Suicides in Greece increase 40%


Last year, Apostolos Polyzonis, 55, out of work and out of money, set himself on fire outside a bank in Thessaloniki, Greece. He survived. From CNN:

Until now, Polyzonis's self-immolation was the most vivid image of a singular public act of protest in a country that's been shaken by anti-austerity violence.

But Greece was jolted even more Wednesday after a 77-year-old man took his own life in the busy Syntagma Square, central Athens, the scene of several violent clashes between anti-austerity protesters and the police in recent months.

Just a few hundred yards away from the Greek Parliament, retired pharmacist Dimitris Christoulas shot himself with a handgun amid the morning rush hour, in what was apparently a protest over the financial crisis gripping the nation…

Christoulas's death can be added to an increasing number of suicides in Greece, as more people feel hopeless amid the worst economic crisis in the country's recent history: according to the health ministry data, the suicide rate jumped about 40% in the first five months of 2011 compared with a year earlier.

"Austerity drives up suicide rate in debt-ridden Greece"


  1. Something tells me they should be setting fire to the politicians who created the whole fucking mess.

    1. Could you imagine the utopia of America if the corrupt bankers/brokers/politicians set themselves on fire?  Well, enough daydreaming…Get back to work!

        1.  Did corrupt bankers and/or politicians commit self-immolation in the 1930s? I was not aware of this fact. If not, can you explain your meaning?

    2.  And who voted for those politicians and their idiot policies?

      There really isn’t a free lunch.

      1. A vote is a choice between people running. Earning a realistic shot at running typically first involves pleasing the right people. Hence the great incumbency advantage and the existence of political dynasties, among other things.

        As they stand right now, democratic systems have little to do with identifying and (respectively) empowering the absolute best citizen for tackling a given challenge. 

    3.  The “fucking mess” as you say is this abortion called the European Union. A  ponzi scheme dreamed up by the fat cats in Germany and France to drain the rest of Europe dry.

      1. Your “fat cats” contribute much more money than they get out of this scheme while much of “the rest of Europe” gets far more out of it than they contribute. The EU has worked wonders for a couple of Eastern European countries and, yes, Greece. Even Western Europe (including ordinary citizens) benefits tremendously from an integrated market. Just the ability to work and live in 20-odd countries without any preconditions is invaluable.

        Citizen of a smaller net contributor who is happy to pay taxes so that Romania will one day be as wealthy as we are now.

        (Without the EU Greece would just go bankrupt, a scenario that would make the Great Depression seem harmless. Your anger should be hurled at the Papandreou clan, not the folks trying to get Greece back on its feet.)

        1. Without the EU’s promises of stability, Greece could never have taken on all that foreign debt. And without the EU, Greece could not go bankrupt (as its central bank could keep on loaning more money to the government). Greece obviously had serious problems with government finances but these were already known in 1998 and the rest of the Eurozone knowingly enabled them to continue.

    4. The politicians created the mess, but Greece, which does have proportional voting making it a far more representative system than the US, voted those assholes in.
      Personally, I don’t fucking understand what is so hard about government policy in a democracy.  Don’t spend more than you take in.  I don’t care how you balance the the in with the out, just find a way.  Tax more, spend less, or do both, but just freaking stop deficit spending.  

      If you really want a deficit spending option because you worship at the alter of Keynes, then fucking listen to what the man actually said, which was that in the good times you are supposed to save money to spend later, not deficit spend during the good times, and then  deficit  spend even more in the bad.

      Do it for no other reason than that if you are not blowing half your nations GDP on interest payments,  you will actually have more money to spend then you do while deficit spending.

      I have literally no hope that the US isn’t going to merrily followed Greece’s example.  The Democrats can’t restrain from spending and fail to raise taxes to pay for it, and the Republicans, overcome with a fit of insanity, insist on cutting taxes before they pay for what they currently have, much less the crap they want to buy.

      I think we are all screwed.  We have found democracies Achilles Heel.  Politicians get elected by giving away stuff.  They get kicked out of office if they try and pay for it with taxes.  The politicians that win are the ones that combine the two halves of the equation by giving away crap and refusing to pay for it.  The people love it until the economy implodes.


    5. Not the politicians, as much as I would love to blame them, that created this mess. It’s more the major banks, corporations, etc. who are actively trying to take us to the Max Payne world where everything is owned by them and regular people are slaves.

  2. Something tells me he should be setting fire to the fucking 1%ers.

    Friends will get you through times of no money a lot better than money will get you through times of no friends. -Charles de Lint

    He was upset that he had no money left and didn’t think he could live without it.

    Foolish man…

    Money is a recent invention.

    Specie and their value have been coming and going for as long as banks have been around because the system is gamed to pile money up in one direction only, until it inevitably becomes useless and worthless.

    In the 1930’s nobody had any either, but you’re still here.

    Ask your grandparents how they made do, and still made your parents.

    This is nothing new and nothing to get desperate about.

    Embrace it and make reality your bitch.

    1. i wish we could change this conversation from 1% vs 99% to the 15-20% living under the poverty line vs the rest of us.  i feel like this 1% thing has been a great marketing gimmick to get the middle class behind the cause, but undermines the cause eventually.

      1. Yeah but – on some level, that 1%  and the range it encompasses is insane.
        “The Times had estimated the threshold for being in the top 1 percent in household income at about $380,000, 7.5 times median household income, using census data from 2008 through 2010. But for net worth, the 1 percent threshold for net worth in the Fed data was nearly $8.4 million, or 69 times the median household’s net holdings of $121,000.”

        1. Let’s think through this. Take all the money the 1% have for 1 year. While we’re at it, take their property too. Leave them just enough to live on (like the rest of us). Prevent them from ever achieving that level of wealth again by taxing it away from them as soon as they earn it, from now on.

          What’s the practical result?

          The 1% own the businesses that provide the jobs and paychecks of the 99%

          The 1% provide the capital necessary to buy houses, cars, and start businesses.

          The 1% are typically highly productive individuals who have the leadership skills to make businesses profitable. Profitable businesses lead to higher stock values, which the 99% depend on for retirement.

          I suppose we should all be a litte bit poorer, so long as the rich are less rich, right?

          1. There are different ways you can think through it however. We obviously don’t want everyone to be cut down to the same size, unless we figure out how to make a generosity based economy work, but we need to put an end to the ridiculously excessive gatsbys who leverage their power to secure it at everyones cost. No one needs to control an industry to improve the community, and the only time that much money should be concentrated in one place is when were pooling our resources together for public projects.

            We need more small business leaders, less CEOs sucking up 300 times their producers income.

          2. Except the 1% aren’t providing enough jobs and they aren’t loaning much money anymore. Also are people who make their money scamming people and manipulating markets ‘highly productive’?

          3. You have the causality backwards. People are not rich because they are productive, they are productive because they are rich (tools amplify effort). It is because one has more capital that one can efficiently exploit oneself that one hires others. And it is because one has no personal capital to exploit that one has the need to go look for a job from someone else.

            The idea is not to foolishly pursue some arbitrary equality of outcome – the idea to pursue equality of opportunity (destroying any inequality of outcome that is a product of the inequality of opportunity as a result). Wealth makes it easier to generate more wealth, and it is because of the unprecedented concentration of wealth that privilege (today) is much easier to maintain than it is to acquire. It is this inequality of opportunity that the “1%” criticism attacks.

          4. You are right. They own all the businesses that employ everyone else. That does not mean those businesses would not exist if their ownership were less profitable. The problem of the 1% is their outsized influence allows them to accrue greater profit for themselves at the expense of employees even if the greater profit is an outsized drag on economic productivity and not at all justified by their actual contributions.

            That they are in the position of ownership doesn’t mean they DESERVE the amounts of money they are accruing. It means they just have the power to. Unfortunately for the rest of us they have, as a class, elected to use this power to systematically dismantle the economic system that allowed for their success and replace it with third-world crony capitalism that promises them even greater control over the wealth of this nation while impoverishing the rest of us.

            Make no mistake. They are stealing from us. The mortgage crisis was the greatest act of coordinated theft and fraud in our lifetime.

          5. A few points in rebuttal to your responses:

            1. I am no fan of corporate welfare or cronyism in politics. But this is a problem of politics, not wealth. As long as there are favors to sell, there will be people willing to buy them, no matter how big the wealth gap is. Take power AWAY from politicians and government, and they’ll not longer have anything to sell.

            2. To Melinda9’s point, the rich don’t owe anyone a job, and any definition of “enough jobs” would be purely arbitrary. The number of jobs that exist is a product of the demand for the services provided by the businesses that require workers. The solution to the rich not providing enough jobs for your taste is NOT attempting to remove from their possession the only tool they have with which to create more jobs.

            3. To atimoshenko’s point, I’m afraid you are wrong. 80% of millionaire’s are 1st generation.
            Also, equality of opportunity is certainly a worthy goal. But it’s a fantasy. If I start at the same place as my brother (same family, same school, etc.), but decide to work harder and earn more in my life, do I not deserve to give my children strategic advantage over his by sending them to better schools, and teaching them how to be successful?

            4. To kromelizard: what possible reason, other than profit, do business owners have in owning business? Have we really descended into the territory where we have started believing that businesses exist to create jobs and provide health insurance? Believe me, if I could run a business and not lose revenue by having no employees, I would. So would you. But employees are necessary, in most cases. The wage they earn is proportional to the value they provide.

    2. Something tells me he should be setting fire to the fucking 1%ers.

      They don’t necessarily live in the country that they’re draining.

    3. Money is a recent invention.

      Uh. Would you care to elaborate? Because money is as recent an invention as civilization. The idea of debt happened well before the invention of the wheel.

    4. Money is a recent invention.

      About as recent as civilization. Even “banks” issuing paper currency (banknotes) to represent deposits are, what, 1,400 years old?

      Now maybe you’re trying to say that civilization is overrated, in which case: good point. If there’s no civilization we don’t need money.

  3. I realize self-immolation is all about the public spectacle and I’m sympathetic to his plight, but a quick search reveals this guy has done this 2 (maybe 3) times now.  Anyway, my question, is he really attempting suicide?

  4. A couple of years ago, Xeni posted a wonderful story about a cute little faceless cat called Chase-no-Face with a picture of him in all his happy-despite-being faceless glory.  Dozens of people came out of the woodwork to say how disturbing the image of a disfigured cat was, and how it shouldn’t be on the front page of Boingboing like that, and that children’s eyes were going to melt out, and that it was a poor editorial choice to put the image of a faceless cat on Boingboing, and anybody who thinks otherwise hates children and cats. 

    Xeni ended up taking the image down because of the overblown reactions of a few.

    But nobody seems to have a problem with children and kittens seeing a guy self-immolating on the same front page?  I’m not saying that you should take this guy down.. but Chase-no-Face should not have been censored!

    (end of rant completely unrelated to the subject… just had to vent that out)

    And let’s not forget Chase-no-Face!

    1. As a non-animal person I’m right there with you.  The entire internet goes ape shit over someone tossing a cat into a garbage bin, yet people setting themselves on fire just kind of rolls on by.  Perhaps the amount of effort needed to correct these injustices is a big factor.  It’s not that hard to find one person responsible for messing with a cat, it’s much harder to fix an entire country’s political/economic system.

      Perhaps protestors should start bringing their pets with them.  Pictures/videos of animals getting maced would probably spur more outrage than the people getting it.

    2. I don’t think the image of this man should be removed, but I do very much wish it had been placed under a cut. 

      1. There is a visceral difference, though… in this particular photo there’s nothing gory or explicit. It appears to be taken almost at the instant he lit the fire (and then very quickly dropped the things he was holding).

        Now, if you think about the consequences of what we see in this photo, it is indeed gruesome. But the photo itself is not. I don’t think that a graphic photo of this man after the fire was put out would have been posted without warning.

        That doesn’t speak to whether or not there’s a difference in reaction to such photos of animals, which there is, but you can’t really compare these two cases directly

  5. tax bankers out of existence – and the void will be refilled, maybe it will be better and maybe not. rinse & repeat.

    but at least we will have tried.  feckthestatusquo

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