Athens 2023 Athens, Greece MSMU Travels

Witness to Protests in Birthplace of Democracy

Hello to all those who are reading!

During our stay in Athens, there was a crash on the train. The aftermath of the crash was an extreme outcry from the public, demanding change. According to my professors at CYA and some other locals, the train system is outdated and has required renovation for a long time. However, the government has put off and delayed renovating the train system. When this crash happened, the people were very upset, and they started going on strike and protesting.

Many areas of public transportation were affected by these strikes. People could not take the train or buses all throughout Greece. The airport was also shut down, and flights were canceled. The Greek people were angry with the government’s response and handling of the train in the past which allowed for such an accident to occur.

Greece is a country that is very vocal about its content and discontent. As the birthplace of democracy, it makes sense that people are so willing and eager to use their voices as everyday people to make their thoughts known to the government. The people of Greece have a strong history of protesting.

In one of our classes, we learned about Greek ideologies and emotions about the government and other topics being conveyed in public through graffiti. Graffiti is widely used throughout Greece and is especially present in areas like Exarchia, which is known as a center for “rebellion against the government.” This graffiti is usually left up and only covered with new graffiti in the future.

Freedom and expression are very prevalent ideals shared within Greek culture. The Greek people are also very willing to be vocal about their government, the problems with it and their views of it. Greeks, similar to other Europeans, are also very willing to share their political beliefs with other people.

In our time in Athens, there have been many protests about various things. These protests are an experience, and while we do not participate, we are able to see these protests happening in Syntagma Square and other areas. It has been fascinating to be immersed and almost a part of the different types of Greek expression. To be able to witness a country as an outsider yet somewhat in the know is truly a mind-altering experience.

Watching the way, the Greeks protest and go on strike is eye-opening to me and feels like seeing a whole new world. It is also nice to see the same forms of political expression being used throughout the world. It is interesting to witness the way government and bodies of people work in relation to each other when it’s not the United States. Being able to live in a different country gives me a new perspective on my own and how I might want to advance moving forward.

I hope that you will continue reading!

Thank you and goodbye,

Rosie Ballmann

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