Archive for February, 2011

Olive oil – the nectar of modern Greece

Olive oil – the nectar of modern Greece

One of the fondest memories of my childhood is the taste of olive oil. The “snack” of the poverty stricken Greek children was a slice of bread covered with a thin layer of olive oil and dusted with oregano and salt.  Things have changed a lot since the ‘60s but olive oil remains one of the favourite elements of all Greek recipes and with good reason. A simple tomato salad acquires special nutritional value – leave alone the exquisite taste…- by the simple addition of olive oil and a sprinkle of oregano.

The richer we Greeks got the more we forgot the elements that give our tradition a special place: simplicity and austerity. Traditional recipes became repulsive to the young (they are always the least spoiled) because they were drenched in olive oil. Junk food peacefully invaded our society and like all novelties became fashionable. The trend is receding and greek people and especially the Greek youth are going back to their roots and re-discovering how tasty and filling the original food stuffs can be.

I have successfully replaced butter with olive oil in many recipes thus reducing their calorie count as well.  I do not know how easy it is to get Greek olive oil abroad but I suppose you can find out. Try it with some of your recipes and you will remember my words. Apparently, the best is being exported but look  out for the word” Virgin olive oil” – the cold pressed one is the best.

General strike in Greece -reporting on the spot

At 11 o’clock today more than100.000 Greek working people gathered outside the General Confederation of Greek Workers Offices to protest against the government’s harsh austerity measures.

This spot is very close to the Ypatia building which houses the immigrant hunger strikers and hundreds of people used  the opportunity to sign the solidarity appeal and contribute to the fund. It was very touching to read the messages written by resistance veterans.

After speeches by unionists of both the private and public sectors the rally started to march towards Constitution Square and the Parliament. About 12.30 we heard loud shots but it proved to be tear gas. In Constitution Square the protesters are sprayed mercilessly and were forced to retreat.

The majority of the people left but there are still calls through the internet and the bloggers’ community to return to Constitution Square for an evening assembly.

General strike in Greece -spot news at 8.45 Wednesday

Getting ready to go to the protest spot (Pedion Areos at 11.00) I realised the extent of the strike: all tv channels, state and private, have no news reports since the journalists’ union takes part in the strike.

TRANSPORT: no blue buses, no trolley buses all day. The train is working from 9 to 17.00. The Metro and the tramway operate normally.

BUSINESS not as usual: no banks, no hospitals (except for emergencies), several chain stores will be closed, no schools.

For those not protesting it would be better to keep away from the center today to avoid useless trouble.

General strike in Greece – 23 February 2011

The general strike called tomorrow by the General Confederation of Greek workers – GSEE (private sector) in cooperation with the public sector employees is expected to have a large attendance.

The demands mentioned on the GSEE leaflet are, among others, the following:

“We react to the “chains” of the Memorandum and the money lending sharks as well as to the “competitiveness agreement” planned in order to broaden the recession, the unemployment, the poverty and the degradation  (of the working people) to the benefit of the industrialists and the bankers.

We demand the application of a mixed economic policy that will strengthen employment, income, social and labour rights, social cohesion.

People above profits and numbers “


International Solidarity to the striking immigrants in Greece

The international solidarity expressed to the 300 immigrant workers on hunger strike in Athens centre is really impressive, increasing and heart warming.

I am publishing just the message sent from Ken Loach as a small sample:

This is to send a message of  solidarity from me and my friends to those on hunger strike. Life is hard for immigrant workers at the best of times. It becomes intolerable when they are persecuted and rejected in the way you describe. I am working in Scotland, at the other end of Europe, so I cannot come to Greece to express my support in person, so please accept this message of good wishes in your brave struggle,

Ken Loach

Greek local elections – part 2

Nothing is ever easy in the country that gave birth to tragedy. After all we have a reputation to live up to.

Local government elections took place yesterday- November 7 2010- but some of the largest municipalities and regions are still undecided so there is another round next Sunday. In order for a Mayor to be elected on the first Sunday he/she has to get 50% plus one vote.  The first round winners are a minority which means that next week most people will be voting again.

The unanimous decision on television panels is that the winner of this round was abstention followed by the Communist Party of Greece.  Disillusioned voters and great, sunny weather on a Sunday are not a good advocate to give up an outing to go to the polls. On the other hand, the Communist Party was the only party which went to the polls without any allies, presenting its own candidates and all its lists under the same name “Laiki sispirosi” – the people’s alliance. This, together with the fact that since it’s never been in government it cannot be blamed for the present disastrous position of the country, led to its increasing its vote considerably all over the country.

The political leaders claimed that a. they retained the larger part of their power, b. their party managed to close the gap between the first party and itself, c. the other parties do not see the “message” the voters meant to send!

In reality the central government refuses to give the local government authorities, both municipal and regional, the necessary funds to carry out the tasks that are supposed to be theirs.

New mayors in Athens