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Greek Suicides Become Daily Phenomenon Amidst Ongoing Crisis

Geologist lecturer Nikos Palyvos

The list of the Greek crisis’ victims is steadily and alarmingly growing. A 38-year-old lecturer from the University of Athens is the most recent tragic loss in a country crippled by rising unemployment, severe cuts in pensions and salaries, drastic increases in taxation and further unpopular EU/IMF/ECB inspired measures.
Dr. Nikos Palyvos was a geologist and elected lecturer of the University of Athens but was never appointed to his rightful job because of the Memorandum policies. For two years, Palyvos and another 800 teaching and research staff colleagues were waiting for their appointment, which is pending to date.
The everyday hardships, the financial dead end and the broken promises forced the young academic to hang himself last Monday. And this is not the only sad incident of devastated people reaching out to the extremes across the debt-ridden country.
Alone in April 2012, the country and the world have been watching in a state of shock as more and more people, regardless of their age, are putting an end to their lives because of political frustration, unbearable humiliation or despair and inability to make ends meet without being a burden to their surrounding environment.
The public suicide of retired pharmacist Christoulas at Syntagma Square in downtown Athens has shaken both the Greek and international community. Outside the Greek Parliament, the desperate man decided to take his life with a gunshot to the head in despair over his financial woes that would inevitably pass on to his children. A few days later, another retired professor in Kavala took his life because of financial problems and the subsequent humiliation. On April 21, 45-year-old teacher Savvas Metoikidis from Stavroupoli, Northern Greece, put an end to his life in protest against the rotten political system. A young woman jumped off a bridge near Patras to escape her mounting economic problems.
Suicide rates among Greek men increased by more than 24 percent from 2007 to 2009, while it is estimated that more than 450 people have put an end to their lives in 2011. Attempted suicides in 2011 exceeded 600 in numbers, with the majority blaming the Greek crisis for their decision. According to Hellenic Police data, suicides and attempted suicides from early 2009 to December 2011 sum up to 1,730. The prefectures of Thessaloniki, Thessaly, Athens and Northern Aegean have recorded the biggest increase in suicide rates since 2009.
Names, studies, numbers and statistics only confirm the alarming truth that the crisis is preying on the lives of its victims. Some call it in Greece “the financial murder victims” phenomenon. However, the question is how many more sacrifices do the Greek people need to make before the state or the society puts a halt to this frenzy of hopelessness.
The financial crisis is breaking the back of Greece for the fifth year in a row and now it has shown its grim face with the rising death wish of many desperate Greeks, who find themselves standing on the edge of a continuously escalating situation that pulls everyone deeper into it with each passing day.

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