Τρίτη, 10 Ιουλίου 2012
Πέρασαν πια, σχεδόν 4 χρόνια και κάτι μήνες, που γεννήθηκε αυτό εδώ το μικρό site, αυτή η προσωπική ψηφίδα μέσα στο χαώδες διαδίκτυο, από την ανάγκη για επικοινωνία, για έκφραση, για τη μοιρασιά συναισθημάτων, εμπειριών, εικόνων, ήχων, γεύσεων, της ζωής ενός ποδηλάτη και όχι μόνο, στη ζωή και στην πραγματικότητα...
Με το σπαστό ποδήλατο ως εφαλτήριο, η παρατήρηση των πραγμάτων γύρω και των γεγονότων, έγινε το κύριο στοιχείο αυτού του blog, αυτής της ιστορίας που ξετυλίχτηκε μέσα από τις λέξεις σ' αυτή την ιστοσελίδα. Πιστεύω, πως άγγιξε κόσμο, πως κάποια στιγμή σας έβαλε να σκεφτείτε, να προβληματιστείτε. Να ταξιδέψετε σε απίθανα μέρη, σε νησιά και σε θάλασσες, σε πόλεις του κόσμου, αλλά και σε δραματικά γεγονότα, επεισόδια και εικόνες της Αθήνας, που θέλουμε να ξεχάσουμε. Σε μοναδικές εμπειρίες θεατρικές, καλλιτεχνικές αναζητήσεις και συναντήσεις μ' ανθρώπους του δρόμου και της καθημερινότητας. Σε αγκαλιές και φιλιά, σε ανθρώπους και πρόσωπα με φωτεινά μάτια και πίστη για ό,τι κάνουν. Δάκρυα και χαμόγελα. Ζωή.
Πάνω απ' όλα, ήταν μια αγνή, αφοπλιστική αφήγηση, ενός ανθρώπου που αφιέρωσε ώρες και ώρες σε κάτι που αγαπά και πάντα θα αγαπά. Τη γραφή.
Έρχεται όμως και το πλήρωμα του χρόνου... Αλλάζουν οι καταστάσεις, οι συνθήκες της ζωής, τα ερεθίσματα, η ανάγκη να αφιερωθείς κάπου αλλού. Και η γνώση, να κλείνεις κάτι πάνω στην ώρα που είναι ακόμα όμορφο, να μη φθίνει, να μην παρακμάσει και να το θυμάσαι πάντα με περηφάνια. Αυτό το μικρό μου παιδί, αυτό το blog, είναι καιρός πια να περπατήσει, να φύγει για άλλες πολιτείες μακρινές και ονειρικές. Είναι δύσκολο να λες αντίο, σε κάτι που αγαπάς πάρα πολύ, αλλά ξέρεις πως ίσως είναι μια ανάπαυλα, πως κάτι άλλο μπορεί σ' άλλη μορφή πια να ξεπηδήσει... Το παιδί πρέπει να πάρει πια το δρόμο μόνο του. Να ενηλικιωθεί...
Σχεδόν 290 posts μετά, περίπου 80000 επισκέπτες, εκατοντάδες χιλιάδες λέξεις, πάνω από 1000 σχόλια και δεκάδες email, είναι καιρός αυτή η ιστορία πια να κλείσει, αυτή η ιστοσελίδα, να μείνει στα ράφια της βιβλιοθήκης του Internet και να ξεσκονίζεται από τους αναγνώστες του Google σύμπαντος που ίσως, που και που, να διαβάζουν και να ονειρεύονται, να μαθαίνουν, ν΄ανακαλύπτουν. Ακόμα...
Κάπου εδώ θα κλείσω και η αυλαία θα πέσει και αυτή. Το ταξίδι ήταν μαγικό, ασύλληπτο, μου έδωσε πολλές χαρές και γνώρισα μέσω αυτού εξαιρετικούς ανθρώπους, μα πάνω απ' όλα, μεταδόθηκε θαρρώ και λίγη θετική ενέργεια, που σπανίζει στις μέρες μας. Μόνο και μόνο γι' αυτό, αφήνω αυτή την ιστορία με γεμάτη καρδιά από συγκινήσεις, απαντήσεις, σχόλια, εικόνες. Πλήρης.
Σας ευχαριστώ όλους, όλα αυτά τα χρόνια για την παρακολούθηση. Είναι καιρός η σκηνή να κλείσει. Ίσως μετακομίσει κάπου αλλού... Ίσως για τίποτα εξαιρετικό, να δώσει πάλι μια μικρή "παράσταση"... Θα δείξει, θα τα φέρει αυτή η ζωή, αυτή η φυσική εξέλιξη όλων. Η ζωή κάνει κύκλο. Αυτός ο αιώνιος, ασάλευτος κύκλος... Ολοκλήρωση. "We have come to the end of our show..."
Σας φιλώ. Εις το επανειδείν
left for another place...
In English please...
It has been almost 4 years and a few months that this blog was created, this tiny specimen of words in the vastness of the Internet sphere. Obviously, through the need to communicate, to express beliefs and ideas, feelings, record images and sounds, tastes, to share what life could offer in the ever changing life of a cyclist and not only, in the Athenian and global roads.
With the little folding bicycle as a tool, observation was the key element of this blog and all its interpretations that unfolded through words in this space. I strongly believe that it did affect people on the positive side, it touched those sensitive human "strings", it made some people think and trouble a bit. For that I am happy. It made you travel to incredible Greek Islands and landscapes, cities and urban cultures of the world, but also to dramatic events like the Athens riots and demonstrations, issues that we would like to forget. To unique theatre, artistic and other paths of wonders, to meetings with everyday or unique people. In laughter and hugs. In people that truly supported what they did and why they did it. Life!
Above all, I do believe that it was a pure, gentle "language" of a person who devoted unlimited amount of time in something he adored and will never stop loving. Writing.
Time though calls for a closure. We change, times change, all those stimuli that once were strong, now they are simply irrelevant. You feel the need to devote yourself in something new. It's always preferred to put an end into something, when this is at its peak and does not result in a bad, failed state of its once good shelf. That would have been sad. To remember everything with pride and joy. This young child, has now grown. It's time to walk on its own, to discover new lands and new faces... Maybe to evolve, like a butterfly to a new self. Who knows?
290 posts, more than 80000 visitors, 1000 comments and hundreds of thousands of words after, it's time for this chapter to end. This blog site, can now remain in the unique Internet library, a small trace for the Google user, the search engine man, to dust into pieces of information, kept as the mean of the best resources. To all those who want to read, learn, dream and discover. Still...
It's time to close and the show must come down. The final curtain is drawn. The trip was unique, magical, incredible. It offered joy and tears, it helped me meet through our communication wonderful people and lives. Above all, I do think that it offered some sparkles of positive energy, something that is not common in our times. For that I leave this space with a sheer emotion of plenitude.
I do thank you all for following my words. It's time for this stage to close. It could move somewhere else... Who knows? Maybe for some extraordinary events, it could be put together and give one-more shows! Life will lead the way, as it has always done, in this never-ending eternal circle of evolution. Fulfilment. "We have come to the end of our show..."
Till we meet again.
left for another place...
Τρίτη, 15 Μαΐου 2012
Δεν έχω ξεχαστεί...
Απλά, περιμένω εκεί στη γωνία να δω τον τόπο μου, καθώς πλησιάζει λίγο ακόμα προς τον γκρεμό...
Περιμένω εκεί, στη γωνία τους Έλληνες της Ελλάδας, που είναι κακομαθημένα, μικρά, σαχλαμάρικα παιδιά, μπας και ξυπνήσουν...
Αλλά και η ψήφος τους ήταν ίσως λίγη...
Περιμένω λίγο ακόμα, πριν ξεσπάσω, γιατί η σαχλαμάρα σας αδέρφια δεν έχει προηγούμενο...
Που πιστεύουν στον πρώτο απαίδευτο, ανώριμο, γελοίο, άεργο πολιτικάντη αριστερό και δεξιό, πως όλα μαγικά θα φτιάξουν στα πρότερα τα μεγαλεία τα ψεύτικα.
Ματαίως όμως, εκεί πεισματικά τίποτα δεν αλλάζει.
Και νομίζω πως λυπάμαι που είμαι ας πούμε αδερφός σας ακόμα....
Αλλά γιατί θέλετε να σκοτώσετε και εμένα στη δική σας κατρακύλα;
Και λίγους ακόμα λογικούς ανθρώπους;
Πάτε στα κύπελα, στα καφέ και στα μπουζούκια.
Αυτά σας αξίζουν.
Εμένα όχι όμως.
Και κάπως έτσι υπάρχει πια μια πόρτα εξόδου.
Μου τη δείχνετε μόνοι σας πια.
Θα τα πούμε σύντομα.
Ελπίζω στην Ευρώπη να ανήκομε ακόμα...
Που άλλωστε ποτέ δεν το χωνέψαμε το δίλημμα τούτο.
Αντίο για τώρα.
Τετάρτη, 11 Απριλίου 2012
My fellow Greek readers, who their command of English is not at a substantial level, this post needs to be written in English, to communicate the experience to my French and all other colleagues, who offered a dreamy experience in Paris, France in March 2012, on the occasion of the performance of
"Henry the Vth. This is how we start...".
"Henry the Vth. This is how we start...".
It was back in July 2009, when during a very interesting course I was attending in Paris, London and Berlin, in cooperation with RADA, the Actors Centre and the Int. Institute of Performing Arts and 40 amazing people, actors and artists from across the world, I met some very interesting French people. Crazy and French. You don't need more!
It so happened, that one of them, named Luc, approached me with a lot of respect and one nice thought! He is part of an artistic company, a very active gang of really talented, I have to say people, with the French name "Le Bouc Sur Le Toit", which took me at least a year to learn to spell it correctly by heart, without looking at some notes! :). This, in actual English translation means "The Goat on the roof", or in Greek "Ο Τράγος στη Σκεπή". Which as I have also learned from my theatre encounters and adventures in France, the male goat in particular, symbolises "Drama", in the French theatrical scene. Get it?
Luc, came forward with a great idea. Since it seems that in acting, and not exclusively, in arts in general, we can very well co-educate ourselves in an International programme, why don't we try to build a Pan-European experiment of different actors, from different countries, speaking different languages, acting with different acting methods, different starting points and stories and yet one common love: playing, acting, being in this magical world, we call theatre! And what greatest chance to discover one of the most prolific writers in the World, W. Shakespeare, a genius of words, texts, images, scenes through a common effort to build, create, perform in one of his classical texts, with a modern eye. He had clearly set his mind in the story of "Henry the Vth", a rather "boring" for the French (and I think for most of us this side of the Channel and Dover) as it overflows with English patriotism and a war that was actually pretty devastating for my wine and cheese lover mates in the French land! But wait..! The intention was not to focus, on a pure reproductive staging, a classical approach with the usual paraphernalia that accompany some Shakespeare productions, but to take it beyond that. I could never say NO, to such a delicious offer, and that's how, with the effect of drowsiness caused by almost 3 glasses of fresh, French wine, I accepted happily to become the Greek addition to this effort and was baptised the representative of "Henry the project" in Athens, Greece! We are talking about big stuff!
The text of "Henry the Vth", is full of images of a great King, a leader that brings change and creates new historic moments (for the English of course), as he conquers another land. Now, that rung a bell with some modern invasions and leaders, like his honorary G. Bush, who decided to go to Iraq, to basically liberate, the oil pipelines for the interests of the American companies. How was this communicated to the common people in the US? Sitting at a Bar in NYC, drinking a Budweiser and watching the announcement from a TV, none of all those bar people, could actually realise that their country is dragged to a war, that killed thousands of Iraqis and American Soldiers as well. And this is just an example. If we take a look in the European and generally Western societies in the last 20 years or so, you will see how many wars, invasions, etc. were staged, while the people had no idea what a devastating thing war is, since this is not staged in their lands. As long as it is not affecting their doorstep. But others had to suffer. And there's no clear justification for staging a war for the so-called freedom of anybody from someone else. I have a little and very graphic magnet at my fridge door, bought from flower power San Francisco that clearly says: "Bombing for peace is like fucking for virginity!" :)
Moreover, the invasion of France, by the other than this very amicable English folks, was a very interesting point to start and examine, where do we currently stand in the European continent currently, after so much love affair with the EU, or with happy children holding hands in advertising spots and Beethoven musical pieces. Have we really gone forward with our national prides and prejudices? How integrated have we become? Well, as it seems from the rise of extreme right political parties in France and across Europe, or of the most recent loathing with a lot of prejudices for the crisis stricken South, reproducing clichés from both sides, for the fascist Germans and the lazy Greeks, or Mafia Italians, it seems that we haven't really done too much, have we? So, this text was also used to try and pass our worries, our beliefs that the game is getting a bit out of control.
Like any projects, "Henry the Vth" project, passed many stages from the small starting steps, like contacting other people to inform them and ask for their efforts and participation, but silently, meticulously, we put everything into track, for coming together in Paris, in March 2012, for this dream to start becoming a reality. It took hundreds of emails, establishing a good working relation with my French mates and slowly we added more people into this, like a fellow actress from Ireland, now in London, one or two British lads, who at the moment were not available, a great fellow from Belgium and apart from myself, other two Greek additions to the group. Talented and so sweet Dina Mihailidi, with her 25 years of history in the Theatre stages of Athens, and petite Dina (as we called her) Theodorou, with that sharp architecture mind in drawing and constructing stages, directing scenes and video animation.
And this is how we started. On 8th March, the Greek team arrived in the very interesting place, an old factory build by the Eiffel team, (yes, the one who build the tower you see in every pic in Paris) called "Avant Rue".
Virginie Berthier, the very adorable, beloved director, worked a lot with our instinct, allowing us freely to improvise on various scenes from the play. Like a puzzle, she then put all these efforts into one place, creating with the cooperation of all of us, a devised performance. Moreover, the artistic company, has requested from three French writers, to write new pieces, new text, their ideas on Europe of today, or on how they say Henry, how it inspired them or didn't. The writing project took place in Northern Ireland, in a centre we are now in cooperation with at the city of Derry, where the great Irish issue, the divisions of the society have left amazing scars. This was a good ground to grow words regarding a patriotic English king and text!
I was requested to use some of my emails and texts from my blog describing the deteriorating situation in Greece to my friends abroad during the last 3 years and try to incorporate them in the performance. The result was touching, translated at the moment of the performance from a French actress while I was speaking the words in English. Blended together with one piece about the Europe of the Bankers and the Rate Agencies, the contrast was sharp and was taking place live on stage. One of the most powerful moments I have lived in this experience! The energy was immense! And the effect on the French audience too I believe.
The three different languages we speak, French, English and Greek, became a foundation, a splendid allocation of words and texts that broke barriers and with the help and use of the hyper-titles projected, it proved that nobody is actually bothered by what words the actor is speaking, but how he/she communicates those, his power, his standing on stage. I believe that the parts in Greek or English, were communicated in the above way and with the help of the translation, the audience discovered something new and fresh.
The audience of almost 100 people, on Friday night the 23rd of March, seemed to appreciate the effort of a team of people that in almost two weeks, managed to put together speech, bodies, drama, video installation, hyper-titles, music and ideas into a performance with strong messages for the Europe we live today, about war and politics.
But most importantly, I feel great for making an idea to flourish. We managed to bring into life, with this talented team of people who I thank from my bottom of my heart for the experience we shared, a simple thought. To prove that inter-cultural exchange is possible, that obstacles are always a good starting point, if you see them from a different angle. We managed to prove, that as long as people are willing to take artistic risks and trust their instincts, images can be created, stories can be told, people can communicate. Drama is a Greek invention that was perceived for this exact reason. To bring together people under one roof or into the same place at a moment in time and to tell stories that feed the mind and the soul. That's why we all left from this adventure as the proud explorers of new grounds. Grounds of pure, raw, simple, magic exchange of energies, emotions, laughs, tears, problems, solutions, sharing the result with all those who managed to be part of this. We thank them all for their time and good comments.
This is just a start. This was just the first taste of a story that has started to unfold and it's on the making. Yes, we may need now some time for the result to settle and also for some funds to be gathered (by the way donations are happily accepted, ask here, at my email for any offers!!) but the big round theatre ball has started rolling and has no plans to stop.
To all my "Bouc Sur Le Toit", team, thank you for giving us in difficult times for our land, the opportunity and satisfaction to express ourselves, for our participation. Thank you for being so hospitable, so caring for all our needs, so friendly. Let's continue our trip together...
The amazing people on board at this stage, were:
Virginie Berthier, Jean-Marie Clairambault, Zita Cochet, Aurélie Cohen, Claire Dufour, Caroline Dumas de Rauly, Philippos Frangoulis, Bastien Gérard, Xavier Guerlin, Luc Guiol, Fabienne Labarthe, Peggy Lecaudé, Thomas Méreau, Juliette Morel, Constantiina Mihailidou, Constantina Teodorou, Laura Tirandaz.
Merci, au revoir Paris...
Παρασκευή, 16 Μαρτίου 2012
I have so many things to share
I have so many things to write
I have so pleasure to transmit
I have so many dreams to describe
Experiences to write and share with you
Subtle moments of artistic creation to catch and present
Moments that make you laugh and cry
The craft of theatre on my side
And yet, I am living my own Ithaca
In Paris, with artists, writers, designers, people of talent
So hard work it takes in this Ithaca to be fulfilled
And so I chose yet not to speak
My writing will be short this time
Cause I have for the moment experiences to collect
And the energy that makes your body shake
Is a gift that comes from the deep ancestral needs of humans
I thank God and all the Gods
for giving me the chance to be who I am
cause acting is a blessing
for those who can humble say I am an actor...
Paris, the project is still unfolding
Yet this is my first text of things for you
Living my Ithaca, is a dream
Will return on this spot soon
Will return on this spot soon
Δευτέρα, 27 Φεβρουαρίου 2012
|Begging for the future gone... BUT read on please...|
Sluggish steps are leading my morning walk to the office. One day after the Greek Parliament voting procedure, acting as my "saviour" and guarantor of a future that I have not been asked to participate, has decided for me, without me, for the benefits of my creditors. The smell of burned material, and buildings is lingering all over the badly damaged Athens centre.
The same old story has been unfolded. At Sunday, tens of thousands of peaceful people, among them myself as well, decided to show that this is not the way, but in the first 20 minutes, we were all tear-gassed like flies in a closed room for no apparent reason. Constitution square, became for once more, a gas chamber and chaos prevailed in the city. At the very nice convenience of the powerhouse and the politicians, when the so called "anarchists" or just thugs, whose role is highly suspicious in the last 20 years more or less in the Greek street protest movement, almost untouched, were burning down and looting half of the city. Meanwhile, the police, following an "ingenious" mechanism, basically was forbidding our right even to show that we share a different opinion for the matters and was more busy chasing young and old indiscriminately, instead of the looters.
Sooner or later, the TV screens around the world and in the living rooms of the Greek middle-"terrorised"-class, were showing pictures of fires devouring historic buildings and to the much relief of the elite, people once more concentrated in the aftermath of the clashes, showing a case of fear and social unrest, which is very suitable for allowing people to believe that the politicians and the creditors way, is the only way out of this mess. For once more, people around the world, were still trying to understand what the hell is going on with this little corner of the world, which trust me, is not even a small little cobble in its significance in the world economic arena, but somehow we have managed to terrorise the whole "system". Somehow if we fall, the world will collapse and the sky will fall on all the rest of you. People around the world, might just say, why don't you shut up and "hello, you are being bailed out of your mess"... So, time to set the records straight.
Truly sad simplistic method of thinking, in the very convenient scenario of the next episode of the Greek Debt thriller crisis. The drama has been strategically produced by the bureaucrats of the EU, our political elite and corrupted system of social ethics, the I.M.F. (International Monetary Fund), Banks and hedge funds abroad, part of the Greek society, which does have a lot to earn from the current status-quo and yes, Germany with the abundant help of France.
You must have read hundreds of pages of analysis, ideas, thoughts, etc. about our case here, in this rather weird place called Greece. Well. Guess what? Greece is the guinea pig of the future that awaits you all, and you just fell for it.
Let us put some facts straight, from a simple educated Greek man's way of seeing things and living them daily for the last 13 years. Of course the list below, cannot and will not put into place all our troubles and their causes, but surely is the backbone of an analysis:
- Getting into the Euro, was by all means, a nice "cookery" class of the books with the Master-chef being the authorities of the EU, who didn't see, didn't know, and the political elite of the country, along with the financial institutions and the corporate world, who having the 2004 Olympic games as a target point, could not resist the idea of the hyper profits from construction, consumption and services that this land could offer. Plus, it was a matter of political decision, to show that countries like Greece, can become members of a northern "club" in a continent that undoubtedly, exists.
- Not all, but yes, a percentage of the Greek population was trained by a corrupted system, to be the same corrupted protagonists for years and were systematically cultivated by the idea that you can live a life by the full with not your own means, pampered by easy lending by the Banks, to shop and consume mostly EU goods (so guess where the money was going), build houses, and generally live a lifestyle that was for the first time, in stark difference with the well balanced philosophy of the Greek population that has prevailed through the centuries. Mind you though, a philosophy that arose from the very hard times of a new state that was build in 1830.
- Moreover, systematically the Greek economy, shifted from the simple pure primary sector, small to medium size enterprises, good local partly-heavy industry products, and a simple methodology of tourism, to a services economy of basically nothing worthy to mention, multinationals that started to get their grips in the local market, at the expense of the small fish in the pond, a private work-force structure that never operated correctly in respect of rules and regulations, or mechanisms to protect the worker, the employer and the industrialist and pushed the public into an ever-growing search for a place in the well paid-off and protected, in most cases, over-bloated public sector.
- At this point, I need to mention that you cannot blame 100% the "child" for being left alone at the "candy" shop, especially when you knew that it has passed almost 4 wars, hunger, poverty, a military dictatorship, a civil war etc. The "parents" were watching as the child got extremely overweight, but they were getting all the profits from the shop as well. All was well in the Land of OZ!
- Systematically Greece, was also pushed by the so called big powers and local agendas, as well as a problematic authority of the political and military class in Turkey, to be in a continuous crisis dilemma and problems with this country on the East. As a result, French, German and US war industries were making a fortune on the expense of the other sectors of the economy, like education, the health system, infrastructure. War ships, submarines (some of German nature, which as found out, were malfunctioning), thousands of artillery, etc. A casino bonanza on two NATO, so called, allies.
- A lot has been written about tax - evasion. There are a lot of social economic reasons, why not all, but certain parts of the Greek population would avoid any tax. The main reason derives from the fact, that taxation was never really worth it, in a country that you were taxed a lot, but got peanuts in returns, as the state was more interested not in investing but basically just paying its oversized civil sector. Most important: as a simple employer with monthly wages there was no chance that you could avoid tax. Pensioners, and normal people on the pay-roll where the victims of a system that allowed other social classes (which tend to inhibit the professional credentials of the Greek MPs) to hide a lot of their income. The whole mechanism was not operating properly for generations.
- Before the events truly unfolded, the world markets and speculators, systematically worked against the ability of a nation to find cash in the world stage. Of course, our political class, starting years ago, have paved very nicely the way, by never actually tackling the real causes of the issue or starting to worry a bit. Actually it all suited them. And to put on a blame on some Greeks, this was not as it seems a cause to protest.
- There's no bail out. Basically we are under an enormous, unprecedented by any historical facts in the modern world, methodology of a completely wrong effort to solve a problem that could have been solved so much easier at the beginning, with a generous acknowledgement of the fact that the Greek debt is not going to be repaid, get what you could get and restart. That would cost much less for both us and the tax payers of the countries involved. The whole issue was though for the Banks, especially in Germany, France and global financial institutions, not to lose their money, which now eventually will lose (!). To build a secure firewall.
- Nobody should call "help" a program that among so called partners, basically charges one member, with a much larger interest on the benefit of the other and on the expense of a whole population. Period. This is just doing business like a loan shark.
- We are seeing, a vigorous decision by the social and economic elite of the EU and our own country, to shift the wealth from the middle classes, the foundation of Greek society, to the ultra-rich in a way that creates a great divide among the population. This is well proved by the fact that in the last year or so, more than 22billion of Euros has fled the country to Britain and Switzerland. Or that the country's well off, in the last two years have bought property of 100.000GBP to over 3million in the UK capital. Just to be on the safe side.
- Even a first year Economics student, would tell you immediately from the start of the process by the ECB, I.M.F. and the EU, with the interesting from a psychological point of view and rather peculiar stance of Mrs Merkel for discipline and ignorance of the real problems of the Eurozone, that the austerity measures imposed, in close collaboration with the incompetence and unwillingness of the Greek political class to truly reform its corrupted clientèle in the elite and public sector services that it would never provide growth. And that they would never solve the issue by basically cutting the spending power of the middle class, which was the driving force of the economy, and their only care being basically a methodology to get their money back from the loans they were giving. The vicious circle had just started.
- Two years on this road, the Greek economy has contracted almost 5% to 7% a year, unemployment is almost 21%, and these are the official rates, which in our country are always less than the real ones, as a lot of people are working in the "shadow". Social services and health services are collapsing with NGOs talking about a Greek disaster, as more and more people seek to them for assistance, homeless rates along with crime, drugs, prostitution, suicides are on a sharp rise. This is now a society that its own seams are breaking loose and you can see this in your everyday life. On the same time, pensions, wages, benefits have been slashed and people's incomes have been demolished by an unprecedented rape of wealth through taxation, like a new property tax that has to be paid at your electricity bill, otherwise you would end up with no power at all, or huge amounts of money demanded for backdated taxes. Thousands of families, as all these measures were imposed saw their income diminishing, from e.g. 1200€ to 800€, for a school teacher etc.
- The last bail-out package, which people tried to protest again but never allowed, is also a disaster, by slushing the minimum wage by 22%, which will effect all the current wages in the private sector, cutting even more pensions, unemployment allowance to 361€ per month and a huge blow to workers benefits, legislation, collective agreements, turning the country almost in a medieval workforce status of doing business and exploiting the already exploited people. These days, if you are lucky enough to find a job in Greece, even if you own a Master's from Oxford, you will probably get paid from 450€ to 600€ per month and in a city that is almost as expensive as major European capitals. Euro is to blame for this as well, plus some greedy local and international folks out there.
- But the most important side effect of this crisis, which should trouble all of you, is that basically democracy has been demolished, in the land that invented it, by actually allowing the powerhouse of the EU and the markets, to establish by an enormous pressure, (on the basis of pure blackmail to decide whether you are kicked out of the Eurozone and probably the EU or get the money), to form a so called "collaboration" government. Having as a Prime Minister an ex Banker, who mind you was part of the story of the "faked" Euro entrance books, as leader of the Greek Central Bank at that period who basically was called to be the man, no elections of course, to pass all the necessary measures for the second memorandum and massive loan to the Greek state. We are still seeing this play unfold, not only here but also in Italy.
- To be fair though, the above road was successfully constructed by utter and worrying incompetence of the two main political parties and lack of a truly gifted person to take in charge this land.
- And to close all the above, my personal view is that responsibility lies equally on the Greek people, who were very comfortable in adopting a certain lifestyle but were not comfortable to criticise, judge for the benefit of their country, their politicians by electing the same folks again and again and still, even if you might not think so, not really involved in the current affairs. That Sunday, we should have been 1 million on the road. Not one hundred thousand. The devil's advocate of course would comment that people are simply just struggling more and more to make ends meet and hence there's no time for conflict... I somehow doubt that.
It is obvious from all the above, that the "Greece" that you might be thinking of as a naughty boy or girl in the party, is just the tip of the iceberg in this "family" full of problems that are coming your way and basically nobody wants to talk about. All those in Europe who complain are so naive, not to understand that this crisis, is a crisis of LIFE, of the way your social state has been build, on the values that Europe should have been following and has failed completely. Cooperating and not trying to find ways to make money by placing misery on others. We are the guinea pigs of a system that is collapsing, but does not want to lose its grip on its vast profits and hence the ones who are not "abiding" by the rules, must be severely punished. And yet the punishment falls only on the weak and the vulnerable, as the Latinisation (a syndrome of Latin American economies of the 80-90's with extreme rich and poor) of Europe is on process.
This people, is the Third World War, but it's an economic war. We are indeed living into times that we have never lived before. The exodus for Greece seems as the journey of Ulysses to Ithaca but with even more unknown obstacles. There are ideas that could be taken from countries like Iceland, where the people managed to take some form of initiative and change the methodology that was pushed on them by the markets and their also corrupted system. But they still had some form of willingness, from some politicians, to dare and take a different stance for the people. In the EU and Greece of today the system, is reacting with tremendous propaganda against any other solution, any other agenda, against the beliefs of the ordinary man on the protest street who is thought of as an ignorant lazy fellow. The dilemma is not only Euro or no Euro! These are false priorities if we want to look ahead in the distant future.
But no... He/she's there, because there are many stakes lost in this battle. The future of the next generation. The future of the choice that you do not need to sell all of your land and resources cheaply to huge conglomerates just to pay the bills. The future that says, let us go back to the basics of our society. Good raw materials, sustainable cultivation of amazing Mediterranean products, that are constantly been awarded and exported in the world. Services that are of low-size scale but highly efficient and specialised. Amazing beauty of land and sea, that needs tourism that will respect the human scale, the resources of the land. That yes, it can provide luxury and majestic facilities, but to clientèle that will know why it arrives here, and how to respect this beauty. A rich and talented wealth of cultural heritage that is not treated as the least favourite child of the family but its foundation. This country, steeped in history and with so diverse folk traditions that have managed to survive, could become the epicentre of a world effort that seeks cultural awareness, creativity and act as the transportation system, on the crossroad of East and West, for people to communicate. Simplicity. Wealth of nature. Highly skilled & educated young generation. Humbleness. Respect.
But moreover, the Greeks must re-organise themselves. It's not happening yet. But it may be starting. Slowly. Re-organising not under the strict terms of the business culture. But of the human factor. Go back to see our story as a net of a society that produced and helped each other in harmony. What one produced the other was consuming. Cooperation. Solidarity. A new start for the state. This will take time. All the above may sound like a wish list from the land of dreams, but that's exactly what we need right now, not in Greece, but in the World. To invent a new system for our planet. The two that have prevailed the last two centuries have collapsed.
So, maybe it has fallen again on this corner of the world, to invent out of misery and rebirth something new. Is this our calling? Can we make it? Are we up to it?
Do not loathe Greece, cause Greece is your future. Yes. As soon as we all realise that, we may start thinking. Thinking for the best. For the children to be born. For a reboot. For your real assistance with ideas, common work on this new path.
After all, the sun rose gloriously again in Athens. And the first lemon tree and jasmine blossoms poured their smell on the small street I was walking by. And the music of Hatzidakis still came out of the balcony on the building across the street. And the sky was so blue, and that amazing light still filled up the Attica skyline. And kids were playing in-front of the church. And cats were sitting and sleeping at the sunshine. And life was simply unfolding, as it has always been and done thousands of years now. Cause life always, even under the most difficult conditions, finds its way. We have survived. We will again.
It's not sheer luck that modern civilisation grew in this corner of the world, called the Eastern Mediterranean basin. Maybe, it's time for another story to be told. But we must believe it. And try it. Give it a chance to breath. All we need is your true human support. And jobs. Hard jobs.