A political act: Suicide in the center of Athens…


Dimitris Hristoulas was born a few years before the Second World War. His generation felt the consequences of this war to the bone, the behavior of Germans towards Greeks and then the civil war that followed.

Very difficult youth

Nowadays teenagers have only demands, from iphone to God knows what else. As a teenager, during the 50s, Dimitris had more serious problems to resolve: He had to survive, literally.

He is described as someone who believed in the principles of communism. Back in the 60s, he was probably fighting for his ideas on a daily basis. From 1945 until 1967 the country was split between the conservatives (always in the government) and the rest, who had to fight for their basic rights. During the military regime things were even worse for the “not conservative” citizens.


After 1974 citizens with “not conservative” ideas were accepted as equal members of the society and they were allowed to be involved in all social activities. Dimitris was a pharmacist and he finally got the chance to open his own business.

During the 80s a major social experiment took place in Greece. One of the biggest “redistributions of wealth” in modern history. In just a few years the Greek middle class multiplied as resources were politically directed to millions of Greeks (usually not conservative). Dimitris’ generation was finally rewarded. After a difficult youth, the middle age pharmacist advanced socially, changing his financial status. “Forever” he thought back then…

Things change and it was the time for the conservatives to see all the doors closed. Socialists took over and maintained the power for decades.

Dimitris never stopped expressing his ideas. He is described as encouraging young people to demonstrate, to fight for their rights. This was also his attitude during the 90s, when he was reaching retirement. The Greek middle class continued expanding, mainly using loans as the fuel of growth.

Unexpected turn

Having been poor for a long period of time, Dimitris worked hard, in order to live the last years of his life decently. In the 00s he sold his pharmacy (this is still not an open profession in Greece) and he continued his activity, always active and vibrant, ready to state his case and explain his ideas.

In the dawn of this decade, Dimitris was a member of the Greek middle class. Poverty was an old memory. He never changed his beliefs, but it was clear that he was someone who managed to earn a decent income for 3 and a half decades and he had organized his life accordingly. But then life took an unexpected turn …

2010 left its mark on Dimitris’ life. Greece signed the agreement with the European Union and the IMF and the country entered a “new era”. He was always against this agreement and the measures it brought to the life of Greek people. Soon he saw the standards of his life deteriorating fast. His pension was slashed, even if he had paid his contributions for 35 years and he was a law abiding citizen.

The Greek government decided not to fire public servants and to cut the public deficit by adding tens of new taxes and slashing the salaries and pensions of people, horizontally. This choice brutally demolished the lives of millions of citizens, many of them ex members of the Greek middle class. Dimitris was one of them.

A political act

Life became very difficult for Dimitris. He personally considered that the current Greek government should be compared with the government established in Greece in 1943, during the German occupation. (In Greece when you want to say someone that is not a patriot, you use that 1943 government as example). Dimitris stood by his communist ideas and was demonstrating for the need of Greece to leave Eurozone and return to Drachma, exit the European Union and nationalize all private companies.

Last week he started paying all his obligations. Taxes, any unpaid invoice to anyone. A citizen with self-respect. He did not ask his children to help him. He probably preferred to starve than to leave unpaid debts.

He had decided to commit suicide, but not in a silent way. This Wednesday morning, he shaved himself, put on nice clothes and took his gun. He reached the busiest place in Athens, Constitution Square. He stood in a corner and at 09.00 he shot himself in the head.

In his note he spoke about his ideas, accusing the government for destroying the country and its citizens. He chose to perform a political act.

Greece is split in 2 sides again. Many people praise Dimitris “for his courage to sacrifice his life for his beliefs”. Many others say that “suicide is not a solution or a fight”. Political parties have already started to accuse each other for his death and what it symbolizes for the country. But one thing is clear: His suicide will mark the new era that Greece is entering – The final battle between populists and conscious Greeks. The battle that will determine the future of the country for the decades to come…

And we are still in the middle of this battle…


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