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Monday, 11 December 2017

D.K.Toteras, Young Greeks Learn to Speak English in a San Francisco Elementary School; Bitter Tears

Another short extract from Bitter Tears (the chapter entitled The Drunken King), the great Corfiot-American writer D. K. Toteras remembers his school days at a San Francisco Elementary School:

"It was Show and Tell time at the Elementary School. It was an event that was more an act of imagination than the explanation of anything. It was painful to find something and then to Tell about it in a foreign language. We had to make up stories in our broken English about junk that our mothers had lying around the house. Anything would do, as long as we said our stories in English. The teacher would put on a big broad smile.

All the Greeks who lived south of Market sent their children to the same school and Greek was becoming the language of the school yard, but English had to be spoken in the classroom. There was no reprieve. There was no excuse. You could not ask God for help when the teacher caught you speaking "gibberish."

…There was no fooling around. If you were caught speaking Greek the doors of hell opened. For every Greek word, you got to wear a dunce’s hat and your nose was stuck deep into a circle she drew on the blackboard. As far as she was concerned you were going to learn English or you would be humiliated until your existence turned into a glob of flesh deep under her desk, for the ultimate disobedience. Twice at the blackboard got you a trip under her desk. The rules were precise and exact. There was no appeal. The class would become excited seeing one of their own shoved under the desk for the afternoon for being caught talking Greek with another Greek.

Fear of humiliation turned many of us into docile little lambies. Greek, the Language of Philosophy, turned into the language of terror. Here is how the rules were:

One word got you a stern warning; two warnings, dunce’s hat, with circle drawn two inches higher than your nose, so you would have to stand on your toes to reach it.

If the dunce’s hat didn't do it for you, it was under the desk. The class would get excited when an example had to be made. They didn't want any part of it, and it would help the teacher to break down the language barrier.

"Do you understand?" she would yell, "You have to be stupid to want to put on the dunce’s hat or sit under my desk."

"Yes, teacher", the class would respond.

"Only English in this class- is that understood?"

"Yes, teacher." 

Under the desk was reserved for my new friend E.

His stubbornness was total. He only did what he thought he should do. The more you punished him, the stronger he became. He didn't fight the punishment, he fought the order.

"He is Cretan," my father said, "and it is peculiar to the Cretans to accept punishment as a sign of their strength."

He didn't seem to care. He would tell the teacher that Greek had existed long before her language ever came into existence, that her people lived in caves when Greeks studied philosophy. She didn't care what we said as long as we said it in English. Her job was to make sure we learned. It was plain and simple and it was always the same".

Demetrius K. Toteras ©2012
posted with permission of The Nine Muses Press, Occidental, California,
and ©2012, the Estate of D. K. Toteras.

I hope that by posting some sample sections, publishers, academics and interested readers will call for Bitter Tears and other important works by Toteras to be published, at long last.

D. K. Toteras fought in the Korean War, having signed up under-age. He was captured and became a prisoner-of-war. He died in California on Thursday 12 November, 2009.

See also:

Greek-Town, San Francisco, World War II; The World Shuddered, Demetrius K. Toteras (from Bitter Tears); A Great Greek Writer

D. K. Toteras, A Twenty-Year-Old Letter on the Meaning of Hellenism and On Being a Corfiot Mandoukiotis

Interested publishers are invited to make contact, to explore publication possibilities with the copyright holder.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

D. K. Toteras, A Twenty-Year-Old Letter on the Meaning of Hellenism and On Being a Corfiot Mandoukiotis

When I was working in Sydney, Australia, I contributed a paper to a Conference on the Culture and Politics of the Diaspora (February 1998). The title of my paper was:

Ambassadors of Hellenism: Bilingual and Anglophone Greek Writers Overseas (Capetanakis, Trypanis, Tsaloumas and Toteras)- with reference to Noukios, Calvos, Cavafy and Seferis.

My main theme was a re-evaluation of four Greek writers in English - Capetanakis, Trypanis, Tsaloumas and Toteras. The conference, The Culture and Politics of the Diaspora, was organised by the Centre for European Studies, University of New South Wales, Australia.

In preparing my paper, I wrote to Demetrius Toteras asking for his thoughts on aspects of the topic. His helpful reply was written on 24th December, 1997, thirty years after I had first met him on the island of  Corfu. 

Here are some extracts from his reply:

I am still interested to read some of the intriguing works he went on to itemise in his letter...

See, for instance, my previous posting: Greek-Town, San Francisco, World War II; The World Shuddered, Demetrius K. Toteras (from Bitter Tears); A Great Greek Writer

See also, my essay on Toteras in the book "Corfu Blues", Ars Interpres, 2006:

Greek-Town, San Francisco, World War II; The World Shuddered, Demetrius K. Toteras (from Bitter Tears); A Great Greek Writer

The World Shuddered, from Bitter Tears, by Demetrius K. Toteras

  Demetrius K. Toteras ©2012
posted with permission of The Nine Muses Press, Occidental, California,
 and ©2012, the Estate of D. K. Toteras

Introductory Note

The World Shuddered is the fourth of 27 sections or chapters of the fascinating, unpublished work,
  Bitter Tears, A Fictionalized Account of My Korean War Trauma. by D. K. Toteras. This section deals with the dimensions of modern war, and its impact on Greek members
of the population of San Francisco, and their sense of cultural identity.

I first met Demetrius Toteras on the Greek island of Corfu (the island from which his family hailed), 50 years ago this month, in December 1967. We kept in regular contact all his life. With the permission of his widow and family, I aim to post some representative sections from this extraordinary work, concentrating on Toteras' early experiences (very lightly fictionalized), as a Greek American growing up in San Francisco's Greek Town. D. K. Toteras is the author of the brilliant and intensely poetic prison play, Sunday They'll Make Me A Saint*. He left behind many other works in manuscript and type-script, and it is my hope that they will gradually see the light of day. With many thanks to Bronwen.

 I hope that by posting some sample sections, publishers, academics and interested readers will call for Bitter Tears and other important works by Toteras to be published, at long last.

D. K. Toteras fought in the Korean War, having signed up under-age. He was captured and became a prisoner-of-war. He died in California on Thursday 12 November, 2009.

Before that:

The World Shuddered

The World War brought great changes to Greektown. The Greeks that stayed behind and didn't go to war were either too old or had families. All the illegals were rounded up by the immigration and given the alternative, join the army and become a citizen or go to jail for illegal entry. Greektown was filled with skasti (illegally absconded) Greek merchant sailors who jumped ship at some Pacific Coast port.

The life of a Greek sailor in those days meant nothing. A Greek ship owner wanting to turn over a quick profit usually bought a ship that was ready to come apart, put a good insurance on it, registered the ship under a Panamanian flag and waited for the ship to go down in a storm or blow the rivets off the main boilers under high steam pressure.

If the owner couldn't wait for the inevitabilities to take place, he would help the situation along by making a deal with a willing captain to scuttle at three hundred fathoms of ocean. Deep enough and far out enough so the crew, if lucky, could get back again. The most favoured place to scuttle was off the coast of South America. The captain's pay-off was a cargo he could sell quickly on the black market, a cargo of cigarettes inbound and guana bird droppings outbound.   

Every Greek had a story of how he got here, and every sailor a horror story. An able bodied seaman's pay was 10 dollars a month and it was held by the ship's owner till the ship tied up at its home port in Greece. This didn't stop the sailors from jumping ship in South American or preferably U.S ports. Ships would lose half of their crews on a 2 to 3 year cruise. Buenos Aires, Santiago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle were the jump off  points. On the beach would be Greek labor contractors waiting to put the broke sailors to work, with a third of the sailor's pay going into the contractor's pocket.

One of labour contractors, John B., considered himself a decent, fair Greek. "I find the poor devils, I take them home with me, I give them a bed to sleep in, a meal, and then I find them work." For the sailors and the illegals, the business of keeping the money began all over again.

"Where are they going to go?" K. told my father one day. "They're broke when they get here and the contractors keep them broke." So when the great nation of the United States said ‘Join the army and become legal’, it also meant ‘Join the army and get rid of the contractors’. Thousands of illegals joined throughout the United States.

"I pledge allegiance, yes sir!" A quick salute and thousands of young Greeks became G.I. Joe, and along with the illegals, the first generation Greeks born here in the United States joined up.

In Greektown, Mrs. M. had the first gold star in her window. Her youngest boy was lost on the cruiser Los Angeles. "I thought fate would take care of him on his ship," she told my mother after the Naval officer had come to her door one fine, foggy morning dressed in his black uniform, gold bands on his cuffs, his white cap with a gold braid glistening in the doorway on 339 T. street. He explained to her in perfect English, standing at attention in her doorway with a posture that only an officer can have, a military look that says ‘Be proud he died for his country’, and handed her a golden star to hang on her window; but the poor woman, H. said, could not understand him.  If he’d had tears in his eyes, she would have known immediately what his toneless words meant, but H. had to translate the cold English words that poured into her ears like hot molten lead. 

"Oh God," she cried. Grief, she told my mother one day, the kind that comes and never leaves. "I have been wearing black almost all my life and all of them have gone to the depths of the sea." Her brothers had drowned and a year later her father, Capetanios Spiros, in his own caique, 2 miles off the coast of Corfu. He went down in a raging mistral wind.

"My father, with 3 of my nephews, who were working on his caique as moutsoi (cabin boys, inexperienced sailors)… You would think that God…," she stopped, and made her sign of the Cross. "There is no use to raise the name of God and to blaspheme him, now that my boy's soul needs to enter Hades. Charon has taken him to the land of the dead, Hades. I swore when I got married that I would never marry a seaman. Someone had cursed my family, so I married a cook and my son became a sailor." Her pain shrieked from within her soul, the agony that comes when one realizes the horror of his life for a moment. One sees the absurdity of existence, life that hangs on a thread. Life as the Greek always says, is an illusion, and death is the permanent reality.

The wearing of the black is the color of mourning to the memory of the dead. The dead must be remembered. They were part of our lives now. They become part of our memories. They sit with us when we eat. They are there when we need them. The world of the dead can't be seen with the eyes. They can only be felt with the soul. To the memory of the dead women dress in black and mourn the dead.

The gold stars kept appearing on the windows of Greektown and the church was having a mnimosino (memorial service) every Sunday, in remembrance of the dead. Relatives were dying in Greece at the hands of the German occupation. Starvation, disease and war dead amounted to over 500,000. Dead misery struck every house in Greektown. There were no letters from Greece and no one knew if their families were alive or dead. Mothers, grandmothers, fathers, children, cousins, uncles, who was alive? No one knew for sure. One day there were hopes, and the next day grief, that all had died.

My mother would go to church daily and light the big 25 cent white candles in front of the icon of Saint Constantinos and Eleni. At home in her bedroom she had, on her ikonostasio (icon or prayer corner), the silver and gold icon of Saint Spyridon, the patron saint of Corfu. She lit a red oil dish in front of the saint and prayed, "Save us, Oh Holy Saint, from the barbarian hordes that have fallen on us."

The streets from Howard to Townsend were becoming a winos’ paradise. Soldiers, sailors, marines, dockhands from the China and India docks were spending their money on the Third Street dives. Mornings on Third Street, the smell of wine and urine, the smell of roasting lamb oozing up from ovens of the Greek restaurants, all of it mixed with the cold fog, the sound of children going to school, old men shuffling past laid-out drunks, push carts filled with oranges. Gus' fruit wagon filled with oranges, pulled by his old bay horse Johnny; saloons, Big Nick's Frisco Bar, Jimmie's place, The Phinika coffee house, the grand  restaurant Minerva with its blue and white front. A sailor missing his white hat passed out in front of Chris P.'s grocery store, the 15 street car clanking its way up Third Street.

This was the South of Market. This is the place Jack London called the slot. East West, from Third to Seventh Street. North South, Market Street to the China Basin, you were in Greek Town. There was once a Greektown just like there was a Chinatown. Up on Petrero Hill the Slovaks and bohunkers lived, Dagos' town up at North Beach, the Maltese in the Bayview, Paddy Hill at the Noe where the Irish lived…enclaves where English was the second spoken language.

The South of Market an area with old wooden two-and-three storey walk-ups that had survived the 1906 fire. Streets with names like Tehema, Lucy, Clara, Mina. Streets that once housed the Irish, the Germans and now you could hear Greek being spoken though the narrow streets along with the slurred English of the drunken street life.

War was bitter for the ones who fought it. For the ones that stayed behind - heaven rewarded them in the safety and pleasures of money - and what ever it could buy. All the bars and saloons in San Francisco were raking in the plunder of war. The city was filled with men going to war; they might never come back again and the only way to make yourself brave enough to do it was to find a woman and a bottle of booze.

Where they were going money, was of no concern. A drunken sailor blew his last dime on a glass of watered Rosé and the city provided what ever was necessary for its fighting men. At night one could see the Salvation army rescue gang descend upon the passed-out drunks and cart them off to the Harbor Light shelter on the Embarcadero, then turn them loose at daybreak. The shore patrol hauled the sailors back to their ships; soldiers went to the military police barracks at the Mission Bay freight yards where the Southern Pacific Railroad provided all the facilities for the troop movement and what was left on the street was reshuffled in the door ways by 9 PM.

Chew-tabakia was what the Greeks called the winos. On Howard Street the trademark and custom of winos in those days to chew tobacco and swallow the tobacco juice along with the help of a slug of cheap sneaky pete (homemade alcohol). This cranked them up to the level of a “2 bit glow”, the kind uptown people had. It was the magic elixir, that extra something to get them through the day, and by night time they had passed out dead to the world. Drawn by the smell of unwashed flesh and fermented grape juice, the flies crawled in and out of their gaping mouths while they dreamed of kingdoms and places they had once been. Muscadooloo Joe…a bottle of Muscatel in his coat pocket…and the month had 32 days in it, the year 1,000. What day was it? No one cared. Time was figured on the street by the bottle…how long it took to get it…how long it took to drink it. Nothing else took place, no other problem existed, no world other than the dream world made of fumes of wine.

It was a time in history when the sober world shuddered in the totality of the world war. As if everyone in his own way was trying to destroy that which he was capable of destroying ... the world like some wounded beast was rolling over on its side... a world frenzy that circled the globe like a cloud of doom with one thought in mind with one devoted purpose with one end in view and all the pieces fitted together so logically that everyone supported the destruction of mankind. 

The battles were becoming operatic productions larger and greater than life. The great actors of the time, like the actors of the ancient tragedies, replayed the war...and made themselves self sacrificing heroes for the maddening throngs standing in line ...waiting to enter the plush-carpeted dream palaces just as the Fox 20th Century on 10th and Market took the place of the ancient amphitheatre to recreate the original reproduction of the destruction of the world for the patrons on the big silver screen.

I remember its bigness…its beauty…its awfulness. I had to look at exaggeration backwards in front of a wall which never stood out, like the drabness of a gray concrete wall.

Everyone and everything was affected by the war of the 40's. Words with large meanings were used. The world was becoming familiar with bigness like at no other time in history.

Bigness, like every word that it touches, pushes itself beyond human understanding. Everything was Big. Men were recruited and drafted in the millions, tanks and planes were made in the thousands. More effort was called upon to feed bigness...things were made in days and destroyed in seconds.

The Americans were placed in a reminder mode…of their needed effort toward the great war. Food was plentiful but it was rationed to make one think that there is suffering in the world. Ration stamps were issued to remind one of the effort that war creates, the sacrifices and the needs that are ever present. Blue stamps, red stamps, everything you bought had a stamp value stuck to it. If you didn't have them you went without or dealt in the black market. If you were caught, you went to jail. Food…gas…shoes…coffee...had stamp values. The caramel colored Muscatel and all the wines that California could produce found their way into the war effort that was going on down at Third Street in San Francisco.

Before we went to sleep we would recite the prayer that every Greek child knows, "Oh God, I lay down to sleep and my weapons are laid beside me. Teach me to be brave and not to fear the death that approaches." 


*From the foreword to Sunday They’ll Make Me a Saint, a play by Demetrius K. Toteras:

“In the course of thirty-five years of involvement with international writers from many cultures and countries, no work has made a more lasting impact on me than Toteras’ Sunday They’ll Make Me a Saint. I first read The Saint in 1968, and it has never become dated. It had a profoundly liberating effect then, as it does today. The Saint is a study of confinement which takes us into strange worlds without signposts, worlds beyond reason and logic. The language is one of constant inventiveness and the writing is full of original imagery. I believe Toteras is one of the most important voices of the English-speaking Greek Diaspora. This includes those Greeks who “dispersed” overseas to participate in the cultural and economic development of colonies, to trade, or who were refugees from poverty and political upheaval. In Toteras’ case, he found himself in tough circumstances, a Greek-American who grew up amongst the poverty of African-Americans, who fought in the Korean War and was a prisoner-of-war in his teens. His language reflects this background. It has the direct vitality and oral immediacy of the street, but his mother-tongue and further study of pre-classical and classical Greek gives his work extraordinary dimensions and philosophical resonances. Toteras also inherited the Greeks’ natural propensity for theatre and drama, including the heroic vision of self and the acceptance of death as a heroic act rather than as an inevitable event. In a lonely cell Toteras creates a 'theatre of the mind'. As you read The Saint you may say, “What is going on here?” Read it as a dramatic poem. Read it as a study of confinement. Read it as theatre of the mind. Read it to yourself out loud… Once you have read it, the experience will mark you. Perhaps we all need to experience confinement, even without bars, in order to become truly creative, free and human. I invite you to lock yourself in Toteras’ prison cell and participate in the canonization of the Patron Saint of Criminals and Men of the Night.


Contents and Synopsis of Bitter Tears 

Bitter Tears, A Fictionalized Account of my Korean War Trauma
Demetrius K. Toteras ©2012

Table of Contents/Synopsis



1. The Bus Station...............................................................

2. The Georgia Hotel...........................................................

3. Yet It Was Only Last Summer.........................................

4. The World Shuddered......................................................

5. The Drunken King............................................................

6. OXI....................................................................................

7. Blasphemy......................................................................

8. Enlistment......................................................................

9. I Made My Mama Cry.......................................................

10. Fort Ord.........................................................................

11. Babs..............................................................................

12. The Gambler..................................................................

13. The Rule Book...............................................................

14. From Camp Stoneman to the MATS Patrick...................

15. Saipan............................................................................

16. The Golden Days of Occupation....................................

17. On the Road to Pusan.....................................................

18. Taejon............................................................................

19. The Hills of Osan............................................................

20. The Battle of Osan..........................................................

21. The Battle of Pyonteak Bridge.......................................

22. Retreat...........................................................................

23. Captured........................................................................

24. Friends in a Foreign Land..............................................

25. The Burning of Taejon..................................................

26. Kill................................................................................

27. Epilogue........................................................................

From The Nut Festival

"Let me just stop here for a moment," I told Jimbo,
   "Can the meaning of it all be only to amuse and be amused?
     Can't there be more in life than just the role
     of an animated occurrence of events?"

"I wrote the passages the way they came to me while I was in prison looking at the stone walls around me, looking at the same faces that crossed my path day in and day out, long drawn faces filled with the fading hate that men hold onto in order to live...

Now is this possible to understand? Understand the nothingness of death?"

See also, the following posting: D. K. Toteras, A Twenty-Year-Old Letter on the Meaning of Hellenism and On Being a Corfiot Mandoukiotis

Paxos and Hydrocarbon Deposits, Past Oil Exploration and Research; Environmental Impact; The Ionian Sea Block 2; Corfu

Edward Lear's Paxos

With recent talk of renewed oil/ hydrocarbons exploration in the Ionian Sea and in Epirus, I am reminded of the distress and anxiety caused to many residents of the island of Paxos (Paxoi) thirty or forty years ago.

As someone who contemplated the possibility of building on the island in those days, all my planning was halted when AGIP began thumping the ground for seismic soundings; they made the very earth tremble all around the beautiful island, which I had come to care for deeply.

Bogdanatika is a village not far from Gaios, the main port of Paxos. Building permission was obtained back then for the construction of a small house in the village of Bogdanatika, but AGIP 's plans to explore and to drill for oil (and to use the nearby football pitch for its base camp), put paid to any such romantic and nature-loving ideas.

I did not share the optimism expressed by Sotiris Kostopoulos in 1984:

I could agree with the first two sentences above:

But even the mere threat of such disruptive and destructive exploration had an environmental spite of promises about modern technologies.

Some shocking revelations here:

Oil pioneer Michael Johnson says Greece has plenty of oil, too, Neo Magazine, May 1, 2016

Some online background research (for specialists, I am unsure how relevant these papers may be):


"A spectacular slump is observed in the Alpine sediments of the Antipaxos Island (Pre-Apulian zone, Western Greece). It can be followed in a zone of about 2000 m, in the eastern coast of the island. The slumped unit exposure length extends for more than 200 m, and is directly overlain and underlain by undeformed strata. The slump has an average thickness of 15 m and is composed, as the surrounding undeformed units, of calcareous mudstones and fine-grained calcareous sandstones. Synsedimentary folds that very often are transformed to contorted beds affect slump sediments. Fold and contorted bed axes present a NNW-SSE direction, coinciding with the general direction of the Pre-Apulian zone. Slump and overlain/underlain undeformed sediments originate from the flux of clastic mainly pelagic/neritic biogenic particles, emanating from turbidity currents. More than 50 samples have been collected and analyzed for calcareous nannofossil content. All samples were featured by the contemporaneous presence of abundant nannofossil flora implying the biostratigraphic correlation with the NP23 nannofossil biozone. The biostratigraphic assignment places the slump and the surrounding sediments to the Early Oligocene. As the Pre-Apulian zone corresponds to the slope between the Apulian Platform and the Ionian Basin, the presence of the slump is directly related to the same age sloping and tectonic mobility of this domain. The Antipaxos turbidites sediments are well integrated to the flysch deposition of the external Hellenide foreland basin system".

CROP PROJECT (transcrustal seismic exploration of the Mediterranean and Italy, including Paxos, pages 545-547)

Intended readership:Geoscientists, petroleum explorers, geothermal explorers, natural resources exploiters, soil engineers, soil safety and territorial planning dealers.

CROP Project: Deep Seismic Exploration of the Central Mediterranean and Italy, edited by I.R. Finetti,+AGIP&source=bl&ots=BNqajpH-h6&sig=T3QPHY2jsvSkIFCK02GZpRF2hBs&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiQjMSN_P7XAhUJK8AKHUx-CLEQ6AEIUTAJ#v=onepage&q=Paxos%2C%20AGIP&f=false

EXPLORATION: New oil source rocks cut in Greek Ionian basin (Oil and Gas Journal, 2/12/ 1996)
Vassilis Karakitsios University of Athens Athens, Nickos Rigakis Public Petroleum Corp. Athens

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller, BBC Radio 3; Death of a Rock Star, Buddy Holly. BBC 4

Only 17 days left to listen to Death of a Salesman on BBC Radio iPlayer

"David Suchet, Zoë Wanamaker and director Howard Davies, who all won awards for the sell-out production of Arthur Miller's All My Sons in the West End in 2010, reunite to create a new production for Radio 3 of Miller's 1949 classic about the American dream and his second big Broadway success".

Also, on BBC TV iPlayer,  Buddy Holly: Rave On

29 days left

"It was an all-too-brief career that lasted barely 18 months from That'll Be The Day topping the Billboard charts to the plane crash in February 1959 in Iowa that took Holly's life".

Charles II: Art & Power; Charles I: King and Collector

From BBC, Charles II, Art and Power, a review by Will Gompertz

Royal Collection Trust

The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace

Friday, 8 Dec 2017 - Sunday, 13 May 2018

"After over a decade of austere Cromwellian rule, the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 led to a resurgence of the arts in England. The court of Charles II became the centre for the patronage of leading artists and the collecting of great works of art, which served not only as decoration for the royal apartments but also as a means of glorifying the restored monarchy and reinforcing the position of Charles II as the rightful king".

Charles I: King and Collector

The Royal Academy of Arts

27 January — 15 April 2018

Friday, 8 December 2017

Corfou, from The Ionian Islands, Richard Monckton Milnes

Edward Lear, Analipsis

A poem by Richard Monckton Milnes, 1st Baron Houghton of Great Houghton (1809-1885):

Memorials of a Tour in Some Parts of Greece, Chiefly Poetical - published Dec 31, 1834

Corfou, from The Ionian Islands

Thou pleasant Island, whose rich garden-shores
Have had a long-lived fame of loveliness,
Recorded in the historic song, that framed
The unknown Poet of an unknown time,
Illustrating his native Ithaca,
And all her bright society of isles,-
Most pleasant land! To us, who journeying come
From the far west, and fall upon thy charms,
Our earliest welcome to Ionian seas,
Thou art a wonder and a deep delight,
Thy usual habitants can never know.
Thou art a portal, whence the Orient,
The long-desired, long-dreamt-of, Orient,
Opens upon us, with its stranger forms,
Outlines immense and gleaming distances,
And all the circumstance of faery-land.
Not only with a present happiness,
But taking from anticipated joys
An added sense of actual bliss, we stand
Upon thy cliffs, or tread the slopes that leave
No interval of shingle, rock, or sand,
Between their verdure and the Ocean's brow,-
Whose olive-groves (unlike the darkling growth,
That earns on western shores the traveller's scorn)
Can wear the grey that on their foliage lies,
As but the natural hoar of lengthened days,-
Making, with their thick-bossed and fissured trunks,
Bases far-spread and branches serpentine,
Sylvan cathedrals, such as in old times
Gave the first life to Gothic art, and led
Imagination so sublime a way.
Then forth advancing, to our novice eyes
How beautiful appears the concourse clad
In that which, of all garbs, may best befit
The grace and dignity of manly form:
The bright-red open vest, falling upon
The white thick-folded kirtle, and low cap
Above the high-shorn brow.
                                           Nor less than these,
With earnest joy, and not injurious pride,
We recognise of Britain and her force
The wonted ensigns and far-known array;
And feel how now the everlasting Sea,
Leaving his old and once imperious Spouse,
To faint, in all the beauty of her tears,
On the dank footsteps of a mouldering throne,
Has taken to himself another mate,
Whom his uxorious passion has endowed,
Not only with her antique properties,
But with all other gifts and privilege,
Within the circle of his regal hand.
Now forward,-forward on a beaming path,
But be each step as fair as hope has feigned it,
For me, the memory of the little while,
That here I rested happily, within
The close-drawn pale of English sympathies,
Will bear the fruit of many an after-thought,
Bright in the dubious track of after-years.

Find also on Bartleby

Dorchester, Dorset: Beneath the Market and the Car Park; Archaeological Evaluation Digs

From BBC News - 'No significant archaeology' at Dorchester Roman site

Archaeological Evaluation at Fairfield

Zagori, Greece: Say NO to Oil Exploration and Extraction! Hydrocarbon Deposits and Environmental Protection/Impact; The "Ioannina" Block




"In March 2017, Energean agreed to farm-out to Repsol a 60 per cent working interest in the Ioannina block, Western Greece. Repsol will be the Operator and plans to conduct a 2D seismic survey of the block in 2017/2018" (Energean Oil and Gas)

"The investment program during the 7-year exploration period is €32 million, including the acquisition of a Full Tensor Gravity Gradiometry survey (FTG), 2D seismic data, 
and the drilling of 2 wells".

Maps (slow loading)

Detailed history of Oil Exploration in Western Greece (English)

Greek Text

The Greek Government's Decision - Έγκριση Στρατηγικής Μελέτης Περιβαλλοντικών Επιπτώσεων (ΣΜΠΕ) για το πρόγραμμα έρευνας και εκμετάλλευσης υδρογονανθράκων στην περιοχή «Ιωάννινα» της Περιφέρειας Ηπείρου.

"Σήμερα 28-9-2017 κατατέθηκαν επίσημα στην ΕΔΕΥ ΑΕ τα απαιτούμενα δικαιολογητικά από τις εταιρείες Energean Oil & Gas και Repsol Exploracion SA, για τη μεταβίβαση του ποσοστού 60% της πρώτης στη δεύτερη, σχετικά με τη συμμετοχή τους στη Σύμβαση Μίσθωσης της περιοχής παραχώρησης «Ιωάννινα». Η μεγάλη Ισπανική εταιρεία που είναι ιδιαίτερα γνωστή στον πετρελαϊκό χώρο, αναλαμβάνει με την ολοκλήρωση της διαδικασίας αυτής και ως κάτοχος πλέον του 60% και ως Εντολοδόχος την εν λόγω παραχώρηση με σκοπό την έρευνα και εκμετάλλευση υδρογονανθράκων στη χερσαία περιοχή των Ιωαννίνων,  haεφαρμόζοντας ένα απαιτητικό πρόγραμμα σεισμικών ερευνών".

It's vital that detailed and understandable Environmental Impact Assessments are made publicly available for careful scrutiny, and that there is clarification as to whether the fracking extraction method is to be utilised in any area of the block.

A good friend has just written, confirming the local inhabitants' worst fears: "You can't exploit oil from a mountainous region. Epirus sits on top of a shale field. Fracking is the only means to exploit hydrocarbons from a shale field".

From DW, 2015

Concerns and Stark Choices

Vassilis Karakitsios University of Athens Athens, Nickos Rigakis Public Petroleum Corp. Athens

Oil pioneer Michael Johnson says Greece has plenty of oil, too, Neo Magazine, May I, 2016

Edward Lear, Zagori, 1860; No Fracking in the Zagori!

Zagori, Yale Centre for British Art

No Fracking in the Zagori!

Protecting and defending the mountains and soil of Zagori

Brexit Breakthrough, Juncker-May Press Conference; Historic Agreement; Sufficient Progress; Watch Video; Read Joint Report

Watched the Juncker-May press conference, and Q and A, live this morning. Watch full video here

"The UK and the EU have reached a historic agreement paving the way for Brexit talks, that have been all but deadlocked for several weeks,, to move on to trade and future relations next year".

Good vibes for a change!

Read the Joint Report:


The FT notes: "Britain did pledge to indefinitely pay “due regard” to relevant European court rulings on the citizen rights enshrined in the treaty. For at least 8 years, British courts can also refer questions over the EU law to Luxembourg for rulings. After that cut-off date, courts would still respect the accumulated case law in this area".

Leaked document reveals EU citizens living in Britain after Brexit will be able to have family members join them, MailOnline

The UK is making concessions to the EU on European citizens' rights, leaked document shows, Business Insider

Theresa May’s Brexit breakfast breakthrough, The Economist
The sort of analysis I prefer not to read before the holidays:

May’s divorce deal doesn’t add up, Politico

This Brexit deal is no 'breakthrough'. It is a complete capitulation, Charles Moore, Telegraph (subscribe for full article) 

Some dense text on Citizen's Rights from the Joint Report (see original report and clearer layout above):

Citizens' rights 6. The overall objective of the Withdrawal Agreement with respect to citizens' rights is to provide reciprocal protection for Union and UK citizens, to enable the effective exercise of rights derived from Union law and based on past life choices, where those citizens have exercised free movement rights by the specified date. 7. To date, both Parties have reached a common understanding on the following.1 8. The specified date should be the time of the UK's withdrawal. 1 This common understanding is based on a more detailed consensus between the Parties, as expressed in the latest joint technical note that summarises the UK and EU positions. Page 2 of 15 9. The use of Union law concepts in the citizens’ rights Part of the Withdrawal Agreement is to be interpreted in line with the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) by the specified date; 10. Union citizens who in accordance with Union law legally reside in the UK, and UK nationals who in accordance with Union law legally reside in an EU27 Member State by the specified date, as well as their family members as defined by Directive 2004/38/EC who are legally resident in the host State by the specified date, fall within the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement (for personal scope related to frontier workers, see paragraph 15, and for social security, see paragraph 28); 11. Within the scope of application of this Part of the Withdrawal Agreement and without prejudice to any special provisions therein, any discrimination on grounds of nationality will be prohibited in the host State and the State of work in respect of Union citizens and UK nationals, and their respective family members covered by the Withdrawal Agreement; 12. Irrespective of their nationality, the following categories of family members who were not residing in the host State on the specified date will be entitled to join a Union citizen or UK national right holder after the specified date for the life time of the right holder, on the same conditions as under current Union law: a. all family members as referred to in Article 2 of Directive 2004/38/EC, provided they were related to the right holder on the specified date and they continue to be so related at the point they wish to join the right holder; and b. children born, or legally adopted, after the specified date, whether inside or outside the host State, where: i. the child is born to, or legally adopted by, parents who are both protected by the Withdrawal Agreement or where one parent is protected by the Withdrawal Agreement and the other is a national of the host State; or ii. the child is born to, or legally adopted by, a parent who is protected by the Withdrawal Agreement and who has sole or joint custody of the child under the applicable family law of an EU27 Member State or the UK and without prejudging the normal operation of that law, in particular as regards the best interests of the child; 13. The UK and EU27 Member States will facilitate entry and residence of partners in a durable relationship (Article 3(2)(b) of Directive 2004/38/EC) after the UK’s withdrawal in accordance with national legislation if the partners did not reside in the host state on the specified date, the relationship existed and was durable on the specified date and continues to exist at the point they wish to join the right holder; 14. The right to be joined by family members not covered by paragraphs 12 and 13 after the specified date will be subject to national law; 15. Those who on the specified date are working as frontier workers, as defined under Union law, fall within the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement 16. The UK and EU27 Member States can require persons concerned to apply to obtain a status conferring the rights of residence as provided for by the Withdrawal Agreement and be issued with a residence document attesting to the existence of that right. Where the host State requires persons concerned to apply for a status, no status is obtained if no successful application is made, subject to paragraph 17e. The UK and EU27 Member States can also continue with the present system under which entitlement of rights under the Withdrawal Agreement may be attested by any other means of proof than a residence document; 17. Administrative procedures for applications for status will be transparent, smooth and streamlined,2 in particular: a. The Withdrawal Agreement will specify that the host State cannot require anything more than is strictly necessary and proportionate to determine whether the criteria have been met. The Withdrawal Agreement will contain provisions that follow a similar approach to the provisions on evidential requirements in Directive 2004/38; b. The host State will avoid any unnecessary administrative burdens; c. Application forms will be short, simple, user friendly and adjusted to the context of the Withdrawal Agreement. The host State will work with the applicants to help them prove their eligibility under the Withdrawal Agreement and to avoid any errors or omissions that may impact on the application decision. Competent authorities will give applicants the opportunity to furnish supplementary evidence or remedy any deficiencies where it appears a simple omission has taken place. A principle of evidential flexibility will apply, enabling competent authorities to exercise discretion in favour of the applicant where appropriate; d. A proportionate approach will be taken to those who miss the deadline for application where there is a good reason. Applications made by families at the same time will be considered together; and e. Where an application is required to obtain status, adequate time of at least two years will be allowed to persons within the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement to submit their applications. During this time period, they will enjoy the rights conferred by the Withdrawal Agreement. Residence documents under the Withdrawal Agreement will be issued free of charge or for a charge not exceeding that imposed on nationals for the issuing of similar documents; 18. Pending a final decision by the competent authorities on any application made for status under the Withdrawal Agreement, as well as a final judgment handed down in case of judicial redress sought against any rejection of such application, the citizens' rights Part of the Withdrawal Agreement will apply to the applicant. The host State may remove applicants who submitted fraudulent or abusive applications from the territory under the conditions set out in Directive 2004/38/EC, in particular Articles 31 and 35, even before a final judgment has been handed down in case of judicial redress sought against any rejection of such application; Decisions taken under the procedure for obtaining status under the Withdrawal Agreement will be made in accordance with the objective criteria established in the Withdrawal Agreement (i.e. no discretion, unless in favour of the applicant). There will be safeguards in the Withdrawal Agreement for a fair procedure, and decisions will be subject to the redress mechanisms and judicial controls provided in Directive 2004/38/EC; 20. The conditions for acquiring the right of residence under the Withdrawal Agreement are those set out in Articles 6 and 7 of Directive 2004/38/EC, including the right to change status; 21. The conditions for acquiring the right of permanent residence under the Withdrawal Agreement are those set out in Articles 16, 17 and 18 of Directive 2004/38/EC, with periods of lawful residence prior to the specified date included in the calculation of the conditions set out in Articles 16 and 17 of Directive 2004/38/EC; 22. The UK and EU27 Member States can apply more favourable national provisions in accordance with Article 37 of Directive 2004/38/EC; 23. In order to obtain status under the Withdrawal Agreement by application, those already holding a permanent residence document issued under Union law3 at the specified date will have that document converted into the new document free of charge, subject only to verification of identity, a criminality and security check and confirmation of ongoing residence; 24. Systematic criminality and security checks can – in the specific context of acquiring status under the Withdrawal Agreement – be carried out on all applicants for status under the Agreement and applicants can be asked to declare criminality. Any consequences arising from such checks and declarations shall be subject to the procedures in paragraphs 17 to 19; Persons who acquired the permanent residence rights in the host State under the Withdrawal Agreement can be absent from its territory for a period not exceeding five consecutive years without losing their residence right under the Withdrawal Agreement; 26. Any restrictions on grounds of public policy or security related to conduct prior to the specified date of persons covered by the Withdrawal Agreement will be in accordance with Chapter VI of Directive 2004/38/EC; 27. Any restrictions on grounds of public policy or security related to conduct after the specified date will be in accordance with national law; 28. Social security coordination rules set out in Regulations (EC) No 883/2004 and (EC) No 987/2009 will apply. Social security coordination rules will cover Union citizens who on the specified date are or have been subject to UK legislation and UK nationals who are or have been subject to the legislation of an EU27 Member State, and EU27 and UK nationals within the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement by virtue of residence. Those rules will also apply, for the purposes of aggregation of periods of social security insurance, to Union and UK citizens having worked or resided in the UK or in an EU27 Member State in the past; 29. Rules for healthcare, including the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme, will follow Regulation (EC) No 883/2004. Persons whose competent state is the UK and are in the EU27 on the specified date (and vice versa) – whether on a temporary stay or resident – continue to be eligible for healthcare reimbursement, including under the EHIC scheme, as long as that stay, residence or treatment continues; 30. For rights and obligations set out in Regulations (EC) No 883/2004 and (EC) No 987/2009 on the coordination of social security systems, a mechanism will be established to decide jointly on the incorporation of future amendments to those Regulations in the Withdrawal Agreement; 31. Equal treatment will apply within the limits of Articles 18, 45 and 49 TFEU, Article 24 of Directive 2004/38/EC and Regulation (EU) No 492/2011 including rights of workers, self-employed, students and economically inactive citizens with respect to social security, social assistance, health care, employment, self-employment and setting up and managing an undertaking, education (including higher education) and training, social and tax advantages; 32. Decisions on recognition of qualifications granted to persons covered by the scope of the Withdrawal Agreement before the specified date in the host State and, for frontier workers, the State of work (either the UK or an EU27 Member State) under Title III of Directive 2005/36/EC (recognition of professional qualifications where the person concerned was exercising the freedom of establishment), Article 10 of Directive 98/5/EC (lawyers who gained admission to the host State profession and are allowed to practise under the host State title alongside their home State title) and Article 14 of Directive 2006/43/EC (approved statutory auditors) will be grandfathered. Recognition procedures under these Directives that are ongoing on the specified date, in respect of the persons covered, will be completed under Union law and will be grandfathered.

Legal effects of the citizens' rights Part 33. It is of paramount importance to both Parties to give as much certainty as possible to UK citizens living in the EU and EU citizens living in the UK about their future rights. The Parties have therefore reached agreement on the following specific set of arrangements to implement and enforce the citizens’ rights Part of the agreement. 34. Both Parties agree that the Withdrawal Agreement should provide for the legal effects of the citizens' rights Part both in the UK and in the Union. UK domestic legislation should also be enacted to this effect. 35. The provision in the Agreement should enable citizens to rely directly on their rights as set out in the citizens' rights Part of the Agreement and should specify that inconsistent or incompatible rules and provisions will be disapplied.

The UK Government will bring forward a Bill, the Withdrawal Agreement & Implementation Bill, specifically to implement the Agreement. This Bill will make express reference to the Agreement and will fully incorporate the citizens' rights Part into UK law. Once this Bill has been adopted, the provisions of the citizens' rights Part will have effect in primary legislation and will prevail over inconsistent or incompatible legislation, unless Parliament expressly repeals this Act in future. The Withdrawal Agreement will be binding upon the institutions of the Union and on its Member States from its entry into force pursuant to Article 216(2) TFEU. Consistent interpretation of the citizens' rights Part 37. The Agreement establishes rights for both UK citizens living in the EU and EU citizens in the UK. To protect those rights and give citizens legal certainty, a consistent interpretation and application of the citizens' rights Part is in the interest of both Parties to the Agreement and therefore appropriate mechanisms should be established to ensure this. 38. This Part of the Agreement establishes rights for citizens following on from those established in Union law during the UK’s membership of the European Union; the CJEU is the ultimate arbiter of the interpretation of Union law. In the context of the application or interpretation of those rights, UK courts shall therefore have due regard to relevant decisions of the CJEU after the specified date4 . The Agreement should also establish a mechanism enabling UK courts or tribunals to decide, having had due regard to whether relevant case-law exists, to ask the CJEU questions of interpretation of those rights where they consider that a CJEU ruling on the question is necessary for the UK court or tribunal to be able to give judgment in a case before it. This mechanism should be available for UK courts or tribunals for litigation brought within 8 years from the date of application of the citizens' rights Part

Consistent interpretation of the citizens' rights Part should further be supported and facilitated by an exchange of case law between the courts and regular judicial dialogue. In the same vein, it is envisaged to give the UK Government and the European Commission the right to intervene in relevant cases before the CJEU and before UK courts and tribunals respectively. 40. The implementation and application of the citizens' rights Part will be monitored in the Union by the Commission acting in conformity with the Union Treaties. In the UK, this role will be fulfilled by an independent national authority; its scope and functions, including its role in acting on citizens' complaints, will be discussed between the parties in the next phase of the negotiations and reflected in the Withdrawal Agreement. There should be regular exchange of information between the UK Government and the Commission. 41. The approach agreed in the context of the citizens' rights Part of the Withdrawal Agreement reflects both Parties’ desire to give those citizens certainty. It in no way prejudges discussions on other elements of the Withdrawal Agreement, including governance, other separation issues or any possible transitional arrangements, nor discussions on the future relationship.

Greece and Turkey. Bilateral Discussions

Video, concerning the Treaty of Lausanne and bilateral issues (Pavlopoulos/ Erdogan)

Tsipras-Erdogan Press Conference, Greek Reporter

From The Greek Crisis, Controversy over Bilateral Disputes

Some Greek satirical humour on Facebook: ΜΙΛΑΤΕ ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ γιατί νυστάζω,  Spyros Kanaliotis:

The EU sues the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland

EU sues Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland over low refugee intake, Deutsche Welle

"The European Commission is suing eastern member states for failing to fulfill their legal obligations in accepting a share of asylum seekers. The defendants claim that the EU is interfering with their sovereignty".

Would you support a United States of Europe? Euronews

"Schulz, former leader of the European Parliament, wants to achieve a United States of Europe by 2025".

@MartinSchulz "I want a new constitutional treaty to establish the United States of Europe. A Europe that is no threat to its member states, but a beneficial addition". Tweet, December 7

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Bermuda and Adolph Treidler's Posters

"Our remoteness from the rest of the world is a wholesome and helpful influence…In Bermuda the law is the law … once on the statute books the act is enforced and obeyed. This goes for whites and blacks of all conditions and classes. Hence the slick mentality is in the wrong place in Bermuda."

Bermuda: published by the Bermuda Trade Development Board, 1936 (with watercolour illustrations by Adolph Treidler).

Two Watercolours

Rocks Near Bailey's Bay

Old Buttery at Somerset