Wednesday 24 July 2013


I have just read a post in a blog  that broke my heart. The writer visited a children's home in Kallithea in Athens that hosts children whose parents cannot afford to feed them anymore. One mother visited her children and having spent a substantial amount of time with them, tried to take her leave, but found it impossible to do so, as the children started crying, asking her to take them home with her. She tried to explain that there was no food in the house, and promised to visit the next day. The eldest then said: 'Please take us home mummy, and we promise never to feel hungry again'.

More and More Kids in Greece Are Starving

Scores of children have been put in orphanages and care homes for economic reasons: one charity has reported that 80 of the 100 children in its residential centres were there because their families are no longer able to provide for them. 10% of Greek children are said to be at risk of hunger. Teachers talk of seeing pupils pick through bins for food.

This is the reality of Greece today.

More than a quarter of the population - and 62% of those under 25 - are already unemployed. Private sector wages have fallen by 30% in four years and painful new taxes have been imposed as the country is crucified by its adherence to the euro.

Many of these people are so impoverished that they eat sporadically, and some of them go hungry. Increasingly the children of these destitute people eat little or not at all, fainting in schools.

The Guardian reported in March the testimony of Victoria Prekate, a secondary school teacher in Athens:

'It has been a common secret among PE teachers for some time now that they don't expect pupils to do PE any more, because many of them are underfed and get dizzy. They need to be discreet, as these underprivileged children don't wish to be exposed to their peers.

Many families, suddenly left without work, are in shock and there is nowhere to turn. Social services are collapsing. They are not professional beggars. They are ordinary people like you and me, suddenly left with nothing. I know one area where schools have specialised in what they gather: 1st primary school gather rice and pulses, 2nd, vegetables, 3rd meat and chicken, etc.'.

Hungry, Anna Kindyny

All of this is reminiscent of the last time Greece was starving, during the dark times of 1940-41 when Greece was under German occupation. This was one of the worst famines in the history of modern Europe as Nazi Germany included starvation as part of its attempts to crush the Greek resistance.  It is estimated that between 1941 and 1943, 300,000 died in Athens alone from starvation.  Oxfam in the U.K. was established to help the starving in Greece.

The return of hunger in Greece is due to the asphyxiating austerity imposed by the Troika: the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Commission are converting Greece into a colony that lives or dies at their whim. They demand repayment for Greece's debt, no matter the social costs. Instead of helping Greece to create jobs and wealth so as to repay the debt, they demand higher taxes, the elimination of social services, drastic cuts in jobs, pensions, salaries and government spending. They also require that the Greek government privatise all state enterprises, including drinking water.


Pictures such as this one shocked Greece last winter. Informal networks to help those in crisis have sprung up all over the country. Farmers come to Athens on a regular basis and bring food that is distributed for free - in this photograph the stampede to reach this food shocked the nation.

I have posted this photograph before, but it's too relevant not to do so again. The placard that the woman in the photograph is holding says: 'Dear God, hunger scares me'.




  1. This is a huge and complex subject, but I find the juxtaposition of these last two posts rather interesting.

    1. Hi Olga, and nice to hear from you. The juxtaposition was deliberate. Athens is such a city of contrasts at the moment, not that the rest of the world isn't, but the contrasts are much more pronounced here, and, when in Greece, I hope that my blog reflects that.

  2. The troika and their puppets in the Greek government should be tried for crimes against humanity. I live for the day that happens. I want a front row seat.

    1. Things are really desperate for a lot of people, the numbers of the unemployed and the homeless is rising, as are suicides: Greece used to have the lowest suicide rate in Europe and in the last 3 years it has risen to the highest. I don't know how the situation can resolve itself, or where all this will lead. Despairing times.