The Battle of Athens

It is neither the first nor the last battle on the streets of Athens this year. But today is the day the public has surrounded parliament as the government tries to pass more measures to cut costs, jobs, services, etc, in order to address the mind-blowing debt the country has.  Surely there are more details and larger discussions to have around these issues, but right now it all pales in comparison to what is happening on the streets.

To get updates from Syntagma Square, journalists and frequent guests on citizenreporter, Max and Stacy are on the scene.  Of course Al Jazeera also has the streaming images and people in the crowds.

Syntagma
Syntagma Square today, photo by Stacy Herbert

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International Effort in Greece

Last week I talked about the rainbow families rescue work that Rob was involved in throughout the United States. Today I thought of him as I listened to RFI reporting about how extremely terrible the forest fires in Greece have now become. Photos of the earth published by NASA show just how huge the fires have gotten as the smoke is visible from space.

Amidst all this tragedy and the struggle to combat the fires, I get a strange sort of positive feeling from listening to the news reports. This is because I listen closely to the part about Firefighters coming from all over the world to battle the fires. France sends several hundred firefighters. Spain, Germany, and Italy also send firefighters who specialize in these types of fires. My dear Portugal, which struggles year after year with similar fires, sends re-enforcements. Canada, the United States, Russia, and Israel .. all send firefighters, water dropping planes, and equipment. Even Romania sends an elite unit of firefighters to take part in the battle to control the fires.

Photo from Flickr

Imagine being there… being one of the firefighters standing amongst all those nationalities.. all those languages.. the different uniforms.. all with one common goal. So often in history the story is about some conflict or invasion where a few countries get together to kill another country’s people, or to defend people from being killed by killing other people… variations on that theme. Yet here we get to see what is possible.. the kind of world that CAN exist when nations put all the other issues aside and focus on one – helping each other.

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