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What would Socrates think of homeless Greeks in caves today?

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What would Socrates think of homeless Greeks in caves today?


In the birthplace of democracy, near the Acropolis in Athens, there are caves where people with no homes are living. Twenty-five centuries after the classical philosopher Socrates, the caves are occupied again. Tradition says one of these caves was his prison.

The jobless tenants forage for food in the city by day; they’re back on Fillopapou hill at night, better in a cave than on the street, they say.

Georgia Maϊmanoglou has a shack. She’s 66. She used to work as a cleaner. She told us she just wants a room for her and her companion, if she finds a job again.

“I got food from the rubbish at the market today. I am not the first or last to live like this. Whole families do.”

Mathaios Monselas was in a cave near the Prison of Socrates but left because of the rats. Now he’s got a tent. He’s well-known in Greece, for serving 12 years in prison for murder with the victim’s consent. He’s 58.

Monselas said: “In a cave you’re sheltered from the cold. It’s better than living on a bench or on the street. But it’s still a miserable side of life.”

NGO Klimaka estimates there are about 20,000 homeless Greeks, mostly in Athens – far more than the official figure. Klimaka says nearly half the homeless have children and one in every five has a degree.

Michalis Arampatzoglou of the Athens euronews bureau said: “The main target of the Greek government this year is a primary budget surplus – that is a surplus excluding interest payments on outstanding debt. Achieving that comes at a high cost for people’s lives. The homeless under the shadow of the Acropolis want a job. They had a right to dignity. They want it back.”

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