Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The hotel at the end of the world

Empty warehouse

Empty warehouse

Taken in an abandoned warehouse on the west side of the city. I had about 15 minutes in between lessons. Creepy place to be sure and one that would make the perfect backdrop to a apocalyptic movie.

Down in the port

Down in the port, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Market day

, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Music by Snow Patrol.

Easter in colour II

Easter in colour

Blogging: the darker side

Thanks to Liquid Squid for putting me on to this and of course, Barely Political for exposing the shameful side blogging sweatshops. Next time you read a blog give a thought to those poor souls slaving over their keyboards paid only in bread and Red Bull.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Mondiano market

Mondiano market, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Paris Petridis

Paris Petridids, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

In “The Greek Schools of Istanbul,” published by Agra, Thessaloniki-born photographer Paris Petridis has captured those old schools. The Zappeion, Zografeio and Megali tou Genous schools, and the lesser-known Astiki Vlangas, Galata Primary and Koinotiki Astiki of Halkidona, once part of a thriving Greek world, are now in a state of dignified decline.

They give rise to nostalgic associations of ideas that fan out like an accordion: school photographs, Kemal and Jesus, the crescent and the cross, Greek “Victorian” style, imposing buildings and crisp classicism in the urban fabric of Istanbul. Remnants of a bygone era, the Greek schools remind us how much has changed in the past century."

Click here for the rest of the article from Kathimerini.

Easter is almost upon us

The Silence of the Lambs

The holidays have eventually started for me and I've finished with the last of my lessons. It's Good Friday here in Greece as the Orthodox church's Easter is a little later this year. Half of the country is on the move it seems as the cities empty out and people make their way to the countryside to visit family and friends in the villages and small towns.

However, despite the festive spirit there are lots of complaints about rising food and petrol prices. According to consumer organisations the cost of the traditional Easter meal is going to be 20% higher than last year. though saying that the cost of fresh produce such as tomatoes and other veg has doubled. Rather predictably the government says that prices have only gone up by 6.5 %. I'm not saying that I'm distrustful of their figures but if they came out with an official announcement that grass is green and the sky blue, I'd take a quick look out of the window to check that nothing had changed.

It's getting harder and harder for many people to make ends meet in such a climate as wages have remained static for a long time and the cost of basic goods have outstripped our meagre gains. I'm seriously thinking about quitting the school where I work as the wages have remained so low that there is no way you can survive on them anymore.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Easter is coming

Easter is coming, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Tempora Purgatoria

Tempora Purgatoria, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

The exhibition by Marios Eleftheriadis is on at the Loutra Paradeisios on Egnatia at the top of Aristotelous Square until 30/5.

Εγκαινιάζονται στις 19/4 η έκθεση «Tempora Purgatoria» του Μάριου Ελευθεριάδη.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Greece's strawberry war ends in uneasy truce

In scenes reminiscent of Steinbeck's 1930's classic, the Grapes of Wrath, immigrant and minority workers have clashed with what Greek newspapers called "hired thugs' over pay and conditions. Amidst sometimes violent clashes agricultural workers in the Greek town of Nea Manolada, home to 90% of Greece's strawberry production took part in a four day stoppage aimed at getting a pay rise of 3.5 euros a day.

As of Sunday strawberry producers have agreed to rise pay from 22.5 to 28 euros for farm labourers.However, the figure of 28 euros only applies to European workers, non-Europeans will receive only 25 euros according to the Greek newspaper, Kathimerini. Fears still remain that the producers will fail to honour even this agreement, due to be take effect in Autumn, once media attention has died down. The local council sets the minimum wage for untrained labourers at 30.4 euros a day.

It should be noted that strawberrys, sometimes called "red gold" by local producers, retail at 1.5 to 3 euros a kilo on the Greek market

The newspaper also brought to light several cases in which the police force and members of the local authorities, which turned a blind eye this week to attacks on union and political activists by landowners, are also involved with various scams involving the sale of fake residence permits for immigrant workers.

Miltos Paulou, head of the European Union Agency for Fundemental Rights (FRA) stated that 70% of those working in intensive agriculture in Greece are illegal immigrants and that Greek law limits foreign workers ability to change jobs so allowing the kind of exploitation seen in Nea Manolada and many other areas.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

Going Home - Jon Allen

The music is Going Home by Jon Allen. you may recognise it from the LandRover ads. You can download it free of charge from Allen's site if you click here. All photos by Teacher Dude.

Greek farmers clash with migrants

Fighting has erupted in Southern Greece between strawberry farmers and migrant workers striking for higher pay.

According to a Greek trades union support the migrants, about 400 were attacked by farmers and what were described as "hired thugs".

Three trade unionists were hurt and one farmer was arrested, police say.

The clashes occurred in an area hit by last year's fires, and where slave labour conditions for fruit pickers have recently been revealed.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Duane Michals - The Atheist's Mass

"February 18, 1932) is an American photographer. Largely self-taught, his work is noted for its innovation and artistry. Michals' style often features photo-sequences and the incorporation of text to examine emotion and philosophy, resulting in a unique body of work.

Michals grew up in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. In 1953 he received a B.A. from the University of Denver. In 1956 he went on to study design at the Parsons School of Design with a plan to becoming a graphic designer, however he did not complete his studies. In 1958 while on a holiday in the USSR he discovered an interest in photography. The photographs he made during this trip became his first exhibition held in 1963 at the Underground Gallery in New York City.

For a number of years, Michals worked in commercial photography, working for Esquire and Mademoiselle, and he covered the filming of The Great Gatsby for Vogue (1974). He did not have a studio. Instead, he took portraits of people in their environment, which was a contrast to the method of other photographers at the time, such as Avedon and Irving Penn."

Wiki on Michals.

To download the full text of Honore de Balzac's Atheist's mass click here.

Beaten for demanding a three euro pay rise

Immigrant farm workers seeking a rise of three euros a day were attacked and in some cases beaten in Nea Manolada, Greece. The demand for the daily wage to be raised from 22 to 25 euros provoked violent confrontations between local farmers and the mainly immigrant work force in the town which produces 90% of the Greece's strawberry crop. In addition there were violent clashes between land owners and activists with the Greek trade union, PAME and members of KKE (Greek Communist Party) who were organising protests.

In a report in the Eleutherotypia newspaper also made note of the fact that the farm workers live in four shanty towns paying 100 -150 euros each for shacks, most of which have no access to electricity or running water. Forced to live in ghettos the newspaper also mentioned that workers also have restrictions placed on their movements as the camps are surrounded by barbed wire and spotlights.

Many of the children of the farm workers do not attend school, but rather work alongside their parents in the field according to a report by the newspaper. Without access to education or medical treatment those working in Nea Manolada are also victims of the local authorities according to an investigation by the the internal affairs department of the Greek police force with members of the local council involved with scams that allow land owners to sell workers for 300 to 500 euros paperwork that allow them to apply for residence permits.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Weird stuff in the square

Friday, April 18, 2008



John, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

I had the chance to catch up with an old friend today. Can't wait for the school term to end. This one has been a killer. 17 weeks without a break is way too long.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bus home

, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A lion in winter

A lion in winter, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Greek politician faces one million euro law suit for criticising

In a move that sent shock waves through the Greek political world, Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the left-wing Synaspismos party has been sued for over 1 million euros for defamation by the Marfin Investment Group (MIG) over his criticism of the company's role in the sale of its 2.5 billion euro stake in the Greek state run telecommunication OTE to Deutsche Telekom. In addition the Greek TV channel, Star is being sued for 150 million euros over claims that MIG's funds had come via the Albanian mafia.

Tsipras, who was recently elected the president of Synapismos, has repeatedly called the controversial OTE deal a "fraud" and along with other opposition leaders has tried to block the sell of OTE to the German telecoms giant. In statement posted on the party's website Tsipras called the suit an "unprecedented attempt at penalising political life."

The other major Greek parties have been swift to condemn the action by Marfin. Government spokesman, Evangelos Antonaros, stated that the government disagreed with any attempt to sue any political leader for exercising their right to criticise. In addition PASOK party secretary, Giannis Ragousis, speaking to Alpha Radio said that the legal action was "unthinkable and unprecedented", adding that is was the duty and not just the right of political partys and leaders to engage in criticism and debate on public matters.

Andreas Vgenopoulos, vice-president of the Marfin Investment Group, claimed in a press conference that that the company had been the victim of a slur campaign organised by politicians, trade unionists and elements of the media. The lawsuit, he added, was needed to restore the honour and dignity of the MIG Group's 52,000 employees.

Greek politician faces one million euro law suit for criticising privatisation deal

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Thursday, April 10, 2008


, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Syn political rally

, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Greek doping scandal spreads

The Greek doping scandal which started with the discovery of illicit substances in samples taken from eleven members of Greece's weightlifting teams on 7 March by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) has widened. The Hellenic Anti - Doping Council (ESKAN) announced today that four other Greek athletes had tested positive for banned substances, a fifth athlete refused to be tested. According to statements made by Asterios Deleyiannis, vice president of ESKAN on the Greek TV station NET, cyclists and handball players had failed dope tests.

The Greek Weightlifting Federation has decided not to ask for an examination of the B samples taken from the 11 members of the country's Olympic weightliting team. The Federation appears to be adopting the line first put foward by the team's coach Christos Iakovou that the positive doping results are due to a mix - up in the athletes dietary supplements by the chinese supplier, Auspure.

In a press conference, Iakovou's lawyer, Mixlis Dimitrakopoulos claimed that the Shanghai based company had apologised for what was termed a "tragic mistake" in an email in his possession. However, the email in question had no details of either the sender or recipient apart from the name Su Li. Nor was any explanation given as to how the supplement in question managed to find its way into athletes hands without passing Greek custom checks or why other athletes did not test posive.

Despite repeated attempts to contact Aupere via email the company has made no reply as whether they had indeed sent the email in question or if Ms Su Li is an employee. The company's website also was suddenly unavailable as of yesterday.

The Greek district attorney's office raided various althletic facilities in Agia Kosma in order to carry out searches of the weightlifters rooms. However, many in the Greek media have doubted the efficacy of such a move more than a month after the original surprise check by WADA and more than three days after the story broke in the local media.

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Greek doping scandal takes new turn

Claims made yesterday by the Greek Olympic weightlifting team's coach that a mix up in dietary supplements by their Chinese supplier was reason why 11 out of the 14 members of the team tested positive in a surprise doping test are coming under fire by large sections of the Greek media.

After a out of competition raid by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on 7 March traces of methytrelione, an anabolic substance 1000 times more powerful than testosterone were found, according to the Greek Nea newspaper. However, yesterday, Mixalis Dimitrakoploulos, lawyer for Greek weightlifting coach, Christos Iakovou, claimed that the results had been caused by a mistake in the order sent the team's dietary supplements by the Shanghai based, Auspure Life Sciences Co. Mr Dimitrakopoulos has claimed that the company involved has sent an email apologising for the "tragic mistake".

However, the email has raised more questions than it answers since it makes no direct mention of the banned substance nor has any reference to its recipient. Only the name Su Li was mentioned without any reference to the position this person holds in the company. Mr Dimitrakopoulos, in a press conference reported in the NEA newspaper, repeatedly refused to name the person, who is simply referred to as "Dear Customer" in the email.

The Greek national pharmaceutical organisation (EOF) has also cast doubts on the claims of a mix - up arguing that if the company had included highly toxic substances such as methytrelione in their dietary supplements they would have been obliged to send out an international alert and start a product recall.

Also a search of the headquarters of the Greek Weightlifting Federation in Athens by the Hellenic anti - doping organisation, ESKAN failed to find any official documentation showing that the supplements had passed through Greek custom checks nor any signs of its packaging. This raises the question of why a supplement readily available in Greece was instead illegally imported from China

According to the Greek team has not given up hopes of still taking part in the Olympics in August. There is hope that the IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) will follow the precedent set in Iran in 2006 when nine of the national team's eleven members were tested positive in a doping test. However, the country's top weightlifter, Hossein Rezazadeh, who tested clean was allowed to compete in the Dominican Republic a few days afterwards. Such a possibility would allow up and coming Greek weightlifter, Nikos Kourtidis to compete in Beijing.

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

In class

, originally uploaded by Teacher Dude's BBQ.

Alexis Tsipras speaking at a rally in Thessaloniki today

Alexis Tsipras, leader of the SYN party at the Ivanofeio stadium today. I thought I'd practice my newspaper shooting skills today.

Αλεξης Τσιπρας/ Alexis Tsipras

Αλεξης Τσιπρας/ Alexis Tsipras

At the end of my tether

It's been pouring down all day today and the whole city seems to resemble some out-take from the movie Seven full of angry, aggressive people shouting and pushing each other out of the way. Nobody seems to give a damn anymore. I'm not sure I can hack it any more in an environment that seems to embrace and celebrate the worst in human nature.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Olympic torch's shadowy past

The Olympic torch's shadowy past

A torch bearer passes the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, 1 August 1936

By Chris Bowlby
BBC News

The Olympic torch is being welcomed this weekend in the UK as a symbol of the sporting spirit, uniting people around the world in peaceful competition.

But the idea of lighting the torch at the ancient Olympian site in Greece and then running it through different countries has much darker origins.

It was invented in its modern form by the organisers of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

And it was planned with immense care by the Nazi leadership to project the image of the Third Reich as a modern, economically dynamic state with growing international influence.

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