 1970s. Children who used to sing in the streets for pocket money now do so for money to buy oil to heat their schools and keep them open.

Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/athens-in-winter-by-panagiotis-grigoriou-1

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polly7 Feb 2013 OP
TwilightGardener Feb 2013 #1
MrScorpio Feb 2013 #2
geefloyd46 Feb 2013 #3

Response to polly7 (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 09:47 AM

2. I've got some DJ friends living in Athens

They're on strike this week.

It's always something interesting happening there in The Ancient City.

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Response to polly7 (Original post)

Sat Feb 9, 2013, 10:00 AM

3. Was there in 1988. Loved it....

Just sad and depressing to see what is happening there. Back then the country didn't have a great deal of money but everyone seemed to be equally poor together, still with enough for the basic necessities. Now after buying into the European Union BS that doesn't seem to be the case. I recognize a lot of places where the rioting is now taking place. It is heart breaking and to listen to so many of our pols who can only say we don't want to be Greece rather than really working with the European pols to actually solve the problem and stop being hand maidens for the banks.

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