This post is part of our special coverage Europe in Crisis.
All Greece was shocked this morning by the news that Dimitris Christoulas, aged 77, shot himself in the head around 9 am, in full view of passersby in Syntagma square, Athens, across from the Parliament building.
The man is reported to have been a retired pharmacist, who sold his pharmacy in 1994. Before the shot, he reportedly shouted that he “didn't want to leave any debts to his children”.
A Facebook event calls for a gathering to Syntagma square today evening: “Everyone at Syntagma. Let's not get used to death”.
Global Voices author Asteris Masouras has made a collection of posts and media on Storify.
Greek Twitter has been buzzing all day with mixed comments and reactions on this tragic event:
@YanniKouts: Suicide of a 77-year old man this morning in Syntagma Sq shocks #Greece. “It's the only way for a dignified end, I can't eat from garbage”.
User Arkoudos makes a wish for all those left behind [el]:
@arkoudos: Μακάρι να μη φύγεις. Μακάρι να μείνεις, να παλέψεις. Κι άλλο. Μακάρι.Μακάρι να μη ντρέπεσαι. Μακάρι να ντραπούμε, πρώτα, εμείς.
User Magica underlines the shame both sides share on this controversial issue [el]:
@magicasland: ειναι ντροπή αυτο που κανει το κράτος στο λαό του. αλλά ειναι και ντροπή να αυτοκτονείς ενω επιβίωσε με πεισμα τόσος κοσμος επι κατοχής
Online debate went political, apart from its unquestionable humanitarian aspect. Journalist Aris Chatzistefanou drew parallels to the Bouazizi suicide in Tunisia [el]:
@xstefanou: Η Ελλάδα έχει το δικό της Μπουαζίζι. Πρέπει να δείξει αν έχει και λαό ισάξιο της Τυνησίας και της Αιγύπτου η μόνο ψηφοφόρους ΠΑΣΟΚ -ΝΔ-ΛΑΟΣ.
User Elikas seeks justice [el]:
@Elikas: Κάποια στιγμή πρέπει να δικαστούν και οι ηθικοί αυτουργοί για όλες αυτές τις αυτοκτονίες. Που στην πραγματικότητα είναι δολοφονίες.
User Sara Firth criticizes the European methods for Greek rescue:
@SaraFirth_RT: Europes [sic] methods for ‘saving Greece’ are now literally killing the Greek people. The syntagma suicide should never have happened #greece
Athens News reports about a suicide note found on the victim, where reportedly he compared the present Greek government to wartime collaborationists:
The Tsolakoglou government has annihilated all traces for my survival. And since I cannot find justice, I cannot find another means to react besides putting a decent end [to my life], before I start searching the garbage for food.
Georgios Tsolakoglou was a Greek military officer who became the first prime minister of the Greek collaborationist government during the Axis Occupation in 1941-1942. The reference is obviously seen as a comparison between the wartime government and the current government of Lucas Papademos.
User PenelopeD10, mocking Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis for his decision last summer to oust tents protesters off Syntagma square, because it was a bad image for Athens tourists, says ironically [el]:
@PenelopeD10: Μη βγάλει κι άλλο φιρμάνι ο Καμίνης “απαγορεύονται οι αυτοκτονίες στο κέντρο γιατί βλάπτουν τον τουρισμό”…
Many also accused people that tried to politically exploit and use a simple person's death for politics or their own interests:
@dianalizia: shameless! karatzaferis opportunistically uses man's suicide this morning to criticize corrupt politicians & system (he is a part of)
@mindstripper: Οι δημοσιογράφοι πανηγυρίζουν, οι πολιτικοί παπαγαλίζουν κι εμείς στις εκλογές θα κάψουμε γι άλλη μία φορά τη χώρα. Καλό ταξίδι στον άνθρωπο
Apart from any political interpretation or exploitation of this tragic incident, user Serk01 brings on the simple truth of human existence [el]:
@serk01: κανε ενα βήμα ‘πισω’ και σκέψου τι σημαίνει να αυτοκτονεί ενας ανθρωπος.
This post is part of our special coverage Europe in Crisis.
There have been many suicides in the United Kingdom too, also caused by their Government making cutbacks to welfare benefits and disability benefits. But the UK Government use censorship to stop the facts being posted on Wikipedia.
When we tried to post a list of the names of 13 disabled people who could no longer afford food and rent money on the UK Wikipedia page for ‘Ian Duncan Smith’ (the UK Government Minister who is Head of the DWP (Welfare & Benefits Department). But the post was repeatedly censored, by an ‘editor’ called ‘rruis’, who says he is a ‘LibDem Supporter’ on his Wikipedia User Page
This is not the only example of the British Government ‘censoring’ Wikipedia!!
It was recently proved that unflattering but truthful comments made on Wikipedia were ‘edited’ by people who work for the British Government in the Houses of Parliament. This was proved because their ‘IP Addresses’ were traced to the ‘Houses of Parliament’ IP Address (see English language article at :
More people in the world should know that the UK Government are not true democrats! Perhaps you could translate the ‘thebureauinvestigates’ post?
see “Thousands of changes made to Wikipedia from within House of Commons” article at
stop for a few seconds and take a look at Mr. Dimitris’ online memorial. If you agree with him as me please share!!! http://www.memmento.com/Memorial-at-Memmento/657/Dimitris-Christoulas
Many suicides in the UK too. Here is a list:
Two cases involving ex-British services personnel are poor Mr. David Sanderson of Southfield (http://www.wandsworthguardian.co.uk/news/9215292.Dad_committed_suicide_after_housing_benefit_cut/), and Army Veteran Mark and Helen Mullins of Bedworth(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/8878543/Poverty-suicide-couple-had-warned-of-hopeless-situation.html) .
Also, suicides by disabled people who are having their welfare payments cut, like Paul Willcoxson, 33, of Corby, Northants, who according to his suicide note, was worried about benefit cuts when he hung himself in April.
And Elaine Christian, 57, of Hull, who according to reports of an inquest in July, was worried about a meeting to assess her disability benefits. She was found drowned in a drain with ten self-inflicted cuts to her wrist and had taken painkillers http://www.cloggie.org/proggold/2011/12/06/welfare-reform-kills/ .
In March 2010, when Vicky Harrison, a 21-year-old, took her life with a massive overdose of drugs in Darwen, Lancashire. http://wsws.org/articles/2011/may2011/suic-m18.shtml.
Another 10 benefit-cuts related suicides are:-
4. & 5. http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment…n/07/mother-suicide-welfare-state
6. http://www.thisishullandeastridin…/story-12927176-detail/story.html 7. http://blogs.mirror.co.uk/investi…/2011/02/sick-who-gives-atos.html
11. Addition to Deaths 4 & 5 Above. Mother was pregnant so her unborn baby died as well. http://www.thefreelibrary.com/PRE…TO+DEATH+HOLDING+SON.-a0213434697
Plus an example of fatal Atos misdiagnosis at http://www.guardian.co.uk/society…l/24/atos-case-study-larry-newman.