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Columns


Monday 29 July 2013

«Huffington Post»

 

Well into the campaign for the upcoming New York City elections, and not one word has been said about the issues at stake. Instead we are all horrified and obsessed -- and alas, quite understandably -- with the Weiner-gate 2.0. The media circus created by the salacious revelations about mayoral candidate Weiner's renewed use of social media for sexual satisfaction with women he did not know (that Maureen Dowd dealt with quite definitively in her masterpiece of a column has also, quite unfairly, threatened to engulf Eliot Spitzer's campaign for no reason other than his past dalliances with call girls, which cost him his position as Governor of New York. Since the new Weiner scandal broke, Spitzer's campaign events for his self-funded candidacy for City Comptroller have been overshadowed byrumors about his wife, Selda, divorcing him and refusing to campaign for him, in sharp contrast to the "dream-wife" behavior of Huma Abedin -- that frankly to me, is a bit unsettling.
However, over-supply always causes a fall in demand.

Therefore many New Yorkers and Americans in general are starting to exhibit indifference to salacious stories involving pols, and seem to be coming around to the European view: that a pol's private life is not the public's business, as long as this private life is not illegal and does not negatively affect the work he has been elected to do.

This is most often the case, yet because by definition politicians are an illuminated "as perfect as can be" blown-up image of ourselves whom we choose to define our fates, we do not only need to trust them with our lives, we also need to like them, to be able to understand them so we too may harbor the hope of being understood and taken care of. It is in this sense and this sense alone, that the private misdoings of Anthony Weiner and Eliot Spitzer bear any significance on whether they are candidates deserving of our vote.

"Count the bodies" as Tom Hanks would reiterate in Lucky Guy, the Broadway play Nora Ephron wrote about the fabled reporter Mike McAlary, a flawed yet deeply human and intensely likable person. Well the same goes with scandals. While strong women.................




Sunday 21 July 2013

«PROTO THEMA»

 

Το καλοκαίρι της μετάνοιας στη Νέα Υόρκη ξεκίνησε νωρίς φέτος, από τα τέλη Μαίου. Τότε ήταν που με υπερπροβεβλημένο εξώφυλλο και πολυσέλιδη συνέντευξη στο ένθετο περιοδικό των Νιου Γιορκ Τάιμς, ο Άντονυ Γουίνερ λάνσαρε την εκστρατεία του για τις δημοτικές εκλογές του φθινοπώρου, ως υποψήφιος Δήμαρχος.

Τί εστί Γουίνερ; Οι Αμερικανοί τον μάθανε ως εκείνο τον Δημοκρατικό βουλευτή του Κογκρέσου που παντρεύτηκε το δεξί χέρι της Χίλαρυ Κλίντον σε κάθε βήμα της πολιτικής της διαδρομής--από την Γερουσία έως και το Στέιτ Ντιπάρτμεντ, και τώρα ως επικεφαλής της φημολογούμενης νέας προεδρικής εκστρατείας της Κλίντον για το 2016--την Χούμα Αμπεντίν, την οποία η οικογένεια Κλίντον θεωρεί “θετή κόρη”. 

Όλος ο υπόλοιπος κόσμος τον έμαθε τον Γουίνερ πριν από δύο χρόνια ως “εκείνο τον λιγούρη πολιτικό” που έστελνε σε διάφορες κυρίες που του έκαναν follow στο Twitter, φωτογραφίες του...ανδρικού του οργάνου, αλλά ένα βράδυ πάτησε λάθος κουμπί και απέστειλε τις φωτογραφίες σε όλους τους followers του--δηλαδή στα ΜΜΕ και σε ένα ικανό κομμάτι των ψηφοφόρων της Νέας Υόρκης. Αρχικά, ο Γουίνερ είπε ότι κάποιος χάκεψε τον λογαριασμό του, έπειτα κατηγόρησε τα social media τύπου Twitter, και μετά τα...παραδοσιακά μήντια, για συνωμοσία σε βάρος του. Όταν τα ψέματά του αποκαλύφθηκαν εκείνος πάλι αρνούνταν να παραιτηθεί από την θέση του. Αλλά ο σάλος που το σκάνδαλο προκάλεσε και τα ψεύδη του διόγκωσαν τον εξανάγκασαν σε παραίτηση. Μία μικρή λεπτόμερεια: την εποχή που συνέβαιναν όλα αυτά, η γυναίκα του Γουίνερ, η Χούμα, διένυε τους τελευταίους μήνες της εγκυμοσύνης της. 

Απ’ότι φαίνεται όμως οι γυναίκες Κλίντον--ως τέτοια θεωρείται η 37χρονη Χούμα--συγχωρούν πολύ, και προχωρούν δημιουργικά μπροστά, αντιμετωπίζοντας επιχειρησιακά τον γάμο τους “πολιτικά”. Χάρη στην ενθάρρυνση και στήριξη της Χούμα, και υπό την αιγίδα της πολιτικής ευλογίας της Χίλαρυ και του Μπιλ Κλίντον--τα δύο ισχυρότερα πολιτικά και κοινωνικά (και οικονομικά!) κεφάλαια της Αμερικής--ο Γουίνερ αναστήθηκε με συνοπτικές διαδικασίες. Εντός τριών ημερών από εκείνο το εξώφυλλο με την γυναίκα και το μωρό τους, και ύστερα από καταιγιστική ωραιοπητική προπαγάνδα από όλα τα προοδευτικά μέσα ενημέρωσης (είναι και τα πιο ισχυρά στη Νέα Υόρκη), ο Γουίνερ είχε εκτοξεύσει στην πρώτη θέση δημοτικότητας, εκτοπίζοντας την μέχρι τότε “σιγουράντζα”, την Κριστίν Κουίν--μία ομολογουμένως τρομακτική κυρία της οποίας οι απόψεις για διάφορα θέματα κινούνται ανάμεσα στον κομμουνισμό, τον φασισμό, τον λαικισμό. 

Σχεδόν ενάμισι μήνα αργότερα, ένας ακόμα παλαιός πολιτικός γνώριμος εμφανίστηκε ζητώντας συγχώρεση... και εκλογή. Πρόκειται για τον Έλιοτ Σπίτζερ, γιο κροίσου του ιδιωτικού τομέα. Αντί να ακολουθήσει στα χνάρια του πατέρα του, ο Σπίτζερ εξελίχθηκε σε “Μπάτμαν” των μεγάλων “κακών παιδιών” της Γουολ Στριτ, ποινικποιώντας και κυνηγώντας τις...ανορθόδοξες ή/και παράνομες πρακτικές της έως τότε αχαλίνωτης Γουολ Στριτ. Έγινε γενικός εισαγγελέας της πολιτείας της Νέας Υόρκης, και έπειτα, με τη δυναμική του έργου του, εξελέγη κυβερνήτης--θέση από την οποία πριν πέντε χρόνια παραιτήθηκε εν μέσω θητείας (παρότι κάλλιστα θα μπορούσε να είχε παραμείνει) επειδή αποκαλύφθηκε πως πήγαινε με πόρνες πολυτελείας. 

Ο Σπίτζερ λοιπόν αιφνιδιαστικά, λίγα εικοσιτετράωρα πριν κλείσει η προθεσμία για την υποβολή των υποψηφιοτήτων, ανακοίνωσε την υποψηφιότητά του όχι για την λαμπερή Δημαρχία της κορυφαίας πόλης του κόσμου, η οποία αποτελεί εφαλτήριο για πολιτική εκτόξευση--σε βαθμό ακόμα και προεδρικής......... 




Sunday 30 June 2013

«PROTO THEMA»

 

I grew up believing that the Left is not a Holy Grail that belongs to a certain party, but a concept synonymous with sympathetic humanism (with the ancient meaning of “sympathy”). Despite realizing that the Heracliteian fluidity is the only constant in the universe, the “left way of thinking” remained, in my mind, an ideal humans always seek and aspire to, no matter how high or low they stand, in order to stay human. 

The events of the last decades, both at a domestic and global level, seem to have rendered this ideal obsolete or, at best, a wonderful utopia, certain aspects of which we could theoretically endeavor to implement in times of financial prosperity and geopolitical happiness – but certainly not now. They also seem to have revealed that the people who insisted on introducing themselves as belonging to the “Left” were hypocrites and extreme anachronists – take for example Tony Blair, Gerhard Schroeder-Joschka Fischer, Francois Hollande and PASOK in its time of glory.

The “Left” was thus reduced to a nebulous plot of ideological land divided between admirers of Joseph Stalin and others who passionately demanded absolute state control when it came to state and/or european benefits, while fighting, with equal passion and sense of self-righteousness, and employing the most extreme methods (from illegal strikes to sit-ins, destruction of public and private property, paralyzing demonstrations, even terrorism) for the “right” to live in a classless, eudaemonistic and anarchic society, colored in shades of pink and smelling of hash.

The “Left” today has been reduced to a hodgepodge of losers from other political origins and professional protesters. They are the people who are now denouncing the new government as “right-wing”, and willfully compromising the sacrifices the majority of the Greek people made during the past few tragic years. They are the union leaders and their cronies, those remaining scandalously favored public servants, the people now illegally and forcefully resisting the closure of public TV, conveniently forgetting they once protested against state control over it, while simultaneously using it themselves as the launchpad of their (financial and political) ambitions. I also suspect they are the same people who fought for the… right not to pay the part of the electricity bill that corresponds to the levy for public TV, as well as the “right” to use public transportation without paying for a ticket. They are the same people who denounce anyone who doesn’t complain or express their anger for the financial situation in public as an “accomplice” (of the other bad guys, I presume).

These people hate the country that fed and still feeds them. They talk in derogatory terms about the silent social majority, thanks to which they still have a job and a life. They are advocates of the “ideal”: what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is also mine – we’re family! Some of them live in a world of their own, claiming, a la Scarlett O’Hara, “if this is reality, I don’t want it – I prefer dreams and illusions”. If only things could be resolved just like that.

Late in the evening I walk up Amsterdam Avenue in New York. From the centre of the city to “deep” Harlem, a straight line links the poor to the middle class, then to the rich, then to the middle class once again, with the outcasts of society at its end.

You don’t need to check the numbers of the streets and avenues in order to know where you are. At a certain point, the people, the shops and the buildings change abruptly. Edifices belonging to Social Security and churches abound. Further down the street, peaceful despair goes about its life. Most of the locals here are white – many elderly, quite a few pregnant girls who don’t look a day older than twelve years old,   seedy men dressed either like bikers or as aspirant Eminems…this is the domain of the so-called “white trash”. Two blocks down the street, all the signs are in Spanish. English is nowhere to be seen. The churches increase in number even as they decrease in size and significance; every little shop is reminiscent of a lost Latin American homeland; and groups of kids and teenagers lounging about, moving swaggeringly through the roads  make you hope that what you have heard about gangs in this part of the city is mostly hype. Still, even as your question remains answered, your concern is rapidly set to rest by the sudden appearance of several overdressed ladies – mothers and grandmothers  coming out of the churches like a force of nature to summon in their offspring that meekly complies.

Four blocks down the street, you’re the only white person there at the moment. There are no Latinos or Asians either. Obesity oozes from everywhere. So does misery. Everything is dirty, several drug or alcohol addicts stumble about, some of them missing limbs. Intimations of why the most common cause of death in this neighborhood is homicide. This is also one of the neighborhoods with the highest altitude in the city. From here you can see a magnificence of lights sparkling below elusively, in a sea of skyscrapers and soaring buildings, like a constant reminder of what the people who live here will probably never possess.

This is one side of capitalism. The other side, the beautiful one, is the products and services money can offer – there is something for every heart’s desire: from material products, to services, holidays, entertainment for the loftiest or most social spirit...........  




Thursday 20 June 2013

«Huffington Post»

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amalia-negreponti/west-side-story_1_b_3447728.html

The day has been imbued with the quietly jubilant aura following tempestuous storms. Eight pm and 79th and Broadway has become a luminous path connecting Riverside glimmering at one end, with Central Park's crowning glory at the other. Tall men in, wearing khakis, broad smiles and the luster of Saturday night fever pour out of the central synagogue. In the big grocery store the young hijab-clad woman deftly organizes my groceries' delivery. All of the microcosm of the Upper West passes me by, ambling, power-walking, dog-walking, romancing, vibrant and alive with the New York variety of intensity existing nowhere else in the world. For the first time this long year, I feel the beginning of happiness, a sense of things finally, hopefully starting to come together... maybe all the hardships, cost, efforts, losses will not eventually prove to have been in vain.

Walking up to my second floor apartment, the realization I have no money on me to tip the delivery boy sends me back around the corner to the local pharmacy in which there is an ATM. In retrospect, this was one of those moments auguring events of personal momentousness.

Yet what happens five minutes later, two brownstones away from home, bears no warning. A whizzing sound. Half-turning I barely have time to register the dreadlocked emaciated cyclist racing down the pavement frenziedly. Stepping aside, I am momentarily dumbfounded as the cyclist, wearing an awful expression of deliberateness changes course, hitting me. Falling on the curb, I put my hands forward to protect my iPhone. There are two blows, hard, on my thighs and back. Thankfully, I think, my face is averted. "Blond skinny ho! You think you pretty?" I hear the voice but am rendered incapable of making the connection of what is happening now, to me.

And then it stops. My attacker races away as three dog-walkers in shorts and baseball caps, run to me, their eyes mourning the loss of their signature American optimism. From the opposite pavement, a middle-aged squat Latino construction worker scuttles towards me in concern, abandoning his planks; one lean man in his early '30s wearing a kippah and a backpack, and clutching the new James Salter novel in one hand, and an EU passport and a map of New York in the other, also hastens to my side. Being stereotyped leads you to seek refuge and solace in stereotypes you belong to: the irony of this is not lost on me as I fall into this young man's open hands as he helps me up. "Why?" I ask twice. There is a pained silence.
In the few minutes it takes to surmise that I probably have suffered no wound that a first aid kit, pain reliever cream, and time will not heal, I become surrounded by well-meaning people who try to comfort and help me, their faces tinged with a shadow of collective responsibility, of having somehow let me down.

Next to me, a Katie Couric doppelganger is urging me to use her iPhone on which she has already tapped the police precinct's number. "It'll help you too, it will be cathartic," she insists. "Cathartic"; the use of this word that we Greeks use only in the aftermath of nemesis, brings an onslaught of tears to my eyes.

Yet I do not call the police, afraid this may lead to a Kafka-esque whirlwind of bureaucratic impediments to the issuing of my new visa. And clutching my new iPhone bought on a pre-paid program, I am reminded that since its purchase I have been receiving calls from men laboring under the impression they are calling the number's former owner, a young, blond European woman who apparently has been sucked into New York's dark side. And now with the revelation that our phone data is no longer our own, good luck trying to explain this away if I came under police scrutiny! I am no longer myself, but one more bewildered Alien willing to look away and keep quiet, in the hope of belonging.

Unlocking the front door, my eyes latch upon a sticker outside the neighboring house presents itself to me like an answer: "9/11 We remember." On the first floor I hobble into a......... 




Saturday 15 June 2013

I feel a nostalgic sadness now that the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) has closed – however, it is not the tragedy some people pretend. We Greeks are the best drama queens in the world! Yet, practically and ethically speaking, what matters is whether it made profit or loss. I assume that if it made profit, as some people say referring to the exclusive broadcasting of major sport events, or if there was an alternative to its closure, the Prime Minister would not have done such a thing. Because right now Antonis Samaras and his administration are being caught in turbulence (which he actually expected) endangering what the large majority of the Greeks achieved with blood and tears during the last year – endangering, again, the survival of the country. 

The people who question once again what the sacrifices of the majority achieved during all the bloodied years are first and foremost its employees – all of them appointed thanks to a “major political contact” to put it bluntly. Which means a group of scandalously privileged public servants (permanent or seasonal – when it came to “stars”). The people who rebel against the closure of the ERT are the same people who accused the state of interfering in its affairs, the same people who aimed at entering the safety of its – tragically large – bosom. I also have the suspicion that they are the same people who fight for… the right not to pay the part of the Public Power Corporation (DEI) bill that goes to ERT or the right to use the public transportation system without paying for a ticket. They are the same people who target anyone who doesn’t cry or publicly express his anger for the economic situation as “rich” and, automatically, “guilty”.

These people hate what they never gained or inherited – wealth – instead of the actual guilty ones (the corrupt or cowardly and incompetent politicians and – to a lesser degree – some tycoons who systematically adopt a business policy destructive to the country, damaging to the society they are addressed to and unfair to their employess). They are advocates of the “ideal”: what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine; we are family! 

You walk at night on Amsterdam Avenue in New York. From “deep” Harlem to the centre of the city, a straight line links the poor to the middle class. Somewhere in between the rich can also be found.

At ten o’clock at night, from Monday till Sunday including holidays, most of the shops are open. In any one of them, no matter how crowded it is – most of them usually are – the employees treat you as if Jesus Christ appeared in front of them.

Here, at the centre of the world, as the city is considered to be, beats fast, like a clock, a big heart that gives life to everything: capiatalism and national pride (to a degree we would call “chauvinism”). The products and services money offers are the most beautiful thing in the world. There is something for every soul: from material products to free and fast access to the Internet, to technological achievements that were unthinkable five years ago. You can achieve great things in this city – you can reach beyond the sky, you can learn ways of life that – if you wish and come from a class that offers opportunities – can help you evolve to another dimension, deeper and higher, of human life. And you can also collapse, vanish, be the object of such “natural” exploitation that the word brutality seems inadequate. It all depends on where you stand. Along the food chain, we are all considered disposable meat of a large productive..........




Tuesday 28 May 2013

 

Nonsense and xenomania: two of the main elements that have destroyed Greece and are making it difficult for the country to move forward. Take for example the new pursuit of Evangelos Venizelos-Fotis Kouvelis company: the anti-racism bill. 

Greece is not suffering from a lack of laws, but from a plethora of bad laws – in other words, laws that have passed in order to serve “photographic” interests and party and/or vote-chasing needs. It is also suffering from non-implementation and selective or occasional implementation of the laws. 

It’s utter nonsense when Evangelos Venizelos says “the anti-racism bill is Greece’s international obligation”, because, according to universal Law, from antiquity until today, the first and foremost obligation of all the countries in the world is to guarantee their citizens’ life, freedom, honour and property. If we take a look at the other countries (I’m talking about the other European countries and the USA), there has been an abundance of examples lately of obligations and laws been forgotten in the face of “urgent circumstances” – isn’t that what the initial decision not to guarantee the guaranteed deposits in Cyprus is all about?! The decision to impose a “haircut on deposits” turned from an unheard-of and illegal situation… into an E.U. regulation to be imposed “whenever the need arises”.

Let’s get things straight. You can’t pass an anti-racism bill when the tension is on its zenith – justifiably so, since the government is not in a position to solve the dramatic problem of immigration right now. How can it be otherwise? When a country is on the brink of default, facing thousands of threats and dangers (from the extreme views of several powerful conservative German officials to the increasingly bolder behaviour of a neighbouring superpower – Turkey), it’s virtually impossible to solve its social....... 




Sunday 12 May 2013

«PROTO THEMA»

 

A lot of noise is being generated about the Prime Minister’s imminent trip to China. Meetings convened, counsellors summoned, endless articles of striking profoundness, and such passionate hope and anticipation that even a cynic would be moved. 

Or so we Greeks hope. Like the British, Italians and French have hoped before, and the Germans before anyone else. Yet with invariably the same outcome each time: in the end there is neither no emotion nor ‘movement’ in any area other than that of straightforward interest, meaning the Chinese get exactly and exclusively what they want from each, without making any longterm commitments. They do business deals, sure; they just don’t do relationships. They take what they want that moment then move on. This after all is the core of capitalism after you take away all the touchfeely rhetoric about “building communal and national bonds”, “fostering bonds of every nature” and “investing in the future of the country”. The influence of this currently dominant mentality has become strikingly apparent even in daily life and interpersonal relationships.

Besides, returning to geopolitics, even we Europeans don’t care about each others’ countries, why should the Chinese? They shouldn’t, they don’t. Even so we persist in acting like we believe that there is something more there, the potential of emotion, like a seedling that may be fertilized by common interest and purpose. 

It becomes apparent therefore, that one, when in search and dire need of development, support, hope, and that elusive and so vital possibility of being loved, should take it from where it may be forthcoming. In Greece’s case this partner is Israel--a neighboring small country, powerful yet vulnerable like no other, threatened by every kind of extremism, as well as by extreme and misplaced progressiveness, and also probably the only country in the Eurasian region that has not attempted to invade or otherwise possess, loot, destroy Greece! That both countries share a common sea-basin recently discovered to be chock-full of natural gas (Greece, Cyprus, Israel) and oil (Greece) is an added bonus. As is the fact that despite the new Obama administration’s strenuous efforts to have Israel reconcile with Turkey, neither Greece nor Israel trust or feel we have any common ground or shared emotional bond and traditions with Turkey and its worldly yet profoundly islamic Erdogan governance. It is no laughing matter in this era of our paucity and defense-spending cuts to have Israeli fighter planes chase away Turkish ones invading our airspace. And it is also no small matter for the PM of Greece who has ineffectively been trying to wrangle an invitation to the US for many months now, to now be coming as a “star” to DC, the heart of the US establishment, to be honored on the 1st of June as central speaker of the Jewish American Committee’s annual congress. Our friends are those who stick up for us when we are weakest and they have nothing to gain.

One would have thought that even Golden Dawn could see this. Even so they recently published an article illustrated by a vulgar and hateful comic strip accusing PM Samaras of “sucking up” to American Jews and Israel because of his imminent visit to the AJC’s congress.

I suppose that when hatred and its constant (re)generation is a purpose, everything and anything can be distorted, and national interest can go to hell (and it does, as a direct result). Therefore, were the Greek PM to address a select group of German industrialists and mover-shakers in an effort to sway them in favor of Greece, or Swiss bankers seeking investment opportunities, the PM would be accused of engaging with the invading aggressors (Nazis or even way back, Crusaders!) or those entities that played speculative games on Greece’s fate, often betting against its survival. And in the strictly historical sense, his accusers would be right--even though to conduct foreign policy along such lies would be nothing short of utopian, isolationist and plain silly. Yet what exactly does Golden Dawn and its supporters have to say about Israel, Jewishness, and Jewish-Americans? That they have been hounded................




Sunday 7 April 2013

«PROTO THEMA»

 

Here in the USA, we are preparing to counter an attack and declare state of war any moment now. The security agencies keep repeating it, but few people are listening to it – and even fewer people believe it. I’m talking about the North Korean boisterous threats against strategic american targets around the world and the USA. Everyone hopes and believes that they are just… some mad dictator’s nonsense, but no one can guarantee that his madness is harmless and that he doesn’t have the capabilities he claims to have. Facing the imminent military attack from North Korea on the one hand and the daily cyber-bombardment from China on the other, there’s no time to deal with Israel, which in turn fears that Iran might attack with nuclear weapons or that Bashar al-Assad might use chemical weapons. 

The entire world is also heading towards a dramatic change. Look at the turbulent chain of events in the Arab world following the Arab Spring. Look at the… chaos inside the European Union, escalating to a hurricane and reaching its zenith following the unprecedented attack against Cyprus. Right now, based on the estimates of the American credit rating agencies and financial institutions, as well as the rumours circulating in reliable European circles (as presented by the new Economist), more than half of the countries in Europe are facing the danger of a… haircut on deposits or some other unprecedented measure, which could overturn all the things we considered safe and secure – not to say essential – until now. Among these countries, apart from Italy and Luxemburg, are Latvia and Iceland, whereas the scaremongers are insinuating that not even Germany or Great Britain is safe!

It’s a crazy and highly insecure situation where fluidity seems to be the only rule. Whether it will lead us to a more stable reality – surely much more difficult than the previous one – or to the absolute fluidity, insecurity, recession, poverty, danger and fear, no one really knows. What we do know is that the myth of liberal globalization in economy, transfer and knowledge, is over. Yet, the vision of freedom and creation, in every aspect of these two notions, is more powerful than ever in the USA, whereas, in the EU, it was crushed, along with the dream of a union of citizens belonging to a peaceful and promising superpower.

I’ll make myself clear: Here in the USA, our everyday life is focused on the ups and downs of the stock exchange market and the advancement of the country on a business, technological, scientific, artistic and cultural level. There are also some positive political developments:  right now, almost all states have institutionalized gay marriage, gun ownership is being controlled, a national health care system is being developed for the first time in history, colossal financial institutions are being investigated for practices similar to the ones that led to the collapse of the Lehman Brothers and the country is being run by an African American who states that his work is led and defined by his… personal life. I’m referring to the new interview Barack and Michelle Obama have given to the latest issue of “Vogue” magazine, featuring a very charming First Lady on its cover. The American President explains that his family and all the things he desired or apprehended through his family have always been his benchmark. “My father abandoned me and my stepfather died when I was a child” he says. “My mother was a brave and adventurous woman, but she paid a heavy price. With such a burden on my shoulders, how can I not care about health and social care?” He also points out that in his family “there are people of different races, nationalities, religions and sex orientations. How can I not fight for equal rights and opportunities? It would be like sabotaging my own people.” The examples are endless. It is estimated that the number of people coming here as immigrants is rising rapidly with every passing month – many of them are Europeans, as well as middle and upper class Indians and Chinese.

In Europe, the economic storm brought about political and legal arbitrariness. Government bonds, national banks shares and deposits are lost, a Eurocrat or a politician can decide whenever it pleases him to impose a “tax on the rich”, a new tax on real estate, a poll tax, a seemingly exceptional tax or even confiscation in the name of “national need” and the demands of the Troika. The situation reminds me of the trailer of the new sci-fi thriller-adventure “Oblivion”, starring Tom Cruise. The Earth has been destroyed...................




Sunday 31 March 2013

«PROTO THEMA»

The story of Cyprus was an endless thriller we watched like an undeletable movie: distanced from Greece, but not enough to protect it from the new cypriot tragedy, and the precarious safety distance from euro exit and outright chaos that the present government in Greece has managed to keep, until now.
Words don’t suffice to describe what happened to Cyprus these days. The--news--brutality of “civilized” Europe surpasses belief, once more. Even though it didn’t really surprise the people “obsessed” with History and Psychiatry: despotism, dissension, hypocrisy and blind greed were the constituent elements of the European Continent throughout its history: from the Crusades, the Holy Inquisition, the feudal lords, the kings, the Colonialism, the Napoleonic Wars – not excluding the wars between Denmark and Sweden – the First and, of course, the Second World War. Human nature, or at least some humans’ nature, easily succumbs to darkness when it gets out of hand.
It is said that people get the government they deserve – but that is not often true. Paying for their own mistakes as well, the Cypriots, without any other choice than the one-way road of the euro, are forced to make the overwhelming effort to heal their own wounds and to purge their own political system at the same time.
The need to make the guilty pay for their crimes seems more dramatic when it comes to state officials, such as the central banker, who allowed billions of euros to flee from british banks mainly on the exact same days when all the other banks were closed and all the people’s accounts were blocked – and then, decimated.
On the other hand, there are some “oddities”: the Supreme Court of Cyprus issued a temporary decree and halted the decision to wipe out all Bank of Cyprus shares until April 5. By securing an injunction, the Archbishop of Cyprus is actually blocking the agreement with the Troika, possibly creating new delays. Unfortunately, such attempts to turn the clock back can only worsen things, once more for the weak…
Here in the USA, the news about the Cyprus bail-out (with or without inverted commas) was met with relief but also concern about the future of Cyprus. The feeling of concern soon gave its place to analyses of how it will affect the USA (the EU loss of credibility when it comes to the fundamentals of the financial system will obviously make a number of European and foreign large depositors turn to the USA).
However, in every American official’s statement, in every newspaper article, in the debate in Wall Street and the State Department, two elements were clear: sympathy towards suffering anew Cyprus and straightforwardness. They all came to the same conclusion: the Europeans decided to tear down Cyprus in order to grab, like pirates, its offshore banking business, billions of euros worth. While the future of Cyprus inside the euro was at stake, bankers from Germany, Latvia and Andorra swarmed the island, flirting with the ones their politicians called “the russian mob” equating middle-class Russian businessmen with (minor) oligarchs, in an unprecedented epic of hypocrisy. On the other hand, the Russians – according to american analyses – did not save Cyprus, despite the conspiracy theories about naval bases and natural gas reserves, because simply… playing their hand this way would not profit them enough to balance the damage potentially inflicted by the disruption of their relationships with the EU.
The Americans, despite the traditional distrust between USA and Russia, are far more open to the new era, led by their determination not to become the afterthought of History, as Europe is rapidly turning out to be. The issue of Cyprus and Jeroen Dijsselbloem’s statements marked the beginning of a new era when everything is fluid (from the EU commitments and laws to bank deposits, or even real estate) and clearly showed that Europe has reached a crescendo of hypocrisy, pettiness, vengefulness – wherever it can – and cowardice – fatefully, first for its weaker members and, as a consequence, for the European Union itself and its stronger members.
Here in the USA, people watched the television interview of the 17-year-old who sold the iPhone app Summly he developed to Yahoo for 30 million dollars. It is a news aggregator app which turns all the important news of the day into summaries-titles based on an algorithm he developed. He talked with....................  




Friday 15 March 2013

«PROTO THEMA»

 

The Troika is planning to offer less money to Cyprus as a bailout package. In particular, the goal of the Troika is to reduce the bailout package to 10 billion euros from the 17 billion euros that was expected. The Troika is not interested in the dangers the country is going to face following another “too little, too late” decision or the stability of the entire European Union. Besides, others are paying: the European taxpayers. 

In Greece, the Troika is using similar ploys. Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is balancing between a rock (the Troika and the always imminent default) and a hard place (the unionists, the doings of the government partners, the schemes of the party members, the new wave of terrorism).

Here in America, on the other hand, only large-scale “cyber attacks” that could endanger the economy and disorganize the public services are the number one threat to the USA and they are a greater concern than any terrorist attacks and/or the financial crisis! That is what the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, stated the other day. The next big thing here is the fierce reaction caused by the ruling of a first-degree local court to invalidate the ban on sugary drinks!

Indeed! Despite its contradictions, America has once again become what it used to be years ago: a beacon of light and hope for the entire world – that is what the Europeans are reduced to by the parasites of the European Union who live and prosper in their Brussels caliphate.

The new trend in America nowadays is expressed by the new commercial products that enter our lives: smart goggles, tablets, phones and shoes that think and observe instead of us and for us, record our own experiences, talk to us, explain to us, reassure us and answer to all our questions immediately and effectively – and more and more reliably.

The newborn babies of the modern era will grow up in a world where all these achievements will be considered a matter of fact and normal part of life. How can you get used to all this stuff from birth.......... 



 

My beloved terrorist
Published by: LIVANIS
First printing: 2001
Pages: 403
Hellenists: Greece does not wound them
Published by: LIVANIS
First printing: 1999
Pages: 314
 
 

 

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