Parliament, MPs, the President of Greece: The Trinity of Shame Foreign Headlines Exalt


(William Hogarth’s The Orgy)

Members of Parliament in Greece are continuing the farce they call austerity measures, aka cutbacks. At a time when Greeks are called upon to pay property tax for the third time (they already pay two on a bi-monthly basis) with a further three announced this year, when civil servant income has been lowered (often rightly so in some cases) and pensioners who receive €550 a month are subjected to a further decrease in a pension that will not enable them to pay rent, medication or fuel for central heating this winter, MPs seem to live in a world of their own.

Backed by fervent support from the media nationally and internationally which has given rise to the image of the Greek who refuses to fess up to tax evasion all these years and pay the price, Parliament has passed the new budget for 2012 which hardly touches MPs’ salaries. Although slight pay cuts – which were proportionately insignificant in relation to the cuts average citizens suffered – were effected in 2011, that is where things stayed for 2012. In fact, the precise state of affairs is shocking. While the world lauds the government for its efforts to restitute Greece’s image by cutting salaries, wages, pensions, subsidies and perks in a country that never had a welfare system that worked, Greeks are protesting because they know better.

Last year’s MP expense budget covered:

a) compensation: Yes, compensation as they call it, because what they are doing is a favor to all  Greeks, that is why they need to be compensated rather than receive a salary like those lucky enough to hold Συνέχεια

Ten Things You Must Do in Santorini


Some experiences you can live only here. Or, to put it in another way, some experiences which, if you do not live, you will have missed part of this miracle called Santorini.

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Skiathos: Shady, in a good way


 The smallest of the Sporades islands offers relaxation along with inspiration

By Haris Argyropoulos

Skiathos, the westernmost and smallest of the Sporades island group, off the coast of the Pilio peninsula in central Greece, is best known for its contribution to modern Greek letters, notably by Alexandros Papadiamantis — the austere and influential 19th-century writer in whose novels it figured prominently. Papadiamantis provided lyrical and lucid portraits of the island’s harsh country life, marked by an inclination toward religious tradition but also deep psychological insight.

His descriptions of rural life no doubt helped put this pine-clad island of 48 square kilometers on the tourist map decades later, attracting large numbers of Greek and foreign visitors, who now conjure a much happier picture. Its trendy image has largely worn off in recent decades — possibly receiving a boost since the filming there of scenes for “Mamma Mia!” a few years ago. But Skiathos is sure not to lose its diehard fans, who belong to all age groups, attracted by the pine forest that touches the water, the golden sandy beaches as well as the cosmopolitan and youthful atmosphere that are all strongly reminiscent of the Saronic island of Spetses.

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Preveza: Drop-dead gorgeous


A site of significant naval battles, heroic acts and natural beauty that is full of surprises

By Haris Argyropoulos

The small, picturesque town of Preveza, 370 kilometers from Athens at the entrance to the Amvrakikos Gulf in western Greece, is so unassuming these days that visitors are surprised to learn that it hosted six foreign consulates at the beginning of the 20th century, while under Ottoman rule.

This curious fact was a reflection of the importance of its position, militarily and commercially, also indicated by the naval Battle of Actium across the strait, in 31 BC — when Octavian scored a decisive victory against Antony and Cleopatra — and the Battle of Preveza in 1538, in which the Ottoman admiral Hayreddin Barbarossa defeated a joint Spanish-Venetian fleet, claiming their supremacy in the Mediterranean for over 30 years.

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Paros: An island for all tastes


 Cycladic isle’s timeless appeal to every category of traveler is anything but accidental

By Haris Argyropoulos

A typical Cycladic island, Paros has many die-hard fans of all kinds, attracted chiefly by its friendly ambience and hospitable terrain. It can in fact be called “everyone’s island” — a location for the rich and the backpackers, the conservationists and the ravers, the culturally aware and the surfers, Greeks and foreigners — all can be found here in the summer.

 

Paros is “the real thing” in the sense of the typical Greek island stereotype: From traditional island life and farming communities to Internet cafes, Paros has it all — beautiful beaches of varying shapes and sizes, hotels of every category, quaint villages, great restaurants and plenty of souvlaki outlets, great nightlife as well as quiet spots off the beaten track.

 

Historically, Paros was best known for its translucent white marble, known as Parian, used in

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