Just when you think Greece’s financial implosion can’t get any worse, a new wrinkle emerges to further frighten observers worried about the country’s prospects. On Tuesday, the New York Times warned that dwindling tax proceeds could quickly leave the country out of cash, and headlines continue to blare that Greece’s “agony” won’t end with new elections on June 17. Greek voters face a choice between harsh austerity measures being imposed in exchange for a financial bailout or facing the bleak possibility of leaving the eurozone entirely.
Thirty percent of Athens shops have closed. On some streets, half the shops are shuttered. The commercial sector is in the grip of a closure epidemic which is spreading like a contagious disease. And in the heart of central Athens, a stone’s throw from the city’s glorious ancient sites, the tragic face of today’s Greece is on display. Here, we look at the human toll taken by the country’s shocking downturn in a series of photographs taken in Athens on May 22-25, 2012.