Thursday, October 6, 2011

In Athens

Just as I was leaving New York for Athens yesterday, I heard a report on CNN about new, large protests against the Greek government's austerity program--taxis, the metro and airport had been shut down.  Thousands of people were in the streets.  The announcement, brought chills to me, was I about to board a flight for a hornet's nest?

The announcer said the protests had gotten violent and were the largest seen since the tragic protests of two years ago when 4 people were killed.  The continually looping video accompanying the report showed a single scene of  protesters shaking a barricade-- hardly violent.  Then, the announcer got a local reporter on the phone live from Athens who stated the protests were very large but peaceful marches but that CNN had no doubt gotten a single clip of tensions, called it violence and was showing that clip over and over.  I felt anger but thankfully the local reporter called out the network on live TV.  

Greeks have been asking me how the world now sees them.  Without Athens and its enlightenment, the Arab Spring would not have happened, that the movement Occupy Wall  Street would not be happening and that as Louis de Bernieres writes in the introduction to my book, Hellas, "...economic crises come and economic crises go."  It can't be soon enough for the Greeks.

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