Monday, October 22, 2012

Beautiful Greece: World Tourism Day Greek Photo Competition ends on 4th November 2012

On World Tourism Day, September 27, this year we at Global Greek World decided to launch our first Greek Photo Competition on the GGW Facebook Page.

Stunning, superb, beautiful Greece...
Our final collage of the wonderful photographs received

We got some absolutely stunning photos of Greece entered and because they were all so gorgeous, they inspired us to put them to music. Thus our very first little video presentation was born, to the sounds of Goodbye,my love, Goodbye   with the amazing voice of Demis Roussos and the unique sound of the bouzouki.

We've posted the photos in the album World Tourism Day Greek Photo Competition, so please click here and vote with a 'like' for the one(s)you like.

The picture with the greatest number of likes wins a very 'Greek' prize and he/she is not the only one to win... so please get liking!

We think these stunning photos deserve your vote! Voting has been extended and will finish on 4th November. (it was originally going to finish on OXI Day, Sunday 28 October... a very important day in history for the Greek people) 

Good luck to all! Καλή Επιτυχία σε όλους!

At Global Greek World, We ♥ Greece...and it shows!

© GlobalGreekWorld 2012 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fact or Fiction? Greece's Troika and the Suggestion to Depopulate Islands

 Greece's IMF/EU/ECB Troika have done it again...

Theatre of the absurd, crass stupidity or downright criminal?

The Troika, those unimaginative, number-crunchers in grey suits strike again! After suggesting a 6 day working week for Greek workers, after suggesting the taxpayer fund the 550 million odd euros owed by the banks, they have now turned their attention to the islands...

Some people are saying that as it wasn't 'official' it shouldn't be relayed because it was made by a 'lowly placed' official. We disagree. Quite the contrary in fact... it is very useful to know the quality of the people that make up the advisors behind the IMF/EU/ECB Troika...

The unbelievable suggestion that the last remaining, and indisputably heroic, residents of strategically placed Greek islands be evacuated if less than 150 to save funds is totally and unequivocally insane. It just happens that some of the islands who have less than 150 inhabitants are islands like Gavdos and Farmakonissi which our loving neighbour, Turkey, loves to covet and therefore dispute as to their Greek sovereignty... what a gift to Turkey that would be!

Greek government denials have been issued but we don't buy them...they are just for damage control because the reaction was so instant and intense.

 Gavdos Island

Maybe the 'lowly placed' Troika official who had the gall to make this suggestion hadn't read Greek history, had no idea of the population exchanges with Turkey and the deportations that Greeks everywhere have been subjected to through the ages. He or she obviously hadn't heard of measures designed to aid development either.

Instead of encouraging depopulation to save funds and listening to the public outcry, just imagine the accolade this 'lowly placed' Troika official would have received if he/she had suggested development of the sparsely populated islands by giving incentives for people to move there. That would mean putting infrastructure in place, building schools, providing medical services, transport and communication means that are essential to survival.

This would in turn encourage the people who left their island and are now living in highly populated urban centres and perhaps suffering from the high levels of unemployment to return with their families and put their ideas into practice, thus creating employment opportunities and in turn helping the economy recover.

Create, create, create should be the name of the game.

A friend of ours recently put this into practice on the island of Kastos. As there was no grocery store on this beautiful island, one of the ones the Troika is referring to, and everything had to be brought by kaiki from Mytika, the closest port, he decided to invest his funds, build a store and at the same time build a house to live in with his family.

The results for our friend in Kastos were positive for all - the islanders have a shop, the builders had employment, the kaiki still runs to take groceries, and the investor keeps busy, gives employment, pays taxes and above all sees his island develop.

So far so good... unless the Troika strikes!

 Kastos Island
 Photo Source: euratlas

The very fact that someone who has no idea about Greece and what Greece is all about can make such an insane suggestion means he or she should not be in that post, and let's remember what that post is.

The Troika is supposedly here, not just to make sure that the lenders get their money back, but to make sure that they get the Greek economy back on a healthy footing by stimulating production and investment. This is the aspect of the mission which is called 'helping' Greece,  advising the government of reforms to be implemented to help the country move forward.

These major structural reforms are essential in Greece, but the kind of things we are hearing as coming from the Troika, even if taken with the proverbial grain of salt and with provision made for hearing things exaggerated and second-hand, are enough to make our collective hair stand on end.

How about if these whizz-kids turn their attention to something easy... like helping Greece's economic wizards keep Greek companies in Greece instead of forcing them into 'exile' because of the continually changing and non corporate friendly taxation system. If we can't keep our own investors how on earth are we going to attract foreign ones?

A Global Greek friend visiting this morning reminded us of a Chinese proverb which goes something like this  

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime...

Somebody should remind the Troika of that too, unless our friends have something else  in mind...

The future will tell...

Patience compatriots, any moment now we'll be moving 
to our new country, 
with sun, beaches and warm seas...
we're just finalising the contract

Bitter humour from Cartoonist Yannis Ioannou
 14 February 2011
 Ironically enough on Valentine's Day ...

Perhaps if German Chancellor Angela Merkel had bothered to visit Greece early on in the crisis to show her support for a fellow EU member in crisis, instead of just last week, almost 3 years after it all began, the unacceptable labelling of all Greeks as tax dodgers, lazy and corrupt would have been avoided as would all the bad feeling that transpired between the two countries since the economic crisis in Europe began...

At Global Greek World, We ♥ Greece...and it shows! 
© GlobalGreekWorld 2009 - 2015 All Rights Reserved

Friday, October 12, 2012

Greece: Moving Forward Investment Forum - 15-16 October 2012

Greece :  Investment Forum 'Moving Forward'

Organised by the IHT and Kathimerini,  a  conference on how Greece should move forward using all the resources at its disposal, is to be held  on Monday and Tuesday 15th and 16th October 2012, at Athens' Grande Bretagne Hotel.

As Greece's economy continues to struggle with recession and its government tries to reach its bailout targets, as the average Greek person sees his standard of living dropping and his  disposable income reaching non-disposable levels, an ever-increasing number of business and political leaders agree that investments and new projects are needed to change the trend and create wealth again.

As far as we are concerned it is the only way that things can change and we are certainly looking forward to the conference.

What are the changes required?

What economic and political forces need to contribute to ensure that the Greek economy can reach financial stability and restore its image and credibility on the world stage?

What will it take for Greece to start "Moving Forward"?

We hope that the list of speakers over the two day forum will come up with answers to this exceptionally important and critical question.

The list of speakers includes Greek Prime Minister Andonis Samaras, who recently stated that:

"We need to jump-start the economy and move ahead with reforms to restore competitiveness with the support of our European partners and the vibrant communities of the Greek diaspora." 

Political party leaders, senior ministers, politicians, prominent business people, and journalists will also be participating in what promises to be a highly-productive conference.

We were particularly pleased to hear PM Samaras refer to the Greek diaspora, as we consider our Greeks Abroad an especially significant and largely untapped resource for Greece.

It is encouraging to see that some of our very dynamic Global Greeks are participating - some of the many, in Greece and abroad, who are committed to changing the perception of Greece around the world, and are working hard in this direction, hands on!

We are looking forward to hearing Global Greeks Australian Ambassador to Greece, Jenny Bloomfield, branding genius Peter Economides, Greek America Foundation's Gregory Pappas, CustomMedialabs' Manos Sifakis and German MP Jorgo Chatzimarkakis among others.

We are particularly looking forward to seeing the results of the conference and  the ideas that come out of it put into practice.

Greece has no choice but to move forward and move forward she will. 

With the structural reforms in place, the right ideas and the right people to turn those ideas into reality, Greece can perform miracles.

We've proved it before, and we will again...

YES, Greece CAN! 

Listen to the conference live here

To check out the Conference Programme and the list of participants, click here.

To contact the organisers, click here.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Global Greek Filmmaker Vicky Yiannoutsos' Persephone's Plight Comes Home to Greece...

I carry two cultures, two languages, two worlds.
I belong to both, I belong to neither.
I am Persephone destined forever to journey between them.”
Vicky Yiannoutsos - Persephone’s Plight

Talented and multi-awarded Greek New Zealand filmmaker Vicky Yiannoutsos is very excited this week! She is in Greece in pursuit of her dream: bringing her multi-media installation exhibition Persephone’s Plight home to Greece.

In fact, Persephone's Plight homeward journey has already begun.

As we write, Vicky is adding the finishing touches for Persephone's homecoming, which will take place in Kephalonia tomorrow, at the Ionion Centre for Arts and Culture where from the 7th to the 10th of October, Vicky and Persephone will be the honoured guests.

Drawn from over 20 years of travels between Greece and New Zealand, Persephone’s Plight is an exhibition of multiple film and video images which embodies the cycle of the seasons, the phases of birth and death, their activity, their dormancy and the regenerative phases of their eternal cycle.  

Vicky Yiannoutsos outside MIC Toi Rerehiko Gallery 
in Auckland, New Zealand 
with the Persephone's Plight exhibition poster
Photo Source: Emmanuel Yiannoutsos

For Vicky, it is a metaphor for the 20th Century migrant experience – a time of abduction from the Motherland by the lure of the Fruits of the New World. Since first visiting Greece as a young girl, Vicky has identified the myth of Demeter and Persephone as a metaphor for the migrant experience.

Persephone’s Plight is a new chapter in a body of work which has been in progress all my life, where I continue to chose the moving image to express the complexity, confusion, richness and joy that comes from living between cultures.

The year man walked on the moon, my parents announced they were going back to Greece for 6 months and taking me with them, I flatly refused. I’d miss a year of school. I’d miss my friend Mandy!

But the Gods had a plan, the planets were already in motion.

In 1969 I took my own ‘big step for humankind’ and crossed the world to a world that would change my world, forever. I found my emotional touchstone, and would spend the rest of my life returning back there. My father tells me that I announced matter-of-factly that I would one day make a film of our island of Kastos to show the world.

I have used the camera to bridge the restlessness I feel living between two worlds, and has underpinned my work as a film-maker over the last 20 years. From the shooting of the documentary Visible Passage, its ‘20 years on’ follow-up Scattered Seeds, various feature film scripts, and many stories, poems, journals, and letters. This exhibition has given me the opportunity to unpack and abstract some of these ideas, motifs and themes into a gallery setting.

A migrant carries within them two worlds, and they live within the friction and unease of many contradictions. They try to reconcile them. They look for lumber.

When they find their lumber, they build a bridge.

I build mine by telling stories through film...

About Persephone’s Plight 

Vicky represents the 4 Seasons of Migration through the quartets of Birth, Separation, Yearning, Return. Like Persephone abducted by Hades and taken to the underworld where she yearns to return to her Mother, the migrant is abducted by the New World. Separated across the waters, s/he and her Mother yearn for each other.

As Persephone eats the fruits of the Underworld and is irreversibly changed, the migrant partakes of the New World, and is changed. Though the Patrida calls, s/he can never permanently return.

Destined to journey between worlds, (s)he, like her Mother, is trapped in
yearning. The generations that follow – the new seeds – inherit this yearning, this love of a distant culture through Music, Language, Food, Dance, and Stories.

Maybe they can one day return, maybe they can one day stay?...

When we asked  Vicky how she felt, now that Persephone's Plight had brought her back to where it all began, her answer was essentially straight from the soul:

I saw it as an opportunity to return the work back to source in the Ionian Seas– a full cycle if you like. My father, now 92, can’t return to Greece, but I can bring him back to the waters that bore him, through this exhibition. I feel this is quite mystic, at this time in his life, and our relationship.

I’ve been travelling between Greece and NZ all my life, and don’t see that stopping. I love the Ionian isles and am happy to respond in any way that is called upon me to do so, in the future. In many ways, I’m a messenger, or the projection for others who have had similar experiences. It is my job to elicit or stimulate the emotions that exist in those of us, who know this experience of living between worlds. It’s complex, and its deeply personal, and everyone has their own unique emotional response to it, yet the ‘soil’ of the experience – the rich and often complicated relationship with the Motherland – is common and binding...

Strikingly relevant to all of us who have grown up between two cultures, Persephone's Plight presents the eternal and ongoing dilemma of living within two worlds, a dilemma which is particularly appropriate now, as many of Greece's young people retrace the steps their parents took in the 50's and 60's. 

Persephone's Plight is a unique multimedia experience, complemented by fellow Greek New Zealander, John Psathas' composition Flight on Light, beautifully executed by Greek clarinet virtuoso Manos Achalinotopoulos

We wish Vicky well and look forward to seeing her exhibition in Athens and in every corner of the Global Greek World very soon.

Bravo Vicky - Καλή Επιτυχία! Wish we could be there with you today...

At Global Greek World, We ♥ Greece...and it shows!
© GlobalGreekWorld 2012 All Rights Reserved


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