Δευτέρα, 24 Μαΐου 2010

“This is the worst crisis of all”

image Afternoon, In a congested bus. Many people coming back from their jobs. Some of them standing, gripping on the handles, the oldest ones sitting with their eyes closed. Worn out, tired from their jobs and everyday cares. The little polluted city draft from the open window was the only thing that was breaking the gloom and the odour of sweat a bit.

In a stop near the sea, a group of young boys got into the bus. The sand that was faling off of their bodies during their every movement was indicating that they were returning from a swim in the sea. After pushing awkwardly the already stuffed up passengers, they started screaming. Our “national word” (Malakas) replaced almost every word in their centences. Other than that, they were’t talking. They were just screaming inarticulately and laughing histerically.

The other passengers were annoyed but their reactions were limited to some slight stretches in their faces. They remained closed, in their shells of their loneliness and fatigue. Untill someone couldn’t get it anymore.

A man around his seventies, approached the boy that was near him and the most noisy of the bunch. He politely asked him to stop.

“my son, we are all tired, please, unless you are deaf, be a little quiet” he said.

The other passengers got encouraged for a moment as the screams and swears stopped for a moment just to start even louder and more defiantly than before.

From stop to stop, the party was leaving the bus one by one, until the one single boy that the old man talked to remained in the bus. Alone, quiet, looking to the ground and doing some weird movements with its lips.

It was his turn to go off the bus. He pushed the buton for his stop and as the door opened he leaned quickly to the man who dared to talk to him and spat him in the face. Then he descented the bus and gave the finger through the window to the old man that just received the spiting.

The old man didn’t see the gesture. He was petrified, not believing what’s just happened. Only when the bus started again he brought out from his pockets a handkerchief made out of white fabric.

The people who witnessed the incident looked away, leaving him discretely to wipe himself. He wiped his eye, his cheek and his shirt. Then he folded his handkerchief into two, four, eight. He didn’t raise his head until his stop. He was looking his fingers and the napkin. He was shaking.

Nobody spoke, nobody commented. But at some point someone muttered; “this is the worst crisis of all”

But his voice was never heard as it got covered by the sound of a siren of an ambulance.

Translated (losely) from Exantas

A note about Fakelaki


Fakelaki (φακελάκι) is the little envelope. But, in Greece is also used to indicate bribery of doctors.

Enter Amalia Kalyvinou. A young philologist that died in 2007 due to the shortcomings of the Health System, and the inability of some doctors to do their job properly.

Amalia started to ache from 8 years old due to a cancer Neuroma (a cancer tumor created right around a nerve). She was going from doctor to doctor but her cancer – that started as a fully operatable tumor- remained undiagnosed and doctors were refusing to search for her case further.


When she got diagnosed, it was already too late. The Neuroma became a progressive type of Cancer called Neoplasm. She had to deal with this spreading disease, mutilation of her leg and a national health system that makes a blind eye on bribery and has absurd bureaucratic and time consuming demands.

While she was sick and having the heaviest therapies, some doctors stood against her instead of trying to save her, she had to put off with the greed of the private health care and wait long hours for just one stamp from the national insurance.

In her last years of her life, she shared her experiences with the world through her blog, conviniently named fakelaki.blogspot.com, naming all the doctors that she bribed, all the doctors that failed to do the obvious but also the doctors that fullfiled their duty and made her pain a little more bearable.

So, in the end, her story didn’t had a happy end. But, it managed to move the general opinion towards the national health system and it’s disseffect.

My feelings? I don’t know. I just agree on a phrase of her : this kind of doctors (that take bribery) and the uneffective ones should be the exception. Not the rule.

In the 1st of June it’s now the day of protesting for a better national health system. But is it enough?

Allow me to answer: It isn’t. A “day about something” was and will never be enough as long as morals and minds won’t change in a permanent and consistent way. This is too far away from what Amalia wanted.

Either way, my friends, It’s a story I wanted to share with you and, at the same time, memorizing the voice of a victim.

And sorry for the depressing story…

Κυριακή, 9 Μαΐου 2010

Random thoughts. Happy mom's day

Here I am again. 24 hours AFTER my previous post. You're probably thinking "gee, Marios, since when you like blogging so much that you made your blog daily?"

The answer is "shut up" and no, this is just how my thoughts piled in my head and need to get expressed. So again from my bedbook, I'll write once again my thoughts.

Today it's mother's day. Happy mother's day, mother.

Mother's role isn't just to give birth after having you in her tummy for 9 months. Mother is an icon of protection. Completion of the female genre, designed by nature itself.

Come to think of it, the most mother-kid relationship we worship today is made completely by human culture. Mother is the one who put us in a walled garden as small kids to protect us while she's teaching us the ways to behave in our future social life. The norm of a Mother, is being teached from mothers to kids since the begining of the society.

So kids who don't have a mother "are poor orfans" that learn the norm of a mother by her absence while the whole world spins with children-mother relation intact. So how these "orphans" live a normal life after a childhood is passed with no interaction with their mother (or any kind of mother. The orphanage works nothing like one-kid-one-maitress so they can't have a mother-child bond of some sorts).

Anyway I don't want to cheapen the icon of Mother, but really. Some things are becoming way too important for no reason. I mean, it's good to love and think of your mother. I love and think of mine too - she's also the dominant parent of my family. But at some point, iconizing her in certain functional norms, iconizing her in cliche and selecting a specific date to say "I love you mommy" gets things on the awkward side.

Some people urged me to comment on the crisis in Greece. I'll tell you right away.

First of all, let me tell you why I chose this specific date to tell you about this stuff.

Many nationalists think of their country as a mother. Mother Russia, Mother England, Mother Egypt etc. So, consider it as a sarcastic choice. Not that I have something against nationalism (deep down we are ALL nationalists, even if we try to deny it) but, really. A mother?

So. My comment is that, even if we know what's happening, nobody does nothing. That's the main problem of the Greek Culture as it is today.

There is a protestation. It's a right. Fine we are doing it. WHY there are provocators in there destroying stuff? WHY the protesting croud didn't make themselves clear from any of these breakings? It really makes me think that sometimes, they just let it pass.

Even though I liked what's happened for the next protestation. Everyone got their pots and frying pans, they sat down hitting them with spoons in front of the parliament. I wanna see THIS getting provocated....

We don't like the police force being too brutal whithout reason. I mean, seriously. Breaking into houses, beating the hell out of women and then leaving as if nothing happens, it's a real infridgement of Human Rights. Why none of the victims haven't gone to the european court yet to claim it's rights. I agree that Greece doesn't need more things to pay off. But, really. Let's stop dreaming of leaving in a democratic country and start finding ways to protect us from the "monopoly of violence" that a totalitarian Regime has. Because that's what Greece has, coated with the coloured wrap of "parliamental dimocracy"

Talking about democracy I'll talk about freedom of speech. This is something that in Greece is really fucked up. How is it possible while nobody restricts no-one on that matter, the truth gets so terribly distorted that we need external sources of news to crosscheck what happens next door? It's a real mystery.

We don't like the corrupted system between journalists and political system. But also nobody switch off their televisions, leaving these people outside of their band and see who's the smartest. I am not shouting for "everybody go to the road and protest" like a pseudo-Bolshevik (more on that later) but the simpliest thing of turning the fucking television off. If you don't like the picture of a switched off television, put on a movie. Play a videogame, watch porn.

On the pseudo-bolshevik thing. It's not about shouting, people. Is it enough to go to the road marking revolutions and getting beaten by the police?

The answer is no.

A real revolution must start from deep within. In our everyday life. How about starting NOT to hate eachother? Starting to be independent and activate our minds against manipulation that comes from the tv/internet/radio/newspapers? A system will never have enough hands to punish everyone if we start seeing pieces to ourselves into others and start a mutual change in our lifes, rejecting some old stereotypes in both political and cultural dimensions.

But still it's too much to ask. as for Greece. We totally deserve what's coming. Because while "we have seen it coming" nobody did anything. until the problem hits our doors. Fucking great.

p.s. I love you mom.

Σάββατο, 8 Μαΐου 2010

Another quick break of tandem

I'm writing this post from my old Netbook again. Why?

That's something i still have to explain to myself. I got another netbook. New, shiny that does more things and better. Why I'm using this small ass bedbook with crammy keyboard instead of my newest one with it's big clicky keyboard?

The answer maybe lies in the primidity of this thing. I mean, I am not the only one who gets excited on a view of a typwriter, am I?

but this gets too far so let's leave it as it is. besides, I can't start all my blogposts talking about stupid foldable computers eh?


Today's day is marked by two disasters. The one was the little retro games hunting I did. I was really in the mood of spending money for my colletion of old games. I know, geeky but if you think for a second, if you like stamps, won't you collect them? Let's face it. If you have something you like to do is usually a hobby (rarely a job) and everybody like old hobbyist items. I mean, all the photography freaks I know could kill a kitty for an old Leica SLR.

So I started by buying four titles for my old trusty Sega Saturn. I bought four of them (namely Hexen, Sega Rally, Virtua fighter, Magic Carpet) right from the mid-nineties. And... that's about it.

The store where I got the titles was full of other nice collectable items. Most of them were either overpriced (26 euros for a SNES cartridge? 10 euros for an original Gameboy title? oh COME ON PEOPLE!) or too heavy to carry back to Greece. I really wanted that NES console with some games, but too heavy and I don't want to break a console that survived for 25 or more years.

My other destination was the usual suspect; La Trocante. The disaster just striked me like a Neo-Geo cabinet fell on my head. The store was closed for an indefinite amount of time due to forced renovations. Looks like some hygene service of France didn't like the place (to be honest, it looked like a bad arranged warehouse) and they forced to renovations. That means that I can't reach these retro treasures from the inside. Not tomorrow, not in the next week. never.

That leaves me with the small stores that are scattered around Rennes. Instead of being a hunt like "duck hunt", it became a hunt like "monster hunter tri". OK bad pun.


Handling goodbyes isn't my 'forte'. I get very emotional but the cynicist that leaves inside me shouts like there's no tomorrow.

Looking at the cynic part of things, It shouldn't bother me so much. I mean it's totally natural to forget someone you don't see in your everyday life. Sure there will always be Facebook and contacts and other thingies. "if you want you can keep in touch" but how viable is this? If we get to know each 20 years back, what would be our post-partum communication?

Other than that, what are we going to discuss in these post-partum communications? I mean, we know nothing about eachother's life before we came for erasmus. It's unlikely if we strike a conversation that has to do with common experiences by any mean.

But don't be afraid. I don't cheapen the bond we have between us. But I question if they will enjoy a long lasticity or just obey to the human nature as we know it.


Today there was another disaster. A critical thing. I studied nothing for the forecoming exam this Tuesday. Instead of it, I had the aftermentioned retro run, a look-around for presents for friends and family and probably the most filling dinner I had in Rennes. So filling, I actually didn't finish it. It was a dinner at "L'amour de la Pomme de Terre". It' has lots of potatoes apparently.

But there's still two days to finish studying. Counting the fact that these lessons ARE my cup of tea (in contradiction with the previous ones) this shouldn't be a problem. I mean, a bit of procrastination never hurt anyone, right?

OK I think it's enough for today. I think I must sleep now. Too bad they have switched off the central heating (stupid Beaulieu)

OH before I go. I've met a Greek man that was a student here 40 years ago! YES INDEED! Beaulieu 33 is 40 years old. INSA too and Etoile, Fugeres and Villejean restaurants are equally old. yay?

So, off I go. See you around!