THIS IS YOUR FUTURE
Shock Therapy for Greece
The Case of Doctor Giorgos Kosmopoulos
Giorgos Kosmopoulos was until recently head of Thoracic Surgery at Agios Savas cancer hospital in Athens. In his youth, Kosmopoulos joined the Greek resistance at his university, and later, in exile, studied under heart surgeon Christian Barnard in South Africa. An anti-apartheid activist, he went on hunger strikes lasting as long as 30 days. He later became Senior Lecturer at the Department of Cardio-thoracic Surgery at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg and has performed more than 3,500 cardio-thoracic procedures over a long career. Giorgos Kosmopoulos is 62 years old and this weekend he and his family live under threat of imminent eviction from their home of fourteen years.
Wages are being slashed across Greece, in all sectors, hospital workers among them. It is one of the conditions of the so-called debt relief imposed by the Troika (the European Commission, European Central Bank and the IMF). This being the case, Kosmopoulos decided on early retirement with a smaller pension and left the hospital in the first half of 2012. After six months, pension payments stopped. He was informed that he was not in fact eligible for early retirement. He had no choice but to go back to work so he began a private practice but under current economic conditions, few can afford a private physician and he shuttered the doors.
Kosmopoulos has re-registered with the government for a post and indeed, he was offered one – at low pay, far from Athens in the Western Peloponnese. It being a hardship to move his entire family to a remote location, he has asked to be reassigned to a post in the Athens area.
Overall in Greece, some 40% of public servants are scheduled to be fired, this after two earlier redundancies. Half of all public servants will soon be out of work. Many healthcare workers are out on the street demonstrating and of those holding on to their jobs, many are engaging in work slowdowns and stoppages. The system is near collapse.
Kosmopoulos has been informed that he is to be evicted from his home. Eviction is prohibited during winter months in most European countries – but not in Greece, or rather the new Greece that is a laboratory of the free market, neo-liberal doctrine. Now there is a procedure known as "fast track eviction."
As you might have guessed from the short biography at the beginning of this article, Kosmospoulos is not taking all of this quietly. He is one of the founders of Stop Cartel TV and is a conspicuous presence in their live broadcasts from the center of Athens.
He had this to say about his pending eviction on livestream: “We will prepare for peaceful civil disobedience tomorrow. We will not tolerate being violently removed from our home of 14 years. If the eviction is imposed, we will resist and express our disobedience. We will not allow them to get inside our house. They may resort to using violence and throwing our belongings on the street. We hope some comrades will come to our house to support us. This will all be online and live. So keep in mind you in the US, it will be difficult for you to view because of the time difference. The world must know of the humanitarian catastrophe in Greece. Thousands of Greek families are homeless and nobody cares about us. Please do your best to spread the word and help raise awareness.”
Kosmopoulos has requested a postponement of the eviction until January 13, which will give he and his family time to find a new place to live.
It is now Monday morning in Athens. A weekend of what must have been long, restless hours is over. And for Doctor Kosmopoulous and his family the old war of nerves between cat and mouse resumes.
The Greeks are the mice but who is the cat?
This article could not have been written without the insight and information in several articles on the 99GetSmart site. Many thanks to Linda Ross and Snake Arbusto for their hard work, from which I have drawn extensively. http://99getsmart.com/