(The fifth in a series of letters written by my students about their life in Greece).
I am writing this letter in response to people who claim that Greeks don’t work and don’t pay taxes. It is true that life has changed in the past two years.
Living in Greece is difficult when you see others suffering and when you see the politicians continuing to vote the programs from Europe in the Greek Parliament without solving the problem. Some people have lost hope because two years have passed since we learned about the state and the debt of Greece and nothing has happened to effectively address this problem. Also, every day we listen to the news and hear shocking things about taxes, poverty in Greece and reduction in salaries.
The salaries and the pensions have been reduced enormously while the citizens are forced to pay a lot of taxes. Unemployment and homelessness have increased to excessive levels. I know that all Greeks would be willing to find a job and give their best at the place where they work. Isn’t it a pity for one fifth of the population to be unemployed because of high taxes and the austerity measures? Others would like the warmth of a house but they sleep on the streets.
I think that protesting about it isn’t always the solution, yet it might bring changes. Greeks don’t burn their city. They want to protest about their rights whereas some people who don’t show their faces are burning buildings in the center of Athens and causing fear to the true protesters. All the media abroad broadcasted buildings on fire but not all Athens was on fire. However, some buildings in the city center were destroyed.
The austerity measures which come from abroad are in favor of high taxes and low salaries. It isn’t true that Greeks don’t pay taxes. Many families have sold their houses to be able to pay them and others give one third of their salaries for that purpose. People who don’t pay taxes are some rich citizens, others who earn money illegally and certain professionals who don’t state their true income.
Austerity measures aren’t the solution. Greece needs growth and people need jobs. Tourism could lead to economic growth and would provide people who own and work at shops, restaurants and hotels with a good income. Visit Greece and its beautiful islands. The bad thing is that not all people have caused this crisis in Greece but the people who have actually caused it continue to make wrong decisions. Please do not humiliate our country. Greece needs help and support because it has great history and it deserves it.