Dying in Greece, for a little warmth
On 28 February, two students lost their lives from fumes from a coal-
burning heater that they had lit in their house. The incident was forgot-
ten until the next winter. However, heating has now become a privilege
of the few. The incidents of fires in houses increase: On the 1st of
December, a 13 year old girl died. The cause was again a brazier. Fi-
nally, the order was given to reconnect the electricity of poor families.
Did we need to have victims for the obviously right thing to do, in the
middle of the winter?
Our efforts to strengthen the families and individuals who are seeking
our assistance will continue! The creation of new ways of communicat-
ing and the connection of the target populations with relief and support
programs as well as the assertion of their rights, is on our daily agenda.
This was the reason behind our association (first in Thessaloniki and
secondly in Athens) with “Solidarities Now” . In Thessaloniki PRAKSIS
(already providing medical support) and Arsis (already offering legal sup-
port)are trying to join their efforts to provide powerful solutions to daily
and urgent problems faced by our fellow citizens, regardless of race,
colour, religion, country of origin, nationality or sexual preference.
Blood on the Strawberry Fields
On the afternoon of 17 April, 200 immigrants from Bangladesh, who
live and work under despicable conditions in the strawberry fields of
Nea Manolada of Ilia in Peloponnese, demanded to be paid the six
months wages owed to them. Their overseers refused to pay them,
and when tensions mounted, one of the foremen fired a gun into the
crowd. At least 25 people were injured. The owner of the farm and the
foremen were arrested (but unfortunately, in 2014, they were acquitted
by the court!).
This incident shocked public opinion, astounding everyone. Howev-
er, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Similar “strawberry fields” exist
everywhere. Man is being exploited by man on a daily basis. Whether
the fields become a basement and the strawberries material and the
farming tools sewing machines, the pattern of exploitation remains the
Human souls, prisoners of their inability to become legally recognized,
are turned into modern slaves of a society who rejects them and treats
them as units of “smuggled” material. For these “irregulars,” for those
who lack legal documents, PRAKSIS struggles daily to beat the num-
bers and to turn their daily negative subsistence into a positive sign.
An unusual sunset
After Myanmar in South East Asia, Maasai Mara in Kenya,West Lake in
China and Guanshan in Taiwan, Oia in Santorini, has climbed up to one
of the highest positions in the global list of the most beautiful spots in
the world to watch the sunset. And I don’t say this alone, a CNN survey
has ranked the Santorini sunset ninth out of the twelve most breathtak-
ing spots of the planet, where the sunset “paints everything red”.
At the same time however, the sea is being “painted red” in nearby is-
lands, from the shipwrecks of boats that are loaded with immigrants,
transferring them from the shores of Turkey. Clashing pictures: the
beautiful scenery is suddenly transformed to an inferno of people and
souls seeking a better tomorrow.
Working in this hell with mobile medical units, the people of PRAKSIS
are trying to give solutions in their own way. We provide medical and
pharmaceutical services and support to these populations, wherever
there is the need.
We are on the move in the north, from the borders of Promachonas
to Evros, as well as in the Aegean islands, in order to assist all those
people who are flowing into Greece (using our country as a necessary
transit point).
It is these moments that give me the power sometimes to answer to
those who object to Civil Society Organization “if sometimes we ask
you for money to help... don’t send us to the Devil..! We are usually
there, up against him!”
Greece, the land of unemployed youth
In Europe, a whole generation of young and ambitious workers is be-
ing lost and Greece has actually lost count. The data from ELSTAT,
the Hellenic Statistical Authority,is indisputable. In the third quarter
of 2013, unemployment in Greece soared to 1,345,387. Young people
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