Greek Life in the Time of COVID-19

A pedestrian wearing a face mask passes next to an adverting banner at a bus stop that reads "Stay Home, Hellenic Republic-Health Ministry" in Athens, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)

In self-isolation there are no more sounds of children squealing at recess from the nearby elementary school, no scraping of their wheeled backpacks on the street or calm encouragements from a grandparent escorting them as is so often done in Greece’s tight-knit family structure.

There’s almost no sound of cars or motorbikes outside the window, no happy voices being raised below the balcony even as neighbors wave wanly at each other, trying to prop up dwindling courage. You can almost hear people gulp and try to hide white-knuckle fright.

It’s so quiet outside the back window overlooking a walled-in peaceful yard that you can almost hear the flap of the wings of white butterflies that have begun to appear as a harbinger of spring, what should be the time of hope and rebirth but will this year, as T.S. Eliot wrote, show why April is the cruelest month.

This is what the coronavirus, now called COVID-19, has brought to Greece as it has to so many countries around the world and with fears that here could become as overrun as Italy, where 345 people a day are dying, most of them elderly, and with doctors having to make the tragic triage of deciding who’s going to live because hospitals are so overwhelmed.

Unlike U.S. President Hump, who is willing to let people die and not be tested because, as he said, he “likes the numbers where they are,” and doesn’t want to jeopardize re-election hopes, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis moved swiftly to react.

But not enough. He ordered the closing of malls, restaurants, non-essential businesses, urged people to stay home and work there, but let the Church stay open on Sundays and for “personal prayer,” reluctant to take on the powerful clergy.

If you’re partially open, you’re fully open in the time of COVID-19 and you can’t close the door three-quarters of the way when there’s zombie hordes trying to get in: in this case, the invisible virus that spread because China’s dictators didn’t want the world to know.

Don’t look to God to save you because, as George Carlin said, you’re better off praying to Joe Pesci because he knows how to get things done. The Church said Holy Communion was not a threat because people sipping from the same spoon apparently were immune before the government shut that down.

Most Greeks are staying at home but a partial lockdown means no lockdown and allows the virus to spread like The Andromeda Strain. Without a mandatory shutdown, people will go out, raising the risk, and even closing the schools and other businesses saw Greeks, always reluctant to obey the law, violating the regulations, with 127 arrested in the first few days.

If you listen carefully, you might be able to hear the clink of fine crystal glasses holding expensive wine being drunk by shipping tycoons in self-confinement in mansions, people who did nothing of substance to help their alleged country during a near decade-long economic and austerity crisis – refusing to pay corporate taxes and threatening to move their ships if any government tried to do it.

They’ve contributed nothing to help since the COVID-19 virus broke out as the coronavirus in China, where they wield influence. They’ve not donated a mask, a respirator, a ventilator, drugs, or medical equipment to hospitals or anything else that would deprive them of their ability to provide for themselves and their families and fellow rich and they will ride out this plague with impunity because they can afford the best medical care deprived of others.

There’s no medical parallel to this onslaught in the last century, nor to the way fear spreads almost as fast in a digital age that offers second-by-second tweets and Instagrams and messages on Viber and WhatsApp and the electronic vehicles we use to hide from looking at each other.

The worry for the elderly is not so much for themselves as for the grandchildren they hope to see for a few more years and who they want to grow up in a world – if one is left – that somehow is made better by surviving a kind of plague.

Although what history shows is that it won’t happen and that politicians and the rich will prosper and flourish and profit from it.

Some 20,000 soldiers and Greek servicemen died in World War II, as did 400,000 civilians from deprivation and famine, times far more dangerous than even COVID-19, when people reveled in finding a single onion to eat and share or died choking on grass they tried to eat.

The outbreak of COVID-19 was said to have occurred in an exotic food market in Wuhan, China selling bats and snakes and other wildlife which may have infected a chicken or food then eaten.

That’s much the same way the Plague of Athens devastated the city in 430 BC, believed to have entered through Piraeus’ port, the source of food and supplies, killing as many as 100,000.

So far, COVID-19 hasn’t been as decimating as the 1918 flu pandemic that killed as many as 50 million people around the world but the numbers could soar in coming weeks or months because of political negligence.

Because unless leaders act to protect people and not themselves, the rest of us are just numbers and they like them where they are. Where’s Joe Pesci?

4 Comments

  1. While Andy Diabalis and TNH prosecutes the enemies of the” DEEP STATE”” S’TATE DEPARTMENT, but not of the world or even America .. like China, Russia, Donald Trump…and of course the greatest threat to U.S takeover of the Orthodox dominant Eastern European countries… The Orthodox Christians of Russia and the World, … he noticeably does not condemn the U.S State department for not stopping the spread of not only the Convirus plague , but the “American War Virus Plague” which now obstruct a remedy to the deaths of humanity! ..

    Today ..while the plague of Covid Virus, is front and center due to 300 deaths in a population of 350 million American..and 8000 world wide.in a population of 7.5 billion .and if you took out the China number.of 1.5 billion you would have 3500 out of a population of 6.0 billion human beings of the world!

    Today , the Judges of the International Criminal court at the Hague and despite threats against them by the same U.S politicians,,who now orchestrate the Convirus plague, have ordered Prosecutors to begin investigations into the many charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity by Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and George Bush Jr..committed against the people of the Middle East.like Afganistan, Iraq, Syria , libya.etc..

    Today, world leaders, not ANDY call on U.S to end all economic sanctions and warfare on what amounts to 1/3 the population of the world which includes Iran, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, Yemen

    1. Iraq, Iran, Cuba. etc etc and the other countries of the world .who have been deprived them of Medical supplies and revenue to purchase basic essentials for their people, but are among the hardest hit countries with the Virus, just because they will not surrender their government to the International Marxist Police State of America!

      When it comes to the plague-stricken deaths visited on millions around the world for decades by the American government and Media collaborators, this must be denied by diverting attention to partisan presidential politics, and now the coronavirus that engenders fear, loathing, and a child-like tendency to believe Big Brother. 
      When it comes to the plague-stricken deaths visited on millions around the world for decades by the American government and Media collaborators, this must be denied by diverting attention to partisan presidential politics, and now the coronavirus that engenders fear, loathing, and a child-like tendency to believe Big Brother. 

      The true plague, the bedrock of a nation continually waging wars through various means –.
      – i.e. bombs and economic and medical sanctions, etc. – against the world, disappears from consciousness . 

      As U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said to 60 Minutes Lesley Stahl in 1996 when Stahl asked her if the U.S. sanctions on Iraq that had resulted in the death of 500,000 Iraqi children were worth it: “ “We think the price is worth it.”

      Andy..would also agree…and while he .

  2. cont..
    And the “DEEP STATE” STATE DEPARTMENT of Associated Press, ..”also thinks the price is worth it” since, it has not quarantined American troops and pilots in the 900 bases in 80 countries of the world, but continues to bomb ..as of yesterday .. Iraq civilians and airports ..unreported by Associated Press , and more importantly ..continues it economic warfare with blackmailed Greece on one of the hardest hit Covid 19 plague countries in the world ..Iran,.. just behind China and Italy!

    UN investigators into the Economic warfare of U.S on Venezuela before the Virus outbreak..estimated that 50 ,000 deaths of Venezuelan citizens could be attributed to U.S economic warfare to remove the elected leaders of Venezuela .. due to the lack of medical supplies and essential needs of the population of Venezuela .. and to quote.. the U.N lead investigator .'”.should be remanded to the International Criminal court at the Hague.. as possible ..”CRIMES AGAIN’ST HUMANITY ”

    Today, I went to church ..but there was an embargo on me entering by the State Department of the Archdiocese…to save me!

    Congratulations.. Andy.. like the wars you sold ..you have now sold the Patriarch..on detonating religious suicide of his soul and our church . by closing the doors of the Original Church of Christ …and made our lord and Saviour house ..a threat to humanity!

    Congratulations, you have turned the Blood and Body of Christ into a cesspool of disease, not to cleanse our souls!

    1. cont…

      Congratulations Andy…. the ultimate victory ….closed churches… no money to keep the churches running…no candles to buy, no donations in the tray ..for the operations of the church, and for those Philptohos members ..the only decent human beings of this planet!

      And so what .. the Patriarch has just taught us .. that we can just stay home , and watch mass on T.V or on our computers! No need for churches ..as a matter of fact .. we don’t even need anymore clergy to perform the devine liturgy.. than what is needed for one broadcast!

      However, Andy.. maybe Patriarch Bartholomew .. can get a Bail out for the Bankrupt Churches ,like Donnie is planning for Lockheed Martin.or Boeing Aircraft inc. you know the war machine manufacturers and their Banks…to big to fail!

      How pathetic.. when I went to my church to fortify my body and soul to confront evil …there was no one there..and the doors locked with a sign closed for business on it! I stood and said my prayers.. and did the only thing I could do.which I would do every Sunday… I placed a $20 bill in the door for the Philoptohos and operating cost of the church!

      I and my wife, then went to fortify our bodies of food. at Costco, Stop and Shop, and a liquor store which were unlocked, and joined the gathering of hundreds of lost souls and possibly Viral or Flu infected evil. who were probably the same people, locked out of our churches!!

      Andy and Bartholomew.. may they live forever!..

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