ATHENS: One of the (vague) election pledges of Alexis Tsipras was that his administration would restore the lost dignity of Greeks. That was also one of his slogans when he was negotiating with creditors before he brought back more of the austerity he was supposedly fighting against.
But reality is more cruel than any idealistic beliefs, and dignity was the first thing many more Greeks lost. Especially when their prime minister was parading summits and EU meetings begging for debt relief in the first two years of his rule. And when he found out that creditors were not willing to forgive the state debt at a time they were giving more loans to Greece, he changed his tune and proceeded with overtaxing every Greek that had an income.
But 2017 was the worse. Because the tax avalanche that started on January 1rst, gave a final blow to the consumer power of the average Greek. Prices went up in food and drink, fuel, telecommunications, electronics due to direct and indirect taxes. Pensions were slashed further, while at the same time many businesses shut down, unable to shoulder the new tax burden, adding to the army of the unemployed.
In the first months of the year, milk and bread sales dropped by 5%-7%, while the prices of simple items like candy bars and beer became luxury items for many households. Fathers saw their dignity robbed off of them when they could not afford a chocolate bar for their kids.
Also, in 2017 hundreds of Greeks lost their homes because of debts to the state. The humiliation of those seeing their homes auctioned, and the fights between police and solidarity groups trying to stop the auctions became pictures that were far from having anything to do with dignity.