Category Archives: Uncategorized

Video details police violence in Exarchia

In a response to the video posted by Chloe Kritharas, the chairman of the Union of Policemen said that the Greek Police has launched (one more) investigation about the incident. He added that according to his information by his colleagues, the first in a series of mistakes was made by the kiosk owner who refused to sell any of his products to the raiding riot policemen. He also said that the policemen have left money on the counter of the kiosk and that, normally, they should have arrested the kiosk owner in the end for refusing to serve them.

Here’s the video of the Policemen Union spokesman.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2ak6ok_%CE%BC%CF%80%CE%B1%CE%BB%CE%AC%CF%83%CE%BA%CE%B1%CF%82_news

Clientelism, our new Deputy Minister

The government appointed a new Deputy Minister, his name Giorgos Georgantas. One might wonder why the crumbling government chose him, out of all their options, for the position of Deputy Minister of Education.

In civilized countries, a politician like Georgantas would have quit politics since the publication of the video that follows. In Greece, these politicians, not only they get away with it morally unpunished, but they are rewarded. Because these politcians, low-key in Athens but very active in their constituencies, are the cornerstone of Greek clientelism.

See the video from a local meeting back in 2012, just before the elections that brought New Democracy to power. Giorgos Georgantas speaks to fellow New Democracy members from the region of Kilkis in northern Greece. He gives them directions to increase their pressure to all the citizens who have benefited (sic) by New Democracy.

Yes, this guy is a Minister now.

And he was rewarded for his services to the party.

There is a high possibility that we will have elections in the next three months.

You can imagine what this guy will be doing in the run up to these elections.

At the end of the day, I should’t complain, at least some people will have a job for some months.

Syriza and other disasters: 10 top scaremongering quotes

A list of the top 10 scaremongering quotes compiled by The Frog blog about the prospect of leftist anti-bailout party, Syriza, winning the next elections in Greece

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1. ”…Lending to the country will cease!”

“Markets are reacting to the prospect of a Syriza victory, owing to its lead in the polls. They’re saying ‘guys, if you are going to hold elections in three months and make Syriza the government, we are informing you that we do not want to lend the country any money”.
Health Minister Makis Voridis

2. “…there won’t be a single euro left in the banks”

“If [Syriza) are ever given the chance [to govern], which they won’t be, then the money will leave the banks, there won’t be a euro left”.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras

3. “…Not one euro will remain in the banks (I, at least, will take my money abroad)”

In imitation of the prime minister, one ‘usual suspect’ took the issue a bit further:
“Syriza’s secret agenda is the drachma. So, if the government falls not one euro will remain in the banks”.
New Democracy lawmaker Adonis Georgiadis

Bonus: He went on to say that he would ‘take out’  his bank deposits before Syriza even forms a government.

“I’m not going to let [Giorgos] Varemenos (Syriza MP and a former journalist) take my money,” he added during a TV debate with the Syriza MP.

After the general outcry that followed, Georgiadis, without taking back what he said about a bank run, admitted that he should have been ‘less raw’ in his remarks, but insisted that it would be like “people were committing suicide” if Syriza won the elections.

4. ”… ATMs would shut down”

“If he [Alexis Tsipras] plays tough guy in Europe, it won’t be long before ATM machines shut down in Greece, just like they did in Cyprus”.
Government spokesperson Sofia Voultepsi

5. “…Pensions will be lost!”

“If [Syriza’s declarations are implemented], I assure Greek pensioners that their worst nightmare will be become a reality when they go to the bank and do not get their pension
Labour Minister Yiannis Vroutsis

6. “…Mayhem will ensue”

“The markets are doing what they are doing to us because of the hint that Syriza will come. If it comes, then mayhem will ensue”.
Development Minister Nikos Dendias

7. “…We will return to the drachma in one week!”

If [Alexis Tsipras] does what he said at the Thessaloniki Trade Fair, we will be back to the drachma in a week”.
New Democracy lawmaker Adonis Georgiadis (he deserved another mention in the top 10)

8. “…the country will fall apart in 48 hours!”

“If Syriza becomes [the country’s] first party, the country will fall apart, no matter how many hands of elders Mr Tsipras kisses and how many foreigners he hangs out with”.
Former deputy prime minister and prominent Pasok member Theodoros Pangalos

Bonus: Pasok’s historic member voted for New Democracy so that Syriza would not win in the elections.

9. “…Lafazanis’ image will adorn the new 1,000 drachma note!”

“ [If Syriza wins the elections], two options are available. The country will either beg its creditors for an even harsher memorandum or it will return to the drachma to the great satisfaction of Mr Lafazanis (a Syriza MP), whose image will most likely adorn the new 1,000 drachma note”.
Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis    

10. “…they will burn and kill!”
“There will be so much hunger and stench that all those jumping up and down about the smiling boy Tsipras, who shakes it up before the Pope, or Dourou, will be on the streets and will burn and will kills”.
Former deputy prime minister and prominent Pasok member Theodoros Pangalos Deservedly tops the list

Originally appeared in Greek on thefrog.gr – translate by The Press Project

Countdown to free wifi nationwide in Greece begins

Just a quick note on why I’m about to cancel my contract with my internet provider… (post reblogged from A Gael in Greece blog)

A Gael in Greece

Images like this replacing the flame with a wifi signal in New Democracy's old logo appeared on social media following Antonis Samaras' 2013 promise Images like this replacing the flame with a wifi signal in New Democracy’s old logo appeared on social media following Antonis Samaras’ 2013 promise

It was 4 November 2013. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had granted a rare media interview and was clear and emphatic when asked by his interlocutor, Mega TV’s Yiannis Pretenteris, “what hope could the government give to young people?”

“Today, I can promise that we will have in Greece free wireless wifi internet, in all of Greece, in a year,” Samaras said.

When Pretenteris interjected to tell Samaras that he would need to follow through on this, Samaras replied confidently that he wouldn’t have said if he couldn’t do it.

“It will happen! And I’ve looked into it, in order to say it,” he added.

View original post 188 more words

Latuff for Loukanikos

In 2010 Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff drew a cartoon about Loukanikos, the Greek riot dog whose fame was about to take off.

Greek_riot_dog_by_Latuff2

Last week it was made known that the cute street dog had passed away. The news flooded the Greek social media with sadness and even newspapers like The Guardian hosted a canine obituary. Carlos Latuff drew one more cartoon about Loukanikos.

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One Sunday morning

Good morning!

One of my girlfriend’s Facebook friends posted this photo at 6.30 this morning.

patras fire

Patras, Greece. 19/1/2014 Photo by Dimitris Gkioulos

Dimitris Gkioulos wrote next to the photo: Two hours ago, a woman living across the street from where I live was burnt from a fire created by a heating device. I woke up to her desperate cries “Fire! Fire!”. Now let’s calmly continue our day…

Due to the continuing austerity and the ridiculous tax on heating oil, people in Greece are forced to use cheap and often dangerous ways to heat themselves during the winter. Burning wood in fireplaces or even braziers has been the solution for many of them. As a result, the extensive use of firewood has caused tens of deadly accidents so far and, in the case of areas surrounded by mountains like the Athens basin, it is also responsible for the phenomenon of smog. See my post here (“Greece is on fire or the alter of austerity“) for more on this topic.

Meanwhile in Athens, the smog keeps haunting the city. I’ve even noticed that the traditionally minimalist weather reports are now enriched by a new qualitative index. Smog risk. In the UK you have the windchill factor, in Greece we have the smog risk. A number working in the subconscious, telling you whether you can exercise in the open air, dry your washed clothes outside or simply take a stroll in the local park for some fresh air.

Some days ago, early one morning, I took these photos. This is how smog looks like on a bright sunny day in Athens.

Update: I just noticed that there was also a relevant blog post about the fire accident in Patras. Here’s the link and here’s the translation:

4am in the morning and you jump out of your bed to a desperate cry “Fire! Fire!”. You go out to the balcony and you see this [see photo above]. And then the neighbours tell you about yet another brazier next to you, yes another victim, a woman. I didn’t ask what was her name, how old she was, if she had friends, children, grandchildren, dreams or just pills and stress about her pension. I was ashamed. That’s what it was. And when I returned home the air was smelling burnt flesh. Your fucking culture…

ps. She was 62 years old. Yet another victim (the count is lost) of the undeclared war. The war is always a class war but, right now, we must just shut up.

And the butchery begins!

More and more, as the crisis deepens, I get the feeling that this country is showing two extreme faces. On one hand I see solidarity, people reconsidering their exaggerated lifestyles, reason substituting madness. On the other hand I see an extreme version of individualism, desparate people having lost hope for change, trying to save their own asses.

People simply want to have a job, everything else can be fixed. They’ll do anything for a job. The employers know this and they’ll offer almost nothing in exchange for labour. Karl Marx at his best.

I was having a drink a couple of nights ago with a friend and she was telling me about this woman who was desperate for work. She was living in Agrinio, a city in Western Greece where unemployment is high and young people are escaping elsewhere in Greece or abroad. The woman ended up accepting to work for a butcher’s shop but only during the holidays. The salary was 20 euros for 17 hrs of work. An insider told my friend that the butcher’s turnover was 25.000 euros.

butchery02

Some months ago there was an uproar when a hotelier in the island of Aegina posted an ad asking for an employee to work at his hotel voluntarily (!!!). In exchange he was offering accomodation and food. That’s how far (and low) we have gone as a country.

People are so desperate that there are some who indeed accept (or could even beg for) such working conditions. “It’s better than nothing” they’ll say and I can’t really blame them, it’s not their fault. But I can’t either turn a blind eye to a country becoming more and more like a cannibalist society somewhere deep in the virgin rainforests of Papua New Guinea. It now seems that the need of work is driven more and more by our instict of self-preservation.

I’m going to get that job. It’s either me or you. Like the guy in The Axe of Costa Gavras. I’m going to eat you, as wild animals do in the jungle.

Writing these things, a weird quote comes to my mind. I was watching the trailer of the upcoming 2nd season of the “House of Cards”. At the end of it, a cynical Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) says:

For those of us climbing to the top of the food chain, there can be no mercy… and the butchery begins.

butcher

Oh yes… and Happy New Year!

Christmas card from Greece

By Stathis for To Paron newspaper (23/12/2012)

By Stathis for To Paron newspaper (23/12/2012)

Baby Jesus: Is it just you the three Wise Men this year?

Camel: Balthazar was fired, Melchior’s camel was suspended and Caspar emigrated abroad…

Pangalos’ reception in Berlin

This  is how the vice-president of the Greek government, Theodoros Pangalos, was received in Berlin by local Greek activists (of the Real Democracy movement). The banner stated support for the 400 strikers of Hellenic Halyvourgia steel industry. They’ve been on strike for about two months, one of the biggest labor actions for decades. The strike has been greatly underreported in the Greek media, causing concern and suspicion.

International press collage

Following the Information is Beautiful post, here’s another example of how you can creatively show the bigger picture. This is  a collage with front pages from the international press on the 4th of November (some days after George Papandreou’s announcement for a referendum and days before the appointment of the new national unity government). It was made and sent to me by street artist Absent.

International Press - front pages collage