Another dramatic incident amid austerity was added on the long list of suicides over financial burden this morning in Syntagma square, central Athens, during rush hour. The 77 years old retired pharmacist, allegedly said “I don’t want to leave my children in debt” before taking his own life with a handgun near a tube exit. Passers-by froze when the shot was heard. Sources said the man left a suicide note expressing his resentment over the government that left him hopeless:
Tsolakoglou* occupation government has literally nullified any chance of my survival that was based on a decent pension, to which I’ve been the sole contributor for 35 years without any state financial aid.
Since my age doesn’t help for sheer resistance (of course without rejecting the possibility that if a Greek were to grab a Kalashnikov first, I’d be the second following) I see no other solution but a decent end (of my life) before I start searching for food into trash bins. I believe that one day, youths with no future will take up arms and hang upside-down those national traitors, as Italians did to Mussolini (in piazza Pareto-Milan) back in 1945.”
With Greeks being dragged into the downward spiral of financial and psychological insecurity -to put it mildly- the suicide rate has increased by 40% in the first months of 2011. The incident triggered spontaneous demonstrations coordinated through Facebook in Athens and Thessaloniki . Hundreds of people have gathered already in Syntagma sq where riot police has formed a defensive ring outside the parliament.
*Tsolakoglou was a military officer who became the first Prime Minister of the Greek collaborationist government (cooperation with enemy forces against one’s country) under the Axis Occupation during 1941-2.