The all-win scenario
I have been watching them closely for months, since I arrived to Greece. I keep expressing my views on them every once a while, so again, this is not the main story for today. Today, let me tell you a story about resurrection. Continue reading Greeks, refugees and a cooperative resurrection
“abandoned in northern Mesopotamia, without supplies other than what they could obtain by force or diplomacy, the 10,000 had to fight their way northwards through Corduen and Armenia, making ad hoc decisions about their leadership, tactics, provender and destiny, while the King’s army and hostile natives barred their way and attacked their flanks.”
Whatever good or bad we may say about the Greeks, their recent struggle to regain their own country, their independence, is much more impressive than the attempted coup of Cyrus the Younger, which started the original Anabasis. Since 2008, Greek society was struggling with the consequences of their own vices, their greedy oligarchy, their rotten political class and the international banksters, marauding left and right.
Until 2013 they developed vast network of solidarity economy, effectively becoming a parallel one, replacing both state and capitalist economy wherever they failed to fulfill needs of the people. With the raising hopes for Syriza-created government, much of this momentum was lost. The energy was redirected to support Syriza in its ice-breaking mission, which culminated last winter and recently failed. Continue reading The March of the 10 000 000
My freegan Sony Vaio started dying already in Hamburg. New power supply helped for a while, but then situaton deteriorated rapidly. The machine stopped “seeing” power supply and — after depleting the battery — went finally cold dead. Just after a very interesting discussion in Maastricht.
Yesterday I was at the Chaos Computer Club in Cologne. Friendly hackers hepled me to make initial diagnosis. It seems the the reason is a power control circuit in the laptop. If this is the case, it is beyond repair. Continue reading The death of the laptop
— Ask R.
— I do not know, go and ask R.
— R. will know
Every event, every conference has such a person. A bridgestone, so to speak. Sometimes they go mad during the event, or survive to crash silently the day after. Most of them develop a defense mechanism, turning grumpy, non-communicative or just vanish.
R. is a bit different. Slim, silent, self-controlled and always polite. You just _know_ you should not push him beyond the limit — you see it in his eyes and lips. If you try to keep him busy with trivial things, he just says, always polite “this is the very bad moment”. I never saw anybody trying to bother him after that.
And he is highly competent, at that. I saw him in the very epicenter of work, singlehandedly manning the printing point for all speakers, translators and volunteers, shooting series of print jobs from his laptop with Kurdish (i guess) linux. And he never missed a beat. After weeks of event preparation, after hours of site preparation, he not only gave a brilliant opening speech, but later he simply went to the interpreter’s booth and took the full shift there.
Consider this: guests and speakers use at least SIX languages. Many of them are monolingual. You have over ONE THOUSAND participants. And only 30 interpreters. These people are the core communication team for the whole conference. They need to translate real-time. They need to understand and convey the content from several, often quite hermetic, areas. They need to cope with speakers who are not professional, tense, speaking too quickly and positively unmanageable. And they do it! J., who is my flatmate here, says “one just try to do the job as well as possible”. It is not just a famous British understatement. Interpreters are generally modest people. They tend to be unseen — unless something goes seriously wrong (just like every support people ;)) — and they like to stay this way.
But here, they are true public heroes. Indeed, they get an ovation from the hall during every panel session. And this is really one of my best experiences here: how much the “general audience” appreciates the background work which made this event possible. There is nothing artificial in this. Many participants are students, precarial employees, well-battered veteran activists — they know how shitty can be a job in the backstage — paid or not. So this time the appreciation is given right and proper.
Many of participants (Yours Truly not excluded) are here on the very thin budget. Hotel, or even hostel, are beyond reach. Also, some of us simply do not speak European languages. Here comes family support. Dozens of Kurdish families here offered their hospitality to us, travelers. I stay with O., M. and their two sons. With two more participants, we are being fed, lodged, driven to and from the conference and generally taken care of. They postponed their family trip (Easter school holiday started actually on Friday) to help us and the conference. Moreover, their third son, already on his own, is hosting another three people, while also manning one of security posts at the conference venue.
This is immense effort of a massive force of volunteers, what makes it all happening. And it works. I am so happy to be here, to feel the power of solidarity at work. Believe me, my dear Readers, you should try it sometimes. Solidarity is good for you.
So many brilliant people
I am not easy to get intimidated. Gosh, even make me humble is sometimes a challenge (while I admit, it is healthy). What I see here, is the whole bunch of people, who are so much more brilliant than I, in many various levels. And it make me humble, really.
It is real honour to participate in this huge activity. I will leave Hamburg full of energy, hope and new ideas. Expect me.
It is the fourth weekend already, which we spend helping at the “Solidarity Kitchen” in the Migrant’s Center of Thessaloniki. Eight days spent on cooking, serving food, cleaning after the “customers” – the kitchen is open for everybody and the clientèle varies from more or less colourful migrants, through decent and face-keeping pensioners to the genuine street people – musicians, beggars, addicts and whoever is able to follow the smell of free food.
Today was a hard day. One of two cookers run out of gas, so the whole rhythm of cooking and serving (sometimes up to 150-200 servings a day) was spoiled. As we were waiting for the food to get ready, people were getting more and more nervous – the crowd was growing, instead of flowing peacefully.
Then there was a problem of diet change. Continue reading Sweeping floor in Thessaloniki