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And now, the news from last week.
The Greek government introduced sharp separating lines between vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens concerning selected life aspects. Thus, people will mingle in buses and offices, but when it comes to leisure, no: They will be divided into “pure” and “mixed” facilities, for vaccinated and for both vaccinated-unvaccinated respectively.
The Greek police managed to drop down a retrieved Picasso painting during a press conference, sending shockwaves to all civilized people across the globe. Greek antiquities restorers slammed the incident. But Culture Minister Mendoni advised us “not to be miserable” and focus on the bright side - that the paintings have been retrieved.
Golden Dawn Nr 2 fugitive Christos Pappas was finally arrested after nine months. The Citizen Protection minister boasted of the “achievement.” Well, maybe the Greek police were preoccupied and could not arrest him earlier as they were filing the appeal against compensating journalist Kypraios who was left disabled after a police attack. They claim he recovered.
Vaccination is an important weapon against the pandemic. But what happens when it becomes a social division and control tool?
Usually, when you want to persuade a person into something, you use positive motivation. Well, the Greek government seems to lack this basic human psychology knowledge. The new Covid19-related rules provide for discrimination between vaccinated and unvaccinated citizens in closed leisure facilities.
Thus, closed catering and leisure facilities will be divided into two categories, taking effect from 15 July:
- Those exclusively for vaccinated citizens and for those who have recovered from Covid19 in the last semester.
- And those for both vaccinated and unvaccinated, where the unvaccinated however would enter only with a negative PCR or rapid test (the cheapest method, self-test, is out of the equation.)
Every business will choose if they want to be a “pure” or a “mixed’ space, and they will be signaled accordingly. “Pure” spaces will have a maximum capacity of 75-80% with no masks obligation and the “mixed” 25-75% with an obligation to wear masks.
In a threatening tone against the unvaccinated, Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister Akis Skertsos posted on social media: “There are not going to be any horizontal measures of confinement again. The economy and society are not going to close down again to protect the unvaccinated who have full, free, and easy access to vaccines. Any confining public health measures will be applied locally, will concern only the non vaccinated and will come without any financial support.”
On his part, “vocal” Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis also employed threats: “Do you want us to close you down again in winter now that there is no money anymore, and to go bankrupt or not? Instead of yelling at us, go tell the artists to make statements so that the people get the jab and we have no pandemic in winter,” he said.
Independently of one’s views on vaccinating against Covid19, these new measures set a very dangerous discrimination precedent against citizens - plus, what about GDPR, as medical data will be publicly cross-checked?
Vaccination against Covid19 is not yet obligatory. Furthermore, some citizens did not have the vaccine, not because they are anti-vaxxers, but because they have been advised by government experts or their doctors not to have it. This category includes pregnant women, women who are breastfeeding, couples that are trying to have a baby, and citizens with special health problems. Are they going to be punished?
Same with the foreigners-permanent residents of Greece who after ages managed to get the temporary social security number the system needed to accept them booking an appointment for their vaccination - and, guess what: now they can’t get their vaccination certificate as the system does not (again) recognize their number. This, while Greece is supposed to be leading the European Digital Certificate thing.
Plus, PCR tests cost 60 euros and Rapid tests 20-25 euros. So, in effect, the government punishes the unvaccinated poor, who would not be able to add this cost to a night out. Tests are vital, but they have to be dead cheap and thus available to everyone.
And why all strictness is applied only when it gets to their leisure? How about offices, buses, public services?
Do business owners now have to undertake the role of policemen, too?
Last but not least, employing threats and punishment can only have the adverse effect: serve conspiracy theories.
However, the government also used a treat. Greece. PM Mitsotakis offered young people aged 18-25 a 150 euro cash card and a free month of phone data to get their first COVID-19 shot. "It's a debt to the youth, a gift out of gratitude," he added. The so-called “freedom pass” is exchanging for cash what should have been promoted solely as an act of social responsibility. Plus, the youth does not forget that the government had made them scapegoats for the transition of the virus, have beaten them for hanging out in squares, have kept their universities closed all along while institutionalizing university police and significantly decreasing the number of those who would be accepted in Higher Education.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias announced on Wednesday that mobile healthcare teams will administer vaccinations at beaches and squares on the island of Crete.
At the same time, new rules for sea travel were announced on Thursday. As of Monday 5 July, traveling to Greek islands will require:
For adults, vaccination certificate or Covid-recovery certificate or negative PCR test carried out in the last 72 hours or negative Rapid test carried out in the last 48 hours.
For minors: For those aged 12-17 any negative test including self-test - Minors up to 12 years old travel freely – i.e no need of the test.
On the return from the islands, it is recommended that all those who are over 12 years old conduct a self-test.
Meanwhile, Greece is among the countries that have accepted many vaccine certificates for tourists traveling to the country, including the Russian Sputnik vaccine. However, following criticism by Germany and France for being too lax with tourists and particularly for recognizing Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, Greece bowed to the pressure and decided to require a PCR test for Russian tourists even if they are fully vaccinated with the Russian jab.
Picasso painting epic Greek police fail.
It made titles all over the international press. It is just inconceivable that a Picasso would be left at the hands of just anyone but an art curator - and that it would finally drop it on the floor.
Picasso's Head of a Woman was stolen from Greece's National Gallery in 2012, along with Piet Mondrian's Stammer Mill. They were now recovered by the police after nine years. They were found stashed in a ravine. According to the police, a construction worker guided them to the hiding place after admitting he had taken the works in a daring one-man raid on the National Gallery in Athens in 2012.
“The retrieved artworks were being shown off at a news conference on Tuesday when this happened,” the BBC wrote, citing the disgraceful video with the painting falling on the floor. The two precious paintings were just placed randomly at the narrow front of the press conference stand while they were touched with bare hands as apparently no measures had been taken for their proper handling. A man in a T-shirt and mask, but no gloves, quickly propped the painting up again.
Very importantly, Picasso had gifted this painting to the Greek state in recognition of the country's resistance to Nazi Germany during the 1941-44 occupation. “For the Greek people, a tribute by Picasso,” is written by the Spanish master on the back.
The Antiquities Restorers Panhellenic Association slammed the incident in a press release:
“What we saw as to the handling of Picasso's Head and Piet Mondrian's Stammer Mill show that those that found themselves next to them had not understood their uniqueness, the non-repetitiveness of their existence. In this case, applying the law or police investigating capacity is not enough. When a crime is committed, police personnel collect evidence with extreme caution and use of the proper equipment - in general, taking all precautions so that the evidence is not corrupted. Picasso’s and Mondrian’s artwork did not even have the luck to fall under these protective measures”, they emphasized.
The Association added that the paintings were treated as “common stolen goods” and that the whole handling of them gives the impression that “the State did not prioritize the protection of the cultural heritage.”
Greek police were heavily trolled on social media. For example, Ikea Greece posted a snap image on Facebook of a picture ledge the DIY furniture giant sells under the hashtags #picasso and #oops. Technology chain Plaisio posted a photo of the actual painting resting on a frame tripod and the hashtag #itwillneverfall in Greek.
But Culture Minister Lina Mendoni on Thursday called on Greeks not to be “so miserable […] Let us stay on the fact that the Greek police had great success.”
We expected nothing more from the minister who also tried to downplay the fire in one of the most important archaeological sites of all times Myceanes, who cemented the Acropolis and is about to turn “Byzantine Pompeii” in Thessaloniki into “Legoland” despite calls from international institutions and experts.
Did you know that you can recover if deaf? Well, ask the Greek police when they stop boasting for arresting Neo-nazi fugitive after 9 months.
It was breaking news on Thursday night: Neo-nazi Christos Pappas was arrested in the Athenian Zografou neighborhood where he was allegedly being sheltered by a 52-year-old Ukrainian woman, also a neo-nazi. She was also arrested and will be charged with aiding and abetting a criminal.
Pappas had been on the run since he was sentenced to more than 13 years in jail in October in a landmark trial that handed down sentences to more than 50 Golden Dawn defendants on charges including running a criminal organization, murder, assault, and illegal weapons possession.
Pappas, Golden Dawn’s No 2, was sentenced to 13 years in prison but went missing a day later. He defied a court order to turn himself in, and speculation grew that he had fled the country.
Protection Minister Chrysochoidis boasted in a statement that “this is the fourth big success for the Greek police,” mentioning solving Caroline Crouch’s murder, dismantling a criminal network on Zakynthos island, and finding the stolen paintings.
The opposition went fierce. “It took only 9 months for Mr. Chrysochoides to do what had to be done from day one: arrest neo-Nazi Pappas, who he had lost at a snapshot while supposedly guarding him before the trial,” SYRIZA stated in a press release. “We expect for the matter to be dealt with responsibly and seriously henceforth. We hope the neo-nazi doesn’t slip somewhere and our country is internationally defamed once again,” they added in an apparent reference to Picasso’s painting slipping on the floor.
The Greek Police are desperate to present some successful operations, as major crime cases have shocked Greece in the last year, including journalist Karaivaz’s assassination, increased Greek mafia action including assassinations in broad daylight, successive cases of rape, and others that Chrysochoides termed as “increased criminality fear” and not criminality increase. May we just mention that before Caroline Crouch's husband confessed he was the perpetrator, the Greek police had arrested a man from Georgia and allegedly tortured him to make him confess.
Chrysochodes’s ministry however was maybe too preoccupied with other things to manage and arrest Pappas earlier.
“Shame on you, Greek Police for what you write in the appeal. And you as politicians, Chryssochoides and Prime Minister, that you talk about human rights, you use [as an argument] disability and Greece’s memorandum, the shame is even bigger for you. How much lower?”That is what journalist Manolis Kypraios wrote on Twitter on 28 June.
What had happened? Kypraios, who has served also as a war correspondent, was left disabled on 15 June 2011, when riot police threw a flash-noise grenade at him while he was in a covered walkway. The journalist became deaf from both ears, plus other health problems, and he cannot work anymore. He had undergone two surgeries on the head, had to stay still for months, and has undergone thousands of therapy hours so he can walk again and survive without his hearing. He has been diagnosed as 90% disabled.
The perpetrators were never found. Kypraios filed a lawsuit against the Greek state with the support of local and international journalists unions. On 25 May 2020, after nine long years, the court ruled in favor of Kypraios. Τhe Greek state filed an appeal against the decision triggering fierce reactions, including an Amnesty International statement in favor of Kypraios. It now became known that the appeal claims that “the claimant has recovered and got back his hearing, thus he is not incapable of finding work, nor is there any disfiguration that makes his social and personal life difficult”. The state also argues that they cannot compensate him as “the fiscal situation of the country has deteriorated in a phenomenal way for the history of modern Greece and has come to the point of risking a collapse of the economy and of national bankruptcy.”
This is as low as it can get. We stand with Manolis Kypraios.
Pew Research: People in Advanced Economies Say Their Society Is More Divided Than Before Pandemic - Publics disagree about whether restrictions on public activity have gone far enough to combat COVID-19: Among others, the survey concludes that Greeks and Spaniards voice the most concern that the EU’s relief efforts have not gone far enough. 61% of Greeks think society is more divided than before the pandemic. Greece is the only public surveyed where those on the left are more likely than those on the right to say there should have been fewer restrictions (55% and 34%, respectively). 72% of Greeks are more pessimistic on the economic effects of Covid19. While all EU countries experienced economic hardship as a result of the pandemic, Greece was particularly impacted. In Greece, 68% of those who say the economic situation is bad to say EU relief efforts have not gone far enough. Greece records the second-highest percentage amongst the countries surveyed that say the pandemic has affected their lives (84%).
The effectiveness of primary health care reforms in Greece towards achieving universal health coverage: a scoping review.
He Saved 31 People at Sea. Then Got a 142-Year Prison Sentence: Greece is prosecuting migrants on charges of people smuggling, and imposing heavy jail terms. Rights groups say many migrants are being unfairly accused and sentenced.
Ovaries and Outrage - How social media took down Greece’s fertility conference: As Greece’s media landscape continues to be concentrated in the hands of a few oligarchs, the attraction of social media as a platform for expressing ideas and accessing information not being covered by traditional news is only likely to grow.
Cancer patients bemoan lack of information during pandemic.
Greece exposed to increased risks from climate change, says ECB-ESRB report.
Pilot ‘may have killed Brit wife when she discovered he flew drugs for cartels’.
“Not everyone can and should go to university,” says cynical Greek PM.
Greek 13-Year-Old Wins Global Literature Competition.
Kalamata International Dance Festival 16-25 July: For ten days, leading Greek and international artists will be showing their work to art lovers from all over the world. More information and tickets, here.
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