I. Athanasiadis: Martyr on the Mediterranean: Athens’ double crisis

21 juni 2016 – By the time the refugee tide hit Athens last summer, five years of financial crisis had already hollowed out its ancient centre. The marble pavements had been chipped and broken to provide ammunition against the riot-police, scorch marks from flaming Molotov cocktails marked the tarmac, and boarded-up stores and rough sleepers accrued around the refined commercial arcades and neoclassical and modernist architecture.

The nosediving economy and clashes between demonstrators and police resulted in thousands of shops closing, historical buildings burning and a general air of abandonment. Athenians queue up for food handouts, scavenge in bins, and congest medical clinics run by charities. Drug addicts have returned to the downtown to congregate in poorly lit side-streets and shoot up in the snatched privacy of parked cars’ shadows.

Meanwhile, solidly immigrant neighbourhoods that developed over the past 30 y
ears of Greek middle-class flight to the suburbs thrum with large families during the day, emptying out with the approach of iftar. Covered women carry bulging bags from neighbourhood supermarkets to overcrowded flats redolent with the smell of cooking. On hot nights, groups of men crowd the pavements.

Read the complete article at: Al Jazeera

Source:  Iason Athanasiadis,  AL JAZEERA

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