You’ve all been reading about the profiteering corrupt lazy Greeks who messed up their own country and brought it to the brink of collapse, haven’t you? And how they deserve a little suffering for their sins? Today I’d like to tell you the story of one of these Greeks.
He’s 60 years old. Think of him as your eldest brother. If you are much younger than my regular readers you can picture him as your uncle or even your father maybe. Take a good look at him.
His name is Giorgos Chatzis. As I said, he’s 60 years old, from Siatista in the Kozani region, north Greece, and has worked as a construction worker all his life. Six years ago he had a serious accident during his work that left him incapable of working any longer. Four years ago, after the usual wringing through the kafkaesque bureaucracy, he received a disability pension of 400€ a month, the only economic resource of the family. You can tell he’s a regular profligate.
Last February, IKA, the social security service that covered him, informed Chatzis that it would cut off the disability pension. Chatzis started a veritable bureaucratic Stations of the Cross from office to office and authority to authority in order to keep the pension. The one before last Station was reached on August 29th when IKA informed him that his pension would be permanently cut and that he had to wait till the age of 65 to be granted a reduced retirement pension. Five years without income.
He called his wife on the phone. “Wife, I won’t be coming home. I have nothing to offer, I’m a complete failure. I love you all. Take care of the children…”. That was 10 weeks ago.
A few days ago, a shepherd found his body in an advanced state of decay hanging from a cliff in the rocky mountains of Galatini.
Your brother is no more, sorry to bring you the bad news…