Friday, February 6, 2009

Law is an Ass - a sidenote, scroll past this entry to read about ATHENS

Stockholm stillness brought me to a drinking pool of more analysis and better grammar - it brought me wide eyed and wet (from snow) to local libraries and cafes. Amongst other things, in my lap jumped David Runciman's book review, Bouceability in the London Review of Books.

Runciman brings Classical Athens back to relevance. He links current ideas about mass collaboration and knowledge aggregation as manifested in the battle against copyright laws and the creation of Wikipedia for example, with the life in classical Athens. Classical Athens had a form of direct democracy as opposed to representative democracy, and apparantly it was successful.

On my mind is how our legal system can act against our interests. The Rule of Law is an ideal that
"rests upon a strict separation of public power where formal equality reigns from private power generated by disparities in wealth being utilised in the market where hierarches may proliferate freely" (Hugh Collins, Roberto Unger and the Critical Legal Studies Movement).

Legal rules are embedded in context - understanding the context is the way to interpret the rule. The example offered by HLA Hart is a law prohibiting a person taking a vehicle into the park. There are a myriad of factual circumstances that could fall within the scope of this rule : such as - taking a baby in a pram into the park,
-driving a truck over the grass,
-installing a truck as a monument (Hugh Collins, Lon Fuller).

So we see the role of judicial discretion in applying the rule to the facts.
It is Ronald Dworkin who argues that the judiciary refer to the purpose of the law. I suppose one predominant purpose of law is to protect private property. But it is also to promote the common good via dissemination of the benefits of technology and culture.

In the fascinating trial against The Pirate Bay, (Spectrial) we see the powerful confluence of the profit-motivated cultural industry and the legal system. (In a perverse twist one main investigating officer took leave of absence to work for Warner Brothers, a member of MPAA).

and on to Athens

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Remembering Exarchia...notes from afar

It is so sad and frustrating that the media continue to present the current political movement as a confrontation between anarchists (or extremists) and the police.
What is happening in Athens is a continuation of the massive public unrest with the current Karamanlis government, and its unfair policies. Out on the streets now are social democrats, students, socialists, and workers.
We saw the general strike, lasting for weeks, resulted in a resounding deafness by the parliament to the needs of the majority of people. When a prolonged general strike does not affect the Parliament votes, of course now we have the culmination of the public frustration and the demonstrations roll on. The government should call for a re-election Now.
Light on Athens
Of course it is not only the Karamanlis government but the ignorance and biligerence of the police.
The police shooting of a 15 year old boy did not run by without a resounding response of shock and action has stirred and pushed all of you to march in anger at the continued police brutality in Greece! I also liked George Monbiot's description of this phenomenon.

Friday, June 6, 2008


my computer doesn't work. so blogging has not been easy, and i forgot about it.
....i'm also abandoning Athens for a few months, but until we meet again..

Saturday, May 17, 2008

naxos in my heart

i'm writing in the middle of a midnight cornflake snack, disorientated back here in smelly Athens after a fantastic five night break on Naxos, where i strolled on long deserted beaches, ate delicous food and sat chatting to the locals until 2 am in Naxos world music cafe. Its wonderful to be so close to the sea, with so few cars around. There is an odd sense of desertion and evacuation there too, a little sad that the islands were emptied of there populations in the 60's, when people went to Athens for work. The few young adults that remain for the year seem a little lonely and bored. I'm all for decentralizing public authorities and the like, to re-populate the islands.

Long walks on the beach, good food, good boyfriend was even offered a few jobs in an excessive display of hospitality, and a few raki's with honey, the latter he accepted willingly of course.

If you are going to Naxos then I would love to suggest some hotels, restaurants, bars etc. Particularly as I was so disappointed by the lonely planet Greece guide and the rough guide to Greece. In the end we just have to write it ourselves don't we?

We stayed in the Apollon hotel---and i had a few problems with it although it wasn't bad at all. the hotel was empty, given its low season, and we stayed a full five nights, so a discount would have been fair, but we were unfortunately charged the full 50 euros a night, which is high for this season. The toilet didn't have ventilation, which is unbelievable to me.
Glaros hotel on Saint George's beach would have been better, we went to see it, and it was prettier with a nice owner and better location, and windows in the toilet. Cheaper option - Mike's studios has been recommended to me but we didn't go take a look. In August if you stay on Saint George's beach the raucous partying might play on your nerves. But in May the beach was quiet.

Restaurants were so plentiful it was hard to choose, but by far the best was The Good Heart (the sign is written in English too) on the waterfront Paralia. We ate roasts, roast lamb, pork and chicken, although they do a lot else. The family who ran it were so kind, and at about 11.00 they all sit down to a huge meal at the restaurant.

For souvlaki and fast food Kozi was really great, so much better value for money than in our neighbourhood Athens joints. We had the best pizza in Greece at Suzanna pizzeria.

Bars --- don't miss Elia (the olive tree) and Naxos Cafe both in the old town, the owners have rebelled against trendy radio hits, and the atmosphere is really intimate and nice.

There was one sore point though - the enormous mobile phone mast on OTE's building in the centre of town, with a hotel at the same level as the mast, bedroom windows only a few meters from it. Apart from an eyesore, the health effects of such masts are questionable. It is really irresponsible of Naxos to allow this in such a busy area. While i'm on the subject i must say that the masts are noticeably larger and more frequent in Greece than Sweden.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Night of the living mosquito

people don't talk enough about mosquitos on the mediterranean - maybe they just have more to talk about....  Every night one or two mozzies come and suck my blood and buzz in my ear.  its not as romantic as it sounds.
My boyfriend has become a savage mosquito hunter, and there are blood stains on our head board and the wall.  as for me i act as the look-out and find them hiding camouflaged on the wallpaper.  

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Orthodox Easter

This week is Orthodox Easter, and until this evening it looked like a week where everyone uses their holiday time to hit the shops...scarcely one woman could be seen without a shopping bag or three draped off her arm...stores were open all day, siestas were forgotten....

But then this evening my cynicism was given a shake, when we went on a walk and were sort of called up a hill by the chanting from a beautiful white Orthodox Church.
The chanting was very beautiful and loud, and there were lots of people standing outside the Church like us...just listening , or waiting for the procession, which would come out carrying the effigy of Christ.
we missed the procession as our hunger pains and gurgling stomachs called us back down the hill into baser activities.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

no where to go...

The NGO responsible for the rights of trafficked women found in Athens told me they don't have a safe-house for victims in Athens. What would it take to find a secure home for the victims?

Meanwhile the girls are granted police protection only if they testify against the traffickers, they must bring forth evidence against the criminals involved, and most of the girls actually know very little about the criminal organisation.
Further there are very few victims identified by police.
The NGO's main activity seems to be "awareness campaigns"and maintaining a network between countries of origin and destination countries.
We can consider further effective action with all of this EU money : a comfortable secure "safe house" for a start, extensive medical care and therapy.
How about changing the law on prostitution to be more in line with Swedish law prosecuting those who purchase sex? Going to a prostitute should be considered one of the most violent forms of physical abuse and a crime.
However the statistics show that prostitution is accepted in Greece, with about 1 million males visiting prostitutes, that is half of the male sexually active population.

Monday, April 14, 2008

An Afghan Welcome

On arriving in Greece from Italy, outside the docked boat, there were dozens of young men origin unknown, very poor and dishevelled. and not speaking Greek.  They sat on the ground in a line.  They were literally the first people I saw in Greece, and now only a few months later, their welfare is a top priority for the UNHCR and European Commission.  

They seemed to be waiting, for what I couldn't tell. But now it all comes together, they must have been from Afghanistan, and perhaps waiting to go to Italy.  This article explains the dire situation for Afghan migrants, many of them children, in Patras... they stay there with the bare minimum,  one last stop after a long, harrowing journey.  They had a make-shift camp, but the police tore it down to leave them without shelter.  They are under threat from police abuse and traffickers.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

turn on the light and stop!

Roads here in Athens are lethal, and just when it seems safe to cross the road, a red sports car or angry yellow taxi cab hurtles at you, and you can almost detect the glint in the driver's eye, shining with some sadistic pleasure at seeing you jog in high heels to the other side of the road.

that sums up my afternoon.  traffic lights are very difficult to find, by the time a pedestrian makes the detour to the nearest traffic light they are pondering grand philosophical questions...

there is one usefully placed traffic light in my neighbourhood, however the vegetation has grown over the light, so the cars don't notice it anyway,, which makes the whole set-up very dangerous.