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20th November 2012

With the threat of the further degradation of Ithaca under the austerity measures, Ithaca called out for a general strike to show their concern and disappointment in a government that would put it's people last and banking first.  The new measures will see more public offices and services relocated to either the mainland or other islands, leaving Ithaca with a distinct disadvantage. A means of less money allocated for rural Greece, thereby cutting government expenses. The savings can then be allocated to the places that have priority in these austerity measures.
The Ithaki community put it's party politics aside to show unity in their concern for the future and what the measure will mean for the prosperity of this small and very fragile community. In this day and age when apathy has become an acceptable means of keeping the world and it's injustices away from our daily lives, it was good to see so many coming along from all over the island to support Ithaca in it's quest to remain a viable and sustainable community now and in the future. It was particularly enlightening to see so many young people taking part. It does effect them more than anyone. It's their futures which are at risk.

Many community members and politicians made speeches with Terence Quick, once news reader and journalist, now high profile independent member in parliament, again gracing Ithaki's shores to cement his support, for not only Ithaca, but for all the challenges brought about by the austerity measures. I did expect the Mayor to be at the table, but did not see him. He may have been in the crowd, participating as other Ithacans. Center table was Spyros Arsenis, a long time supporter of the positives of the island. If you understand Greek, you will be able to watch the video on his online video show, Thiaka kai Alla. Spyros informed the community that from 2013 tax is paid from 0 euro, the tax department will be closed as will the local court among many other public services and buildings. Ote, our telephony provider was already closed a couple of years ago.

Young Greeks are being forced, not only to look outside of Ithaca for work opportunities, but more disturbingly, outside of Greece in general. The more people leave, the less taxable income, the less government income, the more chance of further debt. Austerity measures should be measures that make the country grow, earn money, prosper so that there are lots of tax euros to collect. Instead the austerity measures are squeezing the life out of the people and out of the country, with even less taxable income and therefore less tax, leaving Greece open to be pillaged by those who can afford it.

... it really is time to stand up and make your voices of dissent count

Greeks have been known around the world to work best as individuals rather than communities, but I believe in order for anything positive to come out of what Greece has been left with, Greeks have to unite and think of the common good rather than the individual good. If Ithaca stops being a viable place to holiday, and let's face it, like it or not, Ithaca's mainstay is tourism, it won't matter how many big hotels you can build, how many rooms you have for rent, the size of your yacht or how big your pocket bulges. If no one comes to ithaca then we as a community, can not survive. Growth is not just about building things with concrete as has been the measure for success until now, but growth comes from opportunities for all.