educators choose suicide

This is a brief follow-up to my recent post about suicide in Greece.

Two Greek educators – an elementary school teacher and a university professor – committed suicide this week.

The elementary school teacher, Savvas Metoikidis, was very politically active, taking part in protests and demonstrations over the past few years.  Aged 44, he hanged himself in a storeroom on Saturday.  Saturday marked the 45th anniversary of the military junta’s coup d’ etat in Greece, and he chose this day to protest the current situation in Greece with suicide.  He died in the village of Stavroupoli, near here in the region of Xanthi, in Thrace.  A tribute to him says

Savvas was always in the front line of our struggles, at strikes, in the small and large daily battles inside and outside the schools, fighting for the right to education for our children, for free public education, for the teacher, the worker, the unemployed, the immigrant, for a different tomorrow.  Sensitive, socially aware, open to others, beside anyone in need, he never considered the personal cost in money, exhaustion, danger.  With fairness and truth, a traveler of the open horizon, always laughing, a person primarily of deeds and not words.  But his word was always his ‘sword.’  [my translation from here.]

He chose in the end to let his deeds speak for him.

The professor, Nikos Palyvos, PhD, a geologist and fellow WordPress blogger, was a lecturer at the University of Athens.  Although he had been technically hired to the position of lecturer there, austerity measures prevented his hiring from going through to payroll and he was held in limbo, unpaid, for two years, along with 800 other professors.  At the age of 38, he was no longer able to endure the privations of two years without income, and killed himself on Monday.

Dr. Palyvos specialized in the seismology of central Greece and the Peloponnese region.


The Suicide Helplines in Greece are 1018 and 801 801 9999.  They are 24-hour, 7-day toll free numbers and a caller can remain anonymous.  The email is

26 thoughts on “educators choose suicide

  1. Thanks once again for posting about this awful situation. It has had no news coverage here. I will be in Greece on second of May and will see first hand what is happening.

    God Bless

        • just beware that there is a strong pro-austerity bias on the Kathimerini. All the major newspapers have a bias one way or another; (Eleftheros Typos is strongly Nea Dimokratia, Pontiki is Communist bias, etc.)

          • Hi Heidi

            I just mentioned Kathimerini because at least the English version is readable! I think one always has to assume that any news outlet has bias one way or the other – I normally try to look at a cross section of the press, but my Greek just isn’t good enough to do it here. The Athens News is quite good, but geared for the US market (as I’m sure you know), and has very little to say about what happens on the islands.

            • you’re absolutely right – I too recommend the English version of Kathimerini as it’s pretty much the only ‘serious’ news site for Greek news in English. I have noticed that their Greek articles have been getting more and more pro-austerity though in the past few months (as of maybe last September) which has me annoyed with them. But I will always have a special place in my heart for Kathimerini print edition; they published our wedding announcement 😉

    • Good Morning Cyndy, Happy Halloween! Looks like this one came through! Oh yes, the next book will be available signed from our web store . . . and I hope to get out and about to do some signing across the country. There are Gladys quotes sprinkled through my books and calendars, maybe one in each? Maybe two in Heart of the Home, not sure . . . but she has been in my life since the beginning. I do17;82n&#t get everything done, I just get done what I get done, and it’s definitely not everything! Have a wonderful day!

    • that you’re listening to her and that you care. On the other hand, would your wife go to all the trouble of giving you a prized vial of sweat culled from the late Rod Scer’nribs balls?

  2. The activist professor losing all hope seems like an extra bad sign.

    I’ve been wondering what solutions the common people are trying to advocate for?

    I’ve been watching peak oil / limits to growth and assuming a severe economic crisis can happen anywhere at almost any time. Which then leads me to flail around wondering what can I do to be ready before a crisis, and then wonder, once it happens what’s the best way to organize ones neighbors who were happy with business as usual to respond.

    E.g. how workable are things like

    Although political advocacy seems useful as well, the news out of Iceland seems less bad than Greece and Spain. But their government let their currency collapse.

    • The Volos currency is a great idea, and it is starting to happen in other areas of Greece. It worked well in Argentina for a while when it was needed. The truth is that money is the most efficient way to trade goods and always will be (I suppose), but alternatives like work units, barter, etc., can work alongside it – why not?

      Right now everyone is focusing on the upcoming national elections on May 6 where Greeks will elect a new Parliament, which will then elect a new Prime Minister. However, because Greece has a reinforced system of voting, it’s very difficult for the two large parties to be pushed aside. Whichever party gets the most votes gets a ‘free’ 50 seats in 300-seat Parliament, and then all the seats proportional to the votes they got. That 50-seat bonus is new for this election and will make it very difficult for any of the 10+ small parties to get anywhere.

      The response to this has been that one of the parties on the left has tried to get other left parties to join together, but of course no one wants to do that because they don’t want to give up control. Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that until the new government is formed after May 6 it’s very hard for people to know how to react. But of course there are many, many Greeks involved in charity relief work, cooking for the hungry and so on.

      • Wait, they just added the 50-seat bonus?

        Wow, talk about a power grab.

        I really hope the people of Greece can elect a government that weakens the austerity programs.

        • sort of – they added it in 2009, to go into effect with the next election; this is the next election after 2009; there has been this sort of ‘reinforced’ system for a while in Greece, but the 50 seats is a new increase. The purpose of it is to make it more likely that a government can be formed (see Belgium 2010-2011…). But it does have the obvious downside of a Parliament that doesn’t represent the breakdown of votes.

          • Right, I forget about the difficulties in forming coalition governments in the European parlimentary system.

            I wonder how the reinforced system will be trying to compromise between an ineffective government, a government too beholden to extremists, and unfairness.

            (And on a cheerier note, I just want to mention I really like your french baguette recipe).

  3. Even though I don’t live even close to Greece, I am so concerned about situation there and the whole EU. Hopefully this situation won’t escalate into a war… Thanks for writing about it! We don’t get any news from Greece or other crisis striken EU countries..

  4. Pingback: The Real Cost Of The Greek Economic Crisis « phill THE dill

  5. A sad follow up to your original post.
    An article in the Daily Telegraph this weekend reported that UK holidaymakers are turning against Greece this year but interestingly the survey results contradict the content of the article: I am currently planning my September itinerary and I have noticed that room rates have increased significantly – is this the case or I am I mistaken?

    • according to the news and also to most of the personal anecdotes I’ve heard, prices are way down on accommodation this year. However that may not be true of small islands where they are able to fill their rooms every year to near 100% regardless of the crisis. For example in Folegandros, there was never a question of every hotel room being full, therefore no reason except philanthropic to reduce prices. We haven’t traveled this year, though. I would keep looking, if I were you. There should be some “crazy” deals.

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