Archive for February, 2014

Homeless imagination

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Dedicated to the homeless of Athens: the arcades that are used as temporary shelters are decorated to remind homes, warmth, human interaction.

Who says you can cage imagination, you can marginalise the people’s need for a home, for human interaction? One more proof that it cannot be done.

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Greek politics brief overview

 2014 is an elections year for Greece: Municipal and Regional elections are scheduled for Sunday 18 May with the second round coinciding with the European Parliament elections next Sunday, 25 May. 

Opinion polls show very close results between the two major parties, New Democracy and SYRIZA, with a surprising third: Golden Dawn!

The most shocking candidacy was that of Golden Dawn MP Elias Kassidiaris who announced his intention to stand for Mayor of Athens even from a prison cell!!

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The candidacy of the SYRIZA MP Rena Dourou for the Attica Prefecture was accepted with alacrity while Gabriel Sakellaridis is to stand for Mayor of Athens. SYRIZA was the first to announce Prefecture candidacies for other parts of Greece as well causing friction within its ranks by two candidates. Mr. Karypides’candidacy has been withdrawn under heavy criticism for his anti-Semitic postings on the social media. Mr. Voudouis, standing for the Peloponese prefecture is also still under scrutiny with local organizations opposing it.

The European Parliament elections seem to go largely unnoticed. We shall see…

More detailed news on both fronts on a future post.

Farmakonissi: the medicine island of ancient Greece – the poison island of modern Greece

The story of the Farmakonisi tragedy has gone its rounds on the internet as well as on many of the major media. There is not much to add as far as facts are concerned: the immigrants claim that the port police tried to kill them. The port police state that they did their best to save as many people as possible. In a parliamentary enquiry meeting Mr.Bantias, head of the port police asked for forgiveness for the Farmakonissi events and  apologised to the victims’families and to the Greek people..  . Other port police officials stated that Turkish smugglers advise the people they carry in their boats to sink them (!) and throw away all their documents to prevent repatriation.  We can draw our own conclusions reading between the lines

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This is not an isolated incident: Tragedies like the one in Farmakonissi are not rare, ufortunately… Lampedusa has attained global fame for its inhuman treatment of immigrants. Spain, Malta, Greece, Turkey are the gates of the tortured people of Near and Far East into the relative haven of Europe. Europe of austerity measures and unemployment, Europe of homelessness and starving is much better than their countries of origin, countries where death lurks at every corner and hope does not exist.

Well, Europe must reconsider its policies towards these countries if it wants to stop the waves of immigrants. Europe and the so-called developed world need to examine why these people: immigrants, refugees, economic or environmental victims flee their homes, leave their loved ones behind or decide to endanger their lives in a desperate surge towards freedom, hope, survival…

The European Union’s policies in Africa, for example, have aggravated the economic difficulties while its absence of policies in the east (near or middle or far) allows the US to invade and impoverish nations, to loot their natural resources and control those they cannot loot – like water.

Farmakonisi is the most recent example – the people of Europe who revolt at the sight of such brutal and inhuman behavior should unite and revolt against the policies and not their results. The coming European Union elections can serve as a starting point to turn the poison of Farmakonisi into a medicine for the immigration problem. The people of Europe can show their interest in all European issues by voting massively in these elections, by supporting parties actively promoting new policies for these and other issues. It is our time to register our disagreement with such policies, our strong condemnation of the market driven policies which disregard the needs of society to satisfy the numbers of financial wizards.

Hippokrates used to collect medicinal plants (farmaka) on Farmakonisi  thence its name. Restoring the real meaning of healing to the word would be the best justification for the victims.

Seismic activity continues in Cephalonia

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A new earthquake of 5.7 Richters has come to shatter the relative calm that was returning to the island.

It must be noted that  seismic activity had not ceased during the whole of this week and geologists were warning of the possibility of a new earthquake in the whole of western Greece.

The main port of the island is heavily damaged and all assistance comes from the air. The surface transport system has been broken in many areas and there are crews working to re-connect scattered villages to the main routes.

Citizens whose houses have suffered are asked to stay away. According to inhabitants, who sound scared and confused, they doubt the official reports and state that the road grid is so damaged that several villages have no connection to larger cities, the water supply has been interrupted and the public electric power supply company turns the electricity off in areas where wires have been unearthed to avoid injuries.

The government has sent a parliamentary delegation on the spot to manage the aid mission.