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Greek singer Dalaras named UN goodwill ambassador September 30, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece News, Music Life Greek.
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George Dalaras, has been appointed Goodwill Ambassador for the UN High Commission for Refugees.

Greek singer George Dalaras has always been popular for his songs of love, loneliness, struggles, war and peace, songs that have taken him around the world, taking us with him to all corners of the globe, geographically and ideologically. He has always put his soul into his singing and everything else he does.

That is why we congratulate not only Dalaras but the UN High Commission for Refugees for its decision to declare him a Goodwill Ambassador at a time when there are more and more refugees and the commission’s job has become much harder, needing the support and help of us all.

Over his career Dalaras has filled concert halls, stadiums and theaters with his voice, often for charity, particularly in Cyprus and in Greek communities around the world. On Thursday, Dalaras, the artist, pacifist and humanitarian, will be officially inducted as UN High Commission for Refugees Goodwill Ambassador at a ceremony in the Old Parliament to be attended by Greek President Karolos Papoulias.

Two major exhibitions in Athens September 30, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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Greek President and Greek Premier to open two major exhibitions

A photograph of Aristotle Onassis is used in the poster for the exhibition that opens this week at the New Benaki Museum. The exhibition includes many of the millionaire’s personal possessions, including his trademark spectacles.

It is no coincidence that last week two major exhibitions were announced to open this coming week.

The Hellenic Parliament Foundation for Parliamentarism and Democracy is to hold an exhibition to commemorate the arrival and settlement in Attica in 1922 of Greek refugees from Asia Minor. The exhibits – comprising photographs, paintings, objets d’art, maps and official documents – all reflect the political and social framework of the period between the wars and the personal stories of these refugees.

The exhibition is to be opened by Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Monday at 7 p.m. at the Parliament Foundation’s exhibition hall, 1 Mitropoleos and Filellinon streets in Athens. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis will also attend.

The other exhibition that is attracting much international interest focuses on that famous Greek from Smyrna, the late Aristotle Onassis, and is titled “Aristotle Onassis: Beyond the Myth,” organized by the Alexandros S. Onassis Benefit Foundation to mark its 30th anniversary, in cooperation with the Benaki Museum. The exhibition, which includes objects that have been selected as a reflection of Onassis’ personality, is to be opened by Premier Karamanlis at the New Benaki Museum on Pireos Street at 8 p.m. on Wednesday

Halki > more than just a sliver of an island September 30, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Islands Aegean.
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Its heyday is past but its whimsical charms linger, inspiring Halkiotes to keep eking out livings through fishing, farming and tourism

The natural beauty of Halki is a timeless attraction for locals and visitors. There is only one taxi, owned by Alexandros, on the island but anyone who wants to visit inaccessible beaches can also hire the Keravnos, the only speedboat.

Edward, a Briton who is visiting the island of Halki for the fourteenth summer, watches with pride as his 14-year-old son fishes from the balcony of a neoclassical building in Praxithea.

Directly below, on the house’s small cobblestone pier, which looks as if it rises up from the lively, blue-green sea that splashes the houses on the shore, is a noisy crowd of local children. Aged four to 14, deeply tanned and scratched from diving into the sea, they swarm up the metal ladder to dive in again and again. Their grandmothers plunge in fully clothed, after biting the gold cross suspended from their neck “because the sea eats gold” and cross themselves, looking up at the sky. Some afternoons Romana, a Ukrainian woman with a superb voice who has lived on the island for years, joins the group. Gangs of children fill the square. The clear water splashes the pier. A wild goat laps up seawater.

This is Halki, a scene from a Greece that is disappearing. The islanders stubbornly persist, supporting their birthplace year round. They expect to make money from tourism but they don’t cater to it.

West of Rhodes, a mere sliver on the map at just 24 square kilometers, Halki has a proud history. Now the locals are divided over the island’s future.

That’s something you notice after a few beers at Costas’s cafe, a gathering spot for fishermen and locals who live elsewhere but spend the summer on Halki.

They are all deeply proud of their island. They talk with animation about their people, their simple life, past glories and more recent ones. They agree on the past but disagree about the lack of organized entertainment on the island.

With a long tradition as music lovers and revelers, younger Halkiotes feel stifled by the quietness that has overtaken the island in recent years. They recall the parties and dances and songs that used to attract people from Rhodes for a lively evening on Halki. Now there is no nightclub, a development most associate with the two travel agencies which have taken over all the rental accommodation.

“We have to find a way of keeping the youngsters on the island,” says Halki Mayor Elego Panagi. “We managed to get a bar going at Pontamo,” a sandy beach just beyond Empoureio. Perhaps Halki will follow the example of Tilos where, on the mayor’s initiative, a bar was set up in the ruins of the old village. Halki has a deserted old village of its own, in the shadow of the Frankish castle.

The buildings here tell the story of the people. In the early 20th century, the village had 700 inhabited houses. By 2000, the population of the island fell several thousand to around 400 permanent residents.

The town was rebuilt in and around the port of Empoureio, the only settlement on the island. There are no cars on the cobblestones of Empoureio. The only four-wheeled vehicle for public use is Alexandros’s taxi, parked on the beach. Directly opposite is the Keravnos, the only speedboat, which one can hire to visit beaches that are inaccessible by land and rocky islets. (more…)

Cyprus joined the International Organization of Francophonie September 30, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus News.
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Cyprus joined yesterday the International Organization of Francophonie (OIF), as an Associate Member during the 11th summit of the International Organization of Francophonie in Bucharest. The President of the Republic was represented at the Summit by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Yiorgos Lillikas.

In his address before the plenary of the summit, Mr Lillikas noted that Francophonie constitutes today an important factor of peace, freedom, stability, and cooperation between people all over the world and stressed that Cyprus places great importance on Francophonie and on the French language, which is spoken in the five continents, in international organizations and of course in the European Union of which Cyprus is a member since 2004.

The French language and francophone culture constitutes for Cyprus an opening to Europe and the world, he said, and pointed out that the French language is the second obligatory foreign language taught in Cyprus’ schools.

Mr Lillikas also expressed Cyprus’ wish to support the activities of the International Organization of Francophonie, at the linguistic, cultural, and political level. In a world of many conflicts, he said, francophonie is a carrier of the message of tolerance and solidarity, cooperation and emancipation, dialogue and understanding.

Mr Lillikas noted that Cyprus is committed to working closely with its new partners at international fora for cultural pluralism and for the development of the countries suffering from injustice and follow along with them a policy of peace and the promotion of democracy in the world. 

Nicosia > A City That Waits September 30, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Nicosia, Cyprus Occupied.
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Nicosia > History of Nicosia

Nicosia 1974
The Turkish Invasion 1974

A coup d’ Etat on the 15th July 1974 against the lawful Cypriot government provided a pretext for Turkey to invade the island on 20th July and and promote her expansionist plans.

Ankara attempted to present the invasion as a socalled peaceful operation aiming at restoring constitutional order and protecting the Turkish Cypriot community. However, even after the restoration of constitutional order and the return of Archbishop Makarios III to in December 1974, the Turkish troops remained on the island promoting Turkey’s plans against Cyprus.

On 14th August 1974, the second phase of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus began which led to the following tragic consequences:

(a)  37% of Cypriot territory is under occupation despite repeated UN and other International Resolutions for the respect of independence and territorial sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.

(b)  Five thousand Greek Cypriots were killed, 180,000 lost their homes and became displaced and 1619 are still missing.

Since 1974 the people of Cyprus have been experiencing the tragedy of a divided country, with the Green Line cutting in two the heart of the capital city Nicosia and crushing the dreams of its inhabitants

A City That Waits

In spite of the current division, the people of Nicosia hope that one day the city will be reunited and they look forward to Cyprus’ accession to the European Union.[1] Nicosia is a growing city. Nicosians are actively engaged in trade and other profitable professions and the Nicosia Municipality, a series of large infrastructure projects, is modernising the city in order that it will a worthy capital of the Republic of Cyprus when it joins the European Union. [2]

Our city must be seen from a distance With virgin eyes, with the eyes of, say, a Traveler beholding the first time she appears to have just emerged detaching herself from mountain Pentadaktylos that provides her with a cerulean backdrop to north.

Ancient is the city of Nicosia, yet her later history tightly interwoven among the years of the Franks, the years of the Turks and of the British and of course the years of our own generation

In our times she remains the last divided city of Europe, sliced in two by the “Green Line” disrupting its cohesion, its continuity. The tragedy of this country’s occupation it tangible throughout the areas of the “Green Line”.

But time move on… Elsewhere, the Berlin Wall and other artificial dividing lines have crumbled. This too is Nicosia’s hope for tomorrow. For man- made lines to dissolve, for our city to once more discover her complete face.

Related Links > http://www.nicosia.org.cy/english/lefkosia_istoria.shtm

Editor’s Notes [1], [2] > The Republic of Cyprus is an official member of the European Union since May 1st 2004.

Troy comes to Colosseum September 29, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Europe.
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Heroes and gods shown in paintings, sculptures, vases

The Trojan War has come to the Colosseum with a major new show on Homer’s legendary account of the conflict .

Achilles, Ulysses, Hector, Paris, Agamemnon and Priam are just some of the figures depicted in mosaics, frescos, sculptures and vases showing scenes from the Iliad, brought to the Roman amphitheatre from Italy’s leading museums.

The poet Homer, now believed to be a mythical composite of Ancient Greek bards, is shown in three marble heads, a IV century AD portrait and a two later Hellenistic paintings.

Verses from the epic poem are posted around the monument under the figures they refer to, including the gods who took Greece’s side, Mars and Minerva, and those protecting Troy, Venus and Apollo.

Among the gems included in the show is a wall painting from Pompeii showing The Rape of Iphigenia, the daughter of Greek leader Agamemnon who was sacrificed to appease the gods.

Another is what curator Mario Torelli of Perugia University called “an extraordinary micro-sculpture”, the Tabula Iliaca, a bas-relief from Rome’s Capitoline Museums which shows the most dramatic events in the war.

“For other cultures, war was normal. Only Ancient Greece produced such a momentous account of its drama, destruction and sorrows,” Torelli added.

The exhibit, the latest in a series at the Colosseum including a sell-out show on gladiators, has been geared to the general public and not the specialist, co-curator Angelo Bottini of Rome’s archaeological superintendency said .

“We aimed to show the importance of the Homeric epic in ancient times, how it ran through various civilisations and still has lessons for us today,” he said.

The show runs till February 18.

Greek to be an option at South African schools September 29, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Africa, Learn To Speak Greek.
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Greek will be introduced as an optional matric subject in South Africa from next year.

This is according to the Greek Ambassador in South Africa, Aristidis Sandis, who was on his first official visit to Durban. Sandis had discussions with the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal, S’bu Ndebele, and the Mayor of Durban, Obed Mlaba, as well as attending several other functions. 

Sandis said the Greek community in South Africa, and especially personnel at the Saheti School in Johannesburg, had worked hard to get the language on the matric subject list.

“We are all thrilled that the Department of Education has agreed to it. Greek will be offered as an optional matric subject from 2007 with the first matric examination being written in 2009. There are about 40 teachers throughout South Africa who are qualified to teach Greek at matric level. If that is not sufficient we will investigate bringing in more tutors from Greece.”

There are about 60 000 people of Greek extraction living in South Africa.

Sandis, who was the Greek Consul in Cape Town about 20 years ago and took up his present post last year after a stint as ambassador in Austria, who said South Africa and Greece enjoyed “warm relations”.

Hellenic Aid in Greece was funding a R6 million development programme in South Africa to assist in the fight against Aids and to provide training in a variety of fields. Sandis encouraged South African authorities to have faith in their capabilities to produce an outstanding soccer World Cup tournament in 2010. “They must stick to their plans and work hard, just like Greece did with the last Olympics, and show the world what they are capable of.”