Thursday, 11 June 2015

Current Affairs on a Small Island: discussed and digested

Current Affairs on a Small Island: discussed and digested


1. Crazy Local Rules!

Takis would like to do some more renovations BUT, who do you go to? The council? The planning office? The architect? The land office? These places exist but have recently moved and have no sign, so you ask a man in a car where they are. And when you find them you are probably told you need to go to Mytilene, the next island, where you’ll be told that you have to be the sole owner, or, that you cannot touch the outside of an old building, though you can rip out the inside and add as much cement as you like.


2. Our Local Park!

What are they doing to our park? It is no longer green with trees; though the trees are there they are surrounded by cement, with many nearby cement seats, and a cement pond and a cement auditorium. The Greeks love cement!







3. Happy News!

A neighbour is so happy, today her niece called in unexpectedly, at home from studying in England.

I tell the group about an email from my son in Australia and his pleasure at the photos sent him from Lemnos, including one of our kitchen politics group!

Takis is happy the chemists are not on strike and he can buy his pills.


4. Politicians and their Toilets!

Ertogan and the Golden Toilet

We all agree that a golden toilet is going too far. We've heard that in accordance with the "New Turkey" concept envisaged by Erdogan the president of Turkey the Huge palace being built with be president’s palace. The opposition make fun of its extremely over-the-top features, saying that it contained a golden toilet!!


Syrisa and the Parliamentary toilets

The latest buzz about the government is not about ‘The wicked Germans’, or ‘The wicked EU’, it’s about the toilets in the parliament building. Evidently the security police are being banned from using them. In a city that does not have public toilets this is a bit hard to take. My sympathy is with the police on this one.


5. And when not discussing these topics in our kitchen we find, as always, they crop up on TV.
All news programs are about the ‘Modern Greek Drama’ (sound the horns and beat the drums!)
The newsreader will speak so quickly urgently you believe that a solution has been found, or that it’s the end of the world!  You’d be forgiven for making this mistake even if you spoke Greek. But in short, it will be all about the same group of actors, who have cleverly captured the sound waves, the newspapers, a nation, the European Union and all in spite of what is going on elsewhere!

These are the Actors,

Mr. Smiley Face, the Prime Minister
Dr. Listen-to-Me, the Finance Minister
Mr. Soviet-Ally, the Energy Minister
Miss I’m an Idealist, the Public Relations officer
Mr. Ever Optimist, the Taxation Officer


6. The Rest of the World

And when the local TV is not discussing Syrisa (barely ten minutes at the end of an hour’s news) Takis and I watch worse things happening else where, and I write a poem.

The World from the Living Room Sofa

Flash and a Crash rents the sky

I close the curtains switch on the tellie

A falling tree kills a passerby

Then a flood sweeps away a group of cars

While in Nepal Mount Everest quakes

The program shows eight thousand die

Our windows creak and the house shakes

But we’re inside and watching tellie

The storm recedes but heavy rain

Drowns out the news commentary

All we can do is watch grief and pain

And the news feed scroll across the screen

We see with horror youth want to go

To join with bands of black dressed killers

On one channel there’s a comedy show

And on yet another a severed head

A pollie smiles a wooden smile

We scoff at his pomposity

An economist crumbles at a journo’s guile

But we’ve wised up to media cunning

We all now live a richer life

Knowledge increases with our tellie

An almost eternity of stories and strive

While sitting and relaxing in front of tellie

But whose life did we save and who just passed

In front of our eyes was anything real

Ah the storm has passed there’s peace at last

Let’s go to bed and switch off the tellie


Julia Catton


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