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Saturday, 16 March 2013

The Egg Volk - ο Εφιάλτης θα φανεί στο τέλος

Blokko in Kokkinnia in Athens on 17 August 1944

From a recent interview with Yanis Varoufakis Γιάνης Βαρουφάκης
What do you know about the rise of right-wing Neo-Nazi groups (in Greece). What impact are they having? What can you tell us about the Golden Dawn Party, Χρυσή Αυγή?
The Golden Dawn Party is not an extreme right wing party. It is not even a neo-Nazi party. It is a fully-fledged Nazi gang. And here lies the great paradox: Greece, along with Yugoslavia, fought the most dogged, bloody, successful resistance against the Nazis during the Second World War, giving the Nazis a serious run for their money, so to speak. The bulk of the population rose up against them with great acts of valour that inspired the Allies at a time when Nazism was almost unopposed in Europe. Yet, there were collaborators – as there always are*. Hooded men that went around the towns and the villages with the SS and the Wehrmacht, pointing out the resistance fighters.
Προδότης της χώρας του
The Golden Dawn gang is their direct descendant. You see, after the Nazis retreated from Greece, quite tragically, their collaborators managed to infiltrate the armed forces (following the Civil War in which the Establishment’s war against the Left, thus giving a chance to the Nazi collaborators to remain ‘useful’ to the state); so much so that in 1967 there was a coup d’etat that put Greece under a neo-fascist dictatorship for seven years. Since the end of that sorry episode, the remnants of that regime have been sidelined by a prospering democracy. However, after the economic and social implosion of the past three years, the worst elements of that rump (who had never really gone away; instead, they were biding their time, reciting Mein Kampf) re-appeared using purposely the tactics of the 1920s German Nazi party and, in particular, of Goebbels. By this I mean that they adopted a narrative on the crisis that is split in two parts: The first part is an utterly sensible critique of crony financialised capitalism (an exact copy of Goebbels’ 1927 critique of the failures of midwar capitalism). Then comes the second part: blaming the foreigner for the crisis (who can be Pakistani just as he can be a Jew) and calling for ethnic cleansing. Add to this mix: (a) offers of personal security services to hungry pensioners too frightened to step into the street, (b) free food and vegetables only for ‘ethnically pure' Greeks, and (c) stormtroopers savagely attacking migrants and Greeks opposing them, and what you get is the ‘total recall’ of the bleakest aspects of the 1920s and 1930s.
Χρυσή Αυγή υποστηρικτές στο λεωφορείο
In Axion Esti Odysseus Elytis Οδυσσέας Ελύτης, describes this Greek struggle cannot be they without you nor can it be you without them… and you must face them without fail…those who wear the black shirt...who speak the language of porcupines, raw-eaters, water-brutes, bread-fearers, the leadenfaced and the neocondors.
Τιμή σ’ εκείνους όπου στην ζωή των
ώρισαν και φυλάγουν Θερμοπύλες.
Ποτέ από το χρέος μη κινούντες·
δίκαιοι κ’ ίσιοι σ’ όλες των τες πράξεις,
αλλά με λύπη κιόλας κ’ ευσπλαχνία·
γενναίοι οσάκις είναι πλούσιοι, κι όταν
είναι πτωχοί, πάλ’ εις μικρόν γενναίοι,
πάλι συντρέχοντες όσο μπορούνε·
πάντοτε την αλήθεια ομιλούντες,
πλην χωρίς μίσος για τους ψευδομένους.
Και περισσότερη τιμή τούς πρέπει
όταν προβλέπουν (και πολλοί προβλέπουν)
πως ο Εφιάλτης θα φανεί στο τέλος,
κ’ οι Μήδοι επί τέλους θα διαβούνε.                                                    
...and some thoughts on our British Egg Volk

*** *** ***
On Wednesday morning Amy left with Oliver to drive south to her home in Birmingham, leaving Lin, I and Liz in Brin Croft. Lin and I have been working through a long list of errands. To my relief I realise I've learned enough plumbing craft to out an end to a problem of several weeks with a tap in the kitchen.
"If you turn it off completely it stops for ever" said Liz
So it has to stay dribbling a stream of cold water "and it won't turn on fast at all"
The dribbling cold tap that won't turn on and won't turn off
I get out a trusty Allen wrench after using a slot screwdriver to ease off the tap cover like a car's hubcap, then a Philips screwdriver to remove the retaining screw in the tap capstan. I take that off and and get down to the spindle. Then a few loosenings of the tap body with the Allen releases the flow but reveals a leak between the tap body and the basin; which is why it was tightened up too much in the first place I guessed. I fiddle with loosening the tap body which increases the leak but improves the flow and tightening it, which reduces the leak etc, until, of a sudden, flow is fine and the leak has stopped. I beat my chest like King Kong.
We've been making an inventory of mum's disability gear - an electric buggy, electric reclining chair, adjustable bed, bath lift, wheel chair, walkers - one all-terrain...
...a Pilates exercise machine and more ingenious gadgets, tricky, (like her unused sealed medications) that ought to go to other countries that need them, to give away, let alone sell second-hand, even though some have been so little used.  I will have to decide what to simply donate to charity and if I receive offers - Lin will use some of the photos I've taken to float these things on ebay.
We've has two more visits by estate agents to get a preliminary assessment of Brin Croft, one pair of colleagues we especially liked as they'd done their homework on the house, including who'd done the original valuation on the house when Mum bought it. We've been discussing whether to include Littlemills Lochan  - our secret loch - as an option in the sale.
The Lochan 
On Thursday Helen Trussell visited from Logie Steading Bookshop. Lin had read a note she'd sent describing what she was looking out for. She sorted out mum's books to meet those criteria - books about the Highlands, maps of the area, especially old canvas backed ones, plus a range of novelists. She  offered us £110 for about 100 books, pamphlets, guide books and maps which seemed a fair price to share with Bay. Helen put  us in touch with Giles Pearson who deals in antiques at Logie Steading.
Giles came over with his van on Friday and made a range of offers but these were in a rather higher price range, so I could not let him buy anything until it had been run by my sister. This process of checking and double-checking things mum willed in her estate, and being assiduous about it is essential, but it creates a problem when negotiating with a potential purchaser of anything in the house. This will become more of an issue when Confirmation (Probate) is completed - probably in early April. Linda and I are constantly pondering the best way to clear the house prior to placing it on the market. There is no auction house in Inverness now. It's moved northward to Dingwall - twenty miles away. I'd had the idea of someone coming over with a van to remove all the items not going to beneficiaries, cataloguing them and paying us the amount raised. It looks trickier. Again we can probably raise larger sums if we are prepared to proceed with DIY selling on the web.
*** *** ***
I walked from Brin Croft on the edge of Inverarnie through the fields towards Inverarnie Cottage where there's a gate onto a forestry track which leads after half a mile to another gate which has a side opening for walkers. This leads south down the strath just above the River Farnack. A mile and a half beyond the gate there's a rough timber extraction track that zig zags...
...about three hundred and fifty feet up the side of the strath to a broad gravel track that runs about five miles between Loch Farr and Mid Lairgs Quarry, close to the A9 below Daviot. I left the ascending path to cut a corner in the zig zag ascent. The terrain as I expected became tricky, made uneven by old forestry trenches and ridges, dotted with pools of still water of unpredictable depth, and criss crossed with a mess of old and torn branches discarded during previous timber harvesting. Half up-rooted stumps, some rotting, lean in different directions offering hard edges upon which to fall. As I climbed I came upon a pocket swamp full of rushes and sphagnum that I skirted until it looked shallow enough to cross without sinking in muddy peat to my knees. "I should have stuck to the path" I muttered to myself.
Old plantation terrain
My thighs ached with the exertion of walking upwards. My shoulders ached with the strain of balancing myself, as I switched my stick from one hand to the other. But I would never have met this boulder - a glacial erratic dropped perhaps a 1000 miles from where the slow glacier picked it up thousands of years ago and, as it melted, dropped it on the side of Strath Nairn.
It was good to arrive on the big smooth forestry track with the steady and agreeable Ben Wyvis - Beinn Uais Hill of Terror - away in Easter Ross marking my horizon, shifting colour and shade with the clouds and setting sun...

...and head three and half miles back to where, in semi-darkness, I could turn off west down a gentle slope towards Wester Lairgs Farm, a couple of lights in the windows and the sound of continuing work in the barn. There are new people there - Jim and Jane. They have a sprightly West Highland terrier bitch who attached herself to Oscar and Cooky last time I passed by, until I shoo'd her home. Past the farm it was less than half a mile to another turn southward above Inverarnie Woods; then a mile to the grassy bank that leads beside a trickle to a small gate. I climb over it and walk up and over the Esker and, with the dogs still as fresh as when we left Brin Croft a few hours earlier, I walked in the dark across the familiar grazing, to the cattle grid next to the gate into my mother's house. Before relaxing with a cup of tea in front of a sturdy wood fire I towelled the dogs and let them indoors ahead of me. Liz had their suppers ready.
*** ***
On 15 Mar 2013, at 16:54, K wrote from America:
I have no idea how you turned up without a search on my iPad -- but it does make me feel connected!  :-)  k 
Hi K, That baby, my grandson Oliver, was born 1 April last year. The same year my mum Barbara died peacefully, I and my sister beside her in her own bed at age 95 and lucid until she fell into a sleep three days before she left us.
Now I’m in chilly Scotland helping handle probate and suffering a dose of man-flu for which Lin has no sympathy at all.  I caught it from the bab of course and this video shows how. Oscar’s here too of course.
Lovely to hear from you. The domestic landscape is good for us, but the state of our economy is another matter. Local government and public space is being whittled relentlessly away to be replaced by an undemocratic untransparent form of modern feudalism - propped up by expensively funded think tanks. X Simon (in the Highlands)
K replied:
Sorry to get Oliver's name wrong.  Grandchildren are so is the only thing that ever makes me want to move--but not enough to actually do so -- we love Minneapolis, except at this time of year, when winter seems interminable.  Fortunately, it is also the height of the theater season, so there are great things to do indoors.
D lost his mother a bit over two years...about the same age as yours, and living alone until the end, when he went to Virginia for a weekend and ended up caring for her for a month. She was an amazing woman, but not exactly the cookies-and-milk type mother - like Barbara as I remember her. His grieving process included shingles, an ocular migraine that mimicked a stroke, various muscular issues that are still on-going, etc. The mind-body connection is out-in-the-open at these times in our lives, and you can chalk your flu up to that, I suspect, and not playing with Oliver!
That is the video that popped up, unannounced on my iPad.  The computer genies are at it again, letting me know that I need to spend time keeping in touch with people who have been part of my life in significant ways. 
Dear k. And I thought you’d glanced at a different video of me and dog Oscar (it exists). How funny you got the name wrong because that’s exactly what I do all the time! Calling Oscar Oliver and v.v. - it’s a family joke and I’m an old git! Not you tho’
Thanks for that insight on the mind-body connection. Makes lots of sense when I think back to both my dad’s and stepfather’s deaths - long ago now. Incidentally I’m already feeling better. Lin scoffs at psychology and psychosomatic explanation. Insists I’ve caught Oliver’s cold. This complete dismissal of a way of explaining the world that I cherish is I suspect why we get on, but why? The mysteries of marriage! I recall that Patrick Leigh Fermor in his book A Time to Keep Silence talks of the impossibility of a dialogue between a champion of theology and a champion of psychoanalysis ‘because the terms of reference of the antagonists would be so different and irreconcilable, so incapable of engaging, that the match might turn into a double exhibition of shadow boxing….”.
Hope Midwest winter lessens its grip soon.
This by the way was the video I thought you’d been seeing
I really enjoyed the film Lincoln! What a fascinating story of the messy morality of the great game of hi-politics. You are ever a part of my life. Love to all. Simon (in Scotland, then England then back to Greece)
**** ****
We are missing Sunday's Carnival in Ano Korakiana:
Δημοσιοποίήθηκε σήμερα το πρόγραμμα της αυριακής ημέρας (17 Μαρτίου 2013), τελευταίας Κυριακής της Αποκριάς, αλλά και της διοργάνωσης του Κορακιανίτικου Καρναβαλιού.
Σύμφωνα με αυτό, προβλέπονται:
Εκκίνηση της πομπής του Καρναβάλου στις 4,30 το απόγευμα από το Συνερταιρισμό και παρέλαση στον απάνω δρόμο του χωριού μέχρι την Πλατεία, με επιστροφή στην Πλάστιγγα.
Εκεί θα γίνουν οι αποκριάτικοι χοροί και θα διαβαστεί η Διαθήκη
Ακολούθως, στο Συνεταιρισμό (όροφος) θα παρουσιαστούν σκετς.
Η βραδιά θα κλείσει με Αποκριάτικο Χορό (στο ισόγειο του Συνεταιρισμού), με "ζωντανή" μουσική, ποτό και σουβλάκια.

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Simon Baddeley