24/03/2021

Rock on Hellas!



My mind goes back in the day we were taught at school the beginning of the revolution against the Ottoman empire and today I am here celebrating the bicentennial (!) of it like all the rest Hellenes. In a bit of crazy situation though during one of the coldest Marches we ever had and of course the fucking COVID we all still suffer from. 

The Ottoman empire was a historic accident and this comment is not triggered by any hard feelings of mine against Turks cause I don't have any. I don't have nice ones either though a couple of my best girlfriends were from Turkey. I prefer to judge people individually based on what they really are and not the tag they might unintentionally carry. Besides Turks don't have enough democracy to bloodlessly kick their bastard of his throne so they have a small excuse. (Not that I bet they would elect a better one to be honest). I just call it accident cause it was a step down in culture, mentality and people's evolution in general. I recall the laughs we had with locals at Montenegro while watching the comparison between the fortress wall built by Ottomans and the one by Venetians at Kotor's castle. One small example speaks for the rest. (And by the way thank you Venetians for all the beautiful stuff you left in Hellas while you colonised her. No idea how nice you guys were but you definitely had a taste.)

Even today unfortunately you can still see the heavy Ottoman mark in the mindset of some Turkish communities, even abroad, though I believe there's a significant amount of progressive people in the Turkish West but Europe's Merkelism is too pathetic to amplify their voice (good luck guys, you'll need it, you deserve it). Biden gave the answer to this problem long ago so good luck to him too.

Today's saturation of Western societies reminds me of the last days of Byzantium empire. The great Hellene poet Kostis Palamas described Constantinople back in those days as "a whore waiting to be had". He had reasons to say that as prior to the aforementioned historic accident the voices in Byzantium's Capital against the West prevailed the ones pro uniting with the West and the rest is literally history. Not that I am full on super pro Byzantium but better than Ottoman on any day.

Hellas survived Persians, Ottomans, Nazis, Merkelism and her own impressive share of civil wars and bankruptcies. If the latter require a self destructive talent, survival definitely demands a constructive one and I am so happy that today my country still attracts wonderful people like this couple. Would be nice with the chance of the bicentennial if people abroad adapt the more spot on and better sounding word "Hellas", which is the actual name of the country anyway, instead of the gross sounding "Greece" which is less relevant.

Have a nice one Hellas, keep walking ;)

29/10/2020

Is that it now?

While France defends critical cultural elements and Macron's fight comes at a high cost, I feel obliged to add some personal experiences and thoughts unable to stomach one more slaughter at my beloved city of Nice.

Five years ago, I took the ferry to Morocco in order to tour the country on my bike for a couple of weeks. The ship was (obviously) flooded by Moroccans which resulted in cabins smelling like dodgy kitchens as they were cooking in them! But there's more and even worse: Lots of them were reading the Coran all day on the deck some of them out loud. Additionally, the "wellness center" of the ferry, which was one of the reasons my travel mates chose that ship, was turned into prayer room split in two separately for men and women. While touring the country I often found women slipping inside mosques, lying on the ground like cows. I could write a book about the rest of the culture shocks I had around but that's it for the moment.

The mistake we did over the years was that we didn't read between the lines of these cultural differences that we rushed to baptise "exotic details" showing off our adventures. What's the common ground you can share with such people when you seek for a more free life with transparent democracy and they are still struggling with their obscurantism? How can we hope for a more liberating future away from Mosques and Churches while they are religious way beyond the European average and some of them way beyond imagination?

I'm not here to say "ban them all", though even this extreme would be more constructive than the self destructive lousy immigration (non) policy of non leaders like Merkel and Tsipras. New people are needed to rejoice the saturated and spoiled European societies. However, I want Europe (or any other developed continent) to be attractive for constructive people and the latter should feel more than welcome. Not just attractive for every fucking body. I don't ignore the fact that some Germans for example had similar thoughts about Greeks decades ago, when they saw those villagers from rural Greece with breath full of garlic migrating as workers to the North. However, apart from the guilts of the Hitler era that could excuse tolerance, most importantly they had critical bits to share with them as they were coming from a democratic country with a good amount of religious compatibility. This was confirmed by how well Greeks blended in the German society. But what about the ones who don't? I recall an Austrian friend of mine, super well travelled on her bike around the globe and far from any extreme racist approach, telling me (10 years ago) that a significant amount of immigrants (from Turkey specifically) didn't learn German even though the state was offering German lessons for free.

So what do we do now? I hope Macron knows cause no one else does.

11/10/2020

THE GHOST OF MUNICH

 I don't know why I do this to myself, I mean bothering for things others don't or at least not as much as I do but here my translation of a spot on Greek article.

(Side note for my Turkish friends: I know that the regime you experience like any regime doesn't allow much space to breath. However, you should never forget that it leads you to no space to breath at all at the end of the road, if it hasn't already actually. If you have any doubts remember Hitler. Then you'll think twice about staying idle. Good luck.)
THE GHOST OF MUNICH
After the 2nd World War west democracies tried to interpret the"Shame of Munich" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_Agreement ). They actually tried to comprehend how two strong states like UK and France submitted without a fight to the superficial plans of a maniac Austrian lance corporal.
Weird as it sounds, they didn't include in their analysis the military power of each counterpart. On September 1938 those two democratic states where still much stronger than the fast developing Germany.
So why they did that? What scared them? Historians converged in 3 reasons:
First, there was a general tension for appeasement. This summarised a mix of feelings: Elites admiring Hitler's achievements, guilts about the way German was treated after the 1st World War, financial interests, ideological pacifism etc.
Second, the inmost calculation that if Germany was satisfied by the West then communistic Russia would be next and Germans would do the dirty job for the West democracies.
Third, (and maybe most important) was the fear of war. Not just fear of losing a war but fear of fighting in the first place. West democracies had already paid a high death toll in the last one and they didn't want to start all over again. Besides, they had won so there was no revenge attitude. (Tim Bouverie, Appeasing Hitler, The Bodley Head, London 2019)
The phamous phrase from Churchill in the British Parliament after Nevil Chamberlain's return warned the latter: “You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour and you will have war.”
Mutatis mutandis, it's the same feelings and thoughts of Europe while facing Erdogan's Turkey today:
* A (pseudo) alibi of fair play but mainly trade "Turks have some rights too, Greeks and Cypriots shouldn't want all for themselves"
* The inmost calculations that they will manage to turn Turkey against Putin's Russia
* Fear of conflict
Churchill's phrase totally applies here. If you dishonour yourself in order to avoid the fight you will remain dishonoured and won't avoid the fight.
What prevailed in Munich (also what made this agreement a failure) is the exact same political plan that is developing today considering Turkey. In other words the feeling that the latter will be appeased with a few satisfactory arrangements. Hitler's Germany (same as - in a shorter scale -Turkey), was looking for its own enforcement. You must be naive to believe that Turkey fights in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Caucasus and who knows where else just because of disagreement on Kastelorizo's continental shed or the "Map of Seville"!
Of course we now rather face a phase of deescalation. European council's pressure helped on that since (for the first time so clearly) adapted Greece's and Cyprus's rhetoric for the East Med crisis. Turkey had no other options with so many issues open at the same time but won't hesitate to reescalate when conditions allow so. Turkey is committed to strategic choices not to legal abeyances.
By default pre negotiation talks allow both of the above. Hence it's very important to confirm and limit their agenda. Greece insists in a discussion exclusively about the limits of the water zones. K. Mitsotakis repeated this last Tuesday in front of (Turkish oriented) Jens Stoltenberg while the same articulate wording has been included in the conclusions of the European council. Turkey on the opposite speaks about "dialogue without preconditions" implying that there's more to put on the table but no one knows exactly which ones. Even the few domestic supporters of a wide agenda have lost counting. (References to domestic journalists). M. Cavousoglu placed 4 of them ("Kathimerini" 15/9)
This discussion is obviously rather pretentious. It is profound that the table of negotiations can host only the issues that both sides agree that they require resolution. There is no such thing other than the water zones at the moment. It is impossible for either side to arrange something on its own neither can force others to arrange something they don't think it needs to.
Widening the agenda is just a pretext. Either to help Turkey leave the table in the risk of not taking what was expected or to create a longer catalogue of issues that will allow the "referee" or court to "split" the result.
Greece on the other hand has every reason to aim an agenda exclusively on issues where the country is legally strong and obviously has no reason to offer escape to the other side. In other words, no one wants conflict. However, as Churchill would say, the one who'll be dishonoured in the eyes of others in order to avoid it, will chose dishonour and will be beaten by the others.

15/08/2020

How did we go from this:



...to what we are today?


I mean, look at those eyes...have you ever seen a more innocent and good hearted face? Probably not and even if you did it was probably not an adult. I'd dare to say you may not remember when it was the last time you show such a soulful mature behaviour. As a commentator nicely said in that video "This kid raises his parents right".


So what happens and we become more like vicious calculators in the progress of time? It's probably a "Killing yourself to live" as Black Sabbath used to sing ages ago, years before their frontman Ozzy became one of the worst bastards in music business (led by his wive - the ultimate bitch), unintentionally offering himself (themselves) as a perfect example of what I'm talking about. The vast majority of the people break in the first hardships of life, even at times that can hardly be named "hardships". That's where part of them dies so the rest can continue without questioning life that much, or as much. Let's go back to Ozzy for this - what a great example of human fuckery he can be :). Once he said to his ex guitar player (the greatest of his ex alive by the way - Jake E Lee): "Now you play in my band, I fuck you. When you make your band you fuck them". That was when poor Jake commented on the fact that they black mailed him for his mistake to record with Ozzy without presigning a contract "Now either you sign the shitty one we offer you or we take your recordings and find another guitarist for the tour"...


I consider as "goal in life" (if there is one) to keep the child inside you alive while at the same time becoming as responsible and wise as possible - what's life's experience for otherwise? Because, as a wise Indian once said: "It's nice to be important but it is more important to be nice". This way you combine the best of both worlds (young and old) and get closer to what a complete personality is, hopefully managing to be one someday. Chances of meeting somebody with a goal like this? Nearly zero. Then why try this lonely path? Well, if you expect someone to convince you about it then just leave it...it's not for you. If it was you'd have been walking that path anyway.


Let me share you a story that fits to the above. This is me close to the age of that kid in the video above:




Happy as it gets at my parent's cottage. My name is Orestis. Comes from the ancient Hellenic Mythology. It's interesting to read the story of Orestis. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orestes ). My name is not so common and one of the very rare cases I met another one with the same name was while I worked at a kid's summer camp. The ONLY kid named Orestis in the whole camp was at my room! During one of the very last days of the season kids were exchanging dedications and such so there was a happy vibe in the air despite the end of their camp days. However, I see Orestis sitting alone and that scene really caught my eye. Instantly I starting walking towards him to ask him why.  We had a nice bond during the season as he was (probably) the brightest and most mature kid I've met there, something that I couldn't skip mentioning to his (very likeable) parents when I met them in order to congratulate them. As I ask him why he's not part of the whole thing he replied "I don't want to keep memories from the camp cause there was not much to like here anyway hence I don't want dedications in my book". It broke my heart but at the same time he totally nailed it since the camp was shitty indeed - I had conflicts about various issues with the greedy owners of that shit hole. Fast forward today, that kid came to my mind. I fought hard and paid a lot (more than money)  to keep that kid in the picture alive (or my baby soul as the master of drums Neil Peart said in his book "Ghost Rider" - R.I.P.), while all the people who I ever worked with had no other to mention as more trusty and efficient, only to feel today as lonely as that Orestis kid in that camp. The progress of mankind, being far from linear, makes the procedure of finding  people I can resonate with feel like a funnel. By default we humans are far from perfect and that's fine - we all have at least one SERIOUS flaw but this amazing revolutionary tool named Internet with all its wonders provides at the same time unfortunately a chance for any person lacking common sense to be proud of their flaw no matter how serious this is. And common sense becomes less and less common.

Well, maybe by now you know why I travel as much as I can. Besides...landscapes tend to disappoint much less than people do :)


Have a good life all.

12/07/2020

If only our evolution was linear...

...it would be much better. Less exciting for history vampires but better.

So today there's a lot of focus on the bastard in Turkey and what he does to Agia Sofia temple but...can you comment on the ones who tolerate and even worse make business with the bastard? Like the wanna be head of Europe here? Obama was very clear symbolic wise in the way he closed his presidency years ago. He emphatically ignored the bastard, didn't pay a visit to Turkey at all, made it only up to Athens instead, paid tribute to the ancient Greek heritage and then visited Merkel as giving to her the kudos of a free world leader. The latter didn't deserve this at all as it shows long ago by dealing with the bastard on immigration and later with Libya (see previous link). Today (Macron being the only exception) there's no leader clearly against the ideas of the bastard. And I really doubt Germany will get one though I'd love that. Funny how an American with Kenyan DNA was (is) much more Europist than the aunt from East Germany who leads (?) the united one today. I defended the aunt during the hard financial crisis in Greece when everybody here wanted her several feet underground but not gonna accept to be lectured again by any of this corrupted leadership which has no vision for Europe and no European values. There's more important things for a country and a continent than selling submarines and manufacturing cars in the lowest cost possible. We spent too much effort and time in this continent to stop killing each other to tolerate any EU member making such deals under the table with the worst bastard the East Med ever faced. Disrespectful for the German tax payers, the Greeks, the majority of the Turkish people who don't endorse their bastard long ago - a full shame for the whole Europe.

However, despite the fucked up crowds who promote or tolerate leaderships like these, there's always the option to turn your head up to look at the stars in an effort to let your back stair at the deep shit. I have no stars to show you but here's the same blue sky the ancient Hellenes used to enjoy at the break of dawn, some marble ruins they generously offered to the next generations and...
the sounds of the writer:


05/02/2020

What's the Russian propaganda looking for at Exarcheia?

An article by Katerina Oikonomakou that I translated in English:

"Exarcheia* is a community established through decades of fights. It is clear that the social movements will not surrender hands down to the state. They live and fight together. Activists, refugees and the whole neighbourhood promise to resist refinement of the area and continuous police repression."

This is how Μarcel Cartier, Redfish Journalist, chose to close his report about Exarcheia. In that 15min video shared on social media 7th of December, Cartier visits Vox** to talk with a member of Rouvikona, "one of the most well known Anarchist collectives in Greece", then goes to the Immigrant's Haunt in order to chat with a young activist, meets some residents of Exarcheia, native and expats who came to our country as refugees years ago. From Exarcheia he walks to Kolonaki*** in order to see Thanos Plevris, member of the Greek Parliament and the governing party of ND.

A day before, 6th of December, Redfish had uploaded a short video titled "Greek government against Left" claiming that "The Right Greek government wants to destroy Left in Greece but people resist". Does the Greek government really want to destroy Left in our country? The way Redfish interprets Greek reality could put me in doubts about the future of press pluralism in our country if I wasn't aware of how wrong was one more of their predictions. Last time Cartier visited Athens was May of 2018. That time he made a video worrying about the fact that "the governing coalition of Syriza betrayed its supporters and surrendered to the EU and the global Capital", something that in his opinion would promote the Nazi party of Chrysi Avgi.

Redfish denies that they do any clickbait and its journalists state objective but not neutral. Not only they have covered but also supported fights "against the global system which enslaves humanity and destroys our planet". With their logo being a red fish swimming against the stream, Redfish claims to be the alternative source, telling stories against the mainstream narrative. "We are 100% independent and via our mother news agency Ruptly we provide our content to over 1200 clients in 89 countries around the globe".

How independent and alternative is a platform financed by Kremlin? Ruptly, where Redfish belongs, is a production and distribution agency of video news based in Berlin. Founded on April 2014 as daughter of RT. RT is the international TV network we previously knew as Russia Today. All of them belong to the Rossija Sewodnja which is the state news agency of Russia.

Redfish's managing director is the British Journalist Lizzie Phelan, aged 33, who used to work for RT for years, as well as for Iran's state TV Press TV. Phelan has excelled as a mouthpiece of Kremlin's propaganda  and Bassar Al Assad's regime. RT is also where Marcel Cartier started his career. The office hosting these two antisystemic journalists, serving the alternative source of news, is located at a small, cute and very expensive street at Mitte Berlin.

One thing for sure is that there's no chance to leave this place in order to continue their career in any of the big German media. The credibility of any journalist who has worked in any media and internet platform of RT and Ruptly is considered zero. On November of 2018, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung published a report titled "How the Russian internet media  try to destabilise democracy". On January of 2019, under the title "The new news media of Kremlin", FAZ wrote "Moscow finances channels of propaganda targeting on Leftists and environmental activists". Redfish appeared in both publishes.

Were all these people in the haunts and the backstreets of Exarcheia aware beforehand when they accepted to appear in front of Redfish's camera that they had no antisystemic journalist in front of them but a paid guy to serve Kremlin's propaganda?

The most interesting part considering Redfish journalists and their sensitivity about human rights in the West world is that at the same time they show no such care for Russia. To be fair, in their shoes I would also prefer to cover protests in Paris and Berlin rather than in Moscow. Russia ranks 149th among 180 countries on the list for freedom of Press, annually published by Journalists Without Borders.

*Area of Athens notorious for its Anarchist & extreme left activism.
** Ex cinema now occupy at Exarcheia
*** Luxurious area of Athens

31/01/2020

Germ(s)any

Germany was a factor of European stability during the years of intense financial crisis. Far from perfect, with many mistakes especially communication wise which led to the rise of extreme voices in and out of Germany but Merkel and Schauble were some short of voices of reason (Merkel) and competence (Schauble), especially compared to the rest of the previous leaders around EU with the Greek one being the most absurd by far (Tsipras). Today things are much different. Tsipras is over, fortunately substituted by his perfect opposite and France, I mean Macron, is the only source of decent European leadership with a bit of vision for EU. Yes, France has other reasons as well to hate Erdogan but we are in such need of a leader who puts some limits that the "why" comes second. The comparison doesn't flatter Merkel at all. Acting like a semi retarded granny while receiving gifts from the worst bastard around (Erdogan), a guy with whom she "reagreed" on the embargo of guns and troops to Libya and even today he keeps sending both to Tripoli. Selling German submarines to Turkey or fear of new immigration waves cannot be an excuse for the loss of elementary dignity. The picture is humiliating. How do the taxpayers feel when she is promising new money to Erdogan thanking him for the job he's done with the immigrants using the previous cash! Why not thank the Turkish smugglers too? Wanna be hilarious? Go the whole way. That's ultra pathetic. German diplomacy today looks like a vegetarian dog. In other words, there's no such thing. Seriously, how attractive the continent is like this to existing or potential members? "Come join us and...well...if someone breaks into your house...well...emm...we'll see...we'll talk...". Erdogan is emphatically ignoring any kind of international law provoking repeatedly Cyprus and Greece, drooling for the natural resources of both and the message he gets from Merkel is actually "Please don't stain my dress with blood while you fuck with both". What a Union eh? Extreme political parties couldn't have a better sponsor than her. And we talk about forming a European Army someday...yeah right...We just lost UK's army instead already. Putin couldn't have better sponsors than the Faratzs Johnsons and Corbyns of the (ex) United Kingdom.

I've bitched a a lot about my own country through the years of financial crisis being one of the few here to be objective enough to admit the obvious: it was our fault in the first place. However, today we have one of the most decent governments in EU, in the place of the most ridiculous by far. Even though we have this conflict with Turkey the Greek PM offered help and prepared a rescue team after the last massive earthquake there. And we are not selling any submarines to them. We did the same 20 years ago after the earthquake in Istanbul. I'm proud we do. I hope though that at the end of the day we won't be left with the only choice of sinking the Turkish ship(s) which will enter our territory cause at the moment EU (with the bright exception of France) does not offer any alternative. And US, which has acted us a counterweight in the past, like in 1996 when we lost 5 guys at the border, is now bought by Vladimir. The later discovered that investing on internet propaganda is way more effective than spending money on army. So many useful idiots in the West to work for him for free. Reelect Trump and see the end of the West. Will be too late for "oups!" though.