Icaria: Greek Paradise in Turmoil

If you search any popular social media outlets for posts on Greece, you’ll likely be met with two very conflicting themes: Greece as an idyllic paradise and Greece as a country consumed by political and economic turmoil. Pictures of sunbathing tourists stand in stark contrast to images of violent riots. It’s difficult to imagine these separate worlds exist in the same country, but the content on Twitter and Tumblr suggest otherwise.

On the Greek island of Icaria, off the coast of Turkey in the Aegean Sea, the chaos of the mainland is intruding on what would otherwise be an idyllic paradise.

Agios Kirikos, Icaria

Agios Kirykos, capital of Icaria, used under Creative Commons licensing.  

Icaria is home to some 10,000 Greek Nationals. According to Dan Buettner, a researcher with National Geographic and AARP, Icaria has the world’s highest percentage of 90-year-olds, with nearly one in every three individuals surviving into their nineties. Icarians also have a 20 percent lower rate of cancer, a 50 percent lower rate of heart disease and almost no dementia. This island is largely (and historically) self-sufficient, but it has been a part of Greece since 1912.

Long a disputed territory because of its advantageous positioning in valuable fishing waters, Icaria broke free of the Ottoman Empire in 1912 and signed a 100-year treaty with Athens granting Greece political control over the island. The treaty expires this year and many residents of the island are none-too-eager to remain in the hands of debt-addled Greece.

According to an article published in an Italian newspaper in July, the people of Icaria do not wish to extend their Greek status. Rather, they are interested in pursuing a contractual relationship with another European country with less debt and a more stable political system. A local politician has suggested Austria as a potential suitor for Icaria. 83 percent of Austrians, when polled by an Austrian daily paper, were in favor of annexation (and of increased access to picturesque Aegean beaches).

The Greek government, as you might expect, is none too keen on this idea of Icarian annexation. When news of the desire for annexation emerged back in July, the Greek Embassy in Vienna released a press release rife with hostility, asserting that “Icaria is an inseparable part of Greek territory, and there is no expiring agreement between the Greek government and the island” and that the Treaty of Lausanne from 1923 “confirms that the islands of the East Aegean, including Icaria, belong to Greece.”

For an island that prides itself on the health and self-sufficiency of its people, I can only imagine that being dragged down or held back by Greece’s debt crisis is vexing at best. While I am certainly no expert in Greek treaties and in no position to question the veracity of the Greek Embassy’s claims about Icaria’s right to annexation, I certainly don’t blame the people of Icaria for wanting to try something different.

Greek Students Shine in Worldwide Hackathon

Greek Hackathon 2012

Greek Students participating in WOWZAPP Hackathon 2012. Image from Forbes and courtesy of Microsoft.

On November 9th Microsoft launched its first ever WOWZAPP 2012: Worldwide Hackathon for Windows. It was a 48-hour global hackathon for students, startups and professionals all over the world. There were over 100 locations and more than 17,000 people registered for the event.

While the student registration ended up around 14,000, the European country with the most students invovled was Greece with more than 550 participants. Other countries with a great student turn out were Ireland with 200, Poland with 350 and Russia with 200.

“With more than 14,000 students registered to participate, WOWZAPP 2012 will be the largest simultaneous hackathon of student developers ever, acting as a catalyst to bring a wealth of new, exciting and quality apps to the Windows Store,” said Moorthy Uppaluri, general manager of Worldwide Academic Programs at Microsoft. “Microsoft is committed to empowering students with the tools and resources they need to showcase their creativity and make money through app development.” –Yahoo! Finance, Microsoft Corporation press release.

WOWZAPP 2012 Bing World Map

WOWZAPP 2012 participation World Map. Image courtesy of Microsoft Bing.

The WOWZAPP hackathon was a great way for people to come together and create Windows Store apps for the recent Windows 8 product launches. For Greece the turnout was spectacular despite transport strikes being held on the opening day of the hackathon. It shows that these young people are looking for ways better themselves and find employment. It is wonderful that despite all the hardship and frustration, they channeled their skills and knowledge to be apart of something that can only help their future.

“But being a developer has many advantages,” she adds, “and in Greece it’s one of the few job opportunities. I can work for people in a different country. Every developer can speak the same language, no matter the place.” –Lia Kampantai, a 24-year-old developer. Forbes, Parmy Olson 2012.

This event was also a way for them to make connections and become part of a global community that is looking for the younger generations help especially in the field of technology. Check out what people had to say about WOWZAPP 2012 on Twitter at #WOWZAPP.  Also visit the WOWZAPP alumni Facebook page.

And for now I leave you with this….

“I think a simple rule of business is, if you do the things that are easier first, then you can actually make a lot of progress.” – Mark Zuckerberg

Essay Competition for Youth Unemployment Solutions puts Money on the Line

Jobs Vanish

Image featured on the Henry Jackson Initiative website for the national competition in Britain to solve youth unemployment.

As youth unemployment is stretched far and wide across Europe, countries like Greece and Spain are currently taking the hardest hit. Britain has also taken notice to this trend and despite the number of jobs increasing; about 1 in 5 young people in the UK is unemployed.

According to an online article by The Telegraph,

“Globally, an estimated 75m under-25s are looking for work, with Greece and Spain suffering high levels of youth joblessness at above 50pc.”

In an effort to generate some creative and innovative ideas to decrease youth unemployment the Henry Jackson Initiative has joined forces with The Telegraph Media Group Limited to form a national competition in Britain, which is being sponsored by Sir Alec Reed, founder of Reed Specialist Recruitment.

What better way to spark a little friendly competition than to throw in a prize? £10,000 pounds to be exact, which equals out to be about $16,000 US dollars! That is certainly a lot of money at stake to complete an essay which is similar to a basic college assignment. There is also the possibility to gain some publicity by being published by The Daily/Sunday Telegraph and online at telegraph.co.uk.

If I was eligible to participate and interested in writing an essay (no more than 1,000 words) to help my country and win money I would say, sign me up! It’s like a civil duty not only to Britain, but to everyone affected by the Eurozone crisis and youth unemployment. Think about a serious issue, create an opinion and offer some solutions.

The general Terms and conditions are as follows according to HJI website:

 “This competition is open to residents of the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland aged 18 years or over, except for employees of Telegraph Media Group Limited and the Henry Jackson Initiative, their agents or anyone else professionally associated with the competition.”

Submissions are due by midnight on Friday, December 14, 2012 and the winner is to be notified by January 25, 2013. For more terms and conditions visit the Henry Jackson Initiative website.

Leading up to the announcement of the competition the Henry Jackson Initiative posted great links to their Facebook page about overall youth unemployment awareness. (Click the images to check out their Facebook Page.)

The Telegraph Facebook Post

The Telegraph Facebook Post

The Telegraph Facebook Post

The Telegraph Facebook Post

It would be great to see this competition successfully executed in Britain and for countries like Greece and Spain to take notice. It might not be possible to offer the same kind of incentive, but it would be great for other people to also take part in generating ideas to better their home countries.

 

And for now I leave you with this…

“The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” – Albert Einstein

@GreeceUnemployment is breaking records! #InABadWay

According to a leaked government email, covered in my last post, the general public in Greece became aware that officials were considering implementing a 6-day workweek. I picked up the story while on my laptop reading about the Eurocrisis on CNN. This blog post topic was actually easier to find, because it presented itself with only the swipe of my finger.

I came across this tweet, which is very unfortunate news but great for me to talk about in my blog, while browsing through my twitter feed on my phone. This specific article also appeared on my Google alerts and I am sure it was covered by other news related twitter accounts. To keep my post narrow I am going to discuss the Huffington Post tweet as it pertains to the original source in which I gained my information.

 The article, Greece Unemployment Rises Above 25 Percent, was posted to Huffington Post’s website in the World section on October 11th. It was first tweeted by @HuffPostWorld and later tweeted by @HuffingtonPost, which is where I picked it up. The article explains that as of July unemployment has hit an overall record high of 25.1% with youth unemployment increasing well past 50%.

          I could continue on with the rather depressing figures and facts on the current economic crisis in Greece, however, I am going to touch on the reach (people who saw the tweet) for these two tweets and the reactions received after they were posted on twitter.

           When you combine these numbers there was a chance 2,168,750 people saw either tweet posted by Huffington Post. Keep in mind that excludes other news sources tweets, people who retweeted and their followers who had some kind of interacted with the tweet.

          Phew, I’ll let you digest that and move on to a variety of opinions people shared with their followers.

Proud

(Personal reaction from Greece Unemployment tweet.)

Satire

(Personal reaction from Greece Unemployment tweet.)

(Personal reaction from Greece Unemployment tweet.)

Related to American Government/Politics

(Personal reaction from Greece Unemployment tweet.)

(Personal reaction from Greece Unemployment tweet.)

Austerity: In economics terms – “A policy of deficit-cutting by lowering spending via a reduction in the amount of benefits and public services provided,” (Wikipedia).

(Personal reaction from Greece Unemployment tweet.)

(Personal reaction from Greece Unemployment tweet.)

Other

(2 part personal reaction from Greece Unemployment tweet.)

(Personal reaction from Greece Unemployment tweet.)

(Personal reaction from Greece Unemployment tweet.)

(Personal reaction from Greece Unemployment tweet.)

 

I have to admit when I came across the tweet my only interaction was:
(1.) Seeing it
(2.) Taking a screen shot so I could find it later to write this post.

          I didn’t retweet, quote the tweet or even favorite it because I use twitter more as a source to gain information rather than share it. That is why I was able to come across the tweet because you can pick and choose what you want to be reading about. It also goes to show that twitter is the top dog for getting the word out in real time with the ability to reach millions of people.

         Think about your online presence, especially on twitter, and the way you interact and share its content. Don’t have a twitter? You should get one. Coming from a former skeptic at least check it out and learn about how it works.

And for now I leave you with this…

“Don’t judge a book by its cover.”

…..Now go try twitter.

A picture is worth a thousand words. It’s also pretty destructive.

What makes political cartoons so attractive in comparison to other means of communication? As I sit here writing this blog post trying to figure out what I want to write about, it is this question that keeps popping up in my mind. The power of cartoons: why are they used as a method to communicate political themes when words could have accomplished the same thing?

The answer to the question might seem fairly obvious: provocation. Take for example the French cartoonist Charlie Hebdo and his recent depictions of the prophet Muhammed. It wasn’t too long ago his studio was set on fire in a wave of protests against his depictions. Would a similar reaction happen if the same message was conveyed in words?

Charlie Hebdo’s depiction of the prophet Muhammed

In reviewing Euro-crisis caricatures, I tend to find many of the them quite humorous. It’s easy for me to say that though: I’m an outsider – an American – looking in on the crisis. Depictions of a Greek being ran over by a car called crisis and being ‘saved’ by a Red Cross bulldozer driven by Merkel is probably hilarious to the German (I find it quite funny as well); to the Greek, however, I am thinking it is far from evoking humor. Would taking the same picture and transforming it into words have the same impact and reactions?

Angela Merkel ‘saving’ the Greek.

Using a picture, such as our aforementioned German bulldozer example, seems to have more of a profound impact on the Greek viewer than German headlines and descriptions such as “bankrupt Greeks” and “frauds in the Euro family.” Using derogatory words aren’t as effective as the action of pictures and visualizations. As the German magazine Der Spiegel reported recently, “Greeks filed a lawsuit for collective libel against the Munich-based magazine Focus several months ago after it depicted the Venus de Milo statue with an extended middle finger in February 2010.” The fact that Greeks sued over a depiction shows just how hard-hitting depictions can be.

Words just aren’t cutting it: they are only words. Even Merkel’s criticism of “southern European inefficiency” (I guess this commented offended quite a few southern Europeans) couldn’t persuade a European to sue a German; a picture, however, has the ability to enrage the masses.

I suppose the methods for decoding pictures rings closer to home than the analytical approaches used when reading. The point is much clearer and memorable because of its nonverbal nature. For example, when a German is depicted as being a Nazi during the crisis, one can automatically associate the current behavior of the Germans with the behavior of the past. Whether it is true or not, one gets the sense that a crime is being committed, an atrocity is happening, and something needs to be done. It is indeed a much easier and more efficient way of portraying a message: as they say, a picture is a thousand words.

A picture almost a thousand words.

Nonetheless, many believe cartoons are still unnecessary and aren’t as effective. According to Christina H. from Cracked.com, political cartoons

“…should be a means to get a controversial point across in a concise, effective and humorous way. In reality, most usually convey less information than, say, grunting or gesturing. Whether you agree or disagree with the message is irrelevant, as these cartoons are often shitty ass vehicles for any message. Taken on average, political cartoons are the least effective way of making a point aside from suicide bombing and Internet petitions.”

Christiana H. makes her point crystal clear: political cartoons aren’t the best way to convey a message.

The question here, then, is whether a cartoon’s efficiency of portraying a message is worth it. Does portraying Angela Merkel as a Nazi have any relevance to the crisis, or does it further tarnish the reputations of Greek citizens? One might like to think that using words, although less efficient, does less harm to a particular individual. But then again…

Angela Merkel as a Neo-Nazi.

Maybe it is the case that more laughs and positivity result from the art, rather than anger and hate. It’s been said before that the best medicine goes down much better with a bit of humor. What do you think? Do political cartoons and depictions do more harm than good, or does a questioning and analysis even matter?

Neo-Nazis in Greece

Since their election to Greek Parliament in June, the popularity of Golden Dawn, Greece’s fascist party, has been on the rise. After the elections, public support for Golden Dawn polled around six percent. In the four months since, Golden Dawn supporters have been associated with escalating violence against immigrants and increasingly nationalistic and jingoistic displays of “Greek-Only” pride, including “Greek-Only” food drives and blood banks.

Alarmingly, in a poll released late last week, national support for Golden Dawn was up almost four points with support for the party polling around ten percent. As the Greek economy continues to crumble, the conditions are ripe for a party scapegoating foreign powers and immigrants as responsible for Greek troubles. But what is perhaps even less surprising is that Europe has seen this before: a fascist party gaining power and popularity in the face of economic crisis and the imposition of harsh austerity measures.

You need not look any further than the rhetoric the party has adopted in the advancement of their platform to see some obvious parallels. The official party song is a direct translation of a “Nazi Stormtrooper hymn” and their motto, “blood, honor, Golden Dawn,” a direct translation of the motto of the Nazi SA. They even sell copies of Mein Kampf at their headquarters.

Watch a NYT video report on Golden Dawn.

Yet the news surrounding Golden Dawn is not all bad. The government, journalists and civil dissidents alike are beginning to stand against the party.

Last week, Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis announced that racially motivated crimes now carry a minimum three year sentence. Roupakiotis was blunt in his explanation of the legislation, saying:

“We condemn in the strongest possible way every act of violence, and especially actions by members and supporters of Golden Dawn against immigrants or other citizens. We believe this is an insult to our long-standing notions of justice and the defense of human rights. It is a threat to harmony in society and creates the conditions to develop fascist and neo-Nazi ideology.”

Greek hospitals have called Golden Dawn’s “Greek-only” blood drives “repulsive” and have promised to deliver blood based only on need, never on race.

Twice this year, unknown individuals have destroyed Golden Dawn offices, first in the town of Patras and mostly recently in Central Athens.

The Greek Federation of Journalists warned warned “Hitler nostalgics” that they would not be intimidated and would continue to vocalize their opposition to the party and its Neo-Nazi tactics.

While the mainstream response to Golden Dawn is heartening, the rise of the party is nonetheless deeply unsettling. As Americans, we view institutionalized racism and fascism as a thing of the past. We also tend to the dismiss the possibility of an authoritarian regime rising to power in a modern Western nation.

But the frightening reality is that we are watching this very situation unfold in Greece. Economic stress and uncertainty about the future has led at least ten percent of Greeks to express support for a party eerily reminiscent of the Nazi party in Germany. Conditions in Greece today and the Weimar Republic following World War I are not dissimilar. Unemployment and inflation have skyrocketed. Both nations owe or owed a tremendous debt to other European powers (ironically, Greece owes a substantial portion of its debt to Germany).

People in Greece are looking for answers and Golden Dawn is more than happy to provide them: the foreigners, the socialists and the EU are responsible for Greece’s problems. Blame them. Greece is for Greeks. And Golden Dawn will fight like hell to keep it that way.

Let’s hope like hell they don’t get that far.

Greece (6-0): Work Days of Employed vs Unemployed

Γεια σας αναγνώστες – Hello readers,

I found this interesting video from CNN about the current employment conditions in Greece. Although you will be surprised because it does not feature the young Greek generation. Although it does include what could be considered a tiny bit of hooliganism (in a protesting sense) and not quite from who you would expect…Take a look.

As you just saw Greek youth have managed to fly under the radar in the media this week, but the older generation certainly did not. If you didn’t watch the video then you may wonder why are they protesting? A leaked email outlines changes being made to begin a 6-DAY WORK WEEK!

(I imagine gasps from the employed and quiet cries from the unemployed).

Created by Matt Barringer, CNN. Content by Irene Chapple, CNN. Sources: Eurostat. Figures accurate as of April 26, 2012

 

It seems like quite a bad situation when the people who are employed don’t like the idea of pulling another day, while there are so many who are completely unemployed.

Now the logic behind what I am about to say could be completely unrealistic but hear me out. If they are considering adding another day to the workweek and the currently employed are not happy then could they cut back their hours to employ younger people for much less?

For example: A new teachers salary (based of my knowledge and it differs depending on where you are) is probably around $26,000 to $34,000 a year. Where as, a veteran teacher who has been teaching for 40 plus years and may have earned more education along the way is probably making AT LEAST double if not triple the new teachers salary. So if your school is in debt and needs to make budget cuts, as we’ve had problems with in the U.S., they turn to cutting programs like art, music and drama. BUT what if they offered veteran teacher(s) an early retirement package and then employ a new teacher for much less. Resulting in less money being taken from the budget to pay for the veteran teacher and keep the programs that are in jeopardy of being cut.

Easier said then done, but if something similar was plausible to help the unemployed then it could be worth a shot. I am in no means saying out with the old and in with the new because those people are extremely wise and knowledgeable, but the young generation needs to be to be able to come in and learn from them. Eventually if the young people are gone and stay wherever they decide to relocate, then who will be there to take on leadership positions when the older generation are ready to retire?

I want hear what you think could fix the 6-day workweek.
Should they cut current hours and bring on new people?
Or force the currently employed to work more? Neither?

And for now I leave you with this…

““Seven Deadly Sins

Wealth without work
Pleasure without conscience
Science without humanity
Knowledge without character
Politics without principle
Commerce without morality
Worship without sacrifice.”

-Mahatma Gandhi

Hooliganism: A Destructive Stigma for Young Greeks

As I am researching Greek blogs for my first post I sit within the comfort of a nice quite study room scrolling through images of beaten immigrants, smashed cars, rioting, reports of severe unemployment, race hate and a government in crisis. I see Greek life, in many aspects, has spiraled out of control.

On June 8, 2012 Nick Malkoutzis blogged on the topic of fear saying, “Fear is a sentiment that Greeks have learned to live with over the past couple of years. As the thread by which the country hangs grows ever thinner, fear has begun to pervade all aspects of life.”

If fear has ‘pervaded all aspects of life’ in Greece then I wonder what is one subject in particular that they fear the most? Well for young Greek people it’s the fear of leaving home to find employment. That plays a part in the reason the Internet is flooded with videos of riots. There are no jobs. Life for some is basically at a stand still until they decide to take matters into their own hands. This action has created quite an outburst of hooliganism.

Hooliganism is a term that describes a collective group of people as malicious, unruly and committing violent acts of destruction. In the U.S. we sometimes use the term hooligan to describe when one or a few young people are acting out in society, but this label has been branded to the foreheads of young people of Greece in the current turmoil of the Eurozone crisis.

The media blast Greece youth as destructive and out of control, but their side of the story is seriously lacking in the headlines. With 50% unemployment for educated young people under the age of 25 the odds are extremely lacking in the favor. As if unemployment wasn’t enough the current political and debt crisis is taking a toll on the country as well. Greece has seen a spike in poverty, suicide and crime rates along with unemployment and emigration in order to find work outside of the country.

This makes me wonder if I ended up in a similar situation how would I handle my emotions? Would I take action with drastic behavior or just wait until the day things finally turned around?

Despite the anger, hopelessness and anxiety that consumes peoples’ lives there are still those who are holding out for better times. Within the blog Occupied London: From The Greek Streets I found a bit of hopeful happiness that occurred in Athens where a bus traveled around to fill their streets with “colourful forms of art”. The video encourages the people to “be optimistic, they will hold the hands of the person sitting next to them and they will do something about the situation,” said Georgios Neris who was featured in Take back the Greek streets, with art a film by Ross Domoney on Vimeo.

That is just a sneak peak into my explorations of how young Greeks are handling the problems that overwhelm their lives and homeland. I want to express my thoughts on the situation in a critical and comparative voice between what is covered in hard news reporting and what the people have to say about it within personal online blogs.

And for now I leave you with this…

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” –Marianne Williamson

Euro-crisis art

This blog details the current European crisis, and, in particular, Euro-crisis art. The economic world, for the past couple of years, has focused its attention upon Europe and its ongoing debt crisis.  The Euro-zone has been hit hard with financial instability, and countries such as Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Ireland have been struggling to stay afloat.  Newspaper headlines, websites, and TV shows discuss the situation in-depth and others such as artists have also taken a great interest in the crisis. I’ll be discussing Germany and intend to focus predominately on artistic German depictions/points of views on the rest of Europe.  In addition, I’ll cover the reverse: Europe’s artful depictions/point of view of Germany.  How is Angela Merkel as well as other EU leaders being depicted?  How do Germans portray other European countries and vice versa?  How do countries, like Greece, use art to illustrate their own unique position in the crisis?

The depictions of the crisis found both in newspapers and on the web are numerous and humorous.  The tensions between Germany and the rest of Europe create a social, as well as political environment infused with polarity, radicalism, and acrimony.  To cope with the on-going situation, Germany, and other European nations turn to art – instead of words  – to show both their social stances and political points-of-views.  I believe Euro-crisis art has allowed those involved to: a) have a good laugh, b) take a side, and c) find a unique outlet in expressing one’s opinion.

There exists a plethora of blogs detailing the Euro-crisis.  In one blog post titled “Five cartoons about the crisis in Greece,” the author has carefully chosen cartoons representing the situation in Greece.  In the cartoons, Greece is undoubtedly being criticized.  The brief description concerning the article says “After Sunday’s election in Greece, where political parties in favor of an international bailout won a slim majority, the country appears to have avoided crashing out of the euro zone. However, the region’s debt crisis shows no signs of abating.”  The statement is not quite a negation nor or a positive in regards to the author’s point-of-view.  It is simply a neutral and informative sentence; however, when one glimpses at the cartoons, we come to find that the article is indeed more on the lines of bashing (negating) Greece.   In the first cartoon, the man in the cartoon decides whether Greece should exit the Euro zone with a gun, or cut budgets with a knife and with a bottle and a cup of ouzo resting next to him on the table.  The artist of this cartoon allies the man’s situation to an equally profound situation on a national scale.  The relationship between the man and Greece are one and the same: both are in a suicidal situation.  The man, and the country, can choose the gun or the knife; either way, a death sentence is imminent.

In another cartoon, this time from Germany, we see Angela Merkel instructing the Greek prime minister how to roll a giant stone not up a slope, but rather up a cliff.  The distance between the two characters in the picture almost entails a student-teacher relationship.  As Merkel’s right arm points to a drawing of how one is to achieve the task, her left arm is waving frantically back and forth as if the slender, undernourished prime minister of Greece is not quite grasping the idea.  The caricature seems to reflect three ideas: 1) the Greek recovery is virtually impossible, 2) the Greeks are too uneducated to help themselves, and 3) the Greeks are subjugated to the German chancellor.  Similar to our first aforementioned cartoon, the Greek situation is anything but positive.  The difference between the two, however, is the second cartoon originates from a German source and places the decision-making not in the hands of the Greeks, but in the hands of Merkel and the Germans.  Where the Greek man, and the Greeks, are able to determine their fate in a more precise fashion (as depicted in the first cartoon), Merkel details their fate and lays out the plan for them (which ironically leads the man to the gun-knife situation).  The German impression demonstrates the Greek inability to care for themselves.  They are dependent on the leadership and instruction from the Germans.  One cannot put a finger on it, whether the artist’s intention was suppose to be sympathetic toward the Greeks or condescending; nonetheless, the caricature seems to represent a German point-of-view rather than the opposite.

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.