Monday 25 July 2016

news bulletin

One horrific terrorist attack after another in Europe.  Belgium, France, Germany,  unsuspecting civilians killed, hundreds injured and thousands traumatised.  Can Europe win the war on terror?  These 'lone wolves' make it extremely difficult to know who will strike where or how.   So much hatred.  What in the world is happening?

What is the 'turkish sultan' planning next? Last weeks military coup was a farce.  Was it all planned by President Erdogan himself to consolidate his power?  He can now replace military staff, teachers, government workers, judges, police, anyone who has opposed or criticised him at any time.  And he has done just that.  Something like 10,000 have been detained and 50,000 dismissed from their jobs.

When the coup started I was watching my favourite programme, CSI,  and the show was interupted by a news flash of the coup and then hours of endless live updates as the coup  progressed in Constantinople (Istanbul).  Fortunately they re-ran the CSI episode a couple of days later. 

 Erdogan appeared on TV asking 'the people' to come out into the streets to support him and that is what they did, disarming soldiers and stopping tanks.  He is a popular leader and on his way to becoming another middle eastern dictator.

8 high ranking military officers escaped to Greece in a helicopter and asked for asylum giving Greece a diplomatic headache.  If the officers are returned they will be court-martialed and will disappear one way or another.  If they are not handed back then Turkey will make all sorts of problems for Greece.  They could  retract their agreement with Europe by which they  have stopped mass migration of asylum seekers across the Aegean sea and flood the greek islands with many more thousands of  refugees.

Greek tourism will perhaps benefit from the unstable situation in Turkey, first all the bomb attacks which seem to have been targeting places frequented by tourists and now the coup.    I can imagine quite a few countries are advising against tourists visiting Turkey.  There have been five terrotist attacks since the beginning of 2016.

The plight of refugees is long gone from the front pages of our newspapers.   Fewer than 70 a day are arriving on the greek islands, not in the thousands of  last summer.  Many are now trying to enter  Europe through Italy.

Refugee camps on the Greek islands close to the Turkish coast are overcrowded.  Living conditions are poor and violence oftens breaks out amongst the migrants.  In Athens conditions are no better.   The biggest problem is where they go from here.  Many european countries are unwilling to take any more asylum seekers. After the recent terrorist attacks in Europe it will be even more difficult for these countries to accept refugees.  

82.6 million euros will be given to Greece to provide more shelter and health services for these people.  This may bring a short term improvement in their living standards.  What about the future of these 50,000 human beings?

  The greek economy limps along although the Greek PM assures us that bright days will soon be here and the economy will be booming, the unemployed at work.  Does this man live in some sort of parallel universe?  He has no idea of how greek people scrape out a living.   

Pension cuts are continuing.  They get nibbled at every month.   The end of July is the time for our first tax payment and also the first installent of the 'special' property tax. Do they have to do this in the middle of summer?  Any time is a bad time to pay taxes but not mid summer when you need a few spare euros for a cold beer or an iced coffee.

Presidential election in the United States.  Wonder which way that will go.  Hilary or Trump - between the the devil and the deep blue sea.   I see that film maker Michael Moore is saying  'Donald J. Trump is going to win in November. This wretched, ignorant, dangerous part-time clown and full time sociopath is going to be our next president. President Trump. Go ahead and say the words, ‘cause you’ll be saying them for the next four years: President Trump.”

Brexit.  The Brits have left the EU.  Good on them.  It is a sinking ship.  How can there be one rule for Europe when it is made up of so many different cultures, traditions, languages, religions and so many countries who at the moment are probably all giving an -exit a serious consideration.  Teresa May appears to know her job.  I am sure she had some very good reason for appointing Boris Johnson to the post of foreign secretary.  Britain's new secret weapon, the 'blonde bombshell'.

He will keep us entertained in the next few years reading about all his latest breaches of etiquette.

At least I can end this post with a short piece of good news.

Sir Patrick Leigh-Fermor  - British author and war hero.


Fermor wrote his first  book about his 'walk' across Europe as a young man, a masterpiece in prose. A number of later books were about his travels through Greece. He is described by the Wall Street Journal as 'the greatest travel writer of his generation'.

  He joined the Irish Guards at the outbreak of WW11 and after the fall of Crete commanded the resistance operations on the island.  In the 60s he and his wife Joan built a house in Kardamyli in Greece where they lived for many years.  On his death it was bequeathed to the Benaki Museum.  

The house will now be fully restored by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and used as a centre for writers, scholars and artists who need a retreat  and  also for cultural events for residents of Kardamyli.


  1. The world has gone insane. So much hatred so much anger and fear. The Greek people have taken in so many refugees at a time they are barely able to look after themselves. I fear for the future. Those in power just don't care about the common man. This will create a feeling of alienation and contempt. And then it will only take a small spark to start another all out war. Sad days ahead I fear

  2. Angela, and more violence since then. It really is 'terror-ism'.A time of fear for many europeans. Can only pray there is some way out of all this insanity.