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Tuesday, May 8, 2007

a Red, a Pink and a White Heart-Shaped Balloon...


Today i spent most of the morning outside on my balcony, gazing at all the passersby. I live right behind the Athens Metro stop in Peristeri and most days the constant hum of people and traffic is anything but a comfort. Today though was unlike all the other days. Today people were carrying balloons..red, pink and white ones shaped like hearts. It was more than interesting to see. Young people,elderly people,businessmen,fashionable women,young children,teenagers and the like were all proudly carrying at least one helium filled balloon. Today(yesterday by the time i finish this) was the telethon to collect money for the construction of a hospital for children who are unfortunate enough to suffer from cancer. In Peristeri in an effort to raise money,balloons were sold for two euros a piece and i can happily say that it was a huge success.

Don't get me wrong.I dislike telethons. I find the fact that those who are 'fortunate' enough to have economic wealth and stability enjoy getting the public attention that they so much desire and go on television once a year,casually and vainly stating that they 'donate' great sums money,with a huge smug look on their face, completely nerve breaking! I also am greatly disturbed by the fact that many of us have to see other people's despair and difficult situations to get some sense into us and give a handful of coins to help. It is truly very pitiful. Not to forget the fact that the state has the obligation to provide basic facilities to all its tax paying citizens. This is another big issue that needs to be asked.

In America,every Labor Day (an official holiday) the well known comedian Jerry Lewis holds a telethon which lasts for more than twenty four hours of direct broadcasting to raise money for children with muscular dystrophy. I have sad memories of this telethon. Endless film about ill children who eventually after they do become completely handicapped in wheelchairs, loose their battle to survive was shown...even in the hardest of people,the scenes would break you..all of this in the medias cold game to raise sentiment and 'gain a buck more.' There is a line though that must not be passed but who in their right mind dares to draw it out? Another big question left unanswered...

This year though, the balloon idea was different. There is something about a balloon that makes all of us,young or not,feel quite good inside. Today was the perfect excuse for all the 'older and more serious' of people to buy and carry their balloons in public,without thinking of ridiculous 'what if' clauses.

After finishing with my lessons tonite, at round ten o'clock,i headed to the St.Antonh square with my two daughters. It was truly a beautiful sight. There were hundreds of people everywhere,holding these pink,red and white heart shaped balloons. I bought ten balloons for my children. As we were patiently waiting in line to have them blown up, a young college student gave me the twenty five balloons he had just bought and my daughters were extremely happy that they were holding such big bunches.(actually my youngest was kind of afraid of getting lifted up from the balloons so i held half of them for her..it's such a delight when they are still so innocent you know).

Having all three of us balloons tied around our wrists,we headed towards the stage they had set up and danced to the music that was being played. I wish i could express how beautiful everything was. I wanted to share that image with a close friend of mine and i smsed him..nothing though could compare to the feeling and to the image of the sea of balloons all around.(καιρο εχω να νιωσω τετοια αισθηση χαρας και αισιοδοξιας απο αλλον περα απο τα παιδια μου και μετρημενες περιπτωσεις.)

Maybe I'm a bit overacting..maybe I'm a bit too emotional because things are going on in my life that are influencing me like that..i don't know..all i know is that when the time to let go of all our balloons came, and everybody was looking into the dark sky in wonder and fascination as we all let go of all our balloons, i looked over at my two daughters first and saw a happy smile on their young faces and their eyes had a special twinkle in them. I also looked at the other people around me and they too, had the same look. Usually when a balloon is 'lost' in the sky, children feel disappointed. It's been more than a few times that I've had to buy second balloons after having lost the first ones. This time was different though. These balloons were symbols of hope. And our hope had to soar into the limitless sky..to have them take off for all the children everywhere and especially these special children..

As I'm writing this,i have such a warm feeling of satisfaction..not because something has been essentially established..we still have a far and long way to go for that to happen but because i feel this feeling of hope in people..in the people i saw tonight..even if it was for a moment..even if it took a red,a pink and a white heart shaped balloon to do it..it was there..and it was truly quite a moment...

12 added their thoughts to the pile:

ggk said...

Τι καταπληκτική ιδέα αυτή με τα μπαλόνια. Να φανταστώ ότι ήταν μία πρωτοβουλία του Δήμου Περιστερίου; Κρίμα που οι υπόλοιποι δήμοι δεν έκαναν το ίδιο.

Pan said...

"Not to forget the fact that the state has the obligation to provide basic facilities to all its tax paying citizens." Please allow me to chortle: Χαχαχαχαχαχαχαχα! I don't know what happens in America, still, this is Greece. Fundamental needs aren't covered, let alone 'extremes' like the one you mention.

tzotza said...

@ggk..
im not quite sure if it was the municipality's initiative to do what was done but it is too bad that it wasnt also done in other parts of the city..

@pan..
though the facilities do exist in the states,lets not forget that if someone doesnt have any type of private medical insurance,he will most likely than not die on the streets or on his own..i do know that fundumental needs are not by the least provided for all citizens in our country but this doesnt mean that i dont believe that they should be dear pan..probably wishful thinking i know but it is my stand..

R2-D2 said...

Καλό αυτό με τα μπαλόνια... Τα κράτη μόνο να ζητάνε λεφτά ξέρουνε και να μας επισημαίνουν τις υποχρεώσεις μας. Όταν φτάνει η ώρα στις δικές τους...κλάφτα Χαράλαμπε. Ιδιαίτερα το ελληνικό κράτος.

maxim glendower said...

Αυτό που με συγκίνησε ήταν να βλέπω τις προσφορές στο κάτω μέρος της οθόνης. Το πιο συγκινητικό ήταν ορισμένα που είχαν παιδιά μικρής ηλικίας που δεν ξέρω αν με δική τους πρωτοβουλία ή απλά τα έβαλαν οι γονείς τους. Επίσης είδα μία προσφορά που ήταν ένα ευρώ. Σκεφτόμουν ότι αν δίναμε όλοι το 1/100 του μισθού μας θα ήταν αρκετό. Σιχάθηκα που τα υπουργεία έδιναν λεφτά από τον προυπολογισμό τους δηλαδή λεφτά που τους έχουμε δώσει εμείς. Ένας πολιτικός είπε ότι από τα 600 ευρώ που δίνει στον γιο του κάθε μήνα για να περάσει,αν μένει σε άλλη πόλη μόνος το δικαιολογώ αν όχι πάρα πολλά, του είπε να δώσει τα 300. Μεγάλη θυσία δεν νομίζεις;

Love & Poison said...

1) Mythbusters in ΣΚΑΙ tv recently busted this myth. They prooved that more than 4500 baloons are needed in order a 4yr old girl to go "up in the sky". Tell Nefelh not to worry next time ;)))

2) I'm against of leaving balloons up in the sky. They usually end up in the sea and being swallowed by sea turtles or other sea creatures which later die from suffocation...

3) Lets just hope this friend of urs u smsed could understand what u felt and didn't turn u off...It happens occassionaly...

4) I'm really glad u had a good time...You deserve it more than anything...Have a nice one dear ;))))

tzotza said...

@r2d2..
thanks for your comment!! you are ever so right about the government's lack of everything but lets us as citizens, and more importantly as people, do what's right..in the end that makes the difference..

@maxim..
η μεγαλυτερη απο ολες της μαλακ..oups!!!i meant 'θυσιες'!!! as for the children,it's not a exaggeration when we say that young people hold the key to our future..lets hope it's the right key that unlocks the right door as well!!

@love&poison..
1/i think i'll let nefelh think she can touch the sky if she held onto a huge bunch of balloons..she still has the luxury and the excuse to daydream without having to give any good excuses to anyone yet..
2/with all do respect,i still like balloons..a better solution would be to take out all the disturbing bars that are located on Λαγανα beach in Zakynthos along with all the rowdy british tourists which disturb the turtles when they lay their eggs and when it's time for them to hatch and this i'm sure would do more good to the turtles than the harm the balloon debris would.(λεω εγω τωρα)
3/no he didnt understand because he's quite wrapped up with other things the last month and so so i naturally i forgive him..
4/i did have a good time..i think it showed in my post..we all deserve to dear anyways!! ;-)))))

Σπύρος Σεραφείμ said...

it was truly quite a moment...

Pythagoras said...

Είναι σχεδόν 6 το πρωί, έχω περάσει μια τουλάχιστον αδιάφορη μέρα και ξαγρυπνώ προσποιούμενος ότι δουλεύω.
Μόλις διάβασα το post σου και κλεινω το pc για να κοιμηθώ.
Με στέλνεις για ύπνο με ένα χαμόγελο.

Thank u :)

tzotza said...

@σπυρος σεραφειμ...
one on a list of many σπυρο..

@pythagoras..
barely having woken up yet,i turned on the pc and was greeted with your warm comment..even though i usually do wake up with a smile on my face,this morning i got another one unexpectantly!! thank YOU!!

patsiouri said...

Τί χαρά....

Καλό καλοκαίρι....καλώς σε βρήκα!

Corinna said...

Well written article.