Greek Kos island, fascism, anti-fascism, flowers

Kos harbour, 18 April 2019

As this blog reported, on 18 April 2019 we arrived on the Greek island Tilos after a sea journey from the island Kos. However, before I will tell more about Tilos, still some things about Kos on 18 April. Like this photo of the harbour of Kos town, the capital of the island.

Kos harbour flowers, 18 April 2019

And these flowers near Kos harbour.

Kos fountain, 18 April 2019

This fountain near Kos harbour was damaged by an earthquake a few years ago.

Kos fountain bull´s head, 18 April 2019

There are bulls´ heads sculptures on the fountain.

Kos synagogue,18 April 2019

A very sad place in Kos town. Jews had lived on Kos ever since antiquity. In 1310, the Christian crusaders of the Knights of Rhodes expelled all of them. The plaque on the photo reminds us that in the 16th century, Jews fled from persecution by the Spanish inquisition to Kos, then ruled by the Ottoman empire. Their community lasted until 1944. When Adolf Hitler, then occupier of Kos, had the Kos Jews, those Kos Jews who had been unable to flee to Turkey, deported to Auschwitz death camp. Not one of them survived. The former synagogue stands empty and dilapidated.

According to Hitler’s nazi ideology, only the ‘Aryan race‘ was supposedly really human. While Jews, Roma, Africans etc. were supposedly ‘subhuman’.

Unfortunately, tendencies similar to Hitler still exist today: like the AfD and NPD parties in Germany. And the Golden Dawn party in Greece.

Groups like Golden Dawn depict the refugees from NATO’s regime change wars in the Middle East, Afghanistan etc. as ‘subhuman’; as ‘illegal’.

Many people in Greece reject the Golden Dawn racism.

Kos anti-fascism, 18 April 2019

On an advertisement billboard near Kos harbour, people had put this black and white sticker. It says. translated: No human being is illegal [a quote by Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel]. Anti-fascist movement of Kos. With barbed wire pictured, now erected against refugees in Hungary and other European Union countries.

Stay tuned for more blog posts on Tilos island!

Kos island, Greece, arrival 18 April

This 2016 video says about itself:

Approach & landing runway 32 Kos airport (KGS LGKO)

Kos Island International Airport, “Hippocrates”, or Κρατικός Αερολιμένας Κω, Ιπποκράτης in Greek, is an airport serving the island of Kos, Greece. The airport is located near to Andimachia village. The airport was opened on 4 April 1964. In 1974 the runway was extended to 2,390m. With the increased traffic at the airport in 1980 a new terminal building was built. In 1997, the terminal building was renovated and expanded. In this film you can enjoy an approach from the north of Kos Island. We had to perform the full procedure since we where number 3 in the approach towards the airport. All ATC and conversations are from this flight. Enjoy the view and movie! Greetings, MightyMKL.

This 2017 German language video is about Kos airport as well.

On 18 April 2019, we arrived at the airport of Kos island in Greece.

We continued to the ferry harbour.

Along the road, magpies and hooded crows.

House sparrows near the harbour.

A barn swallow flies over an area where there are archaeological digs on Kos classical antiquity.

Yellow-legged gulls flying over the harbour.

Stay tuned, as there will be much more on Greece on this blog!

Singer Maria Callas, new film

This September 2018 video says about itself:

Maria By Callas | Official US Trailer HD

Tom Volf’s MARIA BY CALLAS is the first film to tell the life story of the legendary Greek/American opera singer completely in her own words.

Told through performances, TV interviews, home movies, family photographs, private letters and unpublished memoirs—nearly all of which have never been shown to the public—the film reveals the essence of an extraordinary woman who rose from humble beginnings in New York City to become a glamorous international superstar and one of the greatest artists of all time.

Assembling the material for the film took director Volf four years of painstaking research, which included personal outreach to dozens of Callas’s closest friends and associates, who allowed him to share their personal memorabilia in the film. When recordings of Callas’s voice aren’t available, Joyce DiDonato, one of contemporary opera’s biggest stars, reads her words.

By Joanne Laurier in the USA:

Maria by Callas: A documentary on the life of the famed opera singer

8 December 2018

From France, Tom Volf’s Maria by Callas is an engrossing documentary about the legendary Greek-American opera soprano. An intimate portrait of Maria Callas (1923-1977) is presented through archival material, television interviews, home movies, family photographs and unpublished memoirs. Opera star Joyce DiDonato reads Callas’ words, when recordings of Callas are unavailable.

Volf’s research is meticulous. He tracked down a global array of people with expertise on Callas, filming interviews with 30 of the singer’s friends in nearly a dozen countries who “opened up their cupboards and pulled out 8mm films, audio tape reels, letters, and photos. He quickly realized that a large part of this memorabilia was previously unseen and had never been shown in public before,” according to the movie’s production notes.

Says Volf: “I understood very quickly that she was not only a phenomenon in her lifetime, she was still a phenomenon in 2013, nearly four decades after her death.”

One of the film’s highlights is Callas’ 1970 interview with commentator and television host David Frost. Portions of the 17-minute interview are interspersed throughout the documentary, which toggles between her career and personal life. A key theme of Maria by Callas is Maria’s comment to Frost, “There are two people in me actually, Maria and Callas … If someone really tries to listen to me, he will find all of myself there.” Volf is adept at presenting, as he says, “how the two communicate and sometimes struggle, and sometimes sacrifice one to the other.”

One segment shows dedicated young people waiting, and sleeping, on line in New York City for a chance to hear Callas sing. Also mentioned is her notorious (she was ill) 1958 “Rome Cancellation”, as well as her publicized conflict with the Metropolitan Opera’s general manager (1950-1972) Rudolf Bing. There is, as well, in-depth footage of her complicated relationship with Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. Longtime friend Nadia Stancioff (author of Maria Callas Remembered) and Georges Prêtre, one of her favorite conductors, also form part of the film’s fabric.

Notably, Callas worked with Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini on his film, Medea (1969), her only film role, and developed a close friendship with the influential director and writer.

The film brings out the immense pressures exerted on Callas by the demands, on the one hand, of an art form that requires constant artistic obsession and near perfection and, on the other, of her status, in the words of a commentator, as “one of the world’s first international celebrities, especially after she began her affair with shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis in 1959. The paparazzi couldn’t get enough of her.” The combined pressures may well have helped lead to her early death from a heart attack at the age of 53, while living in considerable isolation.

Undoubtedly, one of the film’s most breathtaking moments is Callas’ 1958 performance in concert of “Casta Diva” (Chaste Goddess), the famed aria from Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma.

This music video shows that 1958 performance.

Sung at the Théâtre National de l’Opéra in Paris, it is, according to the movie’s production notes, “presented for the very first time in color and shows a Callas at the pinnacle of her career. We will see her Norma seven years later in the film, when she has to abandon the stage in Paris in 1965. It’s the last time she ever sang it and her last but one performance ever on an operatic stage. One could say her career started with Norma (back in 1947) and ended with it.”

Also featured are sublime performances of arias from Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata —“Addio del passato” (Farewell to the Past, 1958); Georges Bizet’s Carmen —“L’amour est un oiseau rebelle” (Love is a Rebellious Bird, 1962); and Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca—“Vissi d’arte, Vissi d’amore” (I Lived for Art, I Lived for Love, 1963).

Volf’s films does not choose to take up the more controversial question of Callas’s activity, while still a teenager, in occupied Greece during World War II. In The Unknown Callas: The Greek Years, author Nicholas Petsalis-Diomidis discusses the singer’s performances at concerts attended by Italian and German troops. He takes note of “the number of Greek singers who took part, although the events were organized by the loathed enemy. Even those with leftist political views seldom missed such opportunities to make a public appearance, to further their careers and be rewarded for their services, usually with food that could not otherwise be obtained at any price. Of course there was no question of their being accused of collaboration.”

However, in Callas’ case, “her accusers have concentrated much more on her social intercourse with Italians … than on her ‘collaboration’ in the field of music. … In [Callas’] case it is beyond question that she did have close friendships with a number of Italians on a clearly personal basis.”

In a review of Petsalis-Diomidis’s book, the Telegraph wrote, “There is also a lot here about Callas’ personal life. Her mother, as they used to say, was no better than she should be during the war, with lovers ranging from an Italian colonel to German officers. Callas took up with a Fascist major, a paratrooper, a German music critic, a British officer who got her a job at Army HQ and a Greek businessman (shades of things to come), who paid for her return ticket to America.”

It should be noted that left-wing Italian artists such as Pasolini and Luchino Visconti did not consider Callas’ wartime activities an obstacle. Visconti first directed the singer in a 1954 production of Gaspare Spontini’s La Vestale at Milan’s La Scala. Four other collaborations (one of them conducted by Leonard Bernstein) followed over the course of several years. In a 1969 joint television interview, Visconti explained, “I started to direct opera because of … no, not because of, but for Maria Callas.”

‘World’s oldest shipwreck discovered’

The newly discovered ancient Greek ship, photo Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (MAP)

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Researchers report finding oldest shipwreck in the world

Archaeologists have found the wreck of an intact Greek ship at the bottom of the Black Sea. According to them, it has probably been already for more than 2400 years at the bottom of the sea. Archaeologists think it is the oldest complete shipwreck in the world.

The ship is 23 meters long and lies at a depth of over two kilometers, about 75 kilometers off the coast of Bulgaria. The lack of oxygen at that depth, according to the archaeologists, ensured that the mast, rudders and rowing bags of the ship were preserved.

Professor Jon Adams of the Black Sea Archeology Project, the team that found the ship, never thought that such a discovery would be possible. “It is changing our understanding of shipbuilding and shipping in the ancient world.”

The researchers think it is a commercial ship, of a type that has so far only been seen on ancient Greek pottery such as the Siren Vase in the British Museum. This vase dates from the same period as the found wreck, a few centuries BC, and shows how the mythological hero Odysseus sailed past the Sirens.

The Siren Vase at the British Museum

The researchers removed a small piece of the wreck to date it, but then left the ship alone.

The Black Sea Archeology Project is a three-year project that traces shipwrecks at great depths in the Black Sea. Meanwhile, more than sixty have already been found.

The world’s oldest intact shipwreck has been discovered in the Black Sea. Archaeologists say the 75-foot vessel has sat on the seabed undisturbed for more than 2,400 years.

Stopping donkey abuse on Greek island Santorini

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Heavy tourists are no longer allowed on donkeys on Santorini

Tourists who weigh more than 100 kilos are no longer allowed to ride on donkeys on the Greek island of Santorini. The Greek Ministry of Agriculture has determined this with a new law.

Donkeys are popular with tourists on the island to climb the steep steps to the capital Fira – a walk of about half an hour.

Damage to vertebrae

The volcanic Santorini is the most popular Greek holiday island, partly because of the world-famous sunset near the town of Oia. The island with over 15,000 inhabitants annually attracts more than two million tourists and that number is growing.

As a result, the donkeys are used more and more often. Animal rights organizations such as The Donkey Sanctuary and PETA have been fighting against the situation of the donkeys in Santorini for some time.

The animals are said to regularly have overweight tourists on their backs, causing damage their vertebrae. In addition, they are used seven days a week in the burning sun while they get little food and drink, they suffer from stress and worn saddles cause wounds in the animals.

The campaigns of all the action groups together, including a petition on that was signed more than 100,000 times, led to the problems with donkeys in Santorini becoming higher on the agenda of the Greek government.

This 10 September 2018 video says about itself:

An eyewitness report published by PETA Germany reveals the horrific conditions that approximately 100 donkeys and mules are forced to endure every day on the Greek island of Santorini. They carry heavy loads, are given practically no respite from the hot Mediterranean sun, and are even denied access to water. They also incur wounds and abrasions from ill-fitting and worn-out saddles.

Greek neonazis’ violent attack on MP

This February 2017 video says about itself:

“The true homeland of Golden Dawn is Nazi Germany

The release of a video of a neo-Nazi rock concert in 2005 attended by the leadership of Golden Dawn in Greece has grabbed headlines and is proving a major blow to the fascist party, which is on trial for constituting a criminal organisation.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Extreme right-wing activists violently attack Greek MP

In Greece a member of parliament has been beaten up by probably dozens of extreme right-wing activists. He was taken to the hospital injured.

The victim, 40-year-old Petros Konstantineas of the left-wing government party Syriza, was attacked after visiting a football match in the city of Kalamata with his son. A party member says to Greek media that it concerned about thirty extreme right-wing perpetrators.

Greek political parties have reacted with horror to the attack. Prime Minister Tsipras, also of Syriza, says that the “fascists” who attacked Konstantineas will be tried. The police have now arrested five suspects.


The injuries of the victim are not serious. He may probably be discharged from the hospital soon.

Konstantineas is a fairly well-known member of parliament, partly because of his previous career as a professional football referee. He has been in parliament since 2015.