26, call center worker from Athens
"My salary of €750 ($988) a month is being cut to €600 ($790). I don't know how I'll live on that, but I'm one of the lucky ones: I have a job and own my house without any loans, but I can't afford gas for the car and I haven't bought new clothes for two years. The future is not good -- a lot of my friends are trying to leave Greece."
38, teacher from Lemnos
"My salary's been cut 30% from €1,300 ($1,712) to €900 ($1,186) per month. I don't eat enough, I use the heating less and I don't go out much. My students are not studying foreign languages any more or playing sports. Many faint due to malnutrition, and because the government has merged schools, class sizes are larger and it's even harder to teach the kids. Students don't have hope any more: They don't think any profession will pay their rent. Many of them think about moving abroad as they have no trust in the government. 'Aren't they educated?' a girl asked me yesterday, 'how can they not do what's right for the people?'"
49, surgeon from Ikaria
"I work for the public health service in the ear, nose and throat department at a hospital. My salary has been cut by 25-30%, from €4,300 ($5,664) to €3,300 ($4,347) per month. I work a 35-hour week but I'm also on call during the week. I have a wife and two children to support, and we rent a house. I support the austerity cuts because Greece has been living beyond its means. How else are we to get out of this situation? If we don't then we could go back to the times of the 1920s or '30s. But we must reduce our expenses, and not just our salaries. Why should the prime minister go to Brussels and stay in a five-star hotel?"
26, Ph.D. physics student from Athens
"I don't have much money to go out with, or to enjoy life. I have about €1,300 ($1,712) but that is from personal funding. There's no money from the government to study. The prospects for work are not good for me in Greece. Due to the cuts, there's no scientific research, and we can't find a way to leave this trap. Few of my friends have jobs: Eight of my 10 best friends have gone abroad to find work. That's a big problem for this country, and we have the same plan. I intend to go abroad, too."
Alexandros Konstantinos Karlis
34, Ph.D. Student in theoretical physics in Athens
"Agony, insecurity, anger. These are the feelings of the vast majority of the Greek people. Agony for the hundreds of thousands of people who have found themselves unemployed due to the catastrophic economical policy enforced by the EU/IMF/Greek cabinet. Insecurity for those still lucky enough to hold on to their jobs but who see their salaries dropping with an ever-increasing rate, and the legislation changing in a direction that they can find themselves unemployed more easily.
Anger is the common thread running through all who have seen their quality of life being degraded, their self-esteem vanish, their hopes and dreams, at least within the borders of this country, gone.
What can substitute a clearly faulty and failing system? How can democracy be reinstated in this country and worldwide? I know that when such questions are posed in the minds of the many, something extraordinary can emerge. In this I trust."
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