Monday, June 29, 2009

More pictures from the 12th Anti - Racist Festival Thessaloniki - 12ου Αντιρατσιστικού Φεστιβάλ Θεσσαλονίκη

Saturday - The 12th Anti - Racist Festival Thessaloniki - 12ου Αντιρατσιστικού Φεστιβάλ Θεσσαλονίκη

There was a Spanish punk band performing on Saturday at the Anti - Racist Festival and the crowd went wild when they started to play. Took me back, it did, to a time when I moshed with the best of them.

More adventures in retail

They frantically gather around for the sixth time in ten minutes, discussing something in fierce tones which I cannot hear. Eventually, one of them comes back to me and I half expect him to say, “Well, we haven’t got your order but we’re this close to bring peace to the Middle East.”

Actually, what he said that after three attempts to buy a flash for my camera I had yet again been thwarted. I go to argue my case but soon I realise that I’m outclassed by these battle hardened BAT (Blame Avoidance Techniques) practitioners. One then goes into a long, I suspect mainly fictitious account of how many order lacked.........and so........warehouse........ at this point I tuned out the noise and decided that life is too short to listen to this crap.

So leaving Plaisio after three unsuccessful attempts I decided to try my luck elsewhere, not realising that it is easier in this city to buy heroin than it is camera accessories.

The next few places I tried did not have any flashes either and indeed the salesman in one large electronics store, surrounded by cameras, lenses and tripods looked at me quizzically, trying to figure where on earth I had got the idea that his department had such an item.

Of course what I should have done is go to a shop selling just cameras and the like but I am wary of such places as unless you know exactly what you want the BS factor tends to balloon out of control within a matter of minutes.

I did eventually find a couple of places flashes but at prices way beyond my budget. Interestingly, no matter where I went the prices were always exactly the same. The kind of free market that would make any Soviet trained economist go moist eyed with nostalgia.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

LocalKicks site uses my photographs without permission

I recently found out that one of my pictures on Flickr has been used on a site called LocalKicks in some article on privacy. I have sent several emails today buy have not received any reply so I decided to write about here and on Flickr in order to raise awareness of the fact that some businesses seem to think that they can use any image they want on the internet without bothering with legal niceties such as getting permission first.

I am not a professional photographer but I have many friends who are and this cavalier use of images is particularly annoying for them as it makes earning a living even more difficult since people are unwilling to pay if they can get stuff for free.

Hoot for Privacy

I have been looking at various forums on Flickr and it seems that this is not the first time that LocalKicks has been caught using pictures without permission (see here for other cases). I regularly let sites use my pictures but that is my decision and is guided by what I consider important. My Flickr page clearly states that all rights are reserved though the Commons Creative Licence I signed up for does state that I do allow the use of images as long as they are for non - commercial purposes and I am credited. This case fails both those criteria.

I would appreciate any advice on what to do next.


LocalKicks has just take the picture off their site.

Saturday - The 12th Anti - Racist Festival Thessaloniki - 12ου Αντιρατσιστικού Φεστιβάλ Θεσσαλονίκη

Saturday - The 12th Anti - Racist Festival Thessaloniki - 12ου Αντιρατσιστικού Φεστιβάλ Θεσσαλονίκη

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The 12th Anti - Racist Festival Thessaloniki - 12ου Αντιρατσιστικού Φεστιβάλ Θεσσαλονίκη

This was taken last night at the 12th Anti-Racist Festival here in Thessaloniki during a theatrical performance. The actors braved it despite the fact that it started raining and later we witnessed a torrential downpour which flooded large parts of the centre. Let's hope that the next two days of the event they have better luck with the weather.

Actually, the whole event is a breathe of of fresh air, a reminder that the clownish local politicians and thuggish right wing politics that the city is identified with in much of Greece do not represent everyone here.

There are plenty of people who care about issues such as ecology, immigration, equal rights etc more than just once every four years when elections are looming, people who are taking a stand against the growing tide of xenophobia and nationalistic conservatism that seems to have gripped the city over the last few years.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The 12th Anti - Racist Festival Thessaloniki - 12ου Αντιρατσιστικού Φεστιβάλ Θεσσαλονίκη

The 12th Anti - Racist Festival starts tonight at 9pm. It will last three days and is on the seafront (Paralia) opposite the School for the Blind (Sxoli Tyflon). The event includes concerts, film shows, theatre, discussions, workshops and lots of activities for kids.

Παρασκευή 26/6

Παραστάσεις- Δρώμενα

Η ιστορία των κρουστών στους πολιτισμούς του κόσμου με ήχους και εικόνες από το Συγκρότημα Κρουστών “ΚΡΟΥΣΤΩΔΙΑ”
“Σύνορα” , Διαπολιτισμικοί Διάλογοι μέσα από τη Γλώσσα του Θεάτρου από τους/τις μαθητές/τριες του Διαπολιτισμικού Γυμνασίου Πυλαίας, σε σκηνοθεσία. Κόλντο Βίο
• Χοροθεατρικό “La liberta des eskllavos” από την ομάδα Cuba Baila


Προβολές για τα Σύνορα & τους Πρόσφυγες από την Ομάδα Μεταναστών & Προσφύγων

Ντοκιμαντέρ για τις Συνθήκες Κράτησης στις Ελληνικές Φυλακές από την Πρωτοβουλία για τα Δικαιώματα των Κρατουμένων

ΕΞΑΡΤΗΣΕΙΣ: «Τα ναρκωτικά κάνουν… καλό στην πολιτική» του Σ. Κούλογλου - Ρεπορτάζ Χωρίς Σύνορα από το Συντονιστικό ΜΚΟ & Πρωτοβουλιών για τον Κοινωνικό Αποκλεισμό

ΥΓΕΙΑ: «Masters of Life and Death: Doctors in the Third Reich»
των Christopher Paul - Christian Feyerabend / ZDF
από το Συντονιστικό ΜΚΟ & Πρωτοβουλιών για τον Κοινωνικό Αποκλεισμό


Δυτική Σκηνή
• X-Darawish
• Ensemple Minoria Grande
• Bubasvabe
• Jazz Frenquently Quarted
• Boikot

Ανατολική Σκηνή
• Kappa Band
• Μαρία Φωτίου και Λωξάνδρα
• Φωτεινή Βελετσιώτου – Β. Πρατσινάκης – Γ. Λίζος
• Σαbach
• Χρήστος Μητρέντζης


  • Ενημέρωση για NoBorder Camp (Μυτιλήνη, Αύγουστος 2009). Αντιρατσιστική Πρωτοβουλία Θεσσαλονίκης
  • Για την Κατάργηση των Φυλακών Ανηλίκων, εισηγήσεις: Γ. Νούσκαλης, (λέκτορας Νομικής), Ε. Κομπατσιάρη (καμπάνια για την Κατάργηση των Φυλακών Ανηλίκων). Πρωτοβουλία για τα Δικαιώματα των Κρατουμένων
  • Ενοποίηση των αγώνων ντόπιων και μεταναστών εργαζομένων – νεολαίων ενάντια στην εργασιακή επισφάλεια-ανασφάλεια. Σωματείο Μισθωτών Εκπαιδευτικών Θεσσαλονίκης, Σωματείο Αποκλειστικών Nοσηλευτριών Μακεδονίας
  • Μετανάστες/τριες και πολιτική συγκυρία. ΣΥ.ΡΙΖ.Α.
  • Η Μεταναστευτική πολιτική στο φόντο της Κρίσης και η απάντηση της αντικαπιταλιστικής Αριστεράς. ΑΝΤ.ΑΡ.ΣΥ.Α.
  • “Who are I” - Ανάπτυξη διαπολιτισμικού διαλόγου. Βιωματικό εργαστήριο-συζήτηση. Συντονιστικό ΜΚΟ & Πρωτοβουλιών για τον Κοινωνικό Αποκλεισμό.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Twitter on the Barricades

Chrysa - Χρύσα, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

I came across this article on twitter by Noam Chomsky on the International Herald Tribune website. It is perhaps one of the most lucid analysis of the microblogging service that allows users to post short messages of 140 characters or less.

When I first saw Twitter last year I have to admit that I was less than impressed. It seemed trite and boring, but when the December riots broke out in Greece it proved to be an excellent way of keeping up with events. Nowadays the mainstream media have caught onto Twitter to the extent that it even made the front page of Time magazine.

Now we can follow what is happening in Iran at the moment via Twitter (#iranelection) and at least have an alternative to the official version of events. I have to agree with Chomsky's idea that Twitter is not a medium of organisation, being too limited to the well off and/or techno-literate, but it is an excellent way of connecting local events with the wider international community.

I saw this with my own eyes in December where the use of Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Skype and blogs allowed Greeks to mould the way the riots and protests were seen in the international media and in that way get beyond the local media's message which was that all the trouble was just the work of a few mindless hooligans. As with Iran now the events that shoke Greece following the death of Alexis Grigoropoulos in December were best reported by those on the streets and on the internet.

Likewise a small group of people of no more than a few hundred Twitter users, with a hardcore of less than ten, technically minded users who felt comfortable using English (another big hurdle which those who talk about globalisation seem to forget) were able to get out the news to a global audience. They did not organise or direct what happened but rather were a vital link between the demonstrators on the streets and the rest of the world.

Having seen Twitter in action from street level I do believe that it has the power to change things, however, as a tool, it is liable to manipulation by media literate groups and regimes and that is exactly what I predict will happen soon when Twitter is enlisted in some kind of Wag the Dog scenario in the near future. Imagine the Gulf of Tonkin Incident (which marked the start of America's official involvement in the Vietnam war) using Twitter.

So here is the article;

"Political revolutions are often closely linked to communication tools. The American Revolution wasn’t caused by the proliferation of pamphlets, written to whip colonists into a frenzy against the British. But it sure helped.

Social networking, a distinctly 21st-century phenomenon, has already been credited with aiding protests from the Republic of Georgia to Egypt to Iceland. And Twitter, the newest social-networking tool, has been identified with two mass protests in a matter of months — in Moldova in April and in Iran last week, when hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to oppose the official results of the presidential election.

But does the label Twitter Revolution, which has been slapped on the two most recent events, oversell the technology? Skeptics note that only a small number of people used Twitter to organize protests in Iran and that other means — individual text messaging, old-fashioned word of mouth and Farsi-language Web sites — were more influential. But Twitter did prove to be a crucial tool in the cat-and-mouse game between the opposition and the government over enlisting world opinion.

As the Iranian government restricts journalists’ access to events, the protesters have used Twitter’s agile communication system to direct the public and journalists alike to video, photographs and written material related to the protests. (As has become established custom on Twitter, users have agreed to mark, or “tag,” each of their tweets with the same bit of type — #IranElection — so that users can find them more easily). So maybe there was no Twitter Revolution. But over the last week, we learned a few lessons about the strengths and weaknesses of a technology that is less than three years old and is experiencing explosive growth."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Lydia - Λυδία

Lydia - Λυδία, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

A chip off the old block. Το μήλο κάτω απ΄την μηλιά, έπεσε.

Stay calm. This is just an exercise.

"Remember kids, what are you supposed to do when you see the flash?"


Monday, June 22, 2009

The meeting that never was - Old media in terminal decline

News, news, news
It's not been a good week for the mainstream media here in Greece. Today one of the country's leading dailies, Eleutheros Typos (Free Press) announced that it was closing down, blaming an unsustainable business model. Like newspapers in many parts of the world the combination of falling advertising revenue and the challenges of the internet has eaten into profits. On the other hand newspapers in Greece have long been facing a drop in readership which I think has nothing to do with either the current recession or free content on the web.

While access to the internet is growing it still lags behind the rest of Europe and so to blame it for the failure of newspapers here seems a mite premature. On the other hand the relatively low level of readership is, in part the result of a long term policy by local media corporations to cut costs at any cost. The result being a low quality product which is held in contempt by many; too much "copy and paste", too little quality content.

Greek newspapers and magazines are often little more than press releases, canned interviews and product placement, in fact anything that reduces reliance on trained professionals who might dare to ask for a decent wage. As a consequence the newspapers and magazine while looking as slick as their European counterparts are remarkably free of engaging content.

Another problem is reliability, at least as far as newspapers are concerned. Case in point being the recent gaffs by the three major newspapers who printed stories this week about the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyi Erdogan's visit to Athens. The Vima newspaper even went as far as to describe the "icy atmosphere" of the meeting with Greek prime minister, Kostas Karamanlis. The Ethnos newspaper was also there to provide us with a photograph of the Greek foreign minister, Dora Bakoyianni with her Turkish counterpart. The Eleutherotypia newspaper even put the story on their website proving that the adaptation of new technologies can be used to reproduce bad habits.

Just one small snag. None of this ever happened. Erdogan decided to postpone his meeting over the weekend so he never arrived in Athens. Imagine the Times, the Guardian and the Daily Mail all writing about the tense meeting that Gordon Brown had with Nicolas Sarkozi in London yesterday, only to find out Sarkozi had not even left France. It's hard to imagine a mistake of that magnitude being permitted in not just one but three national newspapers in any place that took journalism seriously.

So all the pages of reporting and analysis printed last weekend were simply the figments of a journalist's/editor's imagination. Nearer the truth is the fact that nobody even bothered to check what happened and just rehashed an old story. Sad but its is this kind of sloppy, "grab something from the freezer" reporting which is killing newspapers. Why would anyone pay three euros for this kind of low grade landfill?

I stopped reading Greek newspapers on Sunday years ago when it became perfectly apparent that once you took away all the ads and bumpf there was very little to actually read and that most of that was stale as week old bread. The old media is indeed starting to show its age.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

UK MPs' expenses - We're still closing in

Don't worry, it's just an earthquake

Just felt a minor earthquake here, nothing serious, probably no more than three point something or just far away. Nothing like living in Greece to make you blase about such dangers. Since I've been here I've been in earthquakes, forest fires, riots and more traffic accidents than I care to mention.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Concert in Navarinou Square

, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Friday, June 19, 2009

"I have become death the destroyer of worlds"

"Lightning is an atmospheric discharge of electricity usually accompanied by thunder, which typically occurs during thunderstorms, and sometimes during volcanic eruptions or dust storms. In the atmospheric electrical discharge, a leader of a bolt of lightning can travel at speeds of 60,000 m/s (220,000 km/h), and can reach temperatures approaching 30,000 °C (54,000 °F), hot enough to fuse silica sand into glass channels known as fulgurites which are normally hollow and can extend some distance into the ground. There are some 16 million lightning storms in the world every year."

UK MPs: "We're not paid enough"

"MPs were accused yesterday of a massive cover-up of their expenses after the Commons authorities released hundreds of thousands of claims documents and receipts with huge sections of detail blacked out.

Amid renewed public anger over the scale of Westminster's spending habits, the documents contained enough fresh information to create new embarrassment for senior politicians.

David Cameron was forced to pay back an extra £947, the shadow chancellor, George Osborne, was reported to the parliamentary commissioner for standards and Gordon Brown was revealed to have charged the taxpayer almost £6,500 to green his second home in Scotland.

Even Tony Blair found himself under the spotlight after the documents revealed that he had claimed almost £7,000 for roof repairs two days before leaving office and standing down as an MP.

With MPs reeling from public anger at the extent of their claims, Bill Cockburn, the chairman of the body responsible for setting their pay, chose yesterday to suggest that MPs deserve a pay rise of up to £10,000 a year, arguing that they were underpaid by 10-15%.

It was also disclosed that 184 MPs – over a third of the Commons – have agreed to pay back nearly £478,000 in inappropriate claims, including Brown and ministers Douglas Alexander, Alistair Darling, Yvette Cooper, David Miliband, Ed Balls, Rosie Winterton, Andy Burnham and the former home secretary Jacqui Smith."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My 100th Flickr Explore photo

I've just got my 100th picture in Flickr Explore. Every day the photography web site chooses 500 of the most interesting pictures posted. Being one out 500 doesn't sound that special till you realise that millions of images find their way onto the site every day.

Minister quits over her expenses

|Treasury minister Kitty Ussher has quit the government after further questions were raised about her expenses.

Ms Ussher took the step amid reports she "flipped" the designation of her second home shortly before selling it in 2007, avoiding capital gains tax.

Ms Ussher denied she did anything wrong and said she was stepping aside to prevent the government embarrassment.

The move comes on the eve of the publication of all MPs' expenses on the Parliament website

BBC news

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lightning storm - Taken now

This was taken 15 minutes ago from my balcony. Get out there!!!!!!

The revolution will not be televised - But it will be Twittered, blogged, videoed, and photographed.

This post is a kind of mash up, a mixture of different sources and types which show how the internet through its ability to allow participation is changing not just the way we consume media but the way we conduct our lives in the public sphere.

My first port of call is the video Iran: A Nation of Bloggers by students at the Vancouver Film School. The short gives a brief but insightful look at ones of the world's blogging super powers. All the more relevent given the way blogs, Twitter, Flickr and Youtube are being used by young people there to get their message out to the world at large as we speak.

The second video is by Clay Shirky at TED about how cell phones, Twitter and other such innovations can make history. How the old media paradigms are cracking under the weight of changes brought about by the internet.

However, amidst all the hype and glee about the opportunities such technologies offer let's not forget that in many parts of the world authoritarian minded regimes still seek to silence critics through the suppression of internet users and the stripping away of basic rights such as the right to anonymity. China, Iran and most lately the UK have ruled against the right to blog without declaring your identity. Nice to know Gordon Brown has chosen to align his government with such enlightened states. The axis of internet evil gains another member.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Thessaloniki Steet Parade 2009

Thessaloniki Steet Parade 2009

The Thessaloniki Street Parade wound its way through the centre of the city much to the bemusement and delight of those left in the city. With thousands following a truck with bands playing it was a surreal sight to see all those people dancing and enjoying themselves.

Thankfully the riot police decided discretion was the better part of valour and kept to their buses which followed those taking part at a respectful distance.

"Θυμάστε πέρυσι το Street Parade και πως τυχαία έπεσα πάνω του; Μη πείτε ότι δεν σας ειδοποίησα. Την Κυριακή 31/5, ακριβώς ένα χρόνο από το περσινό έχουμε πάλι Street parade. Πρώτα συγκέντρωση στο αστεροσκοπείο και συναυλίες εκεί με διάφορα συγκροτήματα της πόλης. Και ύστερα στους δρόμους της πόλης. Ως την Κυριακή πάρτε ένα δείγμα από τις περσινές φωτογραφίες στο flickr.

The Thessaloniki Street Parade

The kiss , originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


IRAN-VOTE-DEMO, originally uploaded by Merat®.

Supporters of defeated Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi clash with riot police during a protest in Tehran on June 13, 2009. Hardline incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won a crushing victory in Iran's hotly-disputed presidential vote, according to official results that triggered mass opposition protests.


Latest: Tehran Streets

Latest: Tehran Streets, originally uploaded by mousavi1388.

Latest: Tehran Streets

Latest: Tehran Streets, originally uploaded by mousavi1388.

Riots in Tehran following the announcement of election results.

For more pictures click here.

Balkan Brass Band - Thessaloniki

Balkan Brass Band, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Time of the gypsies - Emir Kusturica - Ederlezi -
by lord_che_

A word of warning as the clip from the film contains scenes of mild nudity which may not be suitable for everyone.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Greece to set up internment camps for immigrants

The Greek daily Nea newspaper reported that the government was in the process of setting up internment camps for illegal immigrants throughout the country. Eleven disused army bases have been chosen in order to house those found without legal residency documents.

Stung by their losses in the recent European elections the ruling conservative New Democracy party has taken a sharp turn to the right in order to win back dissatisfied voters who’s defected to the far right LAOS party in last week’s elections.

In addition the police have made hundreds of arrests of suspected illegal immigrants in the centre of Athens in an action which has been interpreted as a “get tough” message by the government of Kostas Karamanlis to the party’s base following months of falling opinion poll results brought on by a series of corruption scandals and unhappiness with Athens’s handling of Greece’s deepening recession.

However, many opposition groups are doubtful whether the proposed measures will be anything other than a publicity exercise. Despite recent crackdowns the government has failed to formulate a coherent policy concerning the integration of the country’s 1 million foreign born inhabitants.

Nothing more reflects Greece’s sometimes schizophrenic attitude to immigration than the plight of those in the port city of Patra, one of the country’s gateway’s to Europe. Everyday hundreds of refugees from Afghanistan and other east Asian countries attempt to smuggle themselves aboard trucks headed for Italy. Most have no legal documents and given the fact that less than 1% who apply for asylum are granted it very little chance of ever obtaining legal travel documents.

Desperate to leave Greece, the state has made it virtually impossible for them to travel, resulting in hundreds of thousands stuck in a bureaucratic limbo in which they are constantly at risk of arrest and deportation by the police. Even those who do escape face the risk of being sent back to Greece under the terms of the EU’s Dublin II regulations which states that immigrants have to apply for asylum in the first European Union country they reach. However, countries such as Holland, Finland and Norway have suspended such agreements citing lapses and abuses of the asylum laws in Greece, especially concerning minors.

Growing concerns over immigration have been exploited by Greece’s far right parties and organisations in order to raise their public profile and gain political leverage in parliament. Giorgos Karatzaferis, leader of the nationalist LAOS party used the recent elections to promote his party’s anti - immigration policies. In addition ultra - nationalists groups such as the neo - Nazi Chrysi Aygi (New Dawn) have stepped up attacks on immigrants in Athens.

The recent clamp downs by the police have also worried Greece’s human rights groups who have often accused the police of illegal treatment of non - ethnic Greek groups. Also organisations such as Amnesty International and Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) have repeatedly condemned the country’s police and prison system of human rights abuses. In addition United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) criticised the country over its treatment of asylum seekers.

Case in point is the capital’s Petrou Ralli police station which has been repeatedly been connected with the suspicious deaths of Asian immigrants in the area. Three have been found dead, dumped in a river bed 500 metres away from the station in the area in the last eight months alone.

This is not the first time that internment camps have been used in the history of modern Greece. During the military junta which ruled from 1967 to 1974 the state set up camps on the Greek islands to imprison and torture political dissidents.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

"Comrades come rally"

, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Learning through doing

I thought I'd share this with you as I'm deeply impressed by the effort my student put into creating this poster and by the quality of the final result. In a way it represents everything we do in our lessons as I have come to the realisation that for many language learners the years following the intermediate stage are spent treading water, endlessly repeating lessons already learnt with less and less effect.

Instead of employing what their students already know teachers insist on treating them like automatons who must be spoon feed yet more grammar, vocabulary etc. The result is dissatisfaction, active rebellion and an enormous waste of creative energy which could be used more productively.

I have been moving away from this failed model to something which combines learning in its widest sense and the realisation that languages are such complex systems that simply using a rule based method of teaching is a recipe for disaster. If languages were just about learning a list of rules and words we'd have dumped our keyboards and have been chatting away to our PC years ago.

The poster you see is the latest in a series of projects I have set my student and have involved photography, videography, design and advanced writing skills. No mean feat for anyone, least of all a bright but easily distracted 14 year old. Instead of teaching English as English we have been using the language simply as a means of communicating in order to achieve other goals. The results have been fabulous as we have had the chance to engage our interests, passions and intellects so as to produce something special.

One of the reasons I decided to give up teaching in language schools was the absolute lack of faith in creativity, the assumption that that utilising anything other than our analytical skills was an utter waste of time. I watched class after class of students struggle with material which was insipid, narrow and ultimately ineffective before I finally realised that the whole thing didn't work for many, if not most of those I was teaching.

The poster was made using GIMP an open source version of Photoshop which can be downloaded from here. It can used on Windows, Mac and Linux.

For more ideas and practical suggestions check out my Wikispace - EFL/ESL and web 2.0.

Fly with me

Fly with me, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Yesterday, me, Lydia and friends drove to Stageira, the birthplace of Aristotle in Halkidiki. He wasn't in so we played in his garden instead.

Monday, June 08, 2009


Vortex, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Professor Edward Birack:

"Let's talk about our beliefs, and what we can learn about them. We believe nature is solid, and time a constant. Matter has substance and time a direction. There is truth in flesh and the solid ground. The wind may be invisible, but it's real.

Smoke, fire, water, light - they're different! Not as to stone or steel, but they're tangible. And we assume time is narrow because it is as a clock - one second is one second for everyone! Cause precedes effect - fruit rots, water flows downstream. We're born, we age, we die. The reverse NEVER happens...

None of this is true! Say goodbye to classical reality, because our logic collapses on the subatomic level... into ghosts and shadows."

Welcome to the Village of the Damned - Drive carefully

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Thessaloniki's (not quite) naked bike ride

2009 European parliamentary elections in Greece

The sea

In a few minutes the polls will close for the European parliamentary elections in Greece. In Thessaloniki the weather has been excellent with temperatures in the low 30s with just a few wisps of clouds to disturb the azure blue sky, a tour operator's dream package and a nightmare for Greek politicians. Unlike say, Britain where good weather ensures a higher turnout at the polls, a perfect summer's day has sent voters in Greece's second city rushing to the seaside to enjoy the country's famed beaches.

Unlike 2007, my local polling station has been as quiet with just a trickle of people coming in and out to cast their votes. In the last national elections the school was abuzz with commotion and movement as people desperately looked for places to park their car or chat with friends and neighbours. As is the case in Greece, civic duty then had the air of a carnival with people enjoying the festive atmosphere. Today the picture is completely different as local residents have taken advantage of the three day holiday and left the city leaving the roads empty for those wishing to vote in the EU elections.

Despite the fact the turnout is likely to be much higher than in many other EU countries many political leaders are anxiously awaiting mot just the results for their particular party but also the percentage of absentee votes.

After a year and a half of almost non - stop accusations of corruption and mismanagement the ruling New Democracy party is expecting a drop in their figures. However, considering how many times the party's name has been implicated in graft and influence peddling scandals things could be worst.

New Democracy's standing in the polls has been helped considerably by the fact that rival left - wing PASOK party has also been facing corruption charges concerning its last stint in power when it allegedly accepted bribes from German electronics giant Siemens over contracts for the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

Smaller parties such as the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and SYRIZA have been trying hard to capitalise on the larger parties failings but with limited success, unable to match the vast media budgets that New Democracy and PASOK have at their disposal. In addition the incestuous relationship between Greek media corporations and political life means that those not allied with the two main parties struggle, often in vain to get their message across.

However, voters are expected to show with their absence that it is not business, a fact likely to influence the timing of the next general elections.

For more information check out the Wiki page on the 2009 European elections in Greece.

Lydia - Λυδία

Lydia - Λυδία, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

This picture reminds of something Diane Arbus would have taken. That wasn't what I had in mind when I took it but looking at the picture now it somehow seems familiar.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

SYRIZA European election rally in Thessaloniki

Σε πανστρατιά, για την ανάδειξη του ΣΥ.ΡΙΖ.Α σε τρίτο κόμμα και την επανεκλογή του Δημήτρη Παπαδημούλη στο Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο κάλεσε ο πρόεδρος της Κ.Ο. του ΣΥ.ΡΙΖ.Α Αλέκος Αλαβάνος κατά την ομιλία του στην προεκλογική συγκέντρωση στην πλατεία Αριστοτέλους, στη Θεσσαλονίκη.

Είπε ότι θα διαψευστούν όσοι τρίβουν τα χέρια τους ελπίζοντας πως οι νέοι θα πάνε για μπάνιο την Κυριακή και σημείωσε ότι οι νέοι δεν θα χαρίσουν το δικαίωμα της ψήφου που κατακτήθηκε με αίμα από τη γενιά του Πολυτεχνείου.

Τέλος, αναφέρθηκε στις οικολογικές ευαισθησίες του ΣΥ.ΡΙΖ.Α, στις μάχες που έδωσε, τις συγκρούσεις με συμφέροντα και τη δραστηριότητα του Δ. Παπαδημούλη στο Ευρωκοινοβούλιο για θέματα προστασίας του περιβάλλοντος.

Επίθεση στις φιλελεύθερες πολιτικές στην Ελλάδα και στην ΕΕ πού όπως είπε οδήγησαν στο ξεπούλημα της δημόσιας περιουσίας , αποσάθρωσαν τις εργασιακές σχέσεις μειώνοντας δραματικά το εισόδημα των εργαζομένων και περιθωριοποίησαν μεγάλα κοινωνικά στρώματα,εξαπέλυσε ο κοινοβουλευτικός εκπρόσωπος του ΣΥΡΙΖΑ Φώτης Κουβέλης από τη Θεσσαλονίκη λίγο πριν την ομιλία του Αλέκου Αλαβάνου.

Η ψήφος στον ΣΥΡΙΖΑ δυναμώνει τη φωνή των εργαζομένων και αποδοκιμάζει τον δικομματισμό και την πολιτική της ΝΔ ανέφερε ο κος Κουβέλης.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Thessaloniki's (not quite) naked bike ride 2009

Thessaloniki's (not quite) naked bike ride 2009

Billed as a protest against excessive car use, cyclists, wheel chair users and even skateboarders with their dogs rode through the centre of Greece's second city, Thessaloniki drawing amused glances and cheers from local residents. Although called the naked bike ride, most of those taking part choose a more demur approach, using body paint and swim wear to avoid antagonising the local authorities who last year used riot police units in an attempt to stop the parade.

The event, which was designed to raise awareness of the environmental and social effects of excessive car use in urban areas was a mix of serious activism and party aesthetics. The impact of cars is particularly acute in Greece' major cities leading to some of he highest levels of air pollution in Europe.

Since the first Naked Bike Ride in 2004 the event has grown to include 50 cities worldwide with tens of thousands of people taking part every year.

Last year's event proved more eventful when riot police units clashed with participants following the arrest by officers in plain clothes of a British cyclist who they claimed had been fully naked. The local public prosecutor had announced that nudity would not be tolerated and backed up his warning by setting up police blockades just outside Thessaloniki's city limits. Despite tense scenes the cyclists were eventually allowed to continue their ride.

Ποδήλατα παντού στη Θεσσαλονίκη

Περισσότεροι από 200 γυμνοί και ημίγυμνοι ποδηλάτες έβγαλαν από τους ρυθμούς της τη βασανισμένη - και από τα έργα του μετρό - πόλη και για λίγο έκλεψαν τη «δόξα» από τα αυτοκίνητα, που με το καθημερινό μποτιλιάρισμα έχουν οδηγήσει τη Θεσσαλονίκη στις πρώτες θέσεις των πιο ρυπογόνων πόλεων της Ευρώπης.

Χρωματιστά ποδήλατα, πατίνια, skateboards, ακόμα και αναπηρικά αμαξίδια, στολισμένα όλα με λουλούδια, μετέφεραν το μήνυμα ότι μπορεί να υπάρξει ένα καλύτερο μέλλον με περισσότερα ποδήλατα και λιγότερη μόλυνση.

Η πορεία ξεκίνησε από την περιοχή του Βαρδάρη, διέσχισε την Εγνατία, πέρασε από την πλατεία Σιντριβανίου και την πλατεία Αριστοτέλους και κορυφώθηκε μπροστά στο Λευκό Πύργο, χωρίς εντάσεις ή συλλήψεις, όπως στο περυσινό πρώτο βήμα.

New Democracy rally in Thessaloniki for the European elections

New Democracy rally in Thessaloniki for the European elections, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Amidst torrential rain and lightning, Greek prime minister Kostas Karamanlis spoke to New Democracy supporters in the northern port city of Thessaloniki last night as part of the country's European election campaign .

Stressing foreign policy issues such as relations with Turkey and Greece's northern neighbour, Macedonia, Karamanlis sought to deflect criticism of the government's domestic record and play down the effects of a series of damaging corruption scandals which have rocked Greece over the last year.

Despite massive publicity bad weather and a general sense of disappointment with the performance of both major parties in the Greek parliament meant that turnout for yesterday's rally was lower than expected.

Greek prime minister addresses crowds in run up to Euro poll |

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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

PASOK party rally in Greece for the 2009 European elections

Greece holds world's most expensive opinion poll

With the European elections just days away, the leaders of Greece's main political parties are feverishly touring the country in order to persuade voters to cast their ballot

The cost of organising the elections is expected to top 150 million euros, more than double the 60 million spent holding national elections in 2007. Although public interest in European issues is low, Sunday's vote is widely considered to be a litmus test for the ruling New Democracy party's standing.

Giorgos Papandreou addressing PASOK supporters in Thessaloniki, Greece

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

ΚΚΕ Θεσσαλονικη - Greek Communist Party rally - Thessaloniki

This picture was taken last night during a KKE( Communist Party of Greece) rally in the centre of Thessaloniki. It is party of the final days of the election campaign for the European elections which will take place on Sunday.

Tonight Giorgos Papandreou, leader of the main opposition party, PASOK will also be addressing the party faithful in Aristotelous square.

Tomorrow it is the turn of Kostas Karamanlis, prime minister and head of the conservative New Democracy party. That should be eventful as whenever he appears there are widespread protests. Whatever happens the security measure are sure to be tight so I'll have to have my wits about me.

Actually, all these party rallies are a pale shadow of the events that took place in the 90's and before. Then party leaders could expect to address crowds numbering hundreds of thousands. With the growing importance of TV and the withering of the major parties reliance of local branches ten thousand is considered a big turnout.

Still, none of this matters as the spectacle is designed to look good on TV. For that purpose a crowd of 10,000 is just as useful as 100,000.