Direct democracy Demonstrations in Greece
by Marta Soler and Carlos Robles
During the day, one can see several hundred working class demonstrators against the cutbacks at the postal service near Syntagma Square (the parliament), with the fear that the government will privatize it and sell it to a German company which will lay off large numbers of postal workers (perhaps over 50%). At 6 o’clock in Syntagma Square, a crowd starts to gather under a banner which says "no to apathy – direct democracy (amesi demokratia)." It is the ninth day of such gatherings and discussions. There is an open mike for speeches and proposals. By 8, some 50,000 people have gathered (I am with some friends near the speaker on the edge of the people seated, the crowd surges around, and up the high steps to the road that separates the Parliament and may extend over in front of it. The woman who moderates (one of several moderators) calls for a continuation of a discussion proposed the previous night (that meeting ended at 4 AM), and takes hands for 20 speakers (eventually there is a vote which approves hearing from all of them before continuing).
Most of the crowd is young, the people in their twenties. The European Union, to which the Greek government is obsequious, even though headed by a Socialist (George Papandreou, who is reputed - a rarity among leading Socialists - an honest man), has demanded that the Greek parliament vote on June 15 on a maximum salary for every young worker before she reaches the age of 25: five hundred – 500 - euros a month. This is a poverty, near starvation wage for a young Athenian (barely enough to pay rent – perhaps if 4 people share an apartment - let alone eat).
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Writing Topic: Write a letter to the Prime Minister of Greece, stating which two problems you think Greece should address immediately and possible ways that this could be done. Remember to start and end appropriately, also employing the most suitable style for a formal letter. (200 words)
Key ideas and words
How will you open and close the letter?