Greece

Lemnos wants to live: Greek government to shut down island

Mirina, the main town on the Greek island of Lemnos

This is what austerity looks like.

The Greek government wants to cut off support for an entire island. Lemnos is a Greek island – the 8th biggest – with 17,000 inhabitants. It plays an important part in Greek mythology and history.

Lemnos has been inhabited since the 12 millenium BC, and is filled with paleolithic, bronze age and ancient sites.

In the Iliad, Homer writes about Hephaestus, the god of metal workers, being cast out from Olympus to Lemnos by Zeus.He built a forge and founded a tribe. Later, the women of Lemnos murdered their men for infidelity, and when Jason and the Argonauts arrived, they found only women, and started a tribe together.

Despite this rich cultural history, the Greek government has deemed Lemnos not worth supporting.

Despite massive opposition, the department of health intends to shut the autonomous hospital. The next nearest hospital is 84 nautical miles, or a six hour journey away, without a daily connection. A flight to Athens costs €190.

The government is downgrading critical public services. The technical school has no specialist teachers, social welfare is being cut, and business and farms lack support and infrastructure, including an efficient transport system.

The people of the island, the enitre community, businesses, the local authorities, the unions (teachers, builders, municipal workers, the labour center of Limnos, hospital workers and doctors) have made a common front against these conditions

Unless this is stopped, it will make the island unlivable, and is likely to lead to mass immigration and the destruction of a very old community.

More information (in Greek) is available on the Lemnos Union of Secondary Education website..

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