- Dimitris Christoulas (77), retired pharmacist, shot himself in the head in Syntagma Square, Athens last Wednesday (April 04, 2012).
- Christoulas left a suicide note, whose text is reproduced below, explaining his reasons.
"The Tsolakoglou government has annihilated all traces for my survival, which was based on a very dignified pension that I alone paid for 35 years with no help from the state. And since my advanced age does not allow me a way of dynamically reacting (although if a fellow Greek were to grab a Kalashnikov, I would be right behind him), I see no other solution than this dignified end to my life, so I don't find myself fishing through garbage cans for my sustenance. I believe that young people with no future, will one day take up arms and hang the traitors of this country at Syntagma square, just like the Italians did to Mussolini in 1945" (See here)(Giorgios Tsolakoglou was a fascist and collaborationist leader during the Nazi/Fascist occupation).
It's hard to decide what's more shocking, Christoulas' death or the spin it generated.
Take this comment, from The Guardian (UK):
"The politicians, eyes on forthcoming elections, have struggled to find usable capital in the moment. Those in power have tried to drain it of political meaning, mumbling about solidarity in these difficult times, criticising the bad taste of those who would exploit a tragic death. Those seeking power have, of course, tried to exploit it while affecting not to. George Karatzaferis of the far-right Laos party (in the coalition government until its popularity plummeted) said that the bullet in Syntagma should strike the conscience of the whole political class. The Communist party blamed the capitalist system and its lackeys. The parties of the non-communist left, whose stars have risen as the crisis deepens, spoke of the misery to which the Greeks have been reduced by the politics of austerity. Christoulas will be, above all, their martyr, and the martyr of all those opposed to the savage cuts that have fallen on the most vulnerable." (See here)According to this piece, each and every comment, be it from the parties in power (who applied the austerity measures blamed by Christoulas himself for his decision), the far-right Laos party (until recently a part of the ruling coalition), the Communist party or the non-Communist left is an attempt to capitalize on Christoulas' suicide.
So, if every comment is worth exactly the same, then all sides in this dispute are equally guilty: there is no real responsibility. Never mind what Christoulas himself said and the author quoted.
The author's solution is let "US" dialogue. "We" are all responsible, so let's all fix IT: the people go into misery meekly to pay for IT, while "those in power" take the people's wealth overseas and bring the money back after IT was fixed. But, isn't that what's already happening?
It's not just "those in power" who are attempting to drain Christoulas' suicide of political meaning, it seems.
This view is as disingenuous and partial as this one, taken from the same piece:
"Meanwhile, in Syntagma, the usual depressing scenes are unfolding as I write: a peaceful demonstration disrupted by battles between stone-throwing youths and helmeted police; industrial quantities of teargas. A woman journalist appears to be savagely beaten by riot police." (My emphasis)Below is the video referred and linked to by the author. I don't know what the readers see, but I saw two persons being apparently beaten and taken down by riot police. One of them was also removed from the place.
It seems to me the author has an agenda to sell. If reality is different from what her agenda implies, let's just pick those bits of reality that accord with our agenda.
And she does that using the last words of a dead man.
But things get worse, as this passage illustrates:
"Nothing will change in Greece and the same day those who believe it would were putting up messages saying he was the victim of a government that cares only about bank accounts and money, politicians were putting out phony messages of condolences and going about the business of planning more of the austerity that killed Christoulas and countless others who offed themselves at home instead of in the square where two years of protests, riots and strikes have done nothing to stop pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and the coming firing of 150,000 public workers - who should have been let go two years ago so that none of this nonsense would have occurred because the bloated public sector and the politicians who created it are what's killing Greece and its people". (See here)The 150,000 public workers who were not "let go" two years ago are as guilty as the crooks running and ruining the country. It's their fault they were not sacked, fired, given the flick, kicked in the ass. You see now the need for small government.
But I kept the best for last:
"IMF spokesman Gerry Rice offered his condolences over the man's suicide.
" 'What I'd like to say is we're deeply saddened to learn of any death in these circumstances, and just to express our sympathies". (See here)
Too bad the IMF did not offer their condolences over the death in neighbouring Italy of five people who have killed themselves in the last two weeks. They should have killed themselves in public.
Frankly, I find this disgusting.