“Wife, I won’t come back home. I have nothing to offer. I’m nothing. I love you all. Take care of the children … ” With these words Giorgos Chatzis made a last phone call to his family and bade farewell. Then he moved to put an end to his life. Giorgos Chatzis is one of the 3,000 victims claimed by the harsh austerity and economic crisis that hit Greeks since May 2010.
The 60-year-old construction worker had made this phone call on August 29th. The day he visited IKA in Siatista to receive his pension. The man must have suffered a shock to hear the insurance fund had scrap his disability pension. 400 euro. The only economic resource of the family.
George Chatzis spent his whole life working as a construction worker. Six years ago, he had a serious accident during his work that made work impossible.
“For four years he was receiving disability pension of 350 euro and social benefit EKAS [for low pensioners] of 50 euro per month,” his wife told newspaper Eleftheros Typos. These 400 euros became the only resource for the family.
Last February, IKA informed Chatzis that it would cut off the disability pension. The man started a bureacuratic adventure from office to office and authority to authority in order to keep the pension. The final negative reply came from IKA on August 29th.
George Chatzis would have to wait for five years without income, in order to reach the age of 65 and get granted a reduced pension according to retirement age regulations for the private sector. [Taking into account the latest austerity bill, he would have to wait until 67 and get a reduced pension of probably 300 euro because he would certainly be missing some thousands IKA pension-stamps needed for full pension.]
A horror perspective, the man was unable to bear.
George Chatzis’ body in advanced decomposition was found by a shepperd a copuple of days ago. Hanging from a rock in the mountain area of Galatini, in Western Macedonia. (with Proto Thema)
Would somebody please explain to the people of Europe how in the name of God is the removal of this man’s pension and the family livelyhood going to “improve the situation”?
Hang your heads in shame Angela Merkel, Marios Draghi, Antonis Samaras,Herr Schauble and all the others who undoubtely have blood on their hands as a direct consequence of the policies they pursue
An explanation? None of us knows the exact details around why he lost this pension. Did he have it rightfully in the first place or not? What I read here is that he had 9 months notice, so the eventual outcome couldn’t have come as a total surprise.
It is not unheard of in Greece and other countries that people get benefits who are not really entitled to it. Or maybe his health got better? It’s possible. And why his income was the only of that family? 60 and no grown-up kids? Possible. No extended family? Also possible.
But like always with suicide: why someone is feeling he/she has no way out is un-explainable. And blaming Merkel, Draghi and Schauble for it is sad in another way and an insult to all those who are still fighting on and still are, although barely, succeeding in feeding their loved ones.
But even if you are right, and the main goal of Merker, Draghi and Schauble is to literally kill off the Greek people, wouldn’t “the people of Europe” expect the Greek leaders to stand up and fight for their people? Well they don’t. Not one of them.
And so, IF blame should be apportioned it falls on the Greek leaders and nobody else.
Ultimately though the responsibility falls on the individual who did not see any other choice… And my heart goes out to him and his loved-ones.
@AntonisX. In a previous life, I worked for a long time with those left behind after a suicide, mainly the children. Let me tell you from far too much experience.
There are 2 kinds of suicide. Those committed “accidentally”, usually by people too out of their heads on pills and powders to realize what they are doing. And to be quite blunt about it, good ridance. That is in fact how most of those left behind ended up seeing it too. Anybody who can posion themselves to that extent does not deserve the gift of life. Sorry if that is harsh, it is experience. They are the selfish ones.
The other type of suicide is driven by nothing else but sheer desperation. It is not driven by somebody caught out fiddling the system and not being able to face the music. It is caused by facing into the darkest of black holes for a long time. 9 months with the Sword of Damocles over your head is a very long time! And when there are loved ones involved, especially children, it is not a decision made on a whim. I guarantee you this poor soul thought about this long and hard, and kept reasoning himself into the ever tighter corner of despair. The actual decision was most likely made in a split second, the lead up was sheer hell. This man probably sat in a dark room for months, watching the bills mount and finding no way out. I’m even very certain neither his wife nor his children had the slightest idea of what was going on in his mind. Inertia of the mind. Total shutdown of any faculty that might have helped him to find a solution, because of raw, unadulterated panic.
What an impression of yourself to take with you on the next step of the journey. The Greek authorities are indeed very much to blame for this, and for not looking after those most vulnerable in Greek society. They are mostly to blame for not putting preventative methods in place. Anybody with even some basic training would have spotted this from a mile away, months ago. Instead of scaking people because they cost too much, retrain them to become useful citizens in an ever changing society. That is the task of government.
But the international figure heads who keep pushing Greece further towards and eventually over the abyss are very much so equally to blame for this, if for no other reason than putting the Greek government in the postion they are in. But anybody with half an ouonce of sconscience would never do that…
Although there are many who have received disability subsidies without any rights to them, they are sadly not the ones committing suicide… And of course the Greek leaders are to blame, just as much as the Italian leaders where suicide is on the rise… or Portugal or Spain. So in conclusion for now it is the Southern European leaders that do not fight for their people. This will last until the phenomenon creeps up towards Northern Europe after which we will finally be able to rightfully say: “The European Parliament and its’ leaders have not fought for their citizens.” Past tense, of course, since it will be described in the history books of our grand children.
@Ephilant – Thanks for sharing that. We agree on everything but the last paragraph (and on that one disagree only partly). And I don’t find the first part “harsh”. Yes it’s reality and I have seen that from up close way to often too.
Descriptions (here and in the press in general) like “The man must have suffered a shock…” are not doing that justice. What I was trying to do is to point out that the desperation is indeed a process of building up and sitting in a dark place for a long time, as you described so well.
Nobody cares about the death of 140 people in Kunduz, murdered like bbq by the German Army and her boss the war criminal Adi Merkel and therefore Europe is also guilty, esp as it is still accepting that such mass-murderers not only don’t rot behind bars but also get voted and travel around to smear their bloody hands into other bloody hands. If Picasso would be around he would have made a painting and called it: “There is no perfect crime except democracy”.
What I don’t understand, is how this man, with a measly disability pension, lost his only source of income of EUR400, while there are still politically connected civil servants who in short just do nothing but earn EUR4000 and above? Don’t these people have any conscience? They have been bleeding the coffers dry and now they are punishing the weak and the poor. IKA? How about getting all those corrupt IKA employees who siphoned off hundreds of thousands (millions!) of public money and get them to pay back the State PLUS INTEREST and a fine and JAILTIME and bloody well release their names for fraud so the people of Greece can publicly admonish them for their bad behaviour. These corrupt and politically connected people (meson) are the root cause of this perpetual mismanagement of the country.
This is not just a Greek problem, it is simply much more pronouonced and open in Greece. It is a symptom of everything that is wrong with society.
Although tempting and quite inviting, you are actually wrong in that assertion. They are an expression of the root cause, but not the root itself. You can’t fix that situation without removing the real cause. Trying to do so is like using a band-aid on a brain tumor. The root cause is the structure of society itself. Try this for a start
If you really want to get into it, and if you can find it, read Paulo Friere’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”. Heavy, but a serious eye-opener.
And then you go on giving all the right answers. 😀
I’m feeling sad for his family as he left them alone. At least they would have their Dad if he was alive.