My Big Fat Greek Family Break Up

Even before Greece’s economic crisis engulfed his own home, Dimitris Gasparinatos found it hard to provide for his six sons and four daughters. His wife, Christina, who was struggling to make ends meet with his salary of €960 (£800) a month and welfare aid of about €460 every two months, was unhappy and desperate.

Deep in debt, the couple owed money to the butcher, baker and grocer – the very people who had kept them going in the port of Patras, west of Athens. In their tiny flat, the family slipped increasingly into a life of squalor.

“Psychologically we were all in a bit of a mess,” said Gasparinatos. “We were sleeping on mattresses on the floor, the rent hadn’t been paid for months, something had to be done.”

And so, with Christmas approaching, the 42-year-old took the decision to put in an official request for three of his boys and one daughter to be taken into care.

I wonder if we’ll see the same thing here, when the inevitable hits?

If so, I do expect we’ll see the same excuses:

“People are going hungry, families are breaking up, instances are mounting of mothers and fathers no longer being able to bring up their own kids,” said Ilias Ilioupolis, general secretary of the civil servants’ union ADEDY. “Until now there has been a conspiracy of silence around the tragic effects of the austerity measures the IMF and EU are asking us to take.”

‘Austerity measures’ are never necessary if you live within your means. And if you have a large family that can only be supported by welfare payments, are you really ‘living within your means’?

7 comments for “My Big Fat Greek Family Break Up

  1. Jiks
    December 29, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I heard there were these things called “contraceptives” but I probably just dreamt them up.

    Shame really as such things would be useful in keeping your family size to match your ability to support said brood.

  2. Westerlyman
    December 29, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Circumstances can change even for the most frugal of families. When you start a family you may well have sufficient income and prospects of more but then redundancy can turn one’s life upside down. You can cancel the cable TV, sell the car and so on but you cannot put kids back where they came from. Jiks your comment is asinine and, while many may be irresponsible with their life choices, your attitude assumes that a person’s misfortune is always their own fault.

  3. December 29, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    ” When you start a family you may well have sufficient income…”

    But that’s the problem – part of his ‘income’ wasn’t that he earned, it was welfare! Money others earned and were taxed to pay for his children.

    • December 29, 2011 at 4:34 pm

      Exactly – and lots of them.

  4. Able
    December 29, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    I just know that many like Mr Gasparinatos will find a way to survive and even prosper – How? I bet there are thousands already packing for the trip to soft-touch Britain.

    No more ‘tiny flats’ it’ll be a taxpayer funded mansion in Hampstead with all their needs (that will be designer label clothes, xbox, plasma tv, ipod, etc.) paid for by we mugs. With a family that size, imagine all the benefits they’ll be given (and all the jobs it will create in diversity/translation services).

    Not to point out the obvious or anything but has anyone noticed how many very similar ‘families’ are living in Britain? Coming to a street near you, soon…

    • December 30, 2011 at 7:11 am

      That’s what I’m afraid of…

  5. Ed P
    December 30, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    I pity the small shopkeepers, owed money by desperate families such as these. For their reward for all those long hours and minimal profit margin will be bankruptcy too. This will not encourage future free enterprise and make Greece’s recovery slower and more painful.

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