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April 12 2013

Greek Government Shutters Athens Indymedia

A leading alternative news site in Greece, Athens Indymedia announced it was being suppressed by Greek judicial authorities, along with two radio stations, and provided a Tor link [el] for alternate access. Potmos asserted on the significance of the site for independent news in Greece:

@potmos: Fast and accurate info posted on Athens #Indymedia led to life sentence for cop who murdered 15yo Alex. Grigoropoulos in 2008.


March 18 2013

Video: Crisis Engenders Greek Documentary Boom

The 15th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival - ongoing from March 15 to 24, 2013 – includes five crisis-themed Greek films [el] in its’ lineup, as was the case last year [el]. As the Festival, and Greece at large, continues to labor under the mounting debt and austerity crisis, fiction and documentary filmmakers alike are increasingly focusing their work on its’ effects on society.

This year, the Festival's poster and trailer feature a sheep whose blindfold is pulled from over its’ eyes by the deluge of images from a society in crisis:

Two of those documentaries to be screened this year, Greedy Profit by Yannis Karypidis, and Cassandra's Treasure, by Yorgos Avgeropoulos, focus on the conflict surrounding gold mining in the forest of Skouries in Chalkidiki, and how it affects local communities. Karypidis and Avgeropoulos have collaborated in the past, to produce an award-winning chronicle of the first successful breaching of the naval blockade around Gaza.

Stelios Kouloglou's “Holocaust of memory” traces the enigma around the virulent resurgence of Nazi ideology in a country, like Greece, that suffered so much at the hands of Nazis during World War II.

Not all crisis-themed films are downbeat. Hardships and Beauties tells the story of a modern-day Greek cowboy, an empirical philosopher and the owner of one of the biggest farms in south-western Greece, whose road trip into the heartland of Greece becomes a symbolic trip into a country that will never be the same again:

Living in Interesting Times follows four charming people living in a sunny but gloomy Athens. They are confronted by the harsh reality of the crisis; they have to fight for what is their due; they have to come to terms with absurdity

A web cottage industry?

Inside and outside the festival distribution track, documentary film-making in and about Greece in crisis is undergoing a boom, as affordable high definition cameras are becoming ubiquitous, and web-savvy young creatives and journalists -many of them returned from studies abroad- are putting their talents to use, chronicling the plight of their country and its’ people.

The trend started with Debtocracy and Catastroika, two web-published, Creative Commons-licensed, crowdfunded documentaries by journalists Aris Hadjistefanou and Katerina Kitidi, which attempted to chart the historical mutation of capitalism into the voracious debt “virus” attacking societies and countries today.

Last year, a group of 14 young photographers pieced together The Prism, a compelling, multihued, and competently filmed narrative of 27 multimedia stories, which they produced into a 63′ feature film called Krisis.

This year, several independent, web-based, documentary projects have emerged to fill the gap left by shrinking mainstream media coverage of the crisis’ effects on Greek society.

Debt Management” is a 42′ documentary in English by a group of young artists and scientists, living in Thessaloniki and collaborating for the creation of alternative documentaries, that explores this “symbolic war between people's determination to preserve common values, human conditions, rights and needs, versus an Orwellian financial world”:

The City at a Time of Crisis [..] is a research project that seeks to trace and research the effects of the ongoing financial crisis on urban public spaces in Athens, Greece.  It will comprise a holistic, cross-disciplinary study of changing notions of the ‘public', with urban public spaces as its main research subject extending into areas related to ‘public interest’, ‘public security’, ‘public provision’ and the ‘public good’

Into the Fire [..] is an investigative documentary looking at the situation of refugees and migrants in Greece, in the face of severe austerity measures and rising racism. We spoke with refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants and undocumented in Greece, to try and get an idea of the state of the asylum procedure in this European border country and what it is like to live in constant fear of being attacked – for having the wrong skin colour.

Portraits of Greece in Crisis is an ongoing project of multimedia stories, of people and constitutions that have been significantly affected by the crisis. It is an attempt to approach the greek crisis, as it is depicted in each portrait.

2 artists on a journey all around Greece aim to highlight the personal stories of the people of the land, and focus on the richness of human testimony. The Caravan project will compose a mosaic of images, narratives and documentaries, in order to emphasize a different way of life than the one systematically promoted by the media, and to shed light on a land that continues to create, dream, and proclaim that “Another World Is Here”!

Sponsored post

Welcome Spring and Good-bye Evil Eye

File:Martenitsa E5.jpg

Martenitsas on a blossoming tree.
Source: Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0

Μάρτης [el], мартеница [bg], мартинка [mk], mărțișor [ru]…however you call it, an ancient tradition [el] with multiple variations that takes place in the Balkans. So, weave your red-and-white threads for protection against the “evil eye” or to welcome Spring!


March 11 2013

Video: Greece Austerity Protests Teargassed

A reportedly peaceful attempt to revive the mass anti-austerity ”indignant protests” of 2011 on the evening of March 10 in Syntagma square, Athens, was met with teargas and police brutality, as shown in this video of an arrest, uploaded by Eleftherotypia daily:


March 08 2013

Crowdmapping Media Layoffs in Greece

Journalist Ioanna Iliadi has created a crowdmap to monitor press layoffs in Greece, mounting in numbers and frequency, as an already brewing media crisis has been compounded by the financial crisis.


PHOTO: No Chavez in Greek Politics

“This is the difference…So simple…”.
Photo via Facebook timeline.


March 07 2013

Greece: Corruption, Police State and Struggle in Skouries

In the Skouries region of Chalkidiki, Northern Greece, Canadian company Eldorado Gold obtained mining rights for the Kakkavos Mountain gold through its Greek subsidiary, Hellenic Gold, after a controversial transfer process in 2004. Local residents have been opposed to the company owing the mining rights during the last decade. Ierissos city feels like a police state, and many suspicious events are taking place.

The surrounding forest, which will be destroyed as per 0.4% (according to the company's research), is one of the rarest European primordial forests; moreover there is likely to be significant danger to the health of nearby residents. The company's environmental impact report is deficient [el], according to Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

Megali Panagia village, view from Kakkavos Mountain. Photo by author Andreas Kakaris


Financial scandal

The mining rights purchase was orchestrated with the assistance of Greek politicians, some of whom have recently been involved in corruption scandals. Among them are Christos Pachtas [el], the former Deputy Minister of National Economy and now the Mayor of Aristotelis Municipality, and George Papakonstantinou, the former Minister of Finance and Minister of Environment. Greek media magnate George Bobolas also played a key role through his construction company, AKTOR.

Journalist Fotis Kollias summarizes the history of the scandal on his blog in 2011 [el]:

Μια εταιρεία με κυριότερο περιουσιακό στοιχείο τα μεταλλεία Κασσάνδρας, που τα είχε αγοράσει μόλις 11 εκατ. ευρώ παραμονές των εκλογών του 2004 επί Κ. Σημίτη, αποτιμήθηκε 1,8 δισ. ευρώ. [..] Παραχωρήθηκαν έναντι πινακίου φακής στην «Ελληνικός Χρυσός», η οποία μάλιστα απαλλάχθηκε από την υποχρέωση καταβολής φόρου μεταβίβασης

With Kassandra Mines as its main asset, purchased for 11 million euros on the eve of the 2004 national elections under PM Costas Simitis, the company [AKTOR] was valued at 1.8 billion euros. [...] Kassandra Mines were bestowed for a mess of pottage to Hellenic Gold, which was even relieved of transfer tax payment

Even the European Union was embroiled in the controversy. As reported by Mr. Toskas, member of the Struggle Committees Against the Mines, in a documentary by Greek journalist Giorgos Avgeropoulos [el]:

Και όταν η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση ζήτησε να επιστρέψει η «Ελληνικός Χρυσός» 15,5 εκατομμύρια ευρώ στο ελληνικό δημόσιο, ο τότε Υπουργός Περιβάλλοντος, ο κύριος Παπακωνσταντίνου, προσέφυγε στο Ευρωπαϊκό Δικαστήριο, για να μην πληρώσουν οι ιδιώτες τα 15,5 εκατομμύρια στο κράτος

When the European Union asked Hellenic Gold to return 15.5 million euros to the Greek state, Mr. Papakonstantinou, then the Minister of Environment, appealed to the European Court, so that the private entities involved wouldn't have to pay the 15.5 million to the state

Recently, Hellenic Gold has increased mining activity due to a price hike for the precious mineral, and the resistance by local residents has grown even stronger. The case has grown big nationally and public opinion sides with locals. The same is true in the Greek twittersphere under the hashtag #skouries.

Here are some examples [el]:

@leonidas108: Οι Σκουριές είναι κλασική περίπτωση έμμεσης και παράνομης χρηματοδότησης πολιτικών κομμάτων και προσώπων #skouries

@leonidas108: Skouries is the classical case of indirect and illegal funding of political parties and figures #skouries

@ypopto_mousi: Μην εξοργίζεστε. Η λάσπη και τα “ρεπορταζ” για τις #skouries είναι μέρος αμυντικής στρατηγικής.Τώρα ακολουθούν την ατζέντα δεν την φτιάχνουν.

@ypopto_mousi: Don't become exasperated. Mudslinging and the “reports” on #skouries are part of a defensive strategy. Now, they follow the agenda, they don't make it.

@kkostaskk: Από αυτό το εργοτάξιο ζουν 1200 οικογένειες στη Χαλκιδική. Από αυτό το εργοτάξιο πεθαίνουν όλες οι οικογένειες στη Χαλκιδική. #skouries

@kkostaskk: 1200 families in Chalkidiki live because of the [work in the] mining site. All families in Chalkidiki die because of the mining site. #skouries

@MalliarMargar: Για να καταλάβουμε τι γίνεται,γύρω από τις σκουριές αν πεις ότι είσαι οικολόγος θεωρείται κάτι ανάλογο του παιδεραστή #skouries #propaganda

@MalliarMargar: In order to understand what's going on, if someone declares himself an ecologist while on Skouries area, he is considered something like a pedophile #skouries #propaganda

Arson at the mines

Tensions culminated on Saturday, February 17, when a group of 40 masked people attacked the Skouries gold mine site with molotov cocktails, damaging machinery, containers and vehicles. According to the police, the culprits had left the scene by the time they arrived.

The following videos, leaked by security guards to the media, show what happened.

The videos were edited by the news portal

Greek mainstream media reported that unknown people doused security guards in petrol, but this hasn't been confirmed. On the contrary, Polygyros Hospital, where the guards were transferred, said they had only seen abrasions and superficial wounds. But the company didn't only suffer these damages. Its sharemarket value plunged the very same day, as cited by @northaura via the following chart:

Eldorado Gold (principal inv. company at #skouries gold-mine, N. #Greece) down 6% today = 400mil $ #rbnews

The day after the arson attack, police detained 27 people who were later released. The detentions continued in the following days as well; several local residents were detained singly or in pairs and were subjected to a DNA test. As @Freenet eloquently says:

Στις Σκουριές τις τελευταίες μέρες εξελίσσεται εκτεταμένη επιχείρηση συλλογής και φακελώματος DNA κατοίκων #skouries

In Skouries, an extensive operation of residents’ DNA collection and profiling has been taking place during the last days  #skouries

These police tactics have earned intense criticism by citizens and legal experts as a flagrant violation of human rights. Taking DNA samples is not legal without charges. According to the Hellenic Mining Watch blog, which plays a key role in activism and updates on the case, the situation is spinning out of control [el].

@IrateGreek summarizes some typical reports:

#Greece Detainees “disappear” in Halkidiki ie are taken to police in Polygyros & friends/relatives/lawyers can't get info #rbnews #Skouries

Also by @Inflamatory_:

Police cars reportedly outside the cafe where a meeting is held by citizens/groups against gold mining in #skouries @antigoldgreece#rbnews

While @potmos reports that [el]:

Δικηγόροι ενημερώνουν τον κόσμο για τα δικαιώματά τους στο Συντονιστικό στην Ιερισσό. Περιπολίες και προσαγωγές στο χωριό. #skouries #rbnews

Lawyers inform citizens of their rights at Ierissos coordination point. Patrols and detentions in the village. #skouries #rbnews

In an interview in Thessaloniki [el] on Friday, February 22, seven lawyers talked of the “constitutional aberration” in Skouries, referring to the incidents of the previous week.

Independent online news


Proto Thema newspaper headline: “The Gold Nuclei”, Sunday 24.2.2013. Headline insinuates ties with radical anarchist organization “Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei

While all this happened in Chalkidiki, numerous mainstream Greek media followed a special defensive line in favor of the company. This came as no surprise since Hellenic Gold spends big money on media advertising for positive publicity on its investment. A chief example is a publication by popular newspaper Proto Thema (First Issue), which correlates the actions in Chalkidiki with terrorism.

The residents didn't give up. On Sunday, a peaceful demonstration against the gold mines took place in Megali Panagia, one of the closest villages near Kakkavos Mountain, organized by thousands of local residents, groups, and parties supporting the villagers’ struggle.

The demonstration had the form of a press conference open to anyone interested and succeeded in attendance and dissemination of residents’ message to the public. Unprecedented, though, were the measures taken by Greek Police, sending hundreds of police officers for fear of violent incidents. Police officers kept their distance from the protesters and were reportedly checking license plates. The speakers described the events, the unprecedented security measures and also the course of their litigation with the company. The last to speak were two women who were among the 40 detained [to date], one of whom described her shocking experience [el]:

Η αστυνομία μπαίνει στα σπίτια μας με επιθετική διάθεση και χωρίς κανένα σεβασμό. Προχτές μπήκε ο εισαγγελέας για την προσαγωγή μου με αποτέλεσμα να σοκαριστεί το παιδί μου.

Police entered our houses aggresively and with no respect. The day before yesterday, the prosecutor came in for my detention; as a result my child was scared.

Thousands of residents in a demonstration at Megali Panagia village, 24.2.2013. Photo by author Andreas Kakaris

Citizen journalists were also at the demonstration, which they covered by all means possible, multilingually and with objectivity, taking the place of the traditional media who were conspicuous by their absence. As Professor of Political Economy Nikos Smyrnaios remarked in a his research on coverage of the case on Twitter [el]:

communities formed in Twitter are able to operate autonomously across the news spectrum, from the production of primary news update till fact-checking and news dissemination without any journalist's participation.

All speeches appear in the following video, edited and uploaded by iosifsk on his Youtube channel:

Tension continues to reign in the area. Given the severity of the situation, we will return to the case, should more news emerge.

Spanish group Todos somos griegos (We are all Greeks) made a Storify collection of Greek and other multilingual tweets about the recent events in Skouries. Global Voices author Asteris Masouras also made a Storify collection of these troubled two days’ tweets and contributed to the creation of this article.

Reposted bydarksideofthemoon darksideofthemoon

March 01 2013

The trouble with austerity: Cutting is more about ideology than economics

Austerity fetishism is simply the latest expression of free market orthodoxy.

Reposted from02mysoup-aa 02mysoup-aa

February 25 2013

Adieu ma Grèce : Exil du chaos... -- Ariane WALTER

Je viens de terminer, bouleversée, la lettre d’une amie grecque que Marie-Laure Veilhan vient de nous transmettre sur son blog Mediapart. Je vous la transmets à mon tour. Faites la circuler autant que vous le pouvez. Il faut que cette lettre reste lettre vivante.

Ce dont elle parle, nous l’avions appris par bribes, mais de le retrouver ici vécu dans un adieu au pays et savoir qu’un jour, peut-être bientôt, elle et nous serons obligés de fuir ici ce qui existe là-bas , quel désespoir mais aussi quel appel à notre courage et à notre engagement dans la lutte.

Reposted from02mysoup-aa 02mysoup-aa

February 24 2013

Les populations superflues

En Grèce, « forcée de fournir le portrait anticipé de ce à quoi vont devoir ressembler les sociétés occidentales, remaniées sous la férule du néolibéralisme déchaîné » se dessine « une nouvelle biopolitique de l’espèce », « chargée d’assainir le corps social de toutes les existences parasitaires ». Par Dimitris Vergetis, psychanalyste, directeur de la revue grecque αληthεια.




À cet égard, la réponse qui nous semble s’imposer est la suivante : les politiques appliquées à la Grèce sous prétexte de redressement économique visent à mettre en place un nouveau paradigme de société entièrement transitif aux automatismes du capital et aux lois du marché. La technicité de leur langage d’exposition ne fait qu’écran à leur objectif qui consiste à réterritorialiser l’ensemble du lien social sur la forme-marchandise. Le projet expérimenté en Grèce aspire à neutraliser, et à la limite à éradiquer, la politique comme instance de médiation entre l’économie et le social, à démanteler tendanciellement tous les dispositifs de protection sociale, à privatiser la prise en charge de tout risque de la vie et à abolir le droit du travail, pour créer des zones spéciales d’exploitation – formes dérivées des « camps », mais hautement rentabilisées, et charitablement humanisées. Ces zones de développement spéciales constituent une illustration paradigmatique de ce que Badiou a isolé sous le terme de « zonage ».


Les dirigeants européens répètent en chœur et à satiété que la Grèce est un cas particulier. En fait, loin d’être traité comme un cas particulier qui fait exception à la norme européenne qu’elle devrait impérativement intérioriser, la Grèce est forcée de fournir le portrait anticipé de ce à quoi vont devoir ressembler les sociétés occidentales, remaniées sous la férule du néolibéralisme déchaîné. Tout en restant dans le cadre du mode de production capitaliste, nous sommes donc au seuil d’un changement d’époque. Or celui-ci s’annonce sous des auspices littéralement macabres en tant qu’il couve une nouvelle biopolitique de l’espèce. Il importe d’en restituer la pente et les mécanismes d’accomplissement.




Avec la mondialisation et la mobilité forcée des travailleurs, les « ressources humaines » sont désormais renouvelables à vil prix. Il est facile et hautement profitable d’importer non seulement de la main-d’œuvre mais aussi du personnel très qualifié formé dans des contrées lointaines. Le coût de la formation d’un informaticien aux États-Unis, depuis sa naissance jusqu’à l’acquisition de ses compétences, est cent fois supérieur à celui de la formation de quelqu’un né aux Indes. Il est aussi hautement profitable de délocaliser pour aller capter sur place une force de travail privée de droits et à prix dérisoire. Bref, la machine capitaliste peut se procurer de la marchandise humaine à prix très avantageux, sans avoir à se soucier de sa formation et de sa reproduction. Le cas de la Grèce, de l’Espagne et du Portugal, pour rester dans le contexte actuel, qui voient leur jeunesse hautement qualifiée aspirée par l’Allemagne, pays en dépérissement démographique, fournit une démonstration exemplaire de ce processus.




l'article complet:

Macedonian Anti-Fascists Protest Against Harassment

Vanco Dzambaski published a photo gallery from the gathering that took place on February 16 in the center of Skopje, commemorating the February Campaign of 1944, when Macedonian partisans marched through the snowy mountains to deal a decisive blow to the fascist forces in Macedonia and Northern Greece. World War II veterans and their supporters [mk] protested against the forced neglect of the Allied Forces’ achievements (which include the founding of the Macedonian state), and the continuous harassment of the veterans’ organization by the current government at all levels.

February March, Anti-Fascist Protest in Skopje, Macedonia

Anti-fascist protesters: “Proud of the past that actually happened.” Photo by V. Dzambaski (CC NC-SA)

In December 2012, the veterans’ organization [mk] was thrown out of their premises through a controversial court order, with the help from an out-of-town security agency [mk], after a local one failed [mk] to deal with the old fighters.

The city government tried to stop the February 16 protest [mk] by denying permission to use the public square. They claimed other events were scheduled in the area at the designated time, but refused to specify. The protesters decided to march anyway, continuing the tradition of the original February march, commenced against the will of the then-authorities.

Elderly participants in anti-fascist protest in Skopje, Macedonia

Keeping the memories alive. Photo by V. Dzambaski (CC NC-SA)

On the day of the protest, it was the only event there. Instead of covering the protest, the major pro-government media, such as SITEL TV, propagated the government's communiqué [mk] that announced their respect for the heritage of the World War II.

Media expert Roberto Belicanec wrote [mk; Wikipedia links added]:

1. No news whatsoever about what happened on the square.

2. The image of the monument to Čento, instead of the images of the event. Čento, because he is selected by the ruling party to demonstrate some meager connection to National Liberation War. Čento – abused for ideological whitewash of NLW, because he was not a communist, but participated in the [communist-led] movement.

3. A government spokesman in fact explained that “we witness that we have invested in creation of cultural heritage, to mark this important period of our history, including building of monuments such as to Metodija Andonov Čento, to the participants of ASNOM, and others.” Besides the oxymoronic aspect of “creating cultural heritage,” this phrase also reveals ideological operation of reshaping history and erasing all that does not fit within their worldview. And again, Čento, of course. His murder was not enough, now every opportunity is used for his symbolical killings. Furthermore, the ASNOM monument in the memorial park dedicated to the Women Fighters, a place massacred with new monuments, its original function devastated, was erected only as a counterweight for the monument of the historical VMRO, in order to arrogantly present the current political party with the same name as a continuity of the Macedonian struggle. If they could, they would have circumvented ASNOM too.

4. In the end – “The Government of the Republic of Macedonia,” underscored Gjorgjiev, “has no participation nor contact within the framework of the court case led by the Veterans’ Association with another veterans’ association.” One more frame – rule of law in the form of “I act dumb, and you act as if you believe me.”

February 22 2013

The Worst Companies of the Year

Here were the nominees for the Public Eye Awards, a contest listing the worst companies of the year, was published by the website Public Eye. Organized by the Berne Declaration and Pro Natura, since 2000, the awards is a counter-summit critique of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. To date, readers have ranked Goldman Sachs at the top of the list.  The reason for this is their actions in Greece :

A scam that amounted to half of Greece's debt, for exorbitant fees, a scam that led to the country's ruin.

February 20 2013

New e-Journal Highlights Balkan History and Archaeology

The inaugural issue of Haemus Journal, an academic e-journal devoted to the history and archaeology of the Balkan Peninsula, also covering a wide range of related interdisciplinary topics, was published recently. It follows the principles of Free and Open Access and publishes its content under a Creative Commons license.


Haemus journal Vol.1 (2012)


February 11 2013

Des néonazis allemands au Parlement grec

L’organisation Freies Netz Süd, dont des cadres ont visité le Parlement grec et s’y sont fait photographier avec des membres de Chryssi Avgi (Aube Dorée), est qualifiée de "néonazie" par des documents du Ministère de l’Intérieur du Land de Bavière.


Reposted from02mysoup-aa 02mysoup-aa

January 26 2013

Museum of Ancient Greek Technology

Museum of Ancient Greek Technology, sign at entrance, Katakolon (Peloponnese, Greece). Photo by Drjwolfe, public domain.

Ever wondered how ancient temple gates would opened automatically after altar sacrifices?

January 17 2013

December 31 2012

Music of Epirus (Greek side - recorded in the 1970s)

In memoriam Δόμνα Σαμίου -
Domna Samiou 1928-2012 - Music of Epirus - Τραγούδι της Ηπείρου (recorded in 1977 mainly in Παρακάλαμος / Parakalamos)


About the Epirus (Greece & Albania)

About Iso Polyphony (Southern Albania - also on the Greek side in use - three languages in which it is sung: Albanian, Greek, Vlach)

December 14 2012

Inappropriate Analogy for Greece-Macedonia Name Dispute

Responding to an assertion by Gerald Knaus…

Athens and Skopje face a [prisoner's dilemma]: if neither side believes that a solution is possible, and acts on this, both will lose.

Zarko Trajanoski wrote on Facebook:

However, the analogy with “prisoner's dilemma” is not only false, but very offensive: Athens is not a prisoner, but a prison guard and perhaps a political torturer in this case. And the outcome of this political torture, aided by Sofia as well, is the rise of the Macedonian ethno-nationalism and the decline of the liberalism, democracy and human rights.

He later provided an elaborate explanation in a blog post [mk].

November 26 2012

A Traveling Exhibition to Expose Police Violence in Greece

A small team of Greeks in Zurich decided to expose Greek police brutality with a traveling photo exhibition in various European capitals. @Ypopto_mousi tweets a link to a poster in his blog, [el] which gives more information on his friends' effort to bring this project to life, as well as a police violence case summary.


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