Greek PM Alexis Tsipras to call for snap elections

first_imgGreek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has called for snap general elections in Greece after 2 June. In a televised address on Sunday, he said that he would ask the president to immediately call national elections following the second round of local elections.The decision came following a crushing defeat by the Syriza party that was behind the conservative New Democracy by nine points in the EU elections. The difference between the two is unprecedented with ND gathering 33.31 per cent and, SYRIZA behind with 23.9 per cent, with only 25.71 per cent of the votes counted.“The election result is not worthy of our expectations”, said Mr Tsipras in his address to the press.“Today’s result gives the opposition the right to challenge the exit from the crisis and our plan to support the many,” he continued.READ MORE: Greek-Melburnian candidate in the European ElectionsEarlier, main opposition New Democracy Party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis also called for the resignation of Alexis Tsipras following the EU elections that showed the ND party leading in the European Parliament elections. “The prime minister must take responsibility and he must resign, and the country will head to national elections as soon as possible,” Mr Mitsotakis said. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Graffiti in Cyprus paints a rich and complex picture of this divided

first_imgAll too often, graffiti is categorised as either art or vandalism, when in fact it’s so much more than that. When read with special attention, graffiti can offer deep insights into societies experiencing rapid social and political change – especially those marred by recent conflict.The walls of a city give communities and individuals who may not have a formal platform space to share their feelings and opinions, and challenge dominant beliefs or ideals.As researchers interested in societies recovering from disaster or conflict, we recently took a trip to explore graffiti in Cyprus. Cyprus and its capital, Nicosia, have remained divided since 1974, following the Turkish invasion and ensuing conflict.The Turkish-Cypriot state in the north (recognised only by Turkey) is separated from the internationally-recognised Republic of Cyprus in the south by a UN-controlled buffer zone.Crossings between the two sides are only permitted through closely monitored checkpoints, leaving the Cypriot people physically, politically and culturally divided.In places like this, graffiti can both reflect and shape community attitudes at a grassroots level. By seriously examining graffiti as a cultural product of such societies, we can better understand these divisions and work towards peace-building.READ MORE: The implications of the errant Russian S-200 missile for the future of a divided CyprusDherynia Graffiti. Photo: PixabayThe power of graffitiGraffiti encompasses a wide variety of motivations and styles: anything from tagging to more artistic forms of expression like murals. Research has investigated how graffiti can be a channel for political participation and informal education. It’s a medium widely associated with urban subcultures formed around punk, hip-hop and skateboardingalong with many other social movements over the decades.Views about the value of graffiti can varyjust as widely. Authorities, artists and members of the public tend to take different stances, which can also depend on context, content and style. Graffiti has sometimes been linked to social disorder and decline, but it can also add cultural value or in some cases lead to “artwashing” and gentrification. Certainly, it has the power to influence the character of a place, and change urban landscapes over time.When searching for meaning in graffiti, we must look at its form and content. For example, pieces of plain writing may initially seem quite simple, but things like language choices can be telling.In Nicosia, Turkish and Greek messages were painted with meaning for each respective “inside” group, while English was used to address a wider, international audience. So language choice is indirectly related to the ethno-nationalist conflict, and acts as an informal commentary on people’s experiences of the city.Inevitably, we saw many references to division and conflict in the graffiti of Nicosia. But we also saw pieces related to local gang tags, local politics, anti-sexism and the patriarchy, racism, migrant worker rights, refugees, consumerism, veganism and LGBTIQ+ inclusion – among other topics.This suggests local people are seeing beyond the past conflict in their daily lives. But it also suggests existing formal platforms for these issues to be addressed may not be effective or leave some feeling disillusioned. So people turn to city walls.Making a statementLarger scale murals across Cyprus are beautifully and skilfully painted – and equally interesting. In war-torn, damaged urban landscapes, they can be seen as an attempt to make the spaces more aesthetically appealing or to make a larger statement. These are often commissioned, and are even incorporated into official peacebuilding initiatives, art festivals and tourism strategies.A mural in the southern city of Limassol, depicting a Nepali woman and her child, was painted shortly after the 2015 earthquake; unrelated to the Cypriot conflict itself, it affirms that Cypriot artists are outward-looking and aware of turmoil beyond their own borders (not always common in conflict zones).Symbols are commonly used in street art across the world to deliver powerful political statements instantly. Internationally recognised symbols make a visual connection to transnational communities, ideologies and movements.In Nicosia, common symbols included the Communist hammer and sickle, the Anarchist symbol, the peace sign, doves, gender signs and even swastikas. These symbols have broad, universal meanings attached to them so that no matter where the audience is from (Cyprus receives more than 3m tourists per year), the message is understood.READ MORE: Events seeking justice for Cyprus being held around AustraliaUnity in Peace, street artLocation mattersWhere graffiti is painted also tells a significant story: we saw that location influenced both the amount and the content of graffiti. The old city of Nicosia has lots of buffer zone walls and barriers, and a border crossing on the main shopping thoroughfare.The areas closest to crossings contained mostly English language messages, explicitly about the conflict. Further away from the buffer zone, we observed less graffiti, and the messages become more varied.We can speculate, then, that the division might have a greater influence on daily life, the closer people are to the dividing wall. This highly contextual insight has the potential to enhance our understanding of the unique experiences of local people in conflict-affected zones.READ MORE: French graffiti artist dies while spraying Athens trainOur early investigations of graffiti have already told us much about life in conflict-affected Cyprus. Clearly, the importance of graffiti should not be overlooked: it can open a window into the lives and minds of many people, who might otherwise lack a voice.This work is being presented at the Advancing Peace Geographies conference at Coventry University on July 15, 2019 and appeared in the Conversation. Billy Tusker Haworth and Catherine Arthur are lecturers at the University of Manchester, and Eric Lepp is a Senior Tutor at the same university.  Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more

Evidence of communal sophistication at Neolithic site of Katroulou Magoula Central Greece

first_imgA Middle Neolithic building was found at the top of the Koutroulou Magoula Neolithic settlement in Central Greece during this year’s excavation season, archaeologists said on Friday.The building’s stone walls measure a total of 9.5 m in length and nearly 8.5 m in width. It is believed to be one of the largest of this period to be found in Greece.Supported by a massive external buttress, its function remains unclear.Preliminary investigation shows that it was used for a long period of time over which it had undergone renovations and modifications, whereas at certain periods it also seems to have been shared with domestic animals. The settlement was surrounded by perimeter ditches, large seemingly communal works and multiple social, symbolic and practical functions. The natural bedrock had been cut to form steps in order to facilitate digging and enable its continuous use for collecting water and clay.READ MORE: Athens initiative ‘The Stones Speak” is getting people to re-engage with Greece’s rich ancient cultural heritageA complex of heavily burnt, closed pottery kilms were found near the edge of the settlement.One of the kilns preserves its plastered floor, parts of its plastered walls and dome as well as other architectural features, and it was built on a coarsely plastered platform. Many clay figurines and house models were also found at the site – more than 400 to date.“This is an extremely important find, and an indication of the technological sophistication of the Neolithic inhabitants of the site,” noted Dr Nina Kyparissi-Apostolika, honorary ephor at the Ephorate of Palaeoanthropology and Speleology, and co-director of the excavation with professor Yannis Hamilakis of Brown University.READ MORE: Dr Roslynne Bell’s lecture on ‘Alexander in Art: The Legend and his Legacy’“Given the size of the settlement, the time and effort invested in the creation and maintenance of this system of ditches would have phenomenal. These ditches would have been a central feature in the material and social life of the community,” noted professor Hamilakis.The excavation is carried out under the auspices of the British School at Athens, and in the 2019 field season included students and archaeologists from Greece, the US, the UK, the Netherlands, and Taiwan. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img read more