Category Archives: Media

The Greek Abu Ghraib

CCTV footage has emerged from Nigrita Prison in northern Greece where Albanian inmate Ilie Kareli was tortured to death last month.

The video, made available to on Thursday, shows Kareli being escorted by guards into a waiting room after arriving at the prison and then being led to his cell, apparently bruised and half-undressed. Kareli died a few hours later as a result of a chest injury.

He was allegedly beaten by a number of guards while waiting to be shown to his cell at Nigrita.

The video also contains stills of Kareli bearing visible signs of abuse on his face, back and arms.

Seven guards from the facility were given extra time on Wednesday to prepare their defense on charges of torturing Kareli to death, a day after seven of their colleagues were remanded in custody in connection with the same affair.


There is life after austerity


The guy in the photo (right) is Angel Gurría, general secretary of OECD. When he last met Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras (left) last November he congratulated him for managing to bring Greece in the top position, internationally, of the list with the countries carrying out structural reforms.

These reforms were supposed to improve the way the Greek economy functions but also to rationalise the Greek public sector. Last summer, the Greek government had decided to suddenly close down ERT, the Greek Radio & TV Broadcasting company. The idea of firing all of a sudden around 2,500 employees was that ERT was a corrupt and expensive public organisation. At the beginning there was absolutely no plan – after the huge public pressure and uproar that ERT closure’s caused, the government announced that there would be a new state broadcaster created soon. It would more efficient than ERT, cheaper and more transparent.

Almost a year later, a few days ago, Eleftherotypia newspaper published the cost of a show that is now being broadcasted by NERIT, ERT’s kitsch and unpopular successor. It’s a new version of a show about tourism (that used to exist during ERT), trying to convince Greeks to spend their summer (money) in Greece rather than abroad. As if there is enough income distributed in the society for international plane tickets. Anyway, back to the show, here’s its budget.


On the left column you can see the people hired for the show (by specialty) and on the right you can see their payment (for the 2-month period which this contract is valid for). In the country where the minimum wage is down to around 500 euros per month, there is a journalist who will be paid 5.208 euros for reading the text messages that viewers send to the show. Out of the 11 people that will compose the journalistic part of the team, two will be handling the social media, each also paid 5.208 euros for these two months. The same will be the payment for the person who will be responsible to call and book the guests of the show while the editor-in-chief of the show will receive 8.060 euros. For two fucking months! That’s efficiency and rationalisation of ERT’s costs.

And if you want to compare with ERT’s already high wages [compared to the rest of the media market] the guest-booker in the old version of the show (at ERT) was earning about 30% less than the current NERIT’s payment.

As for increased transparency, these people have been hired without a some kind of competition, no job vacancy announcement, no evaluation of applicants.

A vicious circle, creating worst monsters than the ones we had in a supposed attempt to modernise, to get improved, to restructure [sic].

venizelos gurria

Back in his December 2013 visit, Angel Gurría had also met Evangelos Venizelos, the Frank Underwood of the Greek political scene. After the many congrats for Greece’s obediency, the OECD general secretary told him a sibyllic ‘There’s life after debt” which kept me wondering what the hell he was trying to say.

I get it now. There is indeed going to be life after the austerity. Those who get paid 5.000 euros for reading text messages will survive. The rest will have to emigrate abroad. Those who can afford their basic medication will survive. Unlike the woman in Lesvos who died last week [inside the local hospital!!!] simply because she couldn’t afford her medicines for hypertension.

There will be more international congratulations for this government and for these policies that cause such collateral damage. The elections are approaching and Samaras has invited everybody to congratulate him so that Greeks can be convinced that we’re on the right track, that we are exiting the crisis. Angela Merkel will be the next one with her visit planned in the coming days. Others will surely follow. They should all feel responsible if this vicious circle continues.

Why is such a newspaper allowed to exist?

I’ve been thinking for quite some time now to start posting the front pages of what is probably the shittiest newspaper in Greece. It’s called Eleftheri Ora (Free Time?) and it’s the single most antisemitic, conspiracy-loving, anti-immigration, nationalist piece of toilet paper circulating in Greek news stands. It has a very low circulation (maybe some hundreds) but, still, it is there in its effort to spread all kinds of bullshit ideology, urban legend, conspiracy theories and general crap.

Today’s cover made me finally start this column in my blog where I shall be posting their front pages so that you can see what kind of newspaper Eleftheri Ora is. I will be using the same comment at the end of every post about this newspaper, “Why is such a newspaper allowed to exist?” since such a paper would be banned or fined to death in probably all the countries of Europe. I’m not really into banning things, I am the romantic guy who believes that an educated society can reject racist ideology or stupid antisemitism. But Greece, like the rest of EU, has the relevant laws that would forbid a paper like this to be published, hence the question; Why is such a newspaper allowed to exist?

eleftheri ora 20130131

Today’s front page (on the top) has a headline saying “All young Greek women who had sex with Albanians are at risk for cervical cancer – 75% of Albanians examined had Hepatitis!!!”

From now on, I shall place all posts on Eleftheri Ora under the category tag “WTF” which can also be found on the menu bar.

Apple buys Greek island of iOS?

A hilarious thing happened to me yesterday. A foreign photojournalist asked me whether Greece has sold any of its islands in its effort to reduce its debt. Before I answer he said “Oh yes, it has sold one indeed. I’ve read a year ago that Apple bought a Greek island. And they then renamed it after its operating system for iPhones!” [ie iOS]. I started laughing and told him that this is not a true story but he didn’t believe me. I told him that this was definitely some kind of internet hoax, that the government can sell only small, tiny, uninhabited islands and that the Greek island of Ios, which exists indeed, has inhabitants who have been owning properties on the island for generations and that they wouldn’t sell them collectively to Apple. He understood the logical argument but he still didn’t seem eager to believe me. “But I’ve read it somewhere, I’m sure about it!” he insisted.

For the history of it, Ios is an island of 2.000 inhabitants in Cyclades island complex. It has always been called like that – according to Herodotus Ios is the burial place of Homer.

William_Faden._Composite_Mediterranean._1785.I.jpg  1968×2195

A map of Cyclades islands (detail from a 1785 map by English map maker William Faden). Ios was called Nios at that time.

I posted this incident on my Facebook profile and kept laughing all night with the comments of my friends. We noticed that near Ios there is also the island of Milos (Milo in Greek is the word for Apple). We imagined some smartphone competition with another Cycladic island, called Andros (for Android users). And that IKEA might soon buy the island of Kea. All real, inhabited islands bearing huge marketing possibilities for the global brands. One of my friends spotted that the Ios hoax comes from an April fools’ day joke of a Swedish website (of Dagens Industri financial newspaper), published in April 2012. They were even joking about Magganari, one of the islands most famous beaches, being renamed to iBeach.

During our work with the photojournalist we interviewed a Greek woman who was saying that the crisis is in South Europe only for the moment. That the northern countries will soon have their own financial crisis and all the goodies that come with it. And then I imagined Finland in crisis. Desperate for cash to repay its debt and having its already high suicide rate quadrupled by the economic turmoil. And then, the Finnish state will decide to sell its province of Karelia to a Greek tobacco industry who will liberalise smoking laws, allowing a fag even during open heart surgeries.

Ultra Low

A government with(out) a plan

There are many ways to demonstrate that the Greek government, despite its assurances, has suspended the Greek Public Radio & TV (ERT) without a fucking idea of what they’ll do next. The small details can even make you laugh instead of weep. In an attempt to convince people that there is a long-term plan, the government has announced that the new broadcaster would be called NERIT. But it was such a hasty, unorganized, almost spontaneous though huge decision that noone had the slightest intelligence to buy the new domain, So someone else did and is now making fun of this ridiculous government by embedding ERT’s web streaming on the page (so the new NERIT is showing the good old ERT’s programme). Here’s a screenshot.

In case you wonder what is, it means “a pizzeria that had a huge success”. The reference is to a show in which the current PM Antonis Samaras appeared during his pre-election campaign a year ago. A member of the audience asked Samaras how can he present himself as able to get a national economy out of a crisis when he has been a politician by profession all his life. Samaras replied that this is not true because when he was young, after finishing his studies in the US, he had opened a pizzeria which, indeed, has a huge success.

Total eclipse of the hEaRT

total eclipse by Manos Symeonakis

A cartoon about the Greek Radio & TV’s closure by Manos Symeonakis for the Cartoon Movement.

On the streets of Athens with Golden Dawn

Here’s a report by Konstantinos Georgousis on Golden Dawn’s profile. The story, which was showed by Channel 4 in the UK, follows a candidate MP in the downtown neighbourhood of Aghios Panteleimonas. The naive candidate speaks openly about his future vision of Greece and makes eerie jokes about ovens and soaps. A must watch for all those who tend to either believe the cheap excuses or have been reassured by diplomatic answers.