Greece: Distinguished Physician and Activist Faces Eviction
Posted by greydogg and SnakeArbusto, 99GetSmart
It may be difficult for many people, and in particular Americans, to imagine a doctor being evicted from his home for non-payment of rent. But it can happen to a doctor in Greece. And Giorgos Kosmopoulos of Athens is a physician.
And not just any physician. He is a thoracic surgeon who studied under Dr. Christiaan Barnard in South Africa at the Heart Transplant Center, Groote Schuur University Hospital, Cape Town. He has been Senior Lecturer at the Department of Cardio-thoracic Surgery at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and head of the Department of Thoracic Surgery at Agios Savas Anticancer Hospital in Athens. He has performed 3,535 operations as a cardiothoracic surgeon.
Giorgos Kosmopoulos is also a founder of StopCartel TV, a most beloved pioneer of the Livestream and one of the only bilingual livestreamers in Greece. Tomorrow morning, Giorgos and his family of six are facing eviction from their home of 14 years.
And where is Giorgos tonight? He is livestreaming, on location in the center of Athens. He said that despite his personal problems, he felt it was his duty to livestream and archive the clashes between the rioting Greek police and protesters who have gathered to commemorate the murder of 16-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos, who was shot dead on December 6, 2008.
A lifelong activist, Dr. Kosmopoulos grew up in Greece during the junta and joined the resistance at age 17, when he entered university. During the decade he spent in South Africa, he was an anti-apartheid activist and survived two hunger strikes, one for 26 days and one for 30 days.
A personal family tragedy brought him and his family back to Greece, where they currently reside. At the age of six, his son Christopher, was shot in the head, leaving him blind in one eye and with half of his vision in the other eye. Doctors said that Christopher had lost half of his brain function, as well, and would have a more successful education in his mother tongue.
The family moved back to Greece and enrolled Christopher in a special school. After one month, the school called and said that Christopher did not belong there. So they enrolled him in a normal grammar school and he did well. He went on to High School and then to university. Christopher is now an economist and ran for Parliament in the last election on the SYRIZA ticket.
When Giorgos was head of Thoracic Surgery at Agios Savas in Athens, hospital workers’ wages began to be slashed. He went to Human Resources and asked if he was eligible to retire with a smaller pension. They told him he was and he resigned. He collected a pension for six months and then the payments simply stopped. The government said he was NOT eligible. Meanwhile, he only had two months to be reinstated in his old job. Since that window of opportunity closed, he started a private practice. But with the Troika’s two austerity Memoranda passing, people in Greece had no money for a private physician, and he had to close his practice. He applied to the government for a post as a doctor and after months of waiting, they assigned him a post far from Athens, in the remote Western Peloponnese. The pay was low and it would have been a hardship to move his entire family there. He asked to be reassigned to a post in the greater Athens area. He is still waiting for a post, but the wheels of the public sector have come to a grinding halt. It could take forever for him to get an assignment. Another 40% of public-sector jobs are on the chopping block.
Meanwhile, under the new “fast-track” eviction procedures that are only one of a multitude of measures – some small, some egregious – that are slowly bleeding Greece’s people through a thousand cuts, this distinguished physician and dedicated citizen journalist has been informed that he is to be evicted from his home. In many European countries, eviction is illegal under any circumstances during the winter months. But not in the Greece of today. Not in the Greece that has become a laboratory of neoliberal doctrine. That is why Dr. Giorgos Kosmopoulos is doing everything he can to inform the world, despite the silence and complacency of the mainstream corporate media, of the plight of his country.
He spoke about the pending eviction tonight on his 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. Online, it’s not wise to say what we will do. This will all be online and live. So keep in mind you who are talking from 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.”
The Kosmopoulos family is requesting a January 13 postponement for the eviction which will give them time to find a new flat and move their belongings.
– Fundraiser for the Kosmopoulos family @ http://stopcarteltv.chipin.com/stopcarteltv
Please express your support for the Kosmopoulos family and call:
– Christos P. Panagopoulos, Ambassador of Greece to the U.S.A.: 202-939-1300
– Konstantinos Bikas, Greek Ambassador in London: 44 (20) 73135600
– StopCartel TV broadcasts live from Athens, Greece Monday and Thursday @ 6pm Athens time @ http://www.livestream.com/stopcarteltvgr
– StopCartel blog in Greek: http://stopcartel.info
– StopCartel blog in English: http://stopcartel.net