Friday, 3 July 2015

Greece in Crisis - Life, but not as we know it

I am realising, as the days go by, how many things we have been taking for granted all these years. 

For example, being able to access our money, either by withdrawing cash from the bank or by paying by card. Think about all of the times in a day that you do that... or that payments are made automatically. Now imagine that didn't happen... That's where we are at the moment. 

Capital controls mean that we are only able to withdraw 60 euro per day, per person. Not a problem, many thought: that is 1800 euro per month - a lot more than most people's salary. However, we can only withdraw from ATMs that have money... these are few and far between, and you can spot them by the long queue and the police presence. You stand in line, with no guarantees of actually getting money out, as by the time it's your turn the well has often dried. 

We are trapped in the country, as our cards have been disabled and do not work abroad, while others, our fellow Greek are trapped out of the country and cannot get home. 

Tempers are running high and on our walk around Athens yesterday (not for fun but trying to get essential travel documents ready, just in case we need to flee) I saw several people having heated discussions. Nobody was hurt, but I can only imagine what will happen in a few weeks - remember this has only been going on for 4 days... 

We saw pensioners, many of them, in groups, outside the few bank branches that opened just to help those pensioners who do not have cards to withdraw cash from ATMs. They stood there, in the heat of the July sun, patiently awaiting their 120 euro allowed to take each. 

We saw NO posters, hundreds of them, almost on every light post all the way into town. How can a government that does not have money for the basics has money to print so many posters? 

We are going into the unknown, each of us with hopes of coming out at the other end unscathed. We are afraid. For us, for our children and for the future that is coming, when the sun rises on Monday morning. 

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