Skip to main content

A Greek Tragedy

by guest contributor Dimitrios Machairidis

Coup d’état always arrives early in the morning. On Saturday, June 27th at 4am I was awakened to hear that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras decided to organize a referendum. Nothing about it was clear but the day, July 5th. My memory recalled this was the only referendum I can remember. In November 1974 my parents went to the poll station to decide the future of the monarchy in Greece. The monarchy was abolished by 69% of the Greek voters. It was a clear YES or NO. NAI means YES, OXI means NO.

Saturday at 10am I was informed that the banks would stop operating. I realized that in my wallet there were not more than 5 euros. I jumped into the car, I draft 300 euros from the ATM and I run to the gas station and the supermarket. Sunday morning the news was worse. The banks closed thru July 7th and the ATMs did not operate through Tuesday, June 30th. I felt nervous. I realized that my savings were locked behind the ATM. I received calls asking urgently for my help. Journalists from all over the world were arriving in Athens and they needed French speaking Greek journalists to work with. France Radio and ARTE the French German channel doing a documentary about Greece with journalist Jean Quatremer, famous in French speaking countries, immediately hired me.