Photographs from the Streets of Greece
Photographs & Words by Robert Schultze
Greece is at an economic breaking point. The euro is collapsing due to greedy banks, international debt, a government that ignores tax evaders, a poor job market that has “more stores than people” and a local economy structure that worships tourism.
The average income for an individual in Athens is around €600 a month, and the apprehension towards tourists is palpable.
Tourists come to see the ruins in Greece, the Acropolis, Hadrian’s Library, the ruins in Delphi. They come with €1000 or more to spend on museum tickets, trinkets and memorabilia, not event counting what they will spend on flights, hotels and transportation. The disparity weighs heavy in the air with homeless people, scam artists and honest shopkeepers trying desperately to get out-of-towners to part with their precious euros that they have such an abundance of, while the locals struggle with what little they have.
San Francisco is known for its marches and protests, being ground zero for the Free Love Movement in the 1960s, human rights movements and its support for gay rights. Today these marches happen on a weekly basis or so, with a sort of half-hearted support from many of it’s participators, typically young twenty-somethings with cushy tech jobs who desperately want to be part of something but don’t really stand for anything. In Athens there are pro-communism demonstrations and marches daily.
What’s happening in Greece right now cannot be stopped. It can’t be changed. But our awareness of the context of these situations matters. Next time you’re vacationing in a poor country spending hundreds of dollars a day on room and board to keep up a “certain lifestyle,” try to be sensitive to the locals who may seem a bit disenchanted with a tourist taking a selfie for Instagram with the hashtag #Blessed.