Trickle-down Austerity in Greece

From a haunting NYTimes photo essay, shot by Angelos Tzortzinis, on one aspect of Greece’s descent into a severe economic depression. The caption for this picture starts, “A prostitute who bears scars on her arm from the time she tried to kill herself in jail sat in her hotel room.” Grecian austerity is being written on the veins of drug-addicted prostitutes and the homeless. From the essay:

For Mr. Tzortzinis, who grew up in the area, seeing women give themselves for as little as 5 euros underscores one of the many horrors of Greece’s drawn-out crisis.

“These women need help,” he said. “But they cannot help themselves. Nobody is helping them.”

For another “outside the headlines” look into Greece and the effects of austerity I highly recommend Discordia: Six Nights in Crisis Athens from Laurie Penny and Molly Crabapple. The description: “A short ebook combining a 24,000-word essay with 36 detailed drawings, DISCORDIA is a feminist-art-gonzo-journalism project conceived at Occupy Wall Street and created in the summer of debt and doubt after the euphoric street protests of 2011-2012.

My inadequacy to proffer a just commentary on this subject is a chasm I won’t pretend to fill. Life in the midwest, even from below the poverty line, is a comparative paradise of fortune, luck and privilege. My focus on policy in the United States isn’t an idle hobby-interest; it springs from a genuine concern for human welfare. So much of what passes for public dialogue here amounts to partisan war games, fueled by commercialized political interests and the vitriol of internet anonymity. Sometimes I just want people know that these issues have meaning outside of their effects on how we define our values and ideals. Politics isn’t a thing we just argue about or vote on, but actions that can have dystopian consequences — physically and emotionally — for the least among us. This policy reality for the socioeconomic bottom in Greece should matter to us. I want it to matter to us. I just don’t know how best to put that.

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