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Students protest over Parthenon marbles January 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Vote For Return Greek Marbles.
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Thousands of students joined hands to form a human chain around the Acropolis today, demanding the return of the marbles ripped from the Athens monument more than 200 years ago.

Wearing bright orange jackets reading “Parthenon Marbles – Reunification Now”, about 2000 students and teachers formed a long line around the classical monument, calling for the British Museum to give the marbles back.

The Parthenon and other 2500-year-old marble temples on the Acropolis are seen as the epitome of the Golden Age of Athens. Lord Elgin, the British ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, which ruled Greece at the time, removed sculptures from the Parthenon and Greece has long pressed for their return.

“If you give youngsters a vision then they can turn it into a reality,” said Giorgos Hasiakis, secretary of the Athens tutors’ union, who helped organise the event. “The marbles belong in their rightful place and the students will continue with such actions until they return.”

He said campaigners had collected 65,000 signatures and sent 900 letters of protest to the head of the British Museum. The late Greek actress and culture minister Melina Mercouri spearheaded a fiery campaign for their return in the 1980s, describing them as looted national treasures. “It was Mercouri’s dream to have them back home and we will make her dream come true,” said Piraeus prefect Yannis Michas, who joined in the protest.

The British Museum has turned down all requests, saying the marbles are in better care in London, safe from the Athens pollution that has damaged those left behind. Mr Hasiakis said campaigners would soon stage a similar protest in London outside the British Museum.

Greek film, stage actor Nikos Kourkoulos dies January 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Movies Life Greek, Stage & Theater.
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Greek film and stage actor Nikos Kourkoulos, who appeared with Melina Mercouri in a Broadway musical and ran the Greek National Theater for the past 13 years, died of cancer in Athens Tuesday aged 73, hospital officials said.

Kourkoulos was married to Marianna Latsis, daughter of Greek shipping billionaire John Latsis.

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis expressed his condolences to Kourkoulos’ family, describing the actor as “one of the country’s most important contemporary actors.” “He was not only one of the best of the golden age of Greek cinema, but also one of the most dedicated reformers of modern Greek theater,” Karamanlis said.

Athens-born Kourkoulos made his stage debut in 1958, and became one of the country’s most popular leading men. He appeared in dozens of Greek films from the 1950s to the early 1980s, and a large number of stage productions.

In 1967, he appeared with Greek actress and Socialist politician Melina Mercouri in the Broadway musical “Ilya Darling,” for which he was nominated for a Tony award as a best supporting actor.

Kourkoulos’ last stage appearance was in a 1991 production of Sophocles’ “Philoctetes” play, at the restored ancient theater of Epidaurus in southern Greece. He was appointed artistic director of the National Theater in Athens in 1994.

“He was talented, good looking and passionate about his work,” fellow actor Costas Kazakos said. “He never stopped working … it’s true to say he was a star.”

Kourkoulos is survived by Marianna Latsis and the couple’s two children. He had another two children from a previous marriage. He will be buried in Athens’ Zographou cemetery on Wednesday.

Cyprus prompts debate > SDSU Summer Study program January 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Cyprus Occupied, Education.
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No decision made on SDSU Summer Study in Cyprus program

By: Melissa Deleon, Senior Staff Writer
Issue date: 1/25/07 Section: City, The Daily Aztec, CA.
Cyprus prompts debate

San Diego State continues to support its Summer Study in Cyprus program, despite those in opposition who’ve raised concerns about student safety and political interests.

Cyprus, which is occupied mainly by Greek and Turkish Cypriots, has a known history of conflict between the two groups.

Stacey Sinclair, Ph.D., the director of the University Honors Program, told The Daily Aztec last month that Cyprus is a secure island for student travelers and, therefore, the program should remain intact. Sinclair helped develop the program at SDSU and spent several weeks conducting workshops on building peace in Cyprus.

Following a Dec. 6, 2006 article regarding the study abroad program, The Daily Aztec received a letter from the Panhellenic Federation of the State of Florida claiming that the program is operating in violation of U.S. and international law.

“In 1974, Turkey invaded Cyprus with U.S.-supplied arms and proceeded in a campaign of ethnic cleansing, mass murder and human rights violations, plundering and destruction of Christian churches and Cyprus’ cultural identity,” the letter stated.

The letter was signed by PFSF President John Laliotis, Vice President Maria Poulas and Chairman of National Affairs Tassos Bougdanos. They urged SDSU to terminate the program and its endorsement of what they consider ethnic cleansing, human-rights violations and oppression of freedom by Turkish Cypriots.

However, in an interview last month, Sinclair said the agreement SDSU has with the Eastern Mediterranean University in Cyprus is in full compliance with all U.S. laws and U.S. policy for engaging with the Turkish Cypriot community. Students who traveled to Cyprus as part of the program also spoke in support of continuing it.

In December, the California State University board of trustees met to review the program and hear statements from both sides. The board was expected to vote on the issue during its first meeting of the year, but the item was not included on the agenda. No final decision has been made to halt the program, but it continues to be under review.

Christos Georgiades, M.D., assistant professor of radiology and surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md., also contacted The Daily Aztec to express his feelings that the program should be halted immediately.

Georgiades said EMU was built on the property of Cypriot refugees who were forcibly evicted by the Turkish army during an invasion of the island. “Visiting the occupied part of the Island via Turkey is against local and international law and students who participate are subject to arrest and prosecution,” Georgiades said.

SDSU’s Associated Students and the SDSU faculty senate both passed resolutions in support of the continuance of the program with EMU. The program focuses on conflict resolution and peace-building. Sinclair said the objection is a case of political interests obstructing the academic rights of students.

Readers Comments > Displaying 1 – 2 of 2
Paul Kouts posted 1/25/07 @ 4:17 AM EST
I would recommend people in San Diego concerned with the Cyprus controversy at least to read professor Van Coufoudakis’ excellent book “CYPRUS: A Contemporary Problem in Historical Perspective”, which has just come out on Jan. 15, 2007. Maybe then people would be better informed.

grhomeboy posted 1/29/07 @ 4:20 PM EST
In agreement with Mr Kouts’ comment, I would urge San Diegonians to visit this blog
https://grhomeboy.wordpress.com and read more on the issue of occupied Cyprus, all related articles listed under the category News Cyprus Occupied. Furthermore, to remind to all readers, that Turkey invaded The Republic of Cyprus in July 1974 and since then occupies the North part of the country.

Baghdatis wins opener in Zagreb January 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Tennis Squash.
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Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, competing for the first time since losing at the Australian Open, was a winner Monday at the Zagreb Indoors.

The second-seeded Baghdatis, 2006 Australian Open runner-up, beat Frenchman Florent Serra 6-2, 7-6 (7-5).

In other action involving seeds, No. 3 Swede Robin Soderling defeated Frenchman Gilles Simon 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4) and France’s Marc Gicquel beat fifth-seeded Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 7-6 (9-7).

February is Carnival month in Athens January 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Greece Athens.
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For most visitors, a day or two in Athens is enough. They sightsee their way through the crowds and oppressive heat before sailing south to the islands to recuperate. But the Greek capital offers more than a cliched circuit of temples and eponymous salads.

Arrive in mid-February and you’ll be treated to Carnival, Greek-style, or Apokreas, as it’s officially known here, complete with costumes, jugglers and maypole dancers.

The event kicks off rather quietly on January 28, three weeks before the beginning of Orthodox Lent, and quickly gains momentum, culminating in a four-day festival from February 16 to 19. To take part, one needs little more than a healthy appetite and a costume.

As a point of trivia, it was the Greeks who invented Carnival. While North Americans are more familiar with revellers dancing the samba in Rio and collecting Mardi Gras beads in New Orleans, it was the annual processions, costumes and feasts organized by the ancient Greeks to honour Dionysus, the god of wine and ecstasy, that was the inspiration for celebrations around the world. These days, however, the Athenian festivities have little to do with mythical gods.

The mood is frenetic and somewhat surreal: It’s the only time of year when bonking passersby on the head with squeaking plastic clubs is not only acceptable, it’s de rigueur. In the narrow, winding alleys of the Plaka district, gregarious locals throw confetti until it’s ankle-deep, and everywhere you turn, Athenians are eating, drinking and making merry.

Get your festive garb at Monastiraki Flea Market. Anything goes during Apokreas, Spiderman suits and Zorro capes included, so there’s no need to agonize over an elaborate outfit. Settle on a cheap, col-ourful mask and take to the streets, dodging the maypole dancers, stilt-walkers and professional tango pairs grooving their way through the city.

When the party atmosphere proves too much, you can always opt for a rare moment of solitude at the Acropolis. It’s low season, after all: The weather is comfortable and cool, the tourists are scant and the temples, for once, are unusually serene.

Where to sleep >
At St. George Lycabettus Hotel, high atop Hill Lycabettus. The hotel is surrounded by the posh boutiques of the Kolonaki district. The staff is surly, but the views of the Acropolis from the rooftop terrace more than compensate. From $260/night. 2 Kleomenous Street, tel 210 7290711-19; http://www.sglycabettus.gr

Where to eat >
At Spondi. The Michelin-starred restaurant serves rich French cuisine prepared with a Greek twist, to wit: roast pork with Myzithra cheese and a fig-and-yogurt sauce. While this may seem like a quirky combo for dinner, the pairing is so decadent, it’s worth the caloric splurge. 5 Pyrronos Street, Pangrati, tel 210 7520658; http://www.spondi.gr

Where to shop >
Monastiraki Flea Market
Trawl for antique jewellery, cool vintage duds and ornate Carnival masks at this daily bazaar. Sunday mornings are especially lively, arrive before 11 a.m. to beat the hordes.
Avissynias Square, Monastiraki (open daily 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

Where to drink >
At Diorofo Cafe. Traditional Greek coffee is thick, strong and best sipped in a charming, neoclassical cafe surrounded by chatty locals. Asthmatics, on the other hand, might want to sip theirs at the local Starbucks; few places in town offer a no-puffing policy. 77 Aiolou Street and Evripidou Street.

Themistocles vs Xerxes January 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Culture History Mythology.
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It was a quiet night in September in 480 BCE off the coast of southeastern Greece.

All was serene, except for the hundreds of Greek warships that floated atop the still waters brimming with grim, tense soldiers ready to serve their country. This is the scene the night before the Battle of Salamis, fought between a motley coalition of bickering Greeks and the imperial army of the Persian Empire. In the eyes of the Greeks, the Persians and modern historians, the battle was one of the most important in the history of Europe and Western Asia.

Yet if one were actually present in the war rooms of these respective foes, there would have been a noticeable difference in conduct. In the Persian camp, the will of Xerxes, king of the Persians, would have been paramount, as his role as supreme commander and leader of the expedition was unquestionable. Yes, he had a council of war that included representatives of the various ethnicities that fought in the name of Persia, but it was ultimately the word of Xerxes that prevailed. The discussion would have been calm, collected and, in a word, imperial. All propositions were made to cater to the favor of the king.

If, somehow, one were to be present simultaneously at the discussion of the Greeks, he or she would be left wondering how these Greeks ever won the battle at all. In the discussion of war, everyone spoke, and no one hesitated to speak exactly their mind. All commanders had an equal say in the affair, though there was a symbolic figurehead, and at one point, the discussion nearly turned to blows. In contrast to the collected, Xerxes-led council of Persians, the Greek discussion was raucous and democratic. It was also the very thing that saved them.

The Greeks ended up choosing a path of least resistance, one that maximized the ability for the Greeks to retreat after their much-expected defeat. One voice stood out though: the commander Themistocles passionately and eloquently argued for a fight at Salamis proper. His reasoning and ruses probably ended up winning the battle of Salamis. It is not Themistocles, rather, but the democratic Greek tradition of allowing all an equal say, even in matters of war, that proved essential to the Greek victory. Xerxes’ unswerving commitment to his primacy as leader of the Persian Empire, along with the trickery of Themistocles, on the other hand, signaled his doom.

Let’s assume that we have been faced with the same sort of dilemma. That is, do we wish to be led by a Themistocles or a Xerxes?

What do you say? Whom would you choose to be your leader? Or led by and why?