* * * * *
This will be a post about an event I will always remember this time of the year. Beginning of December, two years ago- 2008, a 15 year old boy- Alexandros Grigoropoulos was killed by a policeman here in Athens. The days and the nights that followed filled with rage, will stay with me for life. The news of the murder traveled around the town very fast. The neighborhood where it all happened was set on fire within the hour. People came on the streets protesting and screaming against the police, looking exactly like an army ready to go in a battle. The smell of the chemicals used by the police was the air we all breathed for several days. Windows were broken, buildings were destroyed, walls were covered with nasty words sprayed in black. One moment it was looking like it will all go away and next moment a new storm of violence and cocktails Molotov were saying that there is no end, not yet.
I had a really busy day on December 6th and I didn’t hear that something has happened. Going home from work, coming out of the metro station, tired, I suddenly found myself on the street looking at a car exploding few meters away. The darkness of the early evening added an extra flickering effect to the burning metal remaining and the flying pieces of glass sparkled in front of my eyes. I could see people running in different directions, no, I could hear their feet taping over the hot from fire asphalt. Few were trying to hide, some fighting with the police and others just staring at the chaos around. My first thought was to go back to the metro station but as soon as I turned back, I saw the doors were closed already. I couldn’t believe I was out there in the middle of all this with my heart beating so fast that could burst right this second. And all I could do was to cross the street of chaos so I’d go close to home.
To cross a street takes how much? A minute? Or maybe less? To me it was an eternity. The noise from the hand-made bombs, the shouting, the tear gas that made me cry and the fear that I will never manage to escape, how do you forget? I won’t, ever! Once at home, I remember my body shaking, the phone ringing and me standing still, not being able to answer because of the shock. There were many calls that night. I remember all TV-channels showing what was out there. I saw how they burnt the Christmas tree in the center of Athens. I remember the way the town looked like in the morning, ugly and scary, with police in every corner, like we didn’t live in a country of democracy, but somewhere in the middle East. And my birthday few days later that I spent locked at home, because going out was not very wise. I remember it all, like it was yesterday and not two years ago.
What is left from all this? Punishment for someone guilty that I personally never heard to be announced. Sadness in the hearts and days of the boy’s parents, which will never go, no matter how many flowers they leave at his grave. Unknown number of damaged properties some of which still not recovered. Bunch of brainless people who don’t realize that by trying to cause other riots a year or two later it won’t bring the boy back alive and it won’t make any difference. And a lesson for me, for you, for all of us that a day in peace is a day worth living, it is a day to appreciate!
* * * * *
I don’t own the rights over any of the images included in this post!
© 2010 Broken Sparkles