Golden Dawn Sees No Rainbows

Homosexuality, a common thing in ancient Greece, is starting to see a rise in homophobia in present day Greece. This is partially due to the Golden Dawn Party (a topic covered by Erin Gregory, one of EuroKulture’s writers. Articles on the party can  be found here and here), though homosexuality has never been fully accepted. In the early 2000’s a television station in Greece was fined 100,000 Euros for displaying two men kissing. The party, recently elected into the Greek parliament, has been feeding off the fears of Greeks to further their political power.

“Over the last year there is a clear increase in antigay attacks. The perpetrators now act in seeming impunity and although we are not always able to name them as members of the Golden Dawn, their attacks follow the same patterns of the Golden Dawn’s attacks against migrants. These people hate migrants, gays, foreigners, women. They hate everyone” – Andrea Gilber, Spokesperson of Athens Pride.

The attacks, mirroring early Nazi attacks on the ‘socially undesirable’ in Germany, are stating to creep into the areas that gay community members used to feel safe. One of these events happened as recently as November when 12 men dressed in all black, claiming to represent the Golden Dawn party, attacked people distribution anti-hate fliers.  This took place in an area of Gazi, known for it’s gay friendly atmosphere.

Greek supporter of homosexuality waves a rainbow flag

As member of the homosexual community, these events are terrifying. Driving people to have zero display of public affection, I can only imagine the constant cloud of fear covering daily life. While LGBTQ laws occupy employment policies, not helpful with a 25% unemployment rate, no laws protecting civilians from hate crimes and attacks exist. I think this lack of law plays a part in the ‘we represent the Golden Dawn party’ attacks.

Attacks climbed to an average of two per month, but this fact comes from reported attacks only. Most go unreported out of fear of further discrimination and hate. In a recent EU survey, 46% have said that gays, lesbians, and bisexuals face discrimination, at the same time, 46% said that they never do. Disclaimer: this was the same as the last time the survey was conducted 3 years ago.

Above: Reactions to recent rise of Greek homophobia

One attack, made on Stefanos Agelastos, happened while walking a friend to the bus stop. Two men on motorcycles pulled up and asked if they were gay, Stefanos replied that he was, his friend was not, but both were attacked. Stefanos managed to get his phone and call the cops, though the incident was just reported and the attackers were never caught. “People just ignored what was happening. Only a shop keeper from Pakistan and a drug user who was wandering in the street came to help”. Was it the fear of association with the ‘undesirable’ that drove people to not help or were they in support of the attack?

In a county where legalization of gay marriage and acceptance of homosexuals is on the rise, ‘difficult’ does not begin to describe how it feels for me to read this and not feel a surge of anger. <Insert VERY long rant about how homosexuality should be accepted here. You don’t want to read a rant.>.

Two questions come from this post for me, what does this mean for homosexuality in the surrounding countries and Europe as a whole? Does this ‘feeding off fear’ have enough of a foot hold in Greek society to give the Golden Dawn party enough power to start a new Nazi era?

Links:

http://greece.greekreporter.com/2012/11/26/after-all-homophobia-is-a-greek-word/

http://greekleftreview.wordpress.com/2012/11/15/the-financial-crisis-in-greece-has-seen-the-fortunes-of-the-far-right-golden-dawn-party-soar-along-with-homophobia/

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/26/hate-crimes-greece-lgbt-ethnic-recession-_n_2192046.html?ncid=GEP

http://itsapoliticalworld.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/blasphemy-laws-institutions-and-faith-the-fascist-assault-on-corpus-christi/

Soccer: Balls and Brothels

In times of trouble I turn to my parents, that is when I run into trouble. But what would I do if my work or club needed quick cash to keep going on? Probably not turn to brothels, but it happens.

Amateur soccer teams in Greece faced a hard time after budget cuts drastically reduced the money received; this is yet another side-effect of the Greek Euro Crisis. In an attempt to keep playing the sport, they turned to sponsors for a cash flow. The new money comes from a range of vastly different places. From kebab shops to funeral homes, feta cheese to a jam factory, variety really is the spice of life. But a small team, Voukefalas club, from the city of Larissa in central Greece, turned to two brothels, Villa Erotica and Soula’s House of History. Just an FYI, prostitution is legal in Greece.

Pictured Right: Brothel owner attends  soccer match with two workers

The deal, initially a joke between the team manager and the owner of the brothel, also known as a bordello, came to reality one remark about getting sponsorship and “other benefits” later. I guess it wasn’t the mutual idea of “play” that made the deal seem natural.

The newly sponsored team now sports pink jerseys that display “Villa Erotica” on their backs, though they are not allowed to play any real matches in them. I can only imagine what effect this has on the players and other teams going against them. Let’s hope it isn’t making the sport too hard.

When the chairman/travel-agency owner/backup goal keeper of the team received question on this action, he responded that “It is a question of survival”. Villa Erotica has already supplied the practice jerseys and 1000 euros ($1312), only a tenth of the 10,000 euros needed for a year of play.

(Pictured Left: Voukefalas Soccer team poses with new jerseys)

Most people in social media have linked to several articles over and over again, but a few have found a way to capture the humor of the situation. Some are using witty sayings,  most people seem to hold a neutral ground. Personally, I think it’s fine. Though I would like to see more “ball play” puns.

I think the teams should look a merger. The Voukefalas club stated that they still lack a midfield, something you would have no trouble patching up with a combination of two teams that are only two-thirds full. But then it becomes a question of there being enough teams to play each other.

Pictured Right: Tweets about the news of Voukefalas Sponsorship  

Does the community see this as a troubling thing? Should the team be aloud to keep their sponsorships? My theory is, if you can legally have brothels, then you can have them sponsor your team. They are a company just like the rest of the sponsors and should not be prohibited from sponsoring due to their type of business. What about your thoughts?

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story/_/id/1193095/brothels-rescue-cash-strapped-greek-soccer-team?cc=5901

http://news.yahoo.com/brothel-funeral-home-bail-greek-soccer-clubs-160930111–sow.html

http://brittneyinla.com/2012/10/19/brought-to-you-by-brothels/

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/soccer/10/17/greece-brothels-voukefalas.ap/index.html

http://frontierfooty.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/sex-trade-saves-greek-amateur-football-club/

Croussis Festival: Making an Artistic Beat

This fall Greece will see the 10th Croussis Festival in Corinth. The festival, making a non-annual schedule of its own, started in Athens in 1998. Since then it has traveled to Lefkada (1999-2001), Saint Petersburg (2003), and Arta (2008-2011).

The festival takes place through September and features, as its main draw, concerts from 128 artists total, fifty of them calling Corinth their home.

The concerts aren’t the only part of the festival though. From the 26th to the 30th there will be a type of fair for the general public where they can take part in seminars, classes, and food tastings from countries involved in the festival. These classes are being taught by people from all over and by all ages. Other events include workshops, clinics, and art exhibits.

Artistic director, Nick Touliatou, has made this year’s festival richer than ever as it spans the entire area of Corinth. Touliatou also worked on getting environmental issues involved, educating people on the problems at hand and what they can do to help.

Although the festival is taught by a wide range of ages and participated in by even more, the real goal of the festival aims at the younger crowd. They want to spark creativity in children who visit, even if it does not happen in percussion or one of the tents they stop by, they just want the kids to take an artistic path, to create and to imagine.

http://www.parakato.gr/2012/08/10-croussis-festival-2-30-2012.html

http://www.elculture.gr/music/croussis-festival-2012-348202

Greek Theatre: Back from the Dead

The father of Greek tragedy will rise from the dead in Athens. Aeschylus won’t actually rise, but his great work, Prometheus Bound, will have another go in the Theatre of Dionysus. Kind of. Let me just break it down for you.

Let us first let the scene in a place where theatre came to be:  the Theater of Dionysus.  Built in 6th century BC, stands as one of the oldest stone theaters in existence, though it was rebuilt in 4th century BC by the same people; the rebuilding added the fine luxury of marble seating–how swank. Created in the side of a natural slope, the theater could seat up to 17,000 spectators in 64 rows, though only 20 still exist.

Theatre of Dionysos

Theatre of Dionysus

Before we go any further, we should talk about where this new work came from. Monologue, the title of the new piece, originated from Prometheus Bound. The tale, one that most people know, covers the story of Prometheus and his theft of fire from the gods. The piece derived its new title of Monologue because it bases itself off of two monologues from the original piece.

Prometheus

Depiction of Prometheus stealing fire from the gods

Next up we have our cast! Aeschylus, the great, although deceased, poet, and George Kouroupos, the talented man selected to revive the work of our dearly departed dramatist.  Aeschylus, rumored to be born in 525 BC, is credited as the creator of the second character, thus creating dramatic dialogue. This original thespian also gave birth to two major elements of theatre, scenery and costuming. Who knew that a man who fought in the battle of Marathon would make such a difference to theatre?

Our other cast member, George Kouroupos, created the new concert premiering September 22nd. Kouroupos also worked on the tribute to the great poet Odysseus Elytis and the 100th anniversary of Elytis’ birth. Elytis is seen as one of the greatest Greek poets of recent years, so composing a concert in his name really boosts résumé potential.

Monologues, dedicated to all the archeologists and preservationist of the Theater of Dionysus, opens on September 22nd in the south of Acropolis. This event should not be missed. Often, old theaters, such as the one mentioned above, is only used as a place to tour and nothing more. A type of ‘keep your hands and feet in the vehicle at all times’ ride. Without people, the theater has no blood. When the stage lacks a story, it renders the space brain dead. Monologues though, gives it a pulse, it brings it all back to life.

http://athensgreeceinfo.wordpress.com/2010/11/10/theater-of-dionysus/

http://famousgreekpeople.wordpress.com/2010/11/28/aeschylus/

http://egrejeen.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/aeschylus/

http://greeceinfo.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/tribute-to-poet-odysseus-elytis/

Greek Art; Arriving, Departing or Delayed?

Constantly shifting and adapting to the environment, the art world takes from the old and creates the new. . As of recent in Greece, artists have been pushed aside by the Euro crisis devastation. One side of the art community says that art struggles from this financial meltdown. Lack of funding closes galleries and removes the much needed support. The other side of the community says that this crisis gave and gives a boost to the artist’s creative sides, hopefully one day creating a payoff.

In May of 2007 a small art gallery, Harma Gallery in Athens, opened its artistic doors. With promising sales and a steady flow of visitors, the people didn’t expect anything to happen when the Euro Crisis started to take its toll. But the gallery, along with many others, has been shut down due to lack of customers, visitors, and interest. “Most are prepared for worse times” (http://sxchristopher.wordpress.com) The Euro Crisis is seen, by some, as a crippling effect on the art industry in Greece, hindering it from growing with the rest of the world.

On the streets of Greece, small art distributors are feeling the struggle as well, but they are seeing it as a time for growth. “This crisis, can also be creative in a way. It can make us, ALL of us, bolder than we used to be because we don’t have much to lose, Right?” (http://djacademe.wordpress.com) They are looking back to the time when Greece fell back into a state of democracy and left their military dictatorship behind. Lack of support at that time didn’t stop the artists from banning together and making that art that was determined to happen, which is what people are expecting to happen to Greece artists today.

I side with the opinion that says that art will flourish from this, becoming a time that people can look back and see the influences that it had on the creative community, similar to the way we look at any –ism or art movement and how it was a comment on the social times. To say a world can exist without art is ridiculous. This will be, and has been, a hard time for artists, but it isn’t the end.