Sunday 07th June 2020
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June 28, 2013
June 28, 2013

Solidarity wanted

Author: Yannis Christodoulou Translator: Anna Papoutsi
Category: Letters from home
This article is also available in: eles
Solidarity wanted

Was it for the sweat that had soaked the pillow or was it for the hum of the 10 euro fan, I woke up in a bad mood today. I managed to make my way to the kitchen and turn on the kettle. From outside came, apart from the heat that was thickening in the flat even though it wasn’t even 10 o’clock, the sound of a vacuum cleaner.

I lounged on the sofa with a mug of coffee on my lap, mechanically turning on my laptop. I start skimming through the electronic titles of the day:

“Day 14 of the ERT occupation”

“The uprising continues in Turkey”

“Reshuffle… New faces in ministries…” – I click on it.

Hmmm… Hmmm… Hmmm…

“New Minister of Health: Adonis Georgiadis” [1]

The vacuum cleaner from outside suddenly went silent. I anxiously scanned from side to side the computer screen to check if by chance I were in a satirical blog reading a bad humorous comment by someone who, unlike me, had woken up in a good mood.

“Enough news for today” I thought hastily closing the news page in an attempt to salvage what was left of the already scant mood with which I had started my day. However, my mug was not completely empty and I still had some time before I had to go. I log on Facebook and I’m starting to reluctantly skim through the morning posts. Nonsense… nonsense… My eye was caught by an ad:


Immediately, I recalled the prolonged sound of brakes, just moments before plunging into the absolute darkness, that near-fatal dawn five years ago… And then –first scene– the ceiling of the hospital room with all its details… And all those endless hours lying on my back… And then, the thrill of the first seated ride!

It was quite an old wheelchair that a friend of mine gave me. But, as in her case, did a fine job on me – and who knows on how many others before. And when I could stand firmly on my feet again, I put it in storage to keep it “just in case, God forbid!”.

Without thinking twice, I grabbed the phone and called the number on the post, while taking the keys of the warehouse from the drawer. But the gentle voice from the other end of the line had a pleasant surprise reserved for me.

After thanking me warmly and telling me that the wheelchair was for his father who had an immediate need, he explained that he had already received dozens of phone calls for that same reason and that his need was met. However, he did not stop there. A local institution, which he had addressed while looking for a wheelchair, had informed him that unfortunately they were unable to help him because there was a shortage. So, he thought it would be useful to keep evidence of people calling, and even, because the calls were many and from different regions of Greece, he began to register the calls per city, while consulting with the institution for how this list could be made public and put to use!

“Would you like me to register your name?”

“But of course…!” I responded suddenly uplifted.

I hung up, I took my bag and opened the door to leave. Despite the heat, despite the stifling government reshuffle, it felt as if the atmosphere had cooled down a bit.


[1] Adonis Georgiadis is an extreme-right politician who is presently in Nea Dimokratia (conservative party) but originally comes from LAOS (extreme right and xenophobic party); he is a frequent TV persona known for his extremism. One of his most recent proposals has been that “we should make life hard for the immigrants in order for them to understand that they are unwanted here”.

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Solidarity wanted by Yannis Christodoulou is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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