Archive for January, 2013

Environment – one of the big losers of the Greek crisis

On Saturday 12 January 2013 Syntagma Square was occupied by a different kind of protesters: villagers, ecologists, farmers came all the way from Halkidiki to demonstrate against the establishment of gold mines in their area. There were about 3000 people with imaginative pickets and slogans who remained outside the Parliament for a few hours. Previously they had visited the Canadian Embassy who, they claim, is actively promoting the enterprise because of Canadian interests.

Manolis Glezos, always present, walked for the environment

Manolis Glezos, always present, walked for the environment

"Our silence is gold for them.

“Our silence is gold for them.

The Athenian rally was the climax of a year of struggles between Hellas Gold  a company 95 percent of which is owned by Canadian mining company Eldorado Gold Inc. and the remaining 5 percent by Greek construction company Aktor and local committees opposed to the project. More information on one of the blogs created by the local residents:

SYRIZA MPs have submitted a question in Parliament stating that the Company is not following environmental directives which state that mining and building activities cannot be carried out in areas neighbouring with NATURA 2000 protected zones, stressing that while the police are very active when faced with angry citizens they are very slow in checking the Company’s illegal activities.

What prompt me to classify the environment as the “great victim of the crisis” is the continuous efforts to “sell” all open spaces around Athens, starting with the Ellinikon area, the area that was previously occupied by the Athens Airport.  All the ecological studies that are required or should be required for interventions of that magnitude are conveniently overlooked using crisis as an alibi.

It is obvious to everyone that the Greek government is taking the easy way out. Unfortunately the destruction of the Halkidiki forests or the building up of the Ellinikon area are actions that are not reversible. They undermine the future of the country and influence the European environment as well.

Journalists targetted in Athens, Greece

Homemade incendiary devices exploded outside the houses of five journalists early this morning in various places all over Athens.

The gas-canisters caused small damages but triggered extensive reactions from the political parties and the journalistic world. They came on top of the invasion and dismantling by the police of two villas that had been occupied for over twenty years by squatters groups.

The New Democracy, predictably, issued a statement blaming SYRIZA for “covering up” the hooded self styled anarchists. SYRIZA on the other hand condemned the attacks unequivocally,  stressing that such acts serve as an alibi to the government to continue its “curbing of democracy”.

The Democratic Left also condemned the attacks stating that “the vicious circle of violence is acquiring dangerous dimensions”.

2013 wishes for the world..

Greek PM looking for investors

Greek PM looking for investors

I celebrated the arrival of 2013 abroad and therefore felt that reporting “from a Greek angle” was inappropriate at the time. On the other hand it was amazing how at home one feels all over Europe nowadays. Television and internet have erased distances, English has erased the language barrier and Ι felt like a member of the European village.

Coming back in a one and a half hour flight after a two weeks absence all seemed the same.

Scandals gallore in the political scene, a heavier repression attitude towards citizens’initiatives and a radiant Prime Minister bragging that he had managed to get the loan he was supposed to get six months before.

The most inspiring aspect of my return was reading the cartoons in the newspapers. Most of them are untranslatable so I chose one you can relate to.

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. I am taking a loooong vacation at the moment trying to organize 2013. Be with you after January 10. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!


Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,500 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 8 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.