Same time, two years ago

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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.

Courtesy – Google images search

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.

Courtesy – Google images search

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.

Courtesy – Google images search

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!

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Courtesy – Google images search

I don’t own the rights over any of the images included in this post!

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© 2010  Broken Sparkles

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27 Responses to “Same time, two years ago”

  1. Cherlyn Says:

    That is terrifying Blaga, I can’t imagine what seeing all that would have felt like. By the sounds of it, I would’ve been extremely frightened as well.

  2. Jamie Dedes, all rights reserved Says:

    I am so sad that you and others went through this, dear Blaga. What a horror. I’m glad you got home safe. Your values and common sense shine like bright stars on a dark night: you are so right. More riots cause more harm, they will not bring the child back nor ease the pain of his loss. A day lived in safety and peace of heart and mind is a good day.

    Here we too remember this day with sadness for the boy and family, for all the people involved, and for the birthplace of democracy …

    Keep safe. You are always in our prayers.

  3. ScottlB Says:

    Life as seen through the eyes of innocence, some should never have to experience.

  4. Tom Baker Says:

    Happy early birthday Blaga! It doesn’t seem like people think when stuff like this happens. I think they call it the mob mentality. I cannot imagine how the parents must feel. You are so very right that a day of peace is something to cherish! I wish you many peaceful Decembers to come! Luv ya!

  5. Caribbean Fool Says:

    Wow, that is an amazing story. THe reaction sounds as frightening as the event itself. I guess what seems odd to me is the reaction. Not sure how the cops work over in Athens, but un America kids (and many other people) are shot by cops all the time. There is little to no protest because there is so much apathy. Guess it all goes back to the drug war. Sad anywhere it happens, but your retelling of the event is superb. Aside from poetry, have you ever thought about journalism? Always a shortage of strong voices out there.

    Also, happy early birthday as well. (I totally didn’t know it was you b-day but the poster above said it, so I will second the Happy B’dayness.) Sad post, but like I said, well told. Here’s hoping for something less sad and more happy.

    crb.

    • Broken Sparkles Says:

      It was the beginning of all troubles here, after that day the police is like a sticker on the streets and there is always something going on out there. Journalist :)? Well, I thought about it, but I don’t have father and grand-father in the parliament here … Thanks for the birthday wishes, it’s next week actually. Always nice to see you here! Hope all is ok with you! xox B.

  6. June_Butterfly Says:

    You must have been real terrified!Just reading about it made it already scary,what more if you’re caught in the middle of it.

    So sad for the boy’s family.Pain like this never goes away.I just hope they find peace enough not to forget but to be able to at least move on.And it is true.Violence can’t be solved by violence.I can see the reason for rage and anger.But violence never did anybody any good.

    Thanks for sharing this with us,Blaga!And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!I hope the joy of your birthday takes away some of the bad memories.May you celebrate your special day with much fun and happiness!

  7. Timoteo Says:

    I too have been caught in the middle of a riot…scariest thing ever…whatever we witness first hand becomes part of our life experience, and we draw on our life experience to create poetry :)

  8. Pat Cegan Says:

    While some experiences are best left in the past, the lessons they teach should stay with us forever. Thank you for sharing this with us. pat

  9. hoiden Says:

    Oh god….i completely sympathize wit u…i saw an accident victim…cant decribe wat i felt…some experiences stay wit us no matter how hard we try to forget

  10. Myrna Says:

    This sounds traumatic. It’s like living in a war zone. Sorry you had to live this.

  11. dasuntoucha Says:

    What’s 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 after 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!

    a day in peace is a day worth living, it is a day to appreciate…true indeed…thank you for sharing this.

  12. Jingle Says:

    prayers…
    close call,
    blessings fly your way.
    happy Saturday.

  13. R.S. Mallari (SpK) Says:

    A day of peace is worth living- Thanks for this lesson. Now I need to research on this incident, maybe I was to preoccupied with other things last two years ago.

  14. Heart Says:

    Sadly we all learn, the ones who never intended any harm.. But when will the real perpetrators of such violence learn?!
    “a day in peace is a day worth living..” Well said Blaga, hope you forget this haunting image and find peace.. Just reading this rattled me up, I can only imagine what you are going through!
    However, hope your upcoming birthday is a safe and pleasant one!

  15. deadpoet88 Says:

    It is so sad that you had to go through this. I often wish people understood that rioting will not solve problems, it will not bring others back from the dead. There are a lot of political riots here in India as well, though so far I’ve been lucky not to have been caught in anything.

    I hope all is well, and be safe.

  16. Mihir Vatsa Says:

    Exactly! I fail to understand that if people were angry at the police, why not burn the police station instead of setting cars and poor Christmas tree on fire? Crazy!


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