A different crisis

I travelled from the Netherlands, where I currently live, back to my hometown, a big city in the north of Greece called Thessaloniki, to spend the summer. A few days ago I decided to meet a friend downtown. Since my place is a bit detached from the city center I hadn’t been downtown for a long time.

A different crisis

On my way to one of my favorite coffee places, located right in the center’s heart, there was a man sitting on the pavement. He had semi-long white hair, brown eyes, dirty clothes, surrounded by his belongings, which were nothing more than a small suitcase and a woolen blanket. He was neither begging for money nor asking for food. He was just sitting there, smiling, but you could clearly see despair in his eyes.

People, who were shopping and passing by, were looking at him uncaringly. Isn’t it disappointing that although we live in the same city we don’t care for the people who need our help? We stop; we see them and just bypass them. Sometimes, even if we have enough food or money we are not willing to share.

Homeless people in Greece increase rapidly day by day, and for that, the economic crisis is responsible. But for our indifference and the humanitarian crisis that has taken over, not only the city but also the whole country, we should simply blame ourselves. We have turned off our humanity and isolated ourselves in our own digital world, in our own gold cages, which leave no space for kindness and sympathy. But, we don’t even dare to think that it could be one of us next time.

After a few hours, the man had fallen asleep, right there on the marbles, holding his blanket tight. The next day he wasn’t there. His small suitcase was also missing. Probably the police had kicked him out or there are still people who care.

 

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Being a soldier

Due to the pretty bad weather yesterday I preferred to stay indoors and watch a movie. After watching a couple of trailers to decide, I remembered that the Fury was on the top of my must see movies list for months - so it was about time I watched it. And I hit the play button...

The movie refers to April 1945 and the last days of the second World War. Don Wardaddy Collier is the commander of a five-men American tank crew named "Fury". The tank's driver was killed during a battle and Norman Ellison joins the crew in order to replace him. But Norman is a young and inexperienced soldier who was called to kill Germans since the very first day. For him, killing was something against his conscience. Due to his beliefs, he was constantly facing harassment by the other crew members.

Later on, Norman understood that it is a matter of survival so either he kills Germans when he has the chance, or Germans will kill him.

There was a clear message in the movie. Even if you aren't born to kill or to fight you have to do it when you are in a battlefield in order to survive. War has its own rules. Rules that can turn off your conscience and transform you to a cynical human-being.

But I couldn't help but wonder, is this something that you get to see only in war times? Because for me the same scenario is being repeated again and again. And I am not only referring to what is happening between Ukraine and Russia, two countries that share the same history as they were both among the major members of the Soviet Union, but I am also talking about today's economic crisis. Have we become soldiers?

The recent economic crisis can be paralleled to a modern battlefield; in which only strong players can survive. As it leaves a lot of victims behind, if you want to succeed you need to put your conscience on silent mode and 'kill your enemies'.

People today have become more cynical than ever. In a society with only a few chances for its members there is no room for humanity or values.  But this shouldn't be the case today as we ought to have learned something from our own history. And what did Germany manage to win by fighting in World War II besides a dissolved nation and a bad reputation?

Being a soldier

Maybe this is our lesson and maybe we should see the economic crisis as a chance for collaboration instead of a war-time because tomorrow you can be the next victim and in a battlefield no-one will be there to help you.

Apart from that democracy comes with its own values and we should always keep them in mind. And co-operation is a vital part of our democratic values.

Besides that, what is the worth of success if you don't have anyone to share it with?

 

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