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January 17 2013

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.


Sponsored post

November 20 2012

University of Cyprus Campaign - ‘Buy Cypriot Products'

Using the slogan “Agorazo Kypriaka” [Buy Cypriot products], the University of Cyprus website hosts an announcement by Rector Constantinos Christofides himself. Amidst the general economic crisis, University of Cyprus supports initiatives against unemployment and actively contributes to the cause, initiating a promotion campaign to encourage people to buy local Cypriot products while shopping.



November 15 2012

Strike Across Southern Europe

This post is part of our special coverage Europe in Crisis.

November 14, 2012 witnessed the first strike of its kind, including all of the southern European countries most affected by austerity and financial crisis. Organized labor in Spain and Portugal announced general strikes, while in Greece and Italy there were work stoppages planned during the day.

(In the days prior, visits by top European officials and leaders including Angela Merkel were met with street protests across southern Europe.)

On Twitter, a number of hashtags were in use. Spain, Portugal and Greece used #14N, and Italy has #14Nit and Catalonia #14NBcn #14NCat. English speakers used #N14Riseup #europeanstrike #N14.

Events in solidarity also occurred across Europe - mapped by the European Trade Union Confederation. A “siege” of the European Commission by an estimated 2,500 people left Brussels tense in the afternoon.

Students of Genoa protest against austerity measures, on 14th November 2012. A banner reads “I don't fear austerity, I fear silence!”. Photo by Donna Bozzi, copyright Demotix


Greek unions, fresh out of recent general strikes of their own, did not officially respond to the call for a general strike, although a work stoppage was called for and middling sized protests were held in Athens and Thessaloniki, besides the sectoral and regional anti-austerity strikes and occupations, ongoing for a third year in a row.

Al Jazeera English reporter Barnaby Phillips mused:

@BarnabyPhillips: Atmosphere at #14N protest in Athens is somewhat weary, ritualistic. But turn-out is healthy. #14ngr #Greece

Several netizens livetweeted photos of the rallies. European solidarity against austerity was expressed through slogans, placards and huge flags paraded in downtown Athens:

Portuguese, Greek and Spanish flags in Athens, on November 14, 2012. Photo by @thesspirit, republished by permission

Elderly protesters were also in attendance, besides youth. Repeated pension cuts have brought many pensioners below the poverty line.

Anti-austerity protest in Athens on November 14, 2012. Pensioner carrying placard that reads “I fear hunger, my God”. Photo by @iptamenos33 on Twitpic, republished by permission


Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Milan, Bologna, Turin, Padua, Genoa, Rome, Naples and around 100 other towns throughout the country [it]. While joining the anti-austerity European Day of Action [it] under such slogan as: “Europe is waking up today — from Rome to Madrid to Athens,” Italians were calling for more safeguards for jobs and pensions and complaining against stringent measures imposed by Prime Minister Mario Monti.

Protesters in downtown Bologna. Photo by Twitter user spyros gkelis.

Protesters in downtown Bologna. Photo by Twitter user spyros gkelis.

Citizens from all walks of life protested in a very peaceful and creative fashion, even if some clashes broke out. Overall at least six police officers were wounded, including one seriously in Turin, along with three people arrested in Brescia and at least a dozen in Rome. Gabriele Drudi [it] compiled an extensive timeline with many tweets and pictures covering the entire day of protests.

Riccardo Laterza writes:

(@riccardolaterza): #14N #14nIT il primo sciopero generale europeo: grande partecipazione, grande repressione. Uno schema già visto ma non ci arrendiamo!

@riccardolaterza: #14N #14nIT the first european general strike: great participation, great repression. A pattern already seen it but we will not give up!

Laura says:

@scarylalla: Nel bene e nel male, oggi gli europei stanno dimostrando che non è la moneta unica ad unirli ma la voglia di un Europa diversa. #14N #14Nit

@scarylalla: For better or for worse, today europeans are showing that it is not a single currency that can keep us together, but our desire for a different Europe. #14N #14Nit

Others provide an opposite viewpoint, including Salvatore Filippelli:

@salvo_82: Credete davvero che gli Eurocrati cambieranno le politiche economiche perchè qualche studente spacca due o tre vetrine? #14N #14nIT

@salvo_82: Do you really believe that the Eurocrats will change their economic policies because some students break two or three shop windows? #14N #14nIT

Analysis and discussion on the protest outcomes are still in progress on a Facebook group and on YouTube events are discussed at an afternoon general assembly at Rome's University.


In the early morning hours, a blockade of one of the entrances to Barcelona was swiftly taken down by police. Images of Madrid’s empty train and metro stations circulated as proof the general strike was in effect.

Protesters on wheels set up “bici piquetes” (bicycle pickets) in Madrid and Zaragoza, trending in the morning (#bicipiquetes) and shared widely on social media.

Global Voices’ Lali Sandiumenge, whose blog post on a strike against telecom Telefonica was recently deleted by newspaper La Vanguardia, reported from the streets on the strike. She tweeted what many people felt yesterday:

@lalisandi Aventatges d'informar-se per la xarxa: hi ha multitud de punts de vista. És interactiu. Té el do de la ubiqüitat. No té pressions

@lalisandi Benefits of getting informed by the internet: there are many points of view. It's interactive. It has the gift of ubiquity. No pressure

The “Iaioflautas” - Catalonia’s rebel retirees (see our profile) were very visible, performing on the street.

Large protests occurred throughout Spain from Galicia to Valencia, with police charging and arresting protesters, like in Barcelona.

Police violence dominated the afternoon. A photo of a woman allegedly pushed by police down the stairs of the Metro in Madrid was widely shared and commented, as were photos of rubber bullets shot by police at protesters.

But most viral was the image of a school-age (13yo) boy in Tarragona bloodied by police, and the video of police attacking him and women around him.

Lastly there were arguments over the size of the protests, with low government estimates subject to ridicule online

@gobiernoespa: La Delegación del Gobierno habla de 35.000 personas en Madrid. Definitivamente hay una puerta a otra dimensión allí

@gobiernoespa: Government delegate talks about 35,000 people in Madrid. Definitely there’s a door to another dimension there.”


In the beginning things were more quiet in Portugal, with widespread adherence to the general strike. Tens of thousands took to the city’s main streets, including members of public broadcaster RTP who were on strike earlier this month (see our coverage).

An evening confrontation between police and protesters in front of Portuguese Government parliament in Lisbon transformed a peaceful protest into a scene of uncontrolled violence. Youtube user Beatriz Pedrosa filmed rock throwing by youth in black hoodies and wearing anarchist t-shirts:

Then came a barrage and charge from police which emptied the plaza in less than two minutes

Blog Activismo Geral reacted:

Enquanto os profissionais da pedrada se digladiam com profissionais da cacetada, o esforço feito por centenas de milhares de pessoas neste dia é posto em causa. Longe de desculpabilizar os primeiros (uns arruaceiros), acho de qualquer modo que se exige “um bocadinho” mais dos segundos (uns arruaceiros fardados).

While professional delinquents and professionals head-smashers fought it out, the effort made by hundreds thousands of people this day was called into question. Far from removing blame from the few troublemakers, I do think though that we should demand a “little more” from the uniformed troublemakers.

This post is part of our special coverage Europe in Crisis.

This post was co-authored with Asteris Masouras and Bernardo Parrella, with input from Debora Baldelli, Ylenia Gostoli, Chris Moya and Claire Ulrich.

Greece: New Platform Encourages Affordable Heat Options

This winter, website [Good News] reports on [el], a new platform that aims to reduce the cost of heating, by serving as an aggregator on different types and prices of solid fuel: firewood, pellets, briquettes, coal. Traders can join the project, providing data for their products and the areas they deliver to. Customers can search for the best prices based on product categories and delivery areas.


November 06 2012

Two Brothels Sponsor Local Football Team in Greece

Two brothels sponsor a local football team in Greece

Two brothels sponsor a local football team in Greece (screenshot from “GiveMeFootball” video)


October 30 2012

Greece: Public TV Journalists Fired After Criticizing Minister

On October 29, 2012, two journalists, Kostas Arvanitis and Marilena Katsimi, were fired by the Greek Public Television (ERT) after analyzing claims by British newspaper The Guardian of police torture of Greek anti-fascist protesters in Athens, and criticizing the Greek Minister of Public Order.

Here is the excerpt [el] from their morning television broadcast:

Kostas Arvanitis himself explained the reason for their removal in his blog [el]:

M. Katsimi: And here are the forensic findings for the 15 arrested people that The Guardian was writing about. For this case [Minister of Public Order] Mr. Dendias wanted to sue The Guardian
Mr. Arvanitis: Didn’t he?
M. Katsimi: He didn’t, because the findings show that it is indeed a felony.
Mr. Arvanitis: Is he going to resign now?
M. Katsimi: I do not think so. […]
Mr. Arvanitis: And now what? Will he say he is sorry?
M. Katsimi: I do not know ….
Mr. Arvanitis: Wow… that’s difficult for Mr. Dendias. And he is from the same place as you, from Corfu.
M. Katsimi: And he is a serious man, I have to say.

Minutes later, he tweeted [el] the news of their removal:

@karvanitis: τελικά μας έκοψε ο κος Λιάτσος …

@karvanitis: Apparently, Mr. Liatsos cut us off…

It's worth mentioning that ERT's recently appointed Director, Aimilios Liatsos, didn't contact the two journalists first to get information; instead they learnt about their removal from their Head Editor, as Marilena Katsimi stated to news website [el].

In a public statement [el], Aimilios Liatsos accused Mr. Arvanitis and Ms. Katsimi of infringing journalism's Code of Ethics and defended their dismissal:

The General Directorate of ERT fully respects the rules of Free Press; it's proven in daily practice by presenting all views. However, it can not tolerate the violation of the basic standards of journalistic ethics.

The presenters of the daily magazine “Morning Information” on NET, Mr. Kostas Arvanitis and Ms. Marilena Katsimi, made unacceptable insinuations against the Minister of Public Order, Nikos Dendias, without even giving him the right to express himself, while it seemed that they commented on the case, prejudging the outcome of the judicial decision.

Mr. Dendias had announced in parliament his intention to sue The Guardian newspaper, as user Dimitris Bounias tweeted:

@DimitrisBounias: Greek media report #Dendias in parliament: “I will sue Guardian on behalf of the Greek state for defamation of our democracy”.

TVXS (TV Without Borders) website reported that [el] the journalists' removal has become a political issue, as it started fueling intergovernmental dispute.

Social media reactions

On Facebook, many users are expressing their support to the two journalists through the TV show's Facebook page:

Margarita Zontou: Και οι μάσκες πέφτουν…

And the masks fall…

Kosmas Tseligaridis: Ντροπή και αίσχος στους αυλοκόλακες της κρατικής τηλεόρασης. Η λογοκρισία δε θα περάσει.

Shame and disgrace to the “courtisan flatterers” of State Television. Censorship will not pass.

Twitter users are expressing their disdain using the hashtag #Dendias, requesting, amongst other things, that Dendias should quit.

@monahus: Δένδια παραιτήσου #dendias

@monahus: Mr. Dendias, quit #dendias

@blacktom1961: Αντί να παραιτηθεί ο χυδαίος και προφανώς κρετίνος #Dendias, που εκτέθηκε μόνος του σαν τον τελευταίο ηλίθιο του πλανήτη, φιμώνει κριτικές.

@blacktom1961: Instead of resigning, as he exposed himself like the last idiot on the planet, scoundrel and obviously cretin #Dendias silences criticisms

User Rogiros compared [el] ERT's Director, Aimilios Liatsos, to Italian President Silvio Berlusconi:

@rogampf: Ούτε ο Berlusconi δε θα τολμούσε να κάνει τέτοιο πράγμα στη RAI σαν κι αυτό που έκανε ο Λιάτσος στην ΕΡΤ. #Dendias #Arvanitis #Liatsos #ERT

@rogampf: Not even Berlusconi would dare to do such a thing to RAI [the Italian public service broadcaster] like the one made by Liatsos in ERT. #Dendias #Arvanitis #Liatsos #ERT

Political parties and organizations have condemned ERT's action, while journalists at ERT/NET will launch 24-hour rolling strikes as of October 30, until the decision on Arvanitis/Katsimi is withdrawn.

Censorship hurricane

Other censorship examples have emerged recently. On September 25, a 27-year-old netizen was sent to trial after his arrest over blasphemy charges that he was maintaining a Facebook page entitled “Gerontas Pastitsios” (Elder Pastitsios), including satirical comments against Christianity and the religious figure Elder Paisios and his alleged “prophecies”.

On October 11, religious groups and neo-nazis protested against gay-themed play 'Corpus Christi' in Athens, deeming it blasphemous; they assaulted a theater critic and forced the cancellation of the performance.

On October 16, Greek public TV channel NET censored a gay kiss scene from the BBC TV series ‘Downton Abbey'. “The irony of the issue is that newly appointed director of ERT/NET TV is the former director of a private channel that constantly shows Myconos wild parties and naked women butts during summer”, Keep Talking Greece mentions.

The latest case of the two journalists comes only a day after the arrest of journalist Kostas Vaxevanis, whose magazine HOT DOC published a leaked list of over 2,000 names of Greeks with bank accounts in Switzerland.

October 29 2012

Greek Journalist Arrested for Publishing List of Alleged Tax Evaders

Greek journalist and editor of Hot Doc magazine, Kostas Vaxevanis, tweeted his arrest and posted a video message [el] a few hours after his magazine published a leaked list of over 2,000 names of Greeks with bank accounts in Switzerland, allegedly the “Lagarde list” that Greek governments had misplaced for years.


October 14 2012

Greece: Police Post Photos of Youth Detained at General Strike

This post is part of our special coverage Europe in Crisis.

Twitter users in Greece reacted in outrage over the detention, abuse and public outing of detained youths in the aftermath of one of the biggest anti-austerity demonstrations in the streets of Athens since the signing of the country’s first bailout deal in 2010, on Wednesday, September 26, 2012.

Hundreds of thousands of Greeks responded to a call for a 24-hour general strike by private and public sector unions. Austerity measures, steep new taxes, wage and pension cuts, as well as health cuts were some of the reasons for the wide participation, despite the sweltering temperatures of the day.

Citizen media collective curated live tweets and news links in English from the protests and also liveblogged in Greek. The strike was overwhelmingly peaceful, even though international media once again focused on violence, which was actually limited.

The workers & trade unions rally overflowed Patission street, from the Polytechnic to Panepistimiou, photo by Asteris Masouras

Big workers' & trade unions rally overflowing Patission street for many blocks. Photo by Asteris Masouras (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Peace in the streets

Many tweeps reporting from the streets agonized over the outbreaks of violence marring the portrayal of the protests in the media:

@mkahlili: Repeat: Do all you can to keep today's protests peaceful, ppl. If it gets violent, *that* becomes the story+ the msg is lost.#26sgr #Greece

@YannisMouzakis: “Violence, clashes, riots” for one of the most peaceful demos in last two years, how about the 10′000s that took to the streets? #Greece

@IrateGreek: #26sgr Dear intl media, plz stop repeating that demos in #Greece today were violent. As usual, the bulk of the demos were peaceful.

Global Voices author and translator Asteris Masouras exhorted for mainstream media to resist focusing on violence:

@asteris: Journo friend responded that MSM are only interested in footage of violence, was asked by a major network for just riot pr0n

@asteris: Once again: riot sensationalism sells ads but don't forget the masses that protested peacefully under scorching sun today in Athens #26SGR

Workers rallying at syntagma square, in front of parliament, photo by Asteris Masouras

Workers rallying at Syntagma square, in front of parliament. Photo by Asteris Masouras (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Violent dispersal

As the rally approached Syntagma Square near midday, a couple dozen “hoodies”, mostly minors, crashed the rally, with protesters yelling for them to leave. The hoodies hurled rocks and petrol bombs at the police and at the Ministry of Finance, to which police responded as usual by forcefully dispersing everyone, as can be seen in this video:

police forces at syntagma square, photo taken by Asteris Masouras

Protesters march through police “pincer” and teargas at Syntagma square. Photo by Asteris Masouras (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

protesters with anti-nazi banners, photo by author

Protesters with anti-nazi banners fleeing from teargas. Photo by Maria Sidiropoulou (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The crackdown was heavy-handed, with extensive use of teargas and flashbangs, detentions, and physical violence that resulted in injuries to both protesters and police officers:

@RegularGrrrl: The Greek police officially stated that they would not use tear gas against Greek strikers today. They lied. #Greece #26sgr

A large part of downtown Athens was saturated with teargas for hours. CNBC reporter Julia Chatterley tweeted:

@JChatterleyCNBC: Impossible to be outside without gas mask - plenty of people still outside parliament though..

But even journalists had to face the quandary of either suffocating or facing arrest for wearing a gas mask:

@asteris: TR @ioann_A Credentialed journalist detained for bearing gas mask, released after union intervened #rbnews #Greece #26sgr

Preemptive arrests

Before the rally even started, riot police targeted popular assembly points in remote parts of Athens, and forcefully detained people who gathered to join the main body of the protest. Two days later, police published online the photos and identities of nine youth, aged 18 to 25, who participated - or were about to participate - in the demonstration, charging them with perpetrating violent acts, disturbing the public peace, as well as possessing explosives (petrol bombs) and surgical or gas masks for covering their faces. Some of them were clearly injured, with bruises and casts visible in the photos [el]:

@YiannisBab: Teenagers pre-emptively arrested, bruises and broken hands, that's the true face of our police. #free26sgrpeople

Twitter users coined the #free26sgrpeople hashtag in solidarity with the detained youths, to denounce the injustice of their arrest, mistreatment and outing:

@Kapafix: Από τηλ. επικοινωνία για τους #free26sgrpeople μερικοί είναι χτυπημένοι, κάποιοι άσχημα ψυχολογικά και 3 μέρες χωρίς “απολογία”.

@Kapafix: After a phone call about #free26sgrpeople, I found out that some have been beaten, some are in an awful psychological condition, held for 3 days without permission to “plea”

@Jaquoutopie: Ελληνική δικαιοσύνη: Συλλήψεις ανηλίκων, χιλιόμετρα μακριά από το συλλαλητήριο πριν αυτό ξεκινήσει, προληπτικά. #free26sgrpeople

@Jaquoutopie: Greek justice: Arresting minors, kilometers away from the demonstration, before it even starts, preemptively. #free26sgrpeople

@Antidrasex: Μπράβο στους μπατσους που έβαλαν τις φωτό των παιδιών φόρα παρτίδα. Ξέρουμε ότι αυτα τα παιδιά δεν έκατσαν στον καναπέ τους #free26sgrpeople

@Antidrasex: Well done to the police for publishing the photos of those kids. We now know those youngsters didn't just sit on their couches #freesgrpeople

Publicly naming youth

Police claimed that publishing the identity of detained youths was a tactic to crowdsource information about any additional criminal activity. Netizens, on the other hand, asserted that publishing photos of protester without evidence of wrongdoing was a strategy to deter anyone intending to join a peaceful demonstration.

@potmos: Δημοσιοποιούνται επιλεκτικά στοιχεία κακοποιημένων πιτσιρικάδων *ακριβώς* για να δοθεί το μήνυμα «μη πατάτε σε διαδηλώσεις» #free26sgrpeople

@potmos: They're selectively outing abused kids *precisely* to put out the message “dont participate in demos” #free26sgrpeople

@aboubouka: οι φωτογραφίες των παιδιών στην ασφάλεια με κάνουν να ντρέπομαι που δεν έχω κάνει αρκετά για να συλληφθώ κι εγώ μαζί τους

@aboubouka: the photos of those kids in detention make me feel ashamed for not having done enough to get arrested along with them

@thesspirit: Στην επόμενη πορεία όλοι με χειρουργικές μάσκες. Δεν μπορούν να μας συλλάβουν όλους. #free26sgrpeople

@thesspirit: At the next demo everybody pack surgical masks. They can't arrest us all. #free26sgrpeople

@MavriMelani: Αν αυτο το κανετε για να φοβηθουμε ολοι οι υπολοιποι ειστε γελασμενοι. Αλλάξτε δουλεια. Πάλι στους δρόμους θα μας βρειτε #free26sgrpeople

@MavriMelani: If you did this to intimidate us, think again. Change your line of work. You'll find us in the streets again. #freesgrpeople

For more related tweets, visit the storify pages below, by Asteris Masouras who contributed to this report:

This post is part of our special coverage Europe in Crisis.

October 01 2012

Greece: Debunking a ‘Coup That Never Happened'

Impressive reportage from fantasy land, but no knowledgeable editor with a soul was at hand to throw it in the trash.

In a Twitlonger post [el], journalist Yiannis Bogiopoulos debunks a controversial expose published in Sunday newspaper To Vima about “a coup that never happened“, and dismisses “loaded” conjectures as to why it would print an article rife with inaccuracies, in favor of a simpler explanation.

September 04 2012

Greek Anarchists' Anti-Racism Demonstration in Photos

This article is a part of our special coverage Europe in Crisis.

On Saturday September 1, 2012, an anti-racism demonstration took place in central Athens, Greece, with Monastiraki Square as the starting point.

Hundreds of demonstrators, mainly anarchists, gathered to protest against recent events such as violent, even lethal, attacks against immigrants [el] by members of extremist right-wing group Golden Dawn, the pillory of HIV-positive prostitutes by police, and the government stop-and-search campaign ‘Xenios Zeus' [mainly targeting people of colour for their identification papers].

Demonstrators gathered in Monastiraki. Photo by author.

Demonstrators gathered in Monastiraki. Photo by author.

Demonstrators advanced to Omonoia Square via Athinas Street and ended up in Monastiraki again. Riot police prevented them from continuing through Panepistimiou Street [which leads to the Greek Parliament], however no further incidents took place, except some minor verbal disputes between some demonstrators and police officers.

Demonstrators in Omonoia Square. Photo by author.

Demonstrators in Omonoia Square. Photo by author.

Demonstrators' banner reads: "Let's smash the fascists and police pogroms. May locals and refugees fight together". Photo by author.

Demonstrators' banner reads: “Let's smash the fascists and police pogroms. May locals and refugees fight together”. Photo by author.

Demonstrators blocked at Panepistimiou Street. Photo by author.

Demonstrators blocked at Panepistimiou Street. Photo by author.

Lately several demonstrations have taken place, organized by different collectives with different beliefs [el]. In the following video, you can see some snapshots from anti-racism protests in August 24 in Athens, mainly supported by refugees:

Most people in Greece, no matter what their politics, are no longer remaining indifferent to racism. Fascism is now institutionalized in Greece, as a neo-nazist party has been elected to parliament.

Old man strongly protests. Photo by author.

Old man strongly protests. Photo by author.

Greek society is gradually realizing that racism is a threat and must be confronted.

This article is a part of our special coverage Europe in Crisis.

August 29 2012

Greece: Anti-Nationalists Demand Diversity

Anti-nationalist sticker from Athens reads [el]: “We want Albanian classmates, Afghani coworkers, Nigerian neighbours and kicks to fascists.” Source: Facebook page of Europeans against the political system.

From the Facebook group Europeans against the political system, this image has circulated around Facebook and other social media sites, gathering retweets, shares and many comments.

August 16 2012

Greece: August 15 Celebration Overshadowed by Brutal Athens Murders

On August 15, 2012, as user @northaura points out: ”Greece celebrates the Assumption of Mary, one of the biggest Greek orthodox days”, yet “2 people are found murdered thrown in a dustbin”. Journalist and human rights activist @NikoAgo had earlier tweeted [el] about the discovery of two murdered people in an Athens neighbourhood, probably of Polish or Romanian origin [el]. One of them was found inside a dustbin [el] tied up with wire.

August 13 2012

Russia: “The True Blasphemy” - Slavoj Žižek on Pussy Riot

Russian collective “What to do?” published an essay by Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, who considers Pussy Riot “conceptual artists in the noblest sense of the word: artists who embody an Idea,” and fight against the cynicism of power-mongers who strive to return Russia to the tsarist level characterized by Leon Trotsky (1905) as “a vicious combination of the Asian knout [whip] and the European stock market.” The text has been translated into various languages [en, ru - middle of page, it, sr, sr, mk, gr] and reprinted by bloggers and progressive portals throughout Europe.

Athens: Virtual Community Initiative Under the Acropolis

Shop owners on picturesque Pandrosou street in Plaka, Athens, have started a virtual community initiative with a blog and Facebook page. They aim to “rebrand the image of Greece into one that reflects collaborative cooperation, innovation and honest hard work”. With their most recent project, they hope to inspire others to reclaim the beauty of pedestrian streets of the degraded downtown and historical center of Athens; enjoy some photos of the newly colored street here.

August 11 2012

Cyprus: Remembering ‘Operation Atilla' Across Borders

Friday, 20 July 2012, marked the 38th anniversary of Operation Atilla, a Turkish military invasion in response to a coup in Cyprus supported by the 1967 Greek military junta.

The invasion resulted in deaths and missing reports of thousands, massive deportations of Greek Cypriots from the occupied northern part and flow of Turkish Cypriots from south to north. The island has been divided since along the Green Line; in 1983 the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus(TRNC) declared independence, but it is only recognized by Turkey.

Both sides commemorate the anniversary either as a grim day or a celebration day; and every year, sentiments and events are shared through mainstream and social media.

The island of Cyprus, divided, from Wikimedia Commons, original source: CIA World Factbook. Public domain.

In a speech on Thursday night, Greek-Cypriot President Christofias said:

Vindication can only happen with the end of the Turkish occupation and settling, and the reunification of the state and its people. […] If there is partition in Cyprus, this will be a victory of our country’s enemies.

On the northern part, hundreds of Turkish Cypriots gathered to celebrate the day as the “Peace Operation”. Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu said:

Greek Cypriots should “use common sense” and work towards finding a solution. […] Community is running out of patience and steps to take their place in the world will be “taken as needed”. […] If there was no “peace operation”, they would not have their state today.

@Infognomon Politika, a news blog focused on International Relations, Foreign Policy and Defense, dedicated a post [el] about the 1974 obscure events, entitled “Cyprus 1974: Five Myths About the Coup d' Etat”.

Haberler website published the news for “Peace and Freedom Festival” and Turkish President Gul's statement that:

[…] the Cyprus Peace Operation that occurred July 20, 1974 marked the beginning of Turkish Cypriots governing themselves and Turkey will always support them.

On Twitter, Greek netizens expressed their sadness for the day, with tweets such as the following, by Greek-Cypriot singer Despina Olympiou [el]:

@DenaOlympiou: Ωραία όλα, αλλα σαν σήμερα να μην ξεχνάμε τη θλιβερή επέτειο του νησιού μας. Κύπρος μου δεν σε ξεχνούμε κ ελπίζουμε..

All fine, but today let's not forget the sad anniversary of our island. My Cyprus, we don't forget you and we hope…

Lampros Konstantaras overreacts citicizing [el] the “invasion” and big popularity of Turkish daily TV series on Greek TV channels contrary to the sad anniversary:

38 χρόνια φέτος που η Κύπρος υποφέρει από την τουρκική εισβολή. Νεκροί, αγνοούμενοι, ξεσπιτωμένοι. Δείτε SILA και ΑSI για να τους τιμάτε

38 years now Cyprus suffers by Turkish invasion. Dead, missing, deported people. Watch SILA and ASI and [that's how you] honor them

A Few Turkish netizens also commented on the 1974 anniversary with tweets like the following [tr]:

@zeynepgurcanli: Bugun 20 temmuz. Kibris baris harekatinin yildonumu.

Today 20th of July. Anniversary Peace Operation in Cyprus.

There was also a Twitter dispute between some Greek netizens that summarizes perfectly the different thoughts and feelings on the 1974 event [el]:

@potmos: 38 σήμερα από την απελευθέρωση της Β. Κύπρου.

38 today from the liberation of N. Cyprus.

@adiasistos: @potmos Ποια απελευθέρωση ρε κοπρίτη; Εξυπνάδες είναι αυτά; Η Κύπρος είναι Ελληνικιά κ άμα δε γουστάρεις τράβα στη Κούβα! Ζώο!

Which “liberation”, you scum? Is this smart or something? Cyprus is Greek, if you don't like it, go to Cuba!

@arhetypo: @adiasistos @potmos και ποιοι είστε που θ'αποφασίσετε αν η Β.Κύπρος είναι απελευθερομένη η Ελληνική, ρωτήσατε τους Κύπριους;;

And who are you to decide if Northern Cyprus is liberated or Greek, have you asked the Cypriots?

@djidjikas: @adiasistos και όμως έχω την αίσθηση ότι τουρκοκύπριοι και ελληνοκύπριοι ζούσαν ειρηνικά σε κοινά χωριά για αιώνες… @potmos

And I still have the feeling that Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots were living peacefully together on the same villages for centuries…

@MrPinkEyesV2: @potmos αν απελευθερωνοταν καλα θα ήταν. Στην καλυτερη άλλαξε νταβατζη

If it was liberated, it would be fine. Best case scenario, the only thing that changed is the pimp.

August 07 2012

Cyprus: First Ever Olympic Medal at London 2012

The London 2012 Olympics will be a landmark in Cyprus' sport history. Twenty-two year old Pavlos Kontides, who is from Limassol, Cyprus, became the country's first ever Olympic medalist. Kontides won the silver medal at single-handed Laser class in Men's Sailing.

June 23 2012

Greece: Flash Opera in Metro Station

To honor European Music Day on June 21, the Greek National Opera organized a small flash concert in Syntagma metro station in Athens, in front of hundreds of surprised passengers, young and old, who enjoyed arias from The Barber of Seville and Faust, as well as the Libiamo duet with chorus from La Traviata. Netizens praised this happy incident on Twitter [el]. You can watch the videos here, here and here.

June 21 2012

Greece: New Prime Minister Makes First Official Facebook Comment

Newly elected Antonis Samaras posts his first message [el] as Greek Prime Minister on his official Facebook page, asking for Greek people to “show patriotism and unbreakable national unity and trust”. He also underlined that “with God's help, they will do everything possible to get the country out of crisis the soonest”. Netizens comment on Twitter. Following the results of the Greek General Elections on June 17, 2012, the New Democracy party has formed a coalition government, sworn in on June 20, with PASOK and DIMAR, the third and sixth largest parties by seat counts.

June 07 2012

Greece: Inspiration Behind the Shocking ‘Modern Maenad' Photo

This post is part of our special coverage Europe in Crisis.

“We have a dream. We are still alive. We just want peace. But … we have to fight.” These are the four sentences that accompany a recent photo entitled ‘Greek Maenads', by the photographer/blogger ‘Dimitris the Athens‘. The photo shows a young naked woman, a symbol of a modern Maenad [mythological female follower of Dionysus], bleeding from her navel and holding in her hands like a newborn baby, the Greek flag.

The photo, which has travelled around the world through social media, underlines the current psychological situation of Greek people, their lost pride and anger, while experiencing the crisis.

Dimitris the Athens was inspired to create the image by the myth of ancient Greek nymphs, called Maenads. In his blog, writes [el, uk] about them:

Maenades were nymphs, the female companions and followers of the god Dionysus, their name literally translates as “raving ones. (…) Indeed, the main characteristic of the Maenads was their ecstatic frenzy where often inspired by Dionysus and through a combination of dancing and drunken intoxication, they would lose all self-control, begin shouting excitedly and engage in uncontrolled, hyperactive and beyond logic violent behavior. In modern day Greece, the Maenads exist and continue to upset…

Modern Greek 'Maenad'. Photo by Dimitris the Athens,

Modern Greek 'Maenad'. Photo by Dimitris the Athens,

Dimitris the Athens, giving an exclusive interview about his photo for Global Voices, says that he was motivated and inspired by the non-reactions of people and the misery which exists around us today:

I was sick and tired by seeing photos in foreign media showing only homeless, immigrants, incapable politicians. Future…. Rebirth… Pride…. nowhere…

About the Maenads of modern Greece, he states:

I cannot identify them yet quite clearly but I can “smell” them intensely and nice. They are on their road, they are getting prepared. They are next to us. You can find them in the basis, in the clear folk proud souls, which will react without the god Dionysus, this time.

As one of the clear messages of the photo is the necessity of reaction and fight, Dimitris the Athens gives his explanation about what fight means:

The fight begins by turning off TVs and reacting to everything that has crystallized as a dogma and lowers our pride (self-esteem). This war is neither financial or political, it is an Ethical war.

He firmly believes that the Greek crisis is clearly ethical, but as he concludes, borrowing the lyrics of a Greek song:
The days which are ahead will be strange but wonderful days.
The photo has attracted the attention of social media and many news websites, not only in Greece but worldwide. Twitter user, Papapetrou Patroklos, tweets:
@ppapapetrou76: You really need to see it / read it: #MAENADS Really shocking photo of a woman bleeding holding the #greek flag
The news website Greek Reporter writes about the impact of the bloody Maenad:
Users of several social media all around the world, such as Facebook and Twitter, have published the picture in their personal profiles, creating a giant chain of the Greek bloodied Maenad, sharing the message of the concept. (…) The few-words-long slogan is what every Greek person thinks these days, that Greece struggles with the financial crisis and this may be a reason why this image became immediately popular.
The reactions of people to the photo proves right the comment of the photographer that in modern day Greece, the Maenads exist and continue to upset…
This post is part of our special coverage Europe in Crisis.
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