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A Modern Greek Tragedy, The Story Of Apostolos Polyzonis

In September 2011, in Thessaloniki, Greece, Apostolos Polyzonis set himself on fire outside his bank, which had refused to ease his debt payments. He survived, and so did his anger.

A Modern Greek Tragedy, The Story Of Apostolos Polyzonis
François-Xavier Trégan

THESSALONIKI — Nothing but a desolate landscape, a meager stream of water and dried-out earth, stands in front of Apostolos Polyzonis. And yet, what he describes is a vigorous river with fish aplenty, fields full of wheat and tobacco plants. With just a few words prolonging his dream, he fills up the street of Krithia with happy people and rugged tractors, opens the shutters outside his shop and checks his books, all filled with orders.

His home village of 1,500 inhabitants however seems to belong in a different era. The perfume bottling workshop closed down 11 years ago, and around it, only the smell of bankruptcy and decay are left. So Apostolos imagines himself sitting on his terrace, savoring a simple life without wealth, just the minimum so that his family want for nothing.

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