Speak vs Roar

The news headlines are changing in an unprecedented way in our “Internet” times and surrounding the one and only constant  denominator, the financial crisis.  The facts can be translated by  the politicians, journalists, bloggers and everyone who has a voice through the social media according to their own political views and their own view about life in general.

One of the latest news, in Greece, was the  deadly “magali”, a self-made coal heater which some Greek  students used to heat their sleeping room.  Some people from the above groups were judgmental against the students describing them as fool and ignorant using this kind of heater. The reaction of the majority was an outcry against this criticism.

It is obvious, there are two mainstream views in the countries which have been affected badly by the economic crisis, especially Greece. The one view is  : Let’s carry on with the existing western political  system, the liberal capitalism, which wasn’t really fully developed in Greece but has affected the country greatly and for the worse. The other view is : There is no other view really! Except of supporting theoretically the underprivileged class without a sound theses of “how to do it”. How to lead the country out of the crisis.  It’s a view based mainly on moral issues. And which, I believe, is enough in the existing situation to stand by itself.

The Liberal Capitalism flourished in the previous decades and cultivated the laissez fair system of the banks, the Lehman brothers, the Maddox phenomenon… Generally, it supported the tribalism  among the people who are better educated, better connected and more canning than the others. The same people, of course, in nowadays are not suffering the disastrous consequences of this system. They managed once again to be on top of the tsunami wave and they are  preaching now through the mass media how good thing is to be liberal- “filele” according to  Greeks( still, we kept our sense of humour).

At the same time, they are giving examples of how well off are the countries which have adopted this system and how quickly recovered from the crisis. Examples, which most of the time are out of context- the history, the socioeconomic background of those countries. They speak arrogantly and advertise their motto “we want to be the solution and not part of the problem”.

I’m wondering if they really know what is the problem? What is the reality? Do they know that there are people who didn’t have their own privilege background, their “comme il faut” mediocre education, their canniness, their connections … even their average IQ?

Do they understand that the world is moving to a different era than that of harshness and arrogance? Do they understand that they need to cultivate  their emotional IQ ? Did they understand why Obama was elected once again, despite the acute financial crisis?  Did they understand why the Americans didn’t elect Romney and rejected his legendary harsh statement ” let’s make America to roar again”?

People want to speak  and communicate in a human way among each other at the most. It seems to me that only this nerdy boy Mark Zuckerberg got the essence of the modern world. People want to communicate and share thoughts in a human way not to be patronised by the “average” cliques who want to climb the success lader no matter what is the impact on the rest.

The following youtube (aki) is totally irrelevant with the above but it’s my latest trend.


Tribe & leadership :Muruwah

Πάντα με ιντρίγκαρε η ιδέα της φυλής(tribe) και η αρχηγία αυτής. Ειδικά στο χώρο αυτό που βρίσκομαι(Αραβία), η έννοια αυτή είναι πολύ ζωντανή και αληθινή και καθόλου κεκαλυμένη κάτω από διαφορετικές ονομασίες. Όσο γυρίζω τον κόσμο και βλέπω και διαβάζω για την παγκοσμιοποίηση που τρέχει με πολύ γρήγορο ρυθμό, αντιλαμβάνομαι ότι η ιδέα ‘φυλή’ (κάθε είδους φυλή) θα γίνεται όλο και πιο έντονη. Μέσα σ’ ένα αχανή πλανήτη χωρίς σύνορα, οι άνθρωποι νοιώθουν όλο και πιο πολύ την ανάγκη να συνδέονται σε μικρές ομάδες ώστε να μοιράζονται ίδιες ιδέες, ίδιο τρόπο επικοινωνίας και ένα αρχηγό να τους οδηγεί. Η κινητήριος δύναμη αυτής της ανάγκης ίσως να είναι το αίσθημα της ασφάλειας που δημιουργεί το μοίρασμα και η καθοδήγηση.

Το βιβλίο του Edward Henderson με τίτλο “This strange eventful History ” -γύρω από την ιστορία της περιοχής της Αραβικής Χερσονήσου και συγκεκριμένα των Εμιράτων – περιγράφει με πολύ γλαφυρό τρόπο την δομή των διαφόρων φυλών της Αραβίας και εξηγεί τις έννοιες “φυλή και αρχηγία” και των απαιτήσεων της τελευταίας(οι οποίες στα Αραβικά περιγράφονται με μία μονο λέξη “Μuruwah”).

Kαι επειδή νομίζω ότι είναι ένα θέμα πολύ επίκαιρο αυτή την στιγμή όσον αφορά την πολιτική σκηνή όχι μόνο της Ελλάδας αλλά και της Ευρώπης, παραθέτω παρακάτω τα λόγια του Henderson:

“Υπάρχουν πολλές διαφορετικές φυλές στην Αραβία, άλλες είναι εντελώς καθιστικές και άλλες νομαδικές.΄Ολες έχουν αναπτυχθεί πάνω στο ίδιο πρότυπο. Οι λεπτομέρειες αλλάζουν αλλά το πρότυπο παραμένει. Μια φυλή, παραδείγματος χάρη εντάσσεται σε άλλες φυλές που έχουν δυνατή αρχηγία. ΄Αλλη μπορεί να διαιρεθεί σε μικρές περιφέρειες λόγω έλλειψης δυνατών προσωπικοτήτων. Δεν χάνουν όμως την ταυτότητά τους όταν γίνονται τέτοιες αλλαγές τουλάχιστον για μερικά χρόνια. Οι βεδουίνοι(κάτι πολύ παράδοξο) είναι ξεχωριστοί για το αίσθημα της ελευθερίας και της ανεξαρτησίας που τους διακατέχει. Κανείς δεν τους δίνει διαταγές, αλλά η φυλή στηρίζεται στην συνεκτικότητά τους, γιατί χωρίς αυτή θα χαθούν. Οι φύλαρχοι εξαρτώνται ο ένας από τον άλλον σε αυτόν τον ασταμάτητο αγώνα με το άγριο περιβάλλον και την ανάγκη του να προστατευθούν από τους εχθρούς. Η φυλή θα υπέκυπτε και στους δύο αυτούς κινδύνους εάν το πνεύμα του φύλαρχου δεν του υπενθύμιζε ότι το καλό της φυλής τους έρχεται πρώτο ακόμα και από αυτό το άμεσο δικό του συμφέρον. Πρέπει να θυσιάσει τον εαυτό του για το καλό της φυλής του. Εδώ όχι μόνο η συγγένεια αλλά και το πνεύμα της ανιδιοτέλειας,ανταγωνιστικότητας,ετοιμότητας για θυσία, η οποία ονομάζεται muruwah, είναι το κλειδί. Είναι μια δύσκολη λέξη για να μεταφραστεί καθώς περικλείει έννοιες όπως τιμή, ευγένεια πνεύματος ή ακόμα καλύτερα ιπποτισμός με την έννοια της μεγαλοψυχίας; ζητά τα πιο υψηλά ιδεώδη αλλά την ίδια στιγμή είναι και η πιο υποτυπώδης απαίτηση.Αυτό το ιδανικό πνεύμα μπορεί να βρεθεί κάτω από την έννοια της καλής αρχηγίας, όταν μπορεί αυτή να διαποτίσει όλη την φυλή και όχι απλά να είναι το χαρακτηριστικό ενός καλού φύλαρχου, καθώς μπορεί να είναι μια πολύ φτωχά καθοδηγούμενη φυλή.
Τhere are many different types of tribe in Arabia. They vary from the totally sedentary to the totally nomadic. They have all developed on the same kind of pattern. Details change, the pattern remains. One tribe may, for example, join up with others under strong leadership. Another tribe may be dividing into its constituent parts because of the absense of a strong personality. They do not lose their identity when these changes are made, or at least not for very many years. The bedouin (which is a paradox) is noted for his feeling of total freedom and independence. No one gives him orders, yet the tribe depends on cohesiveness without which they must perish. The tribesmen are dependent on one another in their ceaseless struggle with the harsh environment and their need for defence against any enemies. The tribe would succumb to both these dangers were it not for the spirit of the tribesman which constantly reminds him that the good of the whole tribe comes before his own immediate interest. He must sacrifice himself at any moment for the sake of this neighbours in the tribe. Here not only kinship but the spirit of selflessness, chivalry, readiness to self-sacrifice, which is called muruwah, is the key. This is difficult word to translate as it has all the meanings attached to the idea of honour, nobility of spirit or, perhaps best of chivalry; it demands the highest ideals and yet at the same time it is the minimum requirement. This ideal spirit can be found under very good leadership, when it may pervade the tribe and not simply be the attribute of the best tribesmen only, as it might be in a very poorly led tribe.

UPDATE : Τώρα που το σκέφτομαι καλύτερα, αναρωτιέμαι μήπως από αυτή τη λέξη “Μuruwah” βγαίνει και το δικός μας “Μουρόχαβλος” !

Competition among the world’s best

I found some interesting ideas in Chrystia Freeland’s article about globalization and plutocracy. The following is an extract from the article.

“The big challenge of this new decade will be coping with the emergence of a global plutocracy -the hyper-educated, internationally minded  meritocrats who have been the chief beneficiaries of globalisation and the technological revolution……..

The rise of the plutocracy is an unexpected and still largely unnoticed consequency of the powerful political and economic changes shaping this century. These revolutions-the collapse of communism, the spread of of economic globalisation and the impact of  of the internet and mass computing- were, after all, about breaking barriers. The Berlin Wall fell;trade restrictions were eased; technology made information and communication free.Older, established institutions-ranging from the music business to traditional media and Detroit carmakers found themselves outmanoeuvred and out-priced by entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, Mumbai and Shanghai…..,,,,,,,

We live in an age of unprecedented opportunity for the smartest, most persistent and most cunning among us and incredibly today’s rags-to-riches stories are emerging not just from Harvard dorm rooms, but also from the software centres of Bangalore and the oil fields of Siberia. …………………

Both globalisation and technology have had a punishing impact on those without the intellect, luck or chutzpah to  profit from them……..

We live in an age of uprecedented openness -of ideas, of people, of trade . But for the middle class, these opportunities have been largely theoretical: in America social mobility has actually declined…………….”

p.s Chrystia  Freeland  is US’ managing editor of FT . You can find the full article  in the FT (right column) but it is not free!

p.s. Η πάλη των τάξεων είναι συσίφια  υπόθεση

p.s Οι φωτογραφίες είναι άσχετες και είναι από το  Abu Dhabi Art Fair 2009.

photos : Abu Dhabi Art Fair 2009

Leadership and democracy

sailing boat

antique boat1

Καθώς πλησιάζουν οι Ελληνικές  εκλογές  και διαβάζω το βιβλίο ‘ Why Socrates died‘ by Robin Waterfield by  faber and faber,  παραθέτω μερικά αποσπάσματα έτσι για τροφή στη σκέψη.0903-Bunker

“Τhe incompatibility between the Athenian democracy and government is brilliantly imagined by Plato, in an extended ship-of state metaphor

‘Imagine the following situation on a fleet of ships, or on a single ship. The owner has the edge over everyone else on board by virtue of his size and strength, but he’s rather deaf and short-sighted, and his knowledge of naval matters is just as limited. The sailors wrangle with one another because each of them thinks that the ought to be the captain, despite the fact that he’s never learnt how. They’re for ever crowding closely around the owner, pleading with him and stopping at nothing to get him to entrust the helm to them. They think highly of anyone who contributes towards their gaining power of showing skill at winning over or subduing the owner, and describe him as an accomplished seaman, a true captain, a naval expert; but they crititicize anyone different as useless. They completely fail to understand that any genuine sea captain has to study  the yearly cylce, the seasons, the heavens, the stars and winds, and everything relevant to the job, if he’s to be properly equipped to hold a position of authority in a ship. In fact, they think it’s impossible to study and acquire expertise at how to steer a ship or be a good captain. When this is what happens on board ships, don’t you think that the crew of such ships would regard any true captain as nothing but a windbag with his head in the clouds, of no use to them at all?’

“Α Socratic leader : his first purpose would be the persuasion, by rational argument, of as many of the citizens in his care who had ears to hear, that the focus of their lives should be on improving their souls, and his second purpose would be the establishment of the correct legislative apparatus for achieving his  goal.

The only qualification on his call for true statesmen was his belief that perfect wisdom is unavailable for any human being, in any sphere of activity”

P.S   Η Δημοκρατία είναι δύσκολη, ακατάστατη, ανομοιογενής  και αντιφατική αλλά την ίδια στιγμή δημιουργεί ελπίδα και απελευθερώνει το ανθρώπινο πνεύμα  για να γράψει να  μιλήσει και να ψηφίσει, κάτι που θα κάνουν σχεδόν ολοι οι Ελληνες αύριο όσο και απογοητευμένοι αποθαρρυμένοι νάναι από την παρούσα κατάσταση κάπου η ελπίδα είναι κρυμμένη μέσα τους

What the foreign media say about the Greek election

Greece’s electorate looks hard for inspiration

Despite its corrupt past and a lack of credible policies, opposition party Pasok will probably win Greece’s snap election

by Matina Stevis Guardian 8/09/09

  • Like a lover who has been indifferent and unfaithful for far too long, but asks for a final opportunity to make things right, Greece’s prime minister of five and a half years, Kostas Karamanlis, has called for early elections, again. Karamanlis has been unable to complete a full, four-year term in office; he was elected in 2004, only to cut his own term short in 2007. He won then, to yet again ask for a third term two years before the end of his second one.

A mere 26 days away from this new electoral battle (set for 4 October), his promises remain the same as in 2004: fight against corruption; smaller, cheaper and less sclerotic government; tidy-up Greece’s notoriously messy public finances spearheaded by a war on tax evasion; a better educational system.

Karamanlis’s decision to call for early elections has caused a major rift within his own party, Nea Dimokratia, for the simple reason that they are most likely to lose. Some claim that he has made a behind the scenes agreement with another prominent member of the party – many site ambitious Foreign Secretary, Dora Bakoyanni – to step down upon defeat and hand over the leadership. Whatever the case, the latest polls, published in the Sunday papers, show a 5.7-6.7% lead for the Pasok opposition.

This comes as no surprise. Karamanlis’ government has been overwhelmed by scandals involving even his closest associates. He was in charge when two of the most catastrophic fires in modern Greek history ate away at the country’s remaining forests (in 2007 and again a few weeks ago). It was on his government’s watch that the murder of a teenage boy by a police officer culminated in dark days of urban unrest and destruction in the capital of Athens last December. He was at the wheel while the public debt skyrocketed even before the financial crisis hit, putting the country under European Commission probation for excessive debt for the second time during his premiership.

Karamanlis is blaming his decision to call for early elections on the opposition. He argued, in a nationally broadcast address last week, that opposition party Pasok’s vow to cause early elections in March was going to drag the country into a painful and prolonged pre-election period of political tension, which would only harm the economy.

On Sunday, at a major press conference in Thessaloniki, he assured his party’s electoral base that he is feeling combative as ever. He then went on to announce that, if reelected, he plans a two year freeze on pay and pension increases, among other measures, in an attempt to bring the public deficit under control and slow down public borrowing. He apologised for past mistakes and swore this time would be different; he would try his hardest ever, just as unfaithful lovers do.

Yet the other suitor vying for the Greek vote is no knight in shining armour. Opposition leader George Papandreou has led Pasok to several electoral defeats. He is well-liked at home and abroad, but regarded as lacking that certain je ne sais quoi. Papandreou’s American upbringing and his frequent linguistic slips, his obsession with a rigid work-out regime, his apparent lack of decisiveness and aversion to making specific policy proposals are just a few of what most regard as his faults.

He has been demanding early elections for a few months and despite the fact that his party is well ahead at the polls, it is yet to prove that it has a consistent plan to steer the country away from the economic trouble that it’s in. Moreover, Pasok’s governmental record is also riddled with corruption scandals, a thorn in the hearts of Greeks who are asked to pay dearly for an ailing economy while they have been watching their governors get richer for decades.

As Karamanlis struggles to rid his party’s candidate list from the names of those involved in scandals in an attempt to prove he is a reformed man, Papandreou strives for the words and specifics that will convince 39-41.5% (required to form government, varying depending on the performance of smaller parties) of Greeks that he knows what he’s talking about. Pasok is likely to have a hard time, under existing electoral law, to gather enough seats to form a government on its own. However, it is aided in its endeavour by an ailing left and a shaky opponent…….

P.S Για την Rits μιας και ξεκίνησε κουβέντα για τις εκλογές   από το προηγούμενο ποστ