This is the human toll of the Greek debt crisis

Greece vs everybodyAP Photo/Thanassis StavrakisA pedestrian walks past stenciled graffiti on a wall outside of a bank in Athens, Friday, June 5, 2014.

Matina Stevis used to be a reporter on the ground in Athens for the Wall Street Journal.

She covered the Greek debt crisis as she lived it. Eventually, she moved on, and is now in Nairobi, as the WSJ’s Africa business reporter. This week, she wrote a moving essay for the paper’s Expat blog about the experience of being a Greek citizen living abroad as her country endures an economic crisis.

This is the crux of it:

Five years of being told that what’s happening in Greece is what Greeks deserve (“Too bad you can’t drive your Porsche Cayennes any more”); when your parents have lost their pensions, as have their friends; when people you knew have taken their lives and others have seen their businesses collapse, and they always worked, and always paid taxes; and none of us owned Porsches: It’s just not funny anymore.

And let me be clear: This isn’t about politics.

Two non-Greek colleagues I respect were raving about the current Greek government the other night — how it’s showing the rest of Europe and the International Monetary Fund what’s what, how it’s a triumph for the little guy.

And I walked away from that conversation too, because the risks Athens has taken are unfathomable to me, and I’m not sure they should be glorified or celebrated over beers in Nairobi.

Read the full essay at the Wall Street Journal’s website.

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