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The city itself, big, fat, loud, stinking, sitting in the middle of Attica and growing. Athens, Greece, to be sure.
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29 June 2011

Gewalt

Polizeigewalt ohne Ende

Zuerst einmal: Ich bin OK. Nach einem Tag, an dem ich hunderte Male vor Tränengas und Polizeigewalt geflohen bin, tausendmal die Maske aufgesetzt, um Tränengas-Schwaden zu entgehen, bin ich müde. Ich habe mitangesehen, wie die Polizei wieder und wieder friedliche Demonstranten angegriffen hat. Ich habe von verlässlichen Zeugen gehört, dass die Polizei in die Rotkreuz-Station in der Metro eingedrungen ist und Verwundete angegriffen hat.

Mit eigenen Augen habe ich gesehen, wie Motorradpolizei einen jungen Mann angegriffen hat, der mit seiner Freundin in der Plaka ganz normal spazieren ging. Sie haben versucht ihn an den Haaren zu ziehen und auf ihn einzuschlagen. Einer der Polizisten brüllte Beschimpfungen, die in einem schrillen "Juden! Juden!" (Εβραίοι! Εβραίοι!) gipfelten.

Die Hatz der Polizei hat sich ausgeweitet in Gebiete wie die Plaka und rund um die Akropolis, in denen Touristen unterwegs sind. Wir haben mehrmals verängstigten Touristen versucht zu helfen, einen Weg aus dem Chaos zu finden. Urlaub im Polizeistaat.


Posted by betabug at 18:48 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
30 June 2011

We won't go, till they go

We've taken back the square

The last 2 days the police bathed us in 4 tons of teargas. They hunted us with motorcycles - and they succeeded for a moment to empty the square, using incredible violence. This evening I passed by the square again... and the people are back.

I was moved. I took a deep, deep breath and burst into a smile. I wanted to hug all the people. The 1st aid station is back, the radio station, and - most important - the assembly was taking place, with lots of people attending.

We won't give up just for a few policemen. We won't leave till they leave. The banner in the picture says "Άμεση Δημοκρατία" - direct democracy. We're not just fighting against some random "austerity measures", we're fighting for something more important.


Posted by betabug at 23:49 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
02 July 2011

Democracy at work?

Take an easy multiple choice test! Fun for all the family

So, a little quiz question: Which of these pictures shows democracy at work?

Is it maybe this one?

Papandreou and Mubarak

Or could it be this one?

Papandreou and Gadhafi

Maybe it's this one indeed?

Papandreou and al-Assad

... or, could it be our last one here:

The assembly on Syntagma square

I will leave it to your senses to see, smell, hear, and feel the right one. Because you can do that.


Posted by betabug at 20:51 | Comments (3) | Trackbacks (0)
10 July 2011

Aus ganz Griechenland

Von Stadt und Land

Seit 45 Tagen ist der Synragma-Platz vom Volk besetzt. Jeden Abend finden Demonstrationen statt, jeden Abend kommen die Menschen zusammen um zu reden, zu diskutieren und in direkter Demonstration abzustimmen.

Doch nicht nur hier in Athen tagen die Volksversammlungen, auch in allen grossen und kleinen Städten hat der Virus der direkten Demokratie eingeschlagen. Ueberall finden Volksversammlungen statt, die die Menschen über die Verbrechen des Regimes informieren und die angefangen haben, selber zu entscheiden.

Dieses Wochenende haben alle diese Landsgemeinden Vertreter nach Athen gescchickt. Hier auf dem Syntagma tauschen sich die Menschen über Niederlagen und Erfolge aus. Vorschläge für Massnahmen werden genauso diskutiert.

Wir haben unsere Freunde von Κέρκυρα / Corfu wieder gesehen und von ihren neuesten Taten gehört. Dieses Treffen, der ganze Platz, gibt mir Hoffnung. Was immer noch passieren wird, so viele Menschen sind bereit, mitzuhelfen und zusammenzuarbeiten.


Posted by betabug at 22:40 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
11 July 2011

Familie Papandreou und CDS-Spekulation

Eine Bombe von der Eleftherotypia

Heute morgen hat die Zeitung "Eleftherotypia" (Ελευθεροτυπία, wörtlich: Pressefreiheit) eine Bombe platzen lassen. Normalerweise sind die ökonomischen Abenteuer der Familie Papandreou für die Presse strikt Tabu, Schwarze Liste, da schreibt man nicht darüber. Zu sehen und zu lesen gabs bisher schon auf dem Internet, dass die "Papandreou AG" viel, viel Geld mit CDS-Spekulationen verdient. Max Keizer spricht von 25 Milliarden, die die Familie des Premierministers damit verdient hat, gegen das eigene Land zu "wetten" und natürlich prompt im Ausland in vielen, vielen Offshore-Firmen versteckt hat.

Der aktuelle publizierte Artikel zeigt auf, dass der Bruder des Premierministers im "Strategic Comittee" der Firma "Unigestion" sitzt. Eine Firma, die nach dem Bericht an mehr als 8 Milliarden in CDS dreht. Nach dem, was ich aus bisherigen Berichten sehen konnte, dürfte es sich hier nur um ein kleines Eckchen der Verstrickungen der "Papandreou AG" handeln.

Sicher ist auf jedenfall, dass das Familienunternehmen Papandreou auf den Ruin des von ihnen regierten Landes spekuliert und dabei prächtig verdient. Auch jetzt wieder wird versucht werden, diese Nachricht in den Medien kleinzuhalten oder ganz zu verstecken. Die europäischen Medien haben bis jetzt jedenfalls noch kein Wort dazu veröffentlicht.

Der Artikel der Eleftherotypia führt als Beispiel die Briefkastenfirma "i4cense" an, die der Bruder des Premierministers in der Schweiz laufen hat. Die Existenz dieser Firma wurde in Recherchen von Eleftherotypia-Journalisten schon im März, Mai und Oktober 2010 enthüllt, die Nachricht bekommt aber erst jetzt Publizität.


Posted by betabug at 09:42 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
18 July 2011

The Square

We're still here


It's been days, weeks, I've lost count. Still we are here on the square. "We"? Yes, I'm not here every day any more, but I still count myself in. I - as many of us- would like an easy life, doing my stuff. But I can not bear the destruction of the last traces of society without putting up at least a bit of a fight.

The more so, because there are more of us than against us. If this democracy was not hijacked, then why does the government not go to hell where they belong?

Summer has come, summer will go, but the resistance will still be there. ξ


Posted by betabug at 20:39 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
20 September 2011

It's raining

Kind of special after such a long time

It's raining today. For some people that would be nothing special, but I think I haven't seen any rain in the last 2 or maybe 3 months. I used to report "the first rain after summer" quite often in previous year here. This year I'm not in the "let's run outside, it's raining!" happy state, but still it's a nice change.

In other news, I got a bunch of films from this summer back from development.


Posted by betabug at 17:42 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (0)
25 September 2011

The Freedom to Demonstrate

It's not always given

Today various organizations have called people to demonstrate again on the central Syntagma square in Athens. The police answered with brutality. They beat up unarmed and peaceful people and teargassed them. Women and children were attacked.

I was at the lower part of the square, in the early evening. At the time all the entrances to Amalias avenue (the upper part of the square) were blocked by the riot police. We waited for some time for what would happen. When the police line was pulled back to the other side of Amalias avenue, they fired shock grenades and teargas into the people. We were disgusted and in no mood to risk our health, so we left. In the meantime we learned that the crowd persisted and has taken back the square again.

So, while the crooked politicians and the speculators cut up their pie of the profits, they don't want any of that "democracy" stuff that causes only trouble. People might have a right to demonstrate peacefully, but only if they are willing to risk their health.


Posted by betabug at 20:49 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
29 September 2011

No battle today

... but someone made a mess

This Tuesday there was a battle again in Athens, with the riot police attacking people (and there was one scene where they hit an 8 year old girl). The "online tv station" stopcartel transmitted images and commentary live. Good job, lots of people from all over the world paid attention.

Today (Thursday evening) though, there is no battle going on, instead stopcartel decided to replay Tuesday's video on their live streaming site. Huge success: Since they did not remove the "live" label on the video, lots of people believed that police attacked demonstrators right now and again today. Right now there are still twitter messages repeating the story. Stopcartel had placed a message "now playing back video" on there, but only in Greek.

This kind of thing does not work. I have previous work experience at a TV station and back then I learned one thing: If something looks like "live" and it isn't, you have to make it absolutely clear. Leaving a logo that says "live" in there is a disaster.


Posted by betabug at 23:58 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
19 October 2011

Wie viele Menschen sind auf der Strasse?

Bitte kurz durchzählen

Diese Luftbildaufnahmen zeigen sehr eindrücklich, wie viele Menschen heute in Athen auf der Strasse sind:

http://alepouda.blogspot.com/2011/10/19-2011.html

Diese Regierung hat jede demokratische Legitimation verloren. Werden die Schweizer Zeitungen jetzt wieder schreiben, dass "tausende" demonstrieren?


Posted by betabug at 15:58 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
14 November 2011

It got cold

At least for our standards
Petralona Metro Station

Last year we had a summer that seemed to last for a long time and the real cold of winter with snow in the mountains was delayed until something like February. This year it got cold early. This weekend feels really cold, at least for our standards. While the temperatures aren't that low, there is a lot of wind.

I remember discussing with an old lady in the trolley bus at the end of last year. She said "thank god we have a mild winter, now that people don't have so much money for the heating." Oh, those were the days. Not only was the winter mild, but compared to this winter, people were rich.

This year, according to the "Eleftherotypia" newspaper, in 50% of appartment buildings, they didn't buy any heating fuel. Because the tenants have to agree to buy heating fuel, there is a big problem if some of the tenants don't have the money (for example because they are part of the officially 18.6% unemployed).

If there is no central heating, what are the options? Heat up your place with electricity in some form (air conditioner, electric radiators of various kind - quite expensive in my oppinion), or use oil / kerosene / gas stoves (often really messy and not always very safe). Oh, and apparently wood stoves are in big demand these days, while forrests all over the country get plundered. Newspaper writers were reminded of similar damage done to the forests in the last war.


Posted by betabug at 13:25 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
20 December 2011

Subway Line 1 Back in Full Service

It tooks some time

Actually I didn't record when the big project of a total overhaul of Line 1 started (the "Ilektrikos" or "Treno" as the Athenians call it, "green line" as the foreigners seem to call it). In July 2009 I posted an image of the Petralona subway station under works, probably because until then, the project hadn't really interfered with my moving about. Now, lots of time and some delays later, the project is finished. Again I'm late in reporting, it was last week on Monday that trains started to roll normally through Omonia station again.

Part of the delay was due to the archeological findings that were expected to be found - and indeed found - near Thision station. There was part of a temple of the 12 gods under the lines. Make that right under the lines, while the train was in part operation it was possible to see the findings quite clearly. A smallish court battle later and the findings were covered and the track again laid over them.

As everybody will tell you, subway line 1 is the oldest line in Athens, 100 or so years old, and for a very long time it was the only line there was. As my flat is very near one of its stations, I can tell you that it's really convenient. Sure it's slower than the new lines (maybe with the rework not that much slower any more), but it sure beats taking the bus.


Posted by betabug at 12:04 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
17 January 2012

Pressezensur

Gar nix ist passiert

Letzten Sonntag hat es seit längerer Zeit wiedermal eine Demonstration der "Empörten" (Αγανακτισμένοι) gegeben. Es waren viel weniger Menschen als letzten Sommer, nach Schätzungen so um die 2000 Menschen. Das ist aber auch verständlich, für Athener Verhältnisse war es saukalt und viele der Demonstrierenden waren gesetzten Alters. Ausserdem ist die Angst vor Repression gross: Bei den letzten Demonstrationen ist es jedesmal innert kürzester Zeit zu Angriffen der Polizei mit massivem Tränengaseinsatz gekommen. Auch diesmal hat die Polizei mit Gewalt reagiert. Die Polizei räumte mit Gewalt den oberen Teil des Platzes. Eine junge Frau wurde verletzt.

Ich selber war nicht dort, da ich den Sonntag in den Parnitha-Bergen verbrachte. Der interessanteste Punkt für mich war allerdings zu sehen, wie sich die Medien zensieren lassen bzw. wohl selbst zensieren. Es gab keinerlei Berichterstattung über die Demonstration. Ein privater Radiosender (Skai), der alle halbe Stunde über die Verkehrssituation im Grossraum Athen berichtet, verschwieg sogar im Verkehrsbericht, dass der zentralste Platz Athen und die dazugehörige Amalias-Strasse blockiert waren.


Posted by betabug at 09:28 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
23 January 2012

hackerspace.gr

A space to hack... what else?
Main room of the Athens hackerspace

Right now I'm in the Athens hackerspace. What's that? It's a semi-subterranean space, set up by some dedicated geeks, hackers, tinkerers. It's being used for all kind of open source projects, both in software and hardware.

The first time I came here, I walked into the middle of an impromptu lecture on mail and DNS. One seasoned system administrator explaining stuff to some other peeps. Other days there are events for all kinds of more or less open source related groups.

Today there are just some people banging on their laptops and discussing some internal projects. Myself I'm working through a tutorial, and listening with half an ear to any topics that might be interesting.

On the hardware side, there are some tool benches and even a Makerbot. In fact, there is another, different 3d printer in the process of being assembled too. I'm not too much of a hardware hacker, but this stuff is definitely interesting.

Makerbot in tthe Athens hackerspace

Posted by betabug at 19:17 | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
22 May 2012

Arriving without leaving

It's the little things

I've been living here (in Athens) for so long, that I sometimes forget where I am. Today I sat at the taverna, reading a book after having eaten lunch. I had just fed two little morcels of meat to a friendly stray cat. It's sunny, but not too hot, and I was sitting outside. Suddenly it came back, this feeling of being here, being in Greece and enjoying life. I was at once coming back to old memories and being very happy in this particular moment of now. Lucky me.


Posted by betabug at 13:01 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
26 May 2012

Back To The Square

One year after or so
Approaching the square from below

So, it's been one year since I've been on Athens' central Syntagma square, demonstrating with ten thousands of others. Demonstrating "against the thieves and embezzlers in parliament and government" and "for real democracy, transparency, and a referendum", as I reported the following day. In the following months, I was there almost every day. In very short time, "direct democracy" had turned from something totally unknown, to something that people demanded to change the political system to. It wasn't long though, that the government let the police snap down on their people with brutality, ultimately "cleaning" the square and ending the right to demonstrate freely.

The people on the upper part of the square

This pre-history in mind, when there appeared a call to go to the square again, I very much wanted to go. There might have been a small part of nostalgia, a slightly bigger hope that things would pick up again. Even more important, I wanted to be there, show presence and be counted. If there were to be very few people only, it would not have been due to me having failed to show up. And indeed, there were few people. Don't let my pictures fool you, there were large parts of the square empty. On the other hand, the picture of the assembly looks more empty than it was.

But then, this year things will have to pick up again in their own pace. The call to go to the square hasn't been spread very well. People are busy with other political means. There are elections coming again next month for example. What's more important for me: This year people will have to find new ways to express their will. The corrupt, criminal politicians have on one side learned how to respond (with police brutality), on the other hand they have been dealt a big blow. They didn't step down when "the street" demanded it, but then they had to step down in the first round of elections early this month.

The assembly on May 25, 2012

One reason I was reluctant to go to the square was obviously all the police brutality: I've had my exposure to tear gas and I didn't look forward to any more of it. It seems though that our "technical government" has less desire to follow up right in the footsteps of the last government. There was no police in view, I dind't even see any traffic police.

The coming sunday there is another call to go to the square. It might be that more people will get it, I don't know. The press obviously does not whisper a single word of all this. They have their masters to obey and their business to attend to. The bigger question will be if there is an online wave of raising attention.


Posted by betabug at 10:31 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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