On the same day that “Am-Israel” had started its new settlement on Rothschild bvd. In Tel Aviv, Panayiotis started the taxi drivers’ strike in Athens. The 9,000 Athens’s taxi drivers found out one day that their taxi number that they bought only a few years ago in some hundred thousand Euro and for that they mortgaged their houses to the banks, worth now only 3,000 Euro, what makes their houses worth only 3,000 Euro and their bank manager very angry.
Panayiotis is a clever taxi driver so he decided that protest is one thing and getting paid is another thing and while he and his friends are pressing the government to change its decision, he is willing to take in his taxi, families with kids or with old people. At the end of the day you must bring food home in spite of the government.
After 2 years of preparations, our first step of The Israeli Family Project in our journey around the world is Athens. The origin of western culture and the ideal of democracy.
Athens welcomed us with a taxi drivers’ strike that has stopped for a moment to open its arms to hug the family in its first step of the long journey.
Athens is a city in a huge economical crisis. Every day there are demonstrations. It’s not the violent ones like the ones that held when the EU had to decide to give or not to give a big financial support to Greece in what appeared to be a catch 22 situation, But still Athens streets are not quiet.
Yannis the rebel stopped us in the middle of the street and offered a brochure in Greek and English invitation, to join a demonstration that will begin in 30 minutes in front of the city hall.
Before he started to try and lead revolutions, Yannis was a history teacher. Greek teachers, he says with a spark in his eyes, are getting lousy celeries. You cannot keep your family with a teacher’s celery.
That’s why Yannis decided to go on the streets and not to stay in his class. Yannis and his friends call their revolution “true democracy”. When Yannis pronounces these two words, you can see in his deep blue eyes, 3,000 years of a democracy that never was real and a big love to the state that he believes was stolen from between his fingers.
A lot of tourists on the top of the Olympus are taking photos and listening to guides who tell the myth of a great ancient city, of symbols and well known persons from history lessons at school.
Yanna, who sells cheese at the market doesn’t understand tourists who come to Athens on August. “Go to one of the beaches” she says. “I hate Athens on summer. If I only could run away to any beach I wouldn’t think twice”.
Many people who live in Athens are taking themselves with the August sweat to one of Greece’s 3,000 islands to take a time out from the 5 million people city. But most of Athens’s people keep on with their daily life. Millions of hard day workers that cannot allow themselves to leave their working places on August, like some of them used to do in the past.
Yanna is too busy to attend Yannis’ demonstration in front of the city hall. The demonstrators that had gathered at 6 o’clock seemed to be too tiered and too small to believe that they will really bring true democracy to Greece.
Yannis says that a republic without a currency of her own is not a republic. “From joining the EU only few had gone reach and most of the people got fucked up. It is not a true democracy”, says Yannis in his childish smile. “Greece needs a true democracy.”
The cottage cheese in the grocery store in Greece is more expensive then in Israel. To Yannis’ demonstration only few hundred had arrived and the policemen seemed very bored.
Israel and Greece share a world economical crisis where everyone are trying to keep their sanity and earn their living until things will get better again.
And meanwhile, above the crowded city, between the Acropolis poles, a small blond girl is holding a red video camera and insists on filming the world from her 35 inch tall when she is wearing a white T-shirt with a big logo in Blue and white of The Israeli Family Project. Learning about democracies from taxi drivers, unemployed teachers and Greek women at the city market of Athens, in the heat of August 2011.
The Israeli Family Project, Greece