Bench in Athens:
in memory of all those innocent people killed alone in July 2014
Since on July 23, 2014, the first fourty coffins were brought from Eastern Ukraine to Eindhoven, Holland, Boudewijn Payens in Amsterdam wrote a very thoughtful letter expressing what many feel right now in Holland.
"Thank you Hatto for sharing your feelings of compassion.
I know you are there at the other end of Europe.
The news replaces itself so fast......
it's hard to understand but this tragedy brought the war in Eastern Europe to our doors and ...inside our homes.
At the same moment Gaza/Israel is a mess.
The relation to our small world and the so cold big world, is hard to handle.
But we have to deal with it.
Question is, is this the moment in which we are more and more leaving a period of relative peace behind?
I hope not and that our leaders will be able to stay in contact and search for solution which bring us closer to one another.
Hope you and your friends are fine."
How to respond to what is happening right now inside the Gaza strip? between Israelis and Palestinians? between all parties in the Middle East and rest of the world now engulfed in different kinds of wars for war has come home, into every house, and this in different forms.
What the little girl sees and what its doll should not see as to what
is happening in Gaza during all the fighting which erupted in July 2014.
In these days the world is more than just a challenge to all of us, given the fact that so many innocent people have lost their lives.
The artist who wrote that letter from Holland, Boudewijn Payens, he has done some incredible things to facilitate human communication. For instance, together with others he went to Chernobyl ten years after the nuclear disaster and, upon seeing people did not know if what they eat is dangerous or not, and this because the danger of contaminated uranium cannot be smelled, tasted, heard, seen or felt, he resorted to the imagination. Together with them he constructed on a frozen playground a boat and together they went on an iminary trip. They escaped the place they were at and yet stayed there.
It is very moving what he writes and so true to the point. Indeed, the war in Eastern Ukraine has been brought home to the people in Holland, into their houses.
Rightly so he identifies how precarious our world is becoming and he expresses a real hope that some soberness shall prevail from now on in political circles. A real danger is to cut off contacts exactly then when the talks should begin.
Unfortunately politicians have been surrounded by those who do not dare to speak to them straight forward as to what they really think. Consequently policy options to get out of the crisis are few and if at all available, very weak. This is because they are not thought through.
It can be noticed that politics is devoid of what it means to be in touch with humanity. What most political speeches and declarations lack, is human substance. The latter is expressed by a true feeling to be alive.
We witness at the same time the shelling of that school in Gaza. As the UN spokesman asks, the real question is but when will this barbaric rule of naked violence stop not only in Gaza but throughout the world?
Unfortunately the unleashing of lethal force reflects what many have in their minds, namely but a pseudo theory of the world. They act blindly due to having no real connection to the world of other people who wish to stay alive. That misconstrued world view makes them unable to realize what they are doing. While they engage in all kinds of asymmetrical wars made to appear as something absolute, they merely wish to escape as Karl Jaspars understood it an inner void making everything they do merely senseless. By doing, however, something absolute they can only terminate lives of others and of themselves.
Above all we witness at political and international level a flurry of arguments and counter arguments. They all end in the claim that nothing definite can be said until a full investigation has been completed. As if everything we can assume about why something happened in this world is based on 'shaky evidence'.
Yet we know that the ground where the Malaysian plane went down has been so much contaminated that no conclusive proof can be hoped for. It should be noted that no one is really brave enough to take the responsibility for what they do. Always someone else is there to be blamed. How convenient is this lie for those who do not even realize they are too far away from human truth.
If a human body falls from the sky after the plane had been shot down and crashes through the roof of a house in a village in Eastern Ukraine, the least what can be expected is some soberness. In the old days, the local people would read this as a signal from the sky and therefore some soberness would enter the minds of all those who witness these astrocities.
It goes without saying much more, that we need a very deep communication, so that we touch each other in our pain. For only then we can tell the difference between propaganda and a true story.
Without trust in what we hear on the media and in public, everyone is forced to wait for further evidence but which never comes. For creating ambivalence is the name of the game. It aims to put people on hold so that they cannot respond as they would if spontaneously they could all share grief as much as joy. Due to these delays, sooner than later it will become impossible to prevent entry into the next cycle of not only blame and denial, but also of violence and covering up of what terrible things have been really done not in the name of humanity or freedom, but out of self interest to be simply assertive without caring for the rest.
Indeed, the biggest art is to cover up everything by making sure own deeds leave no traces. But without traces no story can be constructed by which people find their identity as a belonging to this world. Merkel stated after one conversation with Putin that he has lost touch with reality. It would be troublesome if not only he but many other politicians although in a position of power are not surrounded by those who can challenge the bad decisions they are about to take and therefore prevent something going further in a negative direction before it it too late.
The same applies to what is happening in the Middle East, in Libya, Nigeria, Syria etc. with the events in Gaza most horrific since there people on both sides of the wall are due to a long history and culture highly educated and equally disposed to forgive if given the chance. Yet if Israeli soldiers are forced to make tanks their homes as Darwish predicted they would have to, those in Gaza have to resort to tunnels in order to get out since all borders are closed, that contradiction has to be resolved by everyone seeing what is happening there in reality.
European elections On May 25th 2014
The outcome has still to be assessed since a surprise in many ways. While Jürgen Habermas called it the first real political election with voters having a choice between two candidates, Cameron from the UK insisted afterwards the outcome in terms of seats obtained by different political groups in the European Parliament should not be binding for member states. For they should be free to deliberate in the Council of Europe their own decisions, including who should become the next President of the European Commission. This problem of member states superseding the voice of citizens in Europe has never been identified as key problem despite the claim of all citizens being equal with regards to these EU institutions, but as long as they remain outside while inside representatives of the member states deliberate on their own, there cannot be claimed one vote, one voice at European level. It reminds of Orwell's Animal Farm with all animals being equal except for the pigs. In the European Union this can be rephrased into all citizens are equal safe for the member states and their influence upon decision making processes in Brussels. That problem of equality of all citizens versus member states was also not resolved by the EU Constitutional Treaty drafted by the European Convention and then not ratified in 2005. But at the core of this unresolved issue is the unanswered question but what moral legitimacy do have then EU institutions, including the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the European Commission?
Graffiti in Athens 2014
The documentation of graffiti continues with one focus being on what can be seen within the famous Polytechnic,
while the Scenery at Art School on Piraeus Street is changing. In July there can be found an appropriate comment to the world football cup being staged in Brazil.
But there can also be noticed a defiance of 'death', as if a new desire to live is about to turn the page in this ongoing crisis. It signals an effort to cope with a crisis hidden underneath a surface appearing to as calm as the Aegean sea when there is absolutely no wind.
"We shall never die, so you can close your shop"
This slogan is vis a vis a funeral parlour on Hippocratous Street
And all of this on a street heading towards Nicholas Church on Lycabettou Hill
This can be called now definance street.
"Culture is that undeniable and irresistible force, which is able to direct changes into a positive stream, turning fear into a challenge and a venturous joy, and uncertainty – into trust in the creative spirit." - key slogan of Riga for that decisive year.
For official information: http://riga2014.org/en/
Official website: http://www.umea2014.se/inenglish
Umea will also host the next conference of the University Network come October 2014.
Rückblende / Looking back – the former ECoC cities
Legacy of Marseille and Kosice 2013
Official website: http://www.mp2013.fr/?lang=en
San Sebastian and Wroclaw preparing for 2016
Valletta and Leeuwarden preparing for 2018
For Holland, there has been selected Leeuwarden 2018
Italian city for 2019
In Italy there were 21 cities competing for the title for 2019. Five, including Ravenna, made it on the short list. A decision is expected for autumn 2014. In the past, Florenz has been in 1986 and Bologna in 2000 European Capitals of Culture.
Greece –selection of the next ECoC for 2021
After the Municipal elections were held on May 25th 2014, it is expected that clarity will soon prevail as to which cities are going to declare their candidancy. Besides Pireaeus and Syros, it is said that Nafplion, Kalamata and Tripoli form potentially one unit. Also Iraklion in Crete has been contemplating. Unsure is still Rhodes.
went into a barn for cows and put up her paintings depicting a history of art.
Later on, she went into the fields and made sketches on bales of hay. Finally, she went down to a brook almost hidden by plants and trees. There she discovered a new fear not of nature but the fear of being seen naked.
Schriften aus der Zeit in Berlin / manuscripts from the period in Berlin 1985-87
"You do not have to become a dragon to fight the dragon" - Karl Jaspars
Kids' Guernica - Guernica Youth
Following the review by the DAVID Project Kids' Guernica has been awarded the "social literacy reviewed" reward. Initiated by Gertrude Spiteri and Paul Dalli in Malta, social literacy entails contributions to such socialization of children and youth that they are capable to protect themselves against all kinds and forms of violence, from child abuse to the invisible form of 'cyber bullying'.
Alexandra Zanne in Gezoncourt has completed an action to discover Traces of children suffering from eplipsy
A poem in need to be discussed / ein Gedicht das diskutiert werden soll -
while in memory of 'Cultural Actions for Europe' (Athens 1994) and 'Myth of the City' (Crete 1995), the discussion with Brendan Kennelly needs to continue, in particular due to his epic poem 'JUDAS' touches upon so many important issues still today, such as 'the language of hatred' and the use of 'labels' to stem the flow and create instead a frenzy to replace rational politics. See
Cries of Anguish, Cries of Joy: the Poetry of Brendan Kennelly by Hatto Fischer 1994
And there is a connection between Brendan Kennelly and Satchi who has written equally about this topic of poetry and violence. Incredible is his poem written 20 years ago when he came for the first time to Delhi. When reading that poem, the reader can get lost in that vast city.
Lately Satchi has also voiced some very opinions on how the cultural dimension of the EU foreign policy could facilitate another way of staying in touch with writers and poets in India and elsewhere.
March 6 - 9 "Heritage First! Towards a common approach towards a sustainable Europe." This is another one of EU conference taking place during the Greek Presidency, but with no information or real invitation to make possible active participation:. See http://gr2014.eu/events/conferences-and-seminars/conference-heritage-first-towards-common-approach-sustainable-europe
March 20 - 23 "Little Data and the Big Picture: What Everday Literature Can Do for Comparison. A Seminar to be held at the Annual Meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association New York University. See http://www.acla.org/acla2014
April 8 - 10 Conference about "Discourse - Power - Resistance / Research and Practice: Exchange and Change" The conference shall take place at University of Greenwich, UK . More information at http://www.dprconference.com/
April 10th Mediterranean Creativity and Innovation: Transforming Regional Policy (10th April 2014 - Athens, Greece)CreativeMED project presents a smart specialisation model for creativity and innovation in the Mediterranean on 10th April 2014 in Athens.
May 9 - 10 The city at a time of crisis. See http://crisis-scape.net/conference or else Conference, Athens, May 9-10 2014
May 24 - 27. To Foreign Shores. Canadian Theater Makers abroad and at home. Canadian Association for Theatre Research. Conference organized at Brock University. For inquiries contact firstname.lastname@example.org
May 28 - 30 International Conference on "Mapping Culture: Communities, Sites and Stories" in Coimbra, Portugal.
June 11 - 13 ICELW: Seventh International Conference on E-Learning at the Workplace. www.icelw.org
June 11 - 13 Scientific Committee meeting on Anti Bullying Network to be held in Athens during the EU Greek Presidency: Gertrude Spiteri
June 27 - 28 London Conference on Critical Thought at Goldsmith College
July 6 - 10 Conference on "Museum Work - Working for Museums" in Munich. Organized by Baverian State Office for Museums (Landesstelle für die nichtstaatlichen Museen in Bayern). www.museen-in.bayern.de/die-landesstelle/serviceangebote/fortbildungtagungen/emac-2014.htm
July 31 - August 3 The European Association of Social Anthropologists will hold its biennial conference in Tallinn, Estonia on the theme of "Collaboration, Intimacy & Revolution - innovation and continuity in an interconnected world." See http://www.easaonline.org/conferences/easa2014/index.shtml
September 4 - 5 International Conference on Cultural Relations in the Mediterranean in Valletta, Malta organized by V18 with Valletta the European Capital of Culture in 2018
September 9 - 12 "Museums and Politics" in St. Petersburg, http://www.museodata.com/noticias/convocatorias/2416-call-for-papers-museums-and-politics.html
September 9 - 12 in Hildesheim + 12-13 September 12 - 13 in Berlin. 8th International Conference on Cultural Policy Research, Hildesheim, Germany http://iccpr2014.de/welcome/
November 6 - 9, 2014 Westin Bonaventure, Los Angeles, CA The Fun and the Fury: New Dialectics of Pleasure and Pain In the Post-American Century http://www.theasa.net/annual_meeting/page/submit_a_proposal/
Poiein kai Prattein -
Catalogue "Imperishable Water", 2012 with Haroula Hadjinicilou, Anna Arvanitaki, Hatto Fischer (ed.), Athens ISBN 978-618-80160-0-2
Hatto Fischer: The poem 'Destiny still flows' by Katerina Anghelaki Rooke - this concerns a discussion of the poem which inspired the action on Rhodes last year
"Nation and Identity" by Kreisau-Initiative, with introduction by Hatto Fischer is crucial for answering the question whether or not Patriotism is an alternative to Nationalism. Youth met first in Kreisau, Poland and were inspired by this example set by the Kreisau Circle which went into resistance against Hitler on the basis of a non discriminatory approach for the day after Hitler fell.
Article by Anna Arvanitaki and Haroula Hadjinicolaou, "Action on Rhodes" in Journal "Nissides" (small islands). Rhodos, Vol. 9, 2012
Poiein kai Prattein is member of the Mediterranean Directory organized by the
René Seydoux Foundation
Cultural Calendar for 2014
January 27 International Holocaust Remembrance Day
Feb. 1 and 2 Vicious Cycle - Dance performance Paul Blackman + Christine Gouzelis
February 14 "Youth in Crisis" - photo exhibition by Pauliana Valente Pimentel at the Melina Cultural Center
March 21 International Poetry Day
September 21 International Peace Day
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