‘It can be said without exaggeration that the history of painting would remain unchanged had Dürer never touched a brush and a palette, but that the first five years of his independent work as an engraver and woodcut designer sufficed to revolutionise the graphic arts.’

Erwin Panofsky, 1943

Albrecht Dürer is one of the great Renaissance artists. His home was in Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany, which at the time was a free city, and the center of Renaissance Art in Germany.

Today the house is a museum. In this post I will show some photos I have taken during my visit there.

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Dürer purchased the house in 1509.

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First known engraving to show the house (1714) Source: Wikipedia

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Photo showing the house (between 1860 and 1875). Source: Wikipedia

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A 1909 photograph of the house. Source: Wikipedia

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The house after the 1944 bombing of Nuremberg. Source: Wikipedia

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Albrecht Durer’s House in Nuremberg. Photo by N. Moropoulos

Today the restored house is a museum.

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Albrecht Durer’s House in Nuremberg. Photo by N. Moropoulos

Do not expect to see any works of art inside. There aren’t any.

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Albrecht Durer’s House in Nuremberg. Photo by N. Moropoulos

The house itself is the item on exhibition.

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Albrecht Durer’s House in Nuremberg. Photo by N. Moropoulos

You get transferred to the 16th century Germany.

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Albrecht Durer’s House in Nuremberg. Photo by N. Moropoulos

If there are spirits and Durer’s spirit is in the neighborhood, you get to say hello. But even if there aren’t, the place has an aura.

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Albrecht Durer’s House in Nuremberg. Photo by N. Moropoulos

Best to go when it opens so that there are not many people around.

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Albrecht Durer’s House in Nuremberg. Photo by N. Moropoulos

The space is limited, and the noise and clatter dissipate the effect of the space and the artifacts.

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The top of a stove – Albrecht Durer’s House in Nuremberg. Photo by N. Moropoulos

As I was going around, I was wondering. «How many servants did Durer have?»

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Albrecht Durer’s House in Nuremberg. Photo by N. Moropoulos

 

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Albrecht Durer’s House in Nuremberg. Photo by N. Moropoulos

How many days per year on average did he spend in the house? Durer was traveling a lot in his peak period.

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Albrecht Durer’s House in Nuremberg. Photo by N. Moropoulos

The atelier of the master is a disappointment. The over enthusiastic curators have created a space that looks more unreal than real.

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Albrecht Durer’s House in Nuremberg. Photo by N. Moropoulos

There is a huge printing press in the middle, where demonstrations are made.

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Albrecht Durer’s House in Nuremberg. Photo by N. Moropoulos

Maybe this is what the visitors want to see.

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Albrecht Durer’s House in Nuremberg. Photo by N. Moropoulos

But not me.

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Albrecht Durer’s House in Nuremberg. Photo by N. Moropoulos

As my tour around the house ends, I find myself in the kitchen.

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Albrecht Durer’s House in Nuremberg. Photo by N. Moropoulos

Time to go.

As I exit the house I cannot help but feel the joy of having met in an indirect way the great master.

arniexothema.grtselemedes

Executive Summary

Dear non-Greek speaking readers, I am honored to have you visiting my site.

This is to let you know that this post is written in Greek only. It describes an agonizing attempt to sacrifice a white lamb to an unfulfilled love. Similar to the sorry state of the love itself and the unfortunate love stricken author, the sacrifice fails miserably.

The  post is not translated because the whole story is built around cultural references that only a Greek speaking person can decode to an adequate level, and thus appreciate the level of genius that is required in order to write this post. I am a modest person by nature and thus do not want to elaborate this point further.

Εισαγωγή

Το Πάσχα ανάμεσα σε όλα τα άλλα είναι και η θυσία του αμνού. Ο αγνός και αθώος αμνός θυσιάζεται. Πληρώνει με τη ζωή του για κάποιον σκοπό κάποιων άλλων, εκτός από αυτόν.

Η θυσία σαν τελετουργία πάει χιλιετίες πίσω.

Αρχίζοντας από τον Όμηρο, διαβάζουμε στην Ιλιάδα για την εκατόμβη που προσφέρουν ο Οδυσσέας και ο Χρύσης στον Φοίβο Απόλλωνα για να ελεηθεί τους Δαναούς.

Ευκαιρία να δούμε μερικές σχετικές λέξεις στο Ομηρικό κείμενο, με τη βοήθεια του λεξικού Liddell $ Scott, ενώ οι αποδόσεις στα νέα ελληνικά είναι των Ι.Θ. Κακριδή και Ν. Καζαντζάκη.

  • αυερύω, αυέρυσα: έλκω το κεφάλι του θύματος προς τα πίσω, έτσι ώστε να κόψω το λαιμό του. Η απόδοση στα νέα ελληνικά είναι «αναλαιμίζω»
  • σφάζω, έσφαξα: σφαγιάζω τα ζώα που πρέπει να προσφερθούν ως θυσία. Η λέξη δεν έχει αλλάξει, είναι η ίδια στα νέα ελληνικά!
  • δέρω, έδειρα: αφαιρώ το δέρμα. Στη νέα ελληνική, η λέξη είναι γδέρνω.
  • σπλάγχνα: εντόσθια που φυλάσσονταν και τα έτρωγαν οι προσφέροντες την θυσία. Στη νεοελληνική έχουμε τη λέξη «σπλάχνα». Δηλαδή χάσαμε στη διαδρομή των χιλιετιών ένα «γάμμα».
  • οβελός, οβελοίσιν: σούβλα. Στη νεοελληνική χρησιμοποιούμε και την λέξη «οβελίας».

Ομήρου Ιλιάδα, Α’ 440 – 469 (απόδοση Ι.Θ. Κακριδής, Ν. Καζαντζάκης)

Τότε ο Οδυσσέας ό πολυκάτεχος μπρος στο βωμό τη φέρνει

και την παράδωσε στου κύρη της τα χέρια λέγοντας του:

«Χρύση, ο ρηγάρχης Αγαμέμνονας με στέλνει να σου δώσω

πίσω την κόρη, και να σφάξουμε περίσσια αρνιά στο Φοίβο,

να ελεηθεί, αν θελήσει η χάρη του, τους Δαναούς, τι αλήθεια

με πίκρες έχει πολυστέναχτες ποτίσει τους Αργίτες.»

Τούτα μιλώντας του την έδωκε, κι αυτός την κόρη εδέχτη

όλο χαρά᾿ κι εκείνοι γρήγορα τ᾿ αγιάτικα σφαχτάρια

στήσαν αράδα, στον καλόχτιστο βωμό του Φοίβου γύρω.

… (η ευχή του Χρύση)

Είπε, και την ευκή του επάκουσεν ο Απόλλωνας ο Φοίβος·

κι ως ευκηθήκαν και πασπάλισαν μετά τ᾿ αγιοκριθάρια,

αναλαιμίσαν τ᾿ αρνοκάτσικα, τα σφάξανε, τα γδάραν,

χώρισαν τα μεριά, τα τύλιξαν τρογύρα με τη σκέπη,

διπλώνοντας τη, κι από πάνω τους κομμάτια κρέας πιθώσαν.

Σε σκίζες πάνω ο γέρος τα ‘καιγε, και με κρασί φλογάτο

τα περεχούσε, και πεντόσουβλες στο πλάι του οι νιοί κρατούσαν.

Και σύντας τα μεριά αποκάηκαν και γεύτηκαν τα σπλάχνα,

λιανίσαν τ᾿ άλλα και περνώντας τα στις σούβλες να τα ψήνουν

επήραν γνοιαστικά, κι ως ψήθηκαν, τ᾿ αποτραβήξαν όλα.

Κι απ᾿ τις δουλειές αυτές σα σκόλασαν κι ετοίμασαν τις τάβλες,

έτρωγαν, κι είχαν ως εταίριαζε καθείς το μερτικό του.

και σύντας του πιοτού θαράπεψαν και του φαγιού τον πόθο…

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Πάντα υπάρχει ένα άσπρο αρνάκι

Εμπνευσμένος από τους Δαναούς,  αλλά και τον Άγιο Ιωάννη, που απεικονίζεται ως παις με τον αμνό, αποφάσισα να θυσιάσω κι εγώ έναν αμνό.  Ο Κατακουζηνός δεν αναφέρει θυσίες, καθόσον το ποίημα είναι παιδικό. Όπως όμως όλοι γνωρίζουμε, τα αρνάκια μπορεί να πάθουνε πολλά χειρότερα από το να σπάσουν ένα ποδαράκι!

 Αλέξανδρος Κατακουζηνός, «Το αρνάκι»

 Αρνάκι άσπρο και παχύ

της μάνας του καμάρι

εβγήκε εις την εξοχή

και στο χλωρό χορτάρι.

Απ’ τη χαρά του την πολλή

απρόσεκτα πηδούσε

της μάνας του τη συμβουλή

καθόλου δέν ψηφούσε.

«Καθὼς παιδί μου προχωρείς

και σαν ελάφι τρέχης

να κακοπάθης ημπορείς

και πρέπει να προσέχεις».

Χαντάκι βρέθηκε βαθύ

ορμά σαν παλληκάρι

να το πηδήση προσπαθεί

και σπάει το ποδάρι!

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Μαρία η μοιραία γυναίκα

Ο αμνός θα θυσιασθεί στην ποδιά της Μαρίας της Πενταγιώτισσας. Μπας και σπάσει η γκίνια και ο έρωτας μου παύσει να είναι ανεκπλήρωτος.

«Μαρία Πενταγιώτισσα», Δημώδες Άσμα της Φωκίδας

Στα Σάλωνα σφάζουν αρνιά, Μαρία Πενταγιώτισσα

Αχ, και στο Χρυσό κριάρια, μωρή δασκαλοποόλα

Και στης Μαρίας την ποδιά, Μαρία Πενταγιώτισσα

Αχ, σφάζουνται παλικάρια, παιδιά σαν τα βλαστάρια

Μαρία, πού ‘ν’ τ’ αδέρφια σου; Μαρία Πενταγιώτισσα

Αχ, μωρή δασκαλοποόλα, που ‘σύ τα κάνεις ούλα

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Διονύσιος ο αισιόδοξος

Το Πάσχα είναι η Άνοιξη.  Και είναι ο ξανθός ο Απρίλης που βρίσκεται πίσω από την θυσία του αμνού, αυτός φταίει για όλα, που έστησε χορό με τον έρωτα και μου πήραν τα μυαλά, και θυμήθηκα την Μαρία, και μόνο με μια θυσία θα ηρεμήσω.

Τώρα που το καλοσκέφτηκα, για τη θυσία φταίει και ο Σολωμός και όλοι οι ρομαντικοί ποιητές που με έκαναν τόσο ευαίσθητο και κάθομαι και ασχολούμαι με ανεκπλήρωτους έρωτες. Όχι ότι η Μαρία η Πενταγιώτισσα δεν το αξίζει, χαλάλι της όλα, αλλά η θυσία είναι θυσία.

Όπως έχετε καταλάβει ευρίσκομαι ενώπιον διλήμματος. Να θυσιάσω ή να μη θυσιάσω;

 Διονύσιος Σολωμός, «Ελεύθεροι Πολιορκημένοι»

ΣΧΕΔΙΑΣΜΑ Γ΄, Απόσπασμα 6, Ο ΠΕΙΡΑΣΜΟΣ

Έστησ’ ο Έρωτας χορό με τον ξανθόν Απρίλη,

Κι η φύσις ηύρε την καλή και τη γλυκιά της ώρα,

Και μες στη σκιά που φούντωσε και κλει δροσιές και μόσχους

Ανάκουστος κιλαϊδισμός και λιποθυμισμένος.

Νερά καθάρια και γλυκά, νερά χαριτωμένα,

Χύνονται μες την άβυσσο τη μοσχοβολισμένη,

Και παίρνουνε το μόσχο της, κι αφήνουν τη δροσιά τους,

Κι ούλα στον ήλιο δείχνοντας τα πλούτια της πηγής τους,

Τρέχουν εδώ, τρέχουν εκεί, και κάνουν σαν αηδόνια.

Έξ’ αναβρύζει κι η ζωή σ’ γη, σ’ ουρανό, σε κύμα.

Αλλά στης λίμνης το νερό, π’ ακίνητό ‘ναι κι άσπρο,

Ακίνητ’ όπου κι αν ιδής, και κάτασπρ’ ως τον πάτο,

Με μικρόν ίσκιον άγνωρον έπαιξ’ η πεταλούδα,

Που ‘χ’ ευωδίσει τς ύπνους της μέσα στον άγριο κρίνο.

Αλαφροίσκιωτε καλέ, για πες απόψε τι ‘δες;

Νύχτα γιομάτη θαύματα, νύχτα σπαρμένη μάγια!

Χωρίς ποσώς γης, ουρανός και θάλασσα να πνένε,

Ουδ’ όσο κάν’ η μέλισσα κοντά στο λουλουδάκι,

Γύρου σε κάτι ατάραχο π’ ασπρίζει μες στη λίμνη,

Μονάχο ανακατώθηκε το στρογγυλό φεγγάρι,

Κι όμορφη βγαίνει κορασιά ντυμένη με το φως του.

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Μάρκος ο απαισιόδοξος

Ο Μάρκος ο Βαμβακάρης έπιασε αλλιώς το θέμα της Άνοιξης.  Βαθύτατα ερωτικός τύπος, ο Βαμβακάρης μάλλον περνούσε ερωτική απογοήτευση όταν έγραψε αυτό το ποίημα και το σχετικό τραγούδι.

Είναι όμως ακριβώς αυτή η ικανότητα να κρύβεις μέσα σου το ολόκληρο το βαθύ σχίσμα που χωρίζει τον ψεύτη ντουνιά από τα ματόκλαδα που λάμπουν, που σε κάνει μεγάλο (ή μεγάλη).

Κι έτσι ο Μάρκος που εδώ τα βλέπει όλα μαύρα ξαφνικά συνέρχεται και λίγο μετά τραγουδά για τα λαμπυρίζοντα ματόκλαδα.

Το αποφάσισα. Δεν την γλυτώνει τη θυσία ο αμνός.

Μάρκος Βαμβακάρης, «Τι μ’ ωφελούν οι άνοιξες»

Τι μ’ ωφελούν οι άνοιξες, τι οι ομορφιές του κόσμου,

αφού ο κόσμος χάνεται, ψεύτη ντουνιά κι έξαφνα ο εμπρός μου,

αφού ο κόσμος χάνεται, ψεύτη ντουνιά κι έξαφνα ο εμπρός μου.

Τι και αν λιώσαν μάνα μου, απ’ τα βουνά τα χιόνια,

τι και αν θα `ρθει η άνοιξις, ψεύτη ντουνιά, αχ και κελαηδούν αηδόνια,

τι και αν θα `ρθει η άνοιξις, ψεύτη ντουνιά, αχ και κελαηδούν αηδόνια.

Όλα στο κόσμο μάταια, τα πάντα ματαιότης

κι ένα λουλούδι ψεύτικο, ψεύτη ντουνιά, είναι η ανθρωπότης,

κι ένα λουλούδι ψεύτικο, ψεύτη ντουνιά, είναι η ανθρωπότης.

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Χάλασε ο φούρνος!

Ετούτη λοιπόν την Άνοιξη, με τον ξανθό Απρίλη και τον Έρωτα, με τη Μαρία την Πενταγιώτισσα να με κολάζει με τη σκέψη της, με τις εικόνες της εκατόμβης θυσίας των Δαναών στον Φοίβο,  επήρα τον λευκό αμνό και τον έβαλα στον φούρνο για τη θυσία.

Καλή ποιήτρια η Κική Δημουλά, δεν λέγω, αλλά ο φούρνος της μου τα χάλασε όλα!

Η θυσία απέτυχε!

Ο αμνός δραπέτευσε!

Η Μαρία Πενταγιώτισσα θα μείνει για πάντα όνειρο!

Και για όλα αυτά φταίει η ποίηση!

Κική Δημουλά, “Πάσχα στο φούρνο “

Από τη συλλογή «Ενός λεπτού μαζί» (1998)

Βέλαζε το κατσίκι επίμονα βραχνά.

Άνοιξα το φούρνο με θυμό τι φωνάζεις είπα

σε ακούνε οι καλεσμένοι.

Ο φούρνος δεν καίει, βέλαξε

κάνε κάτι αλλιώς θα μείνει νηστική

χρονιάρα μέρα η ωμότητά σας.

Έβαλα μέσα το χέρι μου. Πράγματι.

Παγωμένο το μέτωπο τα πόδια ο σβέρκος

το χορτάρι η βοσκή τα κατσάβραχα

η σφαγή.

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Ηθικό δίδαγμα

Μην ερωτευθείτε την Μαρία την Πενταγιώτισσα.

Μην διαβάζετε ρομαντικούς ποιητές.

Μην εμπιστεύεσθε τον φούρνο μιας ποιήτριας αν θέλετε να ψήσετε κάτι. Καλύτερα στον φούρνο της γειτονιάς.

Αν σκέφτεσθε να κάνετε μια θυσία, καλύτερα να θυσιάσετε τον εαυτό σας, ή ένα κομμάτι του. Ο αμνός είναι πολύ βολικός, αλλά σε τελική ανάλυση δεν φταίει τίποτε να πληρώνει τα δικά σας τα σπασμένα.

A visit to Nuremberg’s Kongresshalle

Κυριακή, 24 Απριλίου, 2016

A visit to Nuremberg’s Kongresshalle (Congress Hall) and the Documentation Center which is located on site requires a minimum of 2 hours. The imposing structure cannot be seen from a distance. To get there by car you must be careful (unless you have a GPS). The signs are few and small. It is as if nobody wants to know about it. It is as if it is a burden, a leftover that should ideally have been disposed off.

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The map above shows the location of the Congress Hall in the overall area known as «Nazi Party Rally Grounds» (Reichsparteitagsgelande). It is marked as number 5.

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Photo: N. Moropoulos

This entrance, like most of the building, is closed. Entry is through the Documentation Center. The facade is made of granite panels.

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Photo: N. Moropoulos

The unfinished building is the largest Nazi building that survived the second world war, and most of it is not used. Some areas on the ground floor are used for storage. I had an impression that I was looking at a modern lifeless Colosseum. It just so happens that this was the inspiration of the architects who designed the hall.

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Photo: N. Moropoulos

The actual height of the building is 39 meter,s compared to the planned 70 meters. The diameter is 250 meters. A few meters farther down this corridor, one could hear bobcat equipment operating inside what looked like a storage area.

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Photo: N. Moropoulos

The U shaped building never had a roof, although this was the design of the Nuremberg architects Ludwig and Franz Ruff. As we enter the horseshoe, we face west. To the right (North) is the Documentation Center, to the left (South) is the home of the city’s symphony orchestra.

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Photo: N. Moropoulos

The roof would cover over 50,000 people.

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Photo: N. Moropoulos

Photo in the Documentation Center

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Photo: N. Moropoulos

Photo in the Documentation Center

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Photo: N. Moropoulos

The lake by the Kongresshalle. Notice that there are no signs whatsoever. This is in Germany, a country where people are obsessed with being precise and accurate.

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Photo: N. Moropoulos

The Southern Wing of the huge building today is the home of the city’s symphony orchestra. I had mixed feelings about this. Why is the «monument» of Nazi Germany used as a concert hall? Only if it is not considered a «monument».

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Photo: N. Moropoulos

The amusement park right next to Kongresshalle. More question marks here. The park is literally a few meters away form the huge structure. In my mind such proximity almost neutralizes Kongresshalle, makes it just another of the buildings of the city. It makes you forget.

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Photo: N. Moropoulos

«Every Wednesday Family Day  with half prices.»

I read that starting in Spring, the whole area becomes a huge beer garden.

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Photo: N. Moropoulos

On the way out of Nuremberg, I noticed that a power transformation block of the original Party Rally compound has become a Burger King.

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Photo credit: Rick Steve

Now that the visit is over and I had a chance to collect my thoughts, and I have read a little about the grounds, things are clear.

The Party Rally Grounds are not an area designated as historic, and thus it is not protected nor is it preserved. In a few years, the Congress Hall may become a football stadium, or something else. History is thus dissolved into  the razzle-dazzle of everyday life, never to emerge again as collective knowledge, as collective conscience, as memory, as awareness, as appreciation of what Man can do.

 

 

.

 

Daido Moriyama: Colors

Κυριακή, 17 Απριλίου, 2016

Some time ago I wrote an article about Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama. All photos in the article were black and white. Today’s post is about Moriyama’s color photos.

moriyamacolor13

“When I look at Shinjuku, I see a stadium of human desires.”

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«Making a definitive declaration of intent or meaning kills the photograph.»

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«Photography never reaches a state of completion. That is what makes it interesting—amazing..»

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«… to shoot images is to receive shocks from the outside world.»

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«…looking at images leads to the discovery of a new language. That is what I am about.»

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«When I take snapshots, I am always guided by feeling, so even in that moment when I’m taking a photograph it is impossible to explain the reason for the exposure.»

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«I’ve never been attracted to places that are very hygienic, I like a touch of squalor.”

moriyamacolor8

«There is something very vernacular, something I can feel and smell as Japanese in what I do. So if at first glance the pictures might look quite American, there’s a belief in Japanese tradition that comes out in them even if I’m not always conscious of it.»

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«The surprising quality of photography is it unites the déjà vu with the jamais vuand then the feeling of the photographer with the feeling of the spectator in a continual layering of emotions.»

moriyamacolor22

«Travel has never been a destination but rather a constant state of mind.»

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«There is no moment equal to another even if you repeat the same gesture.»

moriyamacolor23

«Even though I go to Buenos Aires, San Paolo, Hawaii, New York, I will shoot with my five senses, so it’s the same.»

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«All the photographers, and all the people that are active in making something, all the artists, they have a very strong desire, a passion. It’s like being at the core of desire.»

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«As long as my legs, my back and my stomach are well, I will take photographs in the street forever. I do not have the intention to leave the camera.»

All quotes are Daido Moriyama’s.

Sources

  1. Daido Moriyama: The Shock From Outside. Interview with Ivan Vartanian
  2. Daido Moriyama: Low life in Tokyo. Mark Hudson, The Telegraph, 18 October 2012.
  3. Daido Moriyama in Color. Domus

 

 

 

 

Can the Middle East migrant crisis be contained?

Σάββατο, 19 Μαρτίου, 2016

The migrant crisis has reached an acute  state in Greece and Europe for more than one year now. Millions of people from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries are flooding Greece aiming to continue their journey to other European countries. Some 45,000 of them are now stuck in Greece, after the northern borders of the country have been closed. Approximately 14,000 of them are in the area of Idomeni, a village of 150 inhabitants.

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Photo: Hundreds of people arrive at the passport office in Kabul to apply for new travel documents. SLOBODAN LEKIC/Stars and Stripes

Images of the migrants stuck in Greece near the border with FYROM (Macedonia) are all over the news. On the 17th March 2016 the EU leaders met and finalized the EU proposal to Turkey to stem the flow of migrants to Europe. An agreement was reached with Turkey on the 18th March 2016. According to the agreement, every migrant arriving in Greece after the 20th March 2016 who does not qualify for asylum in a European country will be returned to Turkey. In exchange, a Syrian refuge who is in Turkey and has not attempted to cross illegally to Greece, will be given asylum to a European country. There is a cap to this, of 72,000 people. There are significant implementation issues for the agreement to run smoothly. However, the big question remain: «Can the flow of migrants from the Middle East to Europe be stemmed?»

It is obvious that the European leaders and their advisors think that the flow can be stemmed. The deal with Turkey is structured on the basis of this hypothesis. Why is this the case? How can this be proven to be a reasonable assumption?

Quite simply put, the flow can be stemmed provided that the causes of the massive migration can be addressed so that migration is no longer the path to the future for millions of people. It is therefore essential that we know which are the causes of the migration, and that we examine how they can ills behind creating them can be cured.

The war in Syria has made the whole phenomenon look like a mass exodus of people from the battlefields of the Syrian war. This is the explanation that best suits the European Union’s agenda. The war stops, therefore the migration flow  declines and eventually stops. All we need – in this case – is to stem the flow from Turkey to Europe and wait until the flow stops.

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Photo: Boy on a destroyed tank in Kobane, Syria. Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images

Before I proceed I would like to clarify the terminology. Following the BBC, I use the terms migrant and migration to describe the phenomenon. I suggest that the word refugee is not needed, as it creates confusion and obfuscates the phenomenon at large. A migrant is a person who decides to leave their country of residence in order to move to another country. No matter what the reason is, political persecution, economic need, or something else, the migrant is a man determined to move and seek asylum in another country.

The confusion with the terminology arose out of the need qualify a migrant as a refugee in case the reason for their decision is political persecution.Being a refugee qualifies the migrant for automatic granting of asylum by the receiving country, whereas a simple migrant who, say, emigrates in order to make a living (so called financial refugees) has no right to asylum whatsoever and is not accepted.

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In order to establish the causes of the phenomenon, we must make sure we have the facts relevant to it. Lets begin with the country of origin.Where do the migrants come from?

The origin countries

According to Frontex, there were 1.83 million «illegal border crossings» into Europe in 2015 compared to the previous year’s record of 283,500. As we see in the Eurostat chart above, the three top origin countries of the migrants are Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. A total of 363,000 Syrians fled the war and entered Europe seeking asylum.

So far we have established one probable cause for the migration. The war in Syria. Assuming that this is the only cause, we have an issue to deal with in our analysis. How do we explain the migration from Afghanistan and Iraq as a result of the war in Syria?

 

Before addressing this issue it would be useful to gather some facts on the migration from Afghanistan and Iraq.

Afghan refugees walk through a beach where they will wait to board a dinghy sailing off for the Greek island of Chios

Afghan refugees walk through a beach where they will wait to board a dinghy sailing off for the Greek island of Chios, while they try to travel from the western Turkish coastal town of Cesme, in Izmir province, Turkey, March 6, 2016. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Afghanistan

The Afghanistan population is approximately 33 million. Male life expectancy is 59 years, and female 61 years. Unemployment is over 50%, while 38% of the population lives below the poverty demarcation line.Afghanistan is practically a country whose economy is destroyed and more than one third of its territory is under the control of the Taliban insurgents.

Eurostat  figures show that 178,000 Afghanis entered Europe in 2015 seeking a better life.

Slobodan Lekic writes in «Stars and Stripes»:

«Afghans are now the second-largest contingent of migrants heading for Europe, after Syrians but ahead of Iraqis fleeing from the murderous Islamic State jihadis in the Middle East, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and the European Union’s statistical agency. But exact numbers are difficult to come by because many of the Afghans heading east have already been living as refugees outside Afghanistan’s borders. A good proportion of those traveling to Europe live in Iran, where some 900,000 Afghans have resided since the 1990s.»(1)

Dasha Afanasieva reports on the Afghanis in Turkey:

«The EU is not even discussing these issues and is exclusively focused on Syria,» Kati Piri, the European Parliament’s rapporteur for Turkey, told Reuters last month.

«Even if the Syrian crisis would be solved tomorrow, there would still be a serious refugee crisis, with a large number of refugees in Turkey who don’t have access to their rights.»

Afghan migrants in Turkey interviewed by Reuters said that over the past few years they had been denied interviews with U.N. refugee agency UNHCR that would formally determine their refugee status, a key step in the journey to being resettled.

Polat Kizildag, program coordinator at ASAM, an organization which registers asylum seekers in Turkey, said they were generally told they were ineligible because Turkey was the third country on their journey and the expectation was that they apply for refugee status in their second, in many cases Iran.

Human rights groups have said Iranian forces deport thousands of Afghans without giving them a chance to prove their asylum status and that they are pressured to leave the country.

«More than 63,000 Afghans came to Turkey last year, a sharp rise from 15,652 in 2014, according to ASAM (an organization which registers asylum seekers in Turkey), counting only those who registered. Some came directly from Afghanistan, others from Iran, where they had tried unsuccessfully to settle.(6)

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Iraq

Iraq has a population of approximately 37 million people and its oil dependent economy is in a terrible shape. In her NPR report, Alice Fordham says:

«Everything seems to be working against the Iraqi economy. The government is waging a costly war with the Islamic State while dealing with falling oil prices, millions of displaced citizens and staggering costs for reconstruction of cities ruined by fighting.» (7)

Add to this the effects of the civil strife and you have the makings of an explosive situation. According to a report by the International Organization for Migration, more than 3 million people have been displaced in Iraq by violent conflict since January 2014.  Dominik Bartsch, the U.N.’s deputy humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, said 10 million people were expected to need humanitarian support by the end of the year in that country, where 3.2 million were already displaced. (4)

In the past years there has been  migration within the region, which is now becoming migration to Europe. In a New York Times article, Ken Arango wrote in September 2015:

«Adnan al-Azzawi, 45, was in Damascus, Syria, from 2004 to 2011, and then returned to Baghdad. He recently sent his family on the migrant journey, and they wound up in Belgium. He hopes to join them soon.» (3)

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The mix of the origin countries is changing

Since September 2015, the mix of migrants by country of origin has changed significantly. The extensive quote below is from Chris Tomlinson’s article (5):

The number of Syrian migrants is falling, while the number of Afghans, Iraqis and West Africans continues to grow, according to the European Union’s (EU) Frontex agency.

The organisation, which is tasked with monitoring and controlling movements around Europe’s borders, has revealed that the new wave of migrants aren’t necessarily fleeing conflict, but rather “aspiring” for a better economic situation, according to two agency reports.

The first document talks about migration coming through the Greek islands from the Middle East. They state that in recent months the percentage of Syrian migrants is decreasing.

According to the agency, although Syrians represented 56 percent of the illegal migrants that crossed into Greece in 2015, by December that number had fell to 39 percent.

The report also said that Iraqis and Afghanis as a percentage of the migrants had dramatically increased with the share of Iraqis more than doubling from 11 percent in October to 25 percent by the end of December. Afghani numbers also have increased to one third of migrants crossing into Greece.

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Photo: The Aigli Hotel, a bankrupt resort near Thermopylae Greece, is now an official migrant center. Sergey Ponomarev for the New York Times.

First conclusions

What we can conclude from the Iraqi situation is that the tide of migrants will become stronger. When 10 million people are displaced and in danger of their well being, the tide will not only be big, it may also be unstoppable.

If the findings of the Frontex reports are valid, the wave of migrants from the Middle East to Europe will continue to come strong, contrary to the views that it will stop once the Syrian war is over. The reasons behind the migration are not restricted to the geographical territory of Syria, nor are they confined to fully blown war. There is an intense feeling of insecurity both in Iraq and Afghanistan, and this feeling is not going away if we believe the relevant reports.

If insecurity drives the migration, this is not strictly a political issue. It is also an economic issue, and it is related to demographics.

Given all of the above, the migration crisis facing the Middle East and Europe is here to stay. And this raises a lot of questions regarding the adequacy of the EU – Turkey agreement regarding the flow of migrants. If the migration tide is not just the result of a war in Syria that is going to end, what are the chances that an agreement to control the flow of migrants from Turkey to the EU will prove to be totally inadequate?

European politicians have developed a piecemeal approach to tackle issues, no matter how big or small they are. As the collapse of the American financial system in 2008 has shown us, piecemeal measures do not work when the issue is a big crisis that transcends the ordinary. The Europeans do not seem to have learned this lesson. If we judge from the way the Greek crisis is being handled, the piecemeal approach thrives.

Is this going to work in the migrant crisis facing Europe? I do not think so. A year from now the situation in Greece will be intollerable, with many more migrants stuck in the country unable to move either to Europe or back to Turkey. The northern borders of Greece will continue to be closed for the migrants.

And what is the worst of all, the economic conditions that make migration inevitable also fuel insurgency in the Middle East.

iraq_war

Sources

(1) Afghans join Syrians, others migrating to Europe, by Slobodan Lekic. Stars and Stripes. Published: September 18, 2015.

(2) In Syria: Four Years of War. The Atlantic.

(3) A New Wave of Migrants Flees Iraq, Yearning for Europe, by Ken Arango. The New York Times, September 2015.

(4) U.N. sees refugee flow to Europe growing, plans for big Iraq displacement, by Tom Miles. Reuters, September 2015.

(5) EU Border Agency: Syrian ‘Refugee’ Numbers Declining, Economic Migration Exploding, by Chris Tomlinson. Breitbart, January 2016.

(6) Afghans feel forgotten in Europe’s migrant crisis, Dasha Afanasieva. Reuters, 6 March 2016.

(7) Iraq Faces A Perfect Economic Storm, Alice Fordham. NPR parallels, January 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

Antioquia, Colombia

Σάββατο, 27 Φεβρουαρίου, 2016

Antioquia is one of the nine states (or departments) of Colombia, the beautiful South American country. Its capital is the city of Mendellin, the second largest city in Colombia after Bogota, and, quite possibly, the most beautiful.

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Coat of arms, Antioquia, Colombia

Its name derives from Antioch, the Greek-Roman city. Its ruins today can be found near the city of Antakya in Turkey, very near the Turkish – Syrian border. Antioch was founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great’s generals.

I write this post because I still cannot figure out how a state in Colombia was named after a Greek-Roman city that very few Europeans would know today.

As it is natural in these cases, when the mind wanders about, there will be no theme or concrete topic for the reader to focus on. Instead I will just observe and note the items I encounter in a random walk through history, geography and culture.

Antioquia is a beautiful place, combining mountain ranges with coastal zones.

 

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Puente de Occidente, Santa Fe, Antioquia, Colombia

Santa Fe is a picturesque little town. Getting there you may cross the Puente de Occidente (Bridge of the West), with 291 meters of length. This suspension bridge, built in 1887 by the American educated Colombian engineer Jose Maria Villa, was the longest of its kind on the American continent at the time. You can see its location on the map below, marked with a green ellipse.

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Santa Fe, Antioquia, Colombia

 

As I was looking at the map, I noticed a locality named «Filadelfia», and I marked it by a red ellipse. For the record, there is at least one more Filadelfia in Colombia, in the state south of Caldas, southwest of Antioquia.

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Santa Fe, Antioquia, Colombia

In 1813 Antioquia was declared a sovereign and independent state with Santa Fe as its capital, a status it maintained until 1826, when Medellín was chosen as the new departmental seat

 

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Salgar, Antioquia, Colombia

On 18 May 2015 a landslide occurred in La Libordiana region of Colombia. At around 3 a.m., the landslide went through the Salgar municipality in Antioquia state.The landslide occurred after days of rain in the mountains above the town.

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Recovery operations in Salgar, Antioquia

A survivor remarked: «People were just screaming everywhere, and I ran to help, but the river was impassable, and all the bridges were covered.»Another said «We ran outside to the road and went into the chapel, and the lights went out and we were in the dark. Then we looked with flashlights and saw that everything was gone.» The force of the landslide destroyed houses and ripped limbs from victims’ bodies.According to Salgar mayor Olga Eugenia Osorio, the town of Santa Margarita, one of four towns that lies within the Salgar municipality, was «erased from the map.

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Jerico, Antioquia

Jerico is a town in Antioquia, known as the «Athens of the Southwest» because its people promote cultural activities. It is also considered as the most beautiful town in Antioquia, because of its beautiful landscape.

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Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia: A housewife attending to her laundry with a public library in the background

But the indubitable star of Antioquia and Colombia is the city of Medellin.Rich and poor at the same time, the battlefield of the war of the Colombian State against the druglords, in the 21st century Medellin has been rejuvenated. The photo above shows a housewife attending to her laundry on the rooftop of her house. The neighborhood (barrio) is poor, but this has not prevented the construction of a modern library which we can see in the background. All of a sudden, there are other things to do in a poor neighborhood, there are options to the youngsters growing up.

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The most spectacular of the new public libraries of the rejuvenated Medellin is «Biblioteca Espana», built in Santo Domingo. At the end of the 20th century, the northwest barrio of Santo Domingo, located in the 1st commune, was considered one of the most dangerous places in Latin America. As late as 2003, the people were not allowed to stay on the streets after 5 p.m. and the area was controlled at night by urban militias.

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Plaza Botero, Medellin, Antioquia, Colombia

Fernando Botero, the sculptor and painter, is one of the sons of Medellin. A public plaza, has been created to honor him and to give to the public of the city a chance to enjoy art while taking a break.

 

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Fernando Botero: The death of Pablo Escobar, 1999

In 1999, 6 years after Escobar’s death, Botero painted «The death of Pablo Escobar», who was another son of Medellin. In 1989, Pablo Escobar, one of the most notorious drug lords in history, was named by Forbes magazine as the seventh wealthiest man in the world, with an estimated fortune of $25 billion.

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Pablo Escobar’s grave in Medellin

Pablo Escobar was killed in 1993 by a Special Unit of the Colombian Police. He is burried in Medellin. From Escobar I now turn to FARC, the military force that has engaged the Colombian State in a bloody conflict for many decades now (since 1964).

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FARC soldiers in Antioquia

Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), or Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, is a military group that has a marxist-leninist and anti-imperialist political platform. Negotiations to end the conflict have been going on for sometime now.

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Photograph: Luis Acosta

The good news is that in September 2015 at a meeting in Cuba, Colombia’s president, Juan Manuel Santos (left), and Farc’s chief, Rodrigo Londoño (right) – known as Timochenko – said the two sides had agreed on a formula for transitional justice and to sign a final deal by March 2016.

Time to leave art, politics, drugs, nature, sightseeing, and go to grab a bite of food.

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Bandeja paisa

Bandeja paisa is a typical dish in Antioquia. It literally means the «platter of a person from the Paisa region». It features red beans, eggs, rice, plantain, chorizo (sausage), chicherron (fried pork belly or pork rind), morcilla (black pudding), avocado and lemon.

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Arepas – Colombian corn cakes

Arepas, the Colombian corn cakes, are to be found everywhere. They are like bread for the Colombians and they thoroughly enjoy them. So it is only natural to have the good, and the bad. You try and find out.

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Mondongo is a tripe soup, that can be enjoyed all over Colombia.

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Apostol Beer, Colombia

Apostol is a Colombian microbrewerie that has been producing excellent beer since 2009.

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Aguardiente Antioqueno

Aguardiente, Colombia’s throat-burning anise-flavored national liquor is a must according to all travel writers.

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Coffee plantations in Antioquia, Colombia

All good meals end with a coffee, and I have had a really good one!

Coffee grows plenty in Antioquia.

Time to say goodbye, and prepare for the next visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Το βράδυ της 13 Φεβρουαρίου 2016 έγινε στο Ολυμπιακό Στάδιο της Αθήνας ένας ποδοσφαιρικός αγώνας, στον οποίο η ΑΕΚ, νεοφώτιστη στην Πρώτη Εθνική (αλοίμονο μου, την λένε Premier League σήμερα) ενίκησε με σκορ ένα μηδέν τον ήδη πρωταθλητή Ολυμπιακό.

vargas_aek_olympiacos

Ναι, δεν είναι ψέματα, ο Ολυμπιακός έχασε και μάλιστα απο την νεοφώτιστη ΑΕΚ.

αποτελεσμα

Οι προβολείς όμως στράφηκαν και πάλι στο υπόβαθρο, στο παρασκήνιο. Τη λεγόμενη «παράγκα», ή ακόμη χειρότερα, τη «συμμορία», ένα παρα-κύκλωμα με διαιτητές και παράγοντες, που διάφοροι ισχυρίζονται ότι υπάρχει και κατευθυνόμενη απο΄τον μεγάλο «άνδρα» του Ολυμπιακού κ. Μαρινάκη κάνει τα πάντα για να κουμαντάρει το ελληνικό ποδόσφαιρο και να διευκολύνει τον Ολυμπιακό.

Ο Ολυμπιακός και ο κ. Μαρινάκης έχουν «κατηγορηθεί» αλλά η ελληνική δικαιοσύνη δεν έχει ακόμη αποφανθεί. Οι έρευνες είναι ακόμη σε στάδιο προανάκρισης.

ηδονη

Ενδεικτικές «κατηγορίες» εναντίον του Ολυμπιακού είναι ότι ορίζει και επηρεάζει τους διαιτητές που «σφυρίζουν» στους αγώνες με αποτέλεσμα να επιβαρύνονται οι αντίπαλοι και να ευνοείται ο ίδιος. Παραδείγματα είναι τα πέναλτυ που δίνονται «χαριστικά» στον Ολυμπιακό, και οι σκληρές αποφάσεις (π.χ. αποβολές) εναντίον ομάδων όπως ο ΠΑΟ.

Η χθεσινή νίκη της ΑΕΚ έδωσε αφορμή για να ξεσπάσει ο κ. Μελισσανίδης μαινόμενος κατά της «συμμορίας».

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Ο κ. Μελισσανίδης είναι ο ισχυρός ανήρ της ΑΕΚ. Μετά τον αγώνα δόθηκε στην δημοσιότητα το φύλλο αγώνα στο οποίο αναφέρονται διάφορα συμβάντα και στιχομυθίες ανάμεσα στον κ. Μελισσανίδη και τον παρατηρητή διαιτησίας κ. Δημήτριο Κύρκο. Όλα τα στοιχεία είναι από το φύλλο αγώνα που διέρρευσε.

στιχο1

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Στιχομυθία πρώτη. Μελισσανίδης προς Κύρκο: «Αρχίδι τι ήρθες να κάνεις εδώ; Πάλι στον ίδιο αγώνα ρε ξεφτιλισμένε;»

στιχο2 Στιχομυθία δεύτερη.Μελισσανίδης προς Κύρκο: «Θα σε λιώσω. Θα σε πνίξω με το κασκόλ. Θα σε γαμήσω γαμώ τη συμμορία σας.»

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Στιχομυθία τρίτη.  Μελισσανίδης προς Κύρκο: «Θα σε τινάξω στον αέρα. Ξέρω που μένεις, και τι κάνεις. Είσαι μέλος της συμμορίας.»

Δεν χρειάζεται να σχολιάσω τις στιχομυθίες, τα λένε όλα οι λέξεις.

Επιβεβαιώνεται ο φαύλος κύκλος του «αίματος» ανάμεσα στις δύο πολωμένες «παρατάξεις».

Επειδή εκτός από τα «γαλλικά» ο κ, Μελισσανίδης διαθέτει και χιούμορ, έκανε και την ακόλουθη δήλωση.

αλι

Ο Ολυμπιακός από την άλλη μεριά κατηγορεί με τη σειρά του τη διαιτησία, ως πανάθλια.

χειρουργειο

Όσον αφορά το παιχνίδι ποδοσφαίρου, ήτανε μάλλον κακό και θα ξεχαστεί γρήγορα.

Όπως προανέφερα, είμαι οπαδός του ΠΑΟ.

Αλλά αυτή η κατάσταση με αρρωσταίνει.

Δεν χάρηκα με την ήττα του Ολυμπιακού. Γιατί όλα τα λύματα βγήκανε ξανά στους δρόμους. Άνοιξαν οι βόθροι και ανασάναμε τα αρώματα!

Έτσι όπως έιναι τα πράγματα, μόνον κοπρολάγνοι θα απολαμβάνουν τα του ελληνικού ποδοφαίρου!

 

 

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