21/10/2014

Notes from the Secular Conference 2014 in London

The Secular Conference is an annual event held in London that attracts activists, writers, scientists, politicians, and all sorts of brave people that 'defend secularism, including those of faith and none'[1].
With a vast majority of women and POC, both in the panels and the audience, this year's event was a special kind of awesome. I encourage you to go through the list of speakers, and support/follow/network with them individually as they are an eclectic bunch of precious allies.

Highlights of the weekend include:

 The closing speech of Iranian activist, ex-Muslim, and fierce leader Maryam Namazie calling for the adoption of the Manifesto for Secularism, which I have endorsed as an individual, but also on behalf of the Humanist Union of Greece (member of the Secretariat), and the Atheist Union of Greece (founding member). 
I invite you to join, sign, and share.

 All of the speakers. Cannot be stressed enough: look them up, support their projects.

 FEMEN Queen Inna Shevchenko, the brave and eloquent human rights lawyer Maha Kamal, the always charming Prof Richard Dawkins& myself getting together to form an impromptu Vaginal Coalition Against Bigotry
Va.C.A.B., photo ©Daniel Adamson
A few of the photos I took during the conference:

More photos here.
Join the discussion on twitter using #SecularConf2014.

Curious about what secularists are facing in Greece?
Read this concise report on Theocracy in Greece put together by the Atheist Union of Greece: 

And sign HUG's petition to abolish the Greek anti-blasphemy laws here:
https://www.change.org/p/greek-parliament-free-geron-pastitsios-and-abolish-greek-anti-blasphemy-laws 

27/07/2014

Aspects of rape culture | Danaë: well-played, Gustav, and the other boys

'[...] Danaë's rape scene is also a popular theme: imprisoned in a tower of bronze (strong) by her mortal father she gets raped by Zeus, this time turned into golden (stronger!) rain. Nothing here condemns, or even suggests rape. Even in theory, one would find it hard to conceive any representation of rape that would so eye-popping-ly erase rape compared to turning the rapist into a beautiful golden stream that runs between the legs of a naked, beauteous, young woman who is clearly 'aroused'i. Apart from a woman locked inside by one man, and invaded by another, she might also be the archetypical, quintessential 'not-if-she-enjoyed-it' go-to reference, and she is joined there by descendant filmic variations like Gone With The Wind's (Victor Fleming, USA, 1939) Scarlett (Vivien Leigh), Lust, Caution's (Se, jie) (Ang Lee, USA, Chine, Taiwan, 2007) Wong Chia Chi (Wei Tang); most controversially met in Straw Dogs (Sam Peckinpah, USA, UK, 1971); most un-noticeably in Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, USA, Hong Kong, UK, 1982), and Secretary (Steven Shainberg, USA, 2002), and even appears as a trope twice in The Rocky Horror Picture Show (Jim Sharman, UK, USA, 1975). Arguably the most sensual painterly version of this theme, Gustav Klimt's 1907 symbolist painting, is sold in gigantic prints by the hundreds in IKEA, purchased by unsuspecting admirers—maybe paid for in two euro coins (that feature Europa, another intensely spectacularised rape story)! 
This is truly extraordinary; well-played, Gustav, and the other boysii.[...]'



--Eliza Goroya, (part of my research for UCL)



iWord found in popular culture digester par excellence, wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dana%C3%AB_(Klimt_painting)

iiCorreggio, Rembrandt and Titian are a few examples.   

19/07/2014

Aspects of rape culture | Dogville: We were to meet in freedom

'I've chosen, Grace. I've chosen you...Tonight we free ourselves of Dogville!'i he says, as he begins to thrust his body on top of her. Grace (Nicole Kidman) seems motherly, comforting, but quietly undeterred in her position; she speaks quietly, but her words are sonorous when she womansplains[sic]ii that '[…]it would be so beautiful, but, from the point of view of our love, so completely wrong'. Being consent-illiterate, and having ignored her non-verbal cues thus far (she doesn't kiss back, does not react to his touch), he is now forced to see what she is saying. It cannot be ignored:
'We were to meet in freedom', she concludes. And he, reluctantly, stops.
So, hey, freedom is somewhere and is not there. It is a place where people meet, and somewhere her in particular and Tom 'were to meet'. Lovers do not meet in unfree places: rapists and victims do. Not only does she theorise freedom as a place that is not there, and that is un-Dogville-like, but she also suggests an incompatibility of being able to give consent within unequal power dynamics—within places that anatomise 'intimidation, force, and predetermined gender roles—the tools of rape'iii as 'established by societal norms before rape happensiv'.
[...]

iiAlluding to, and playfully reversing, the term 'mansplaining' coined by Anna Robinson to describe what San Francisco author Rebecca Solnit was describing in a blog post titled "Men Explain Things to Me." http://www.nationinstitute.org/blog/nationbooks/3059/the_art_of_mansplaining.
iiiFeldman, The Subject of Rape, p. 18.

ivIbid.

03/02/2014

The situation in Ukraine from a human rights' activist perspective: Eliza Goroya's speech in the Ukrainian Parliament, Kyiv, 03/02/14

Ukrainian Parliament, Kyiv, 03/02/14in the presence of former Presidents of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko and Leonid Kravchuk.



My name is Eliza Goroya and I am a member of the Greek Helsinki Monitor.

I was invited here today to provide some insight as a Greek human-rights and anti-Nazi campaigner.

But how is the Greek struggle relevant to the Ukrainian one?
Well, we both have many angry people. And also a macho soccer culture to facilitate all this anger.
People feel indignant because they have lost their trust in the political system—and for good reasons. Both Greeks and Ukrainians have  also lost their trust in the unobstructed administration of justice and the legislation process.Both countries are facing a financial crisis and citizens feel like their country is 'being taken away from them' when the respective governments have to chose bailout options and, therefore, negotiate external influence. This naturally triggers issues of national identity, independence, patriotism and –to an extremist minority—radical nationalism. The state's first reflex should be to protect the vulnerable minorities that will be targeted by this extremist reaction to austerity, and to broaden and welcome the dialogue—rather than silencing these tendencies—without, of course, at the same time tolerating hate speech.
Her Queerness in the Parliament
But human rights' active protection—what is essentially the way the state can protect its minorities —is constantly disregarded in both countries.
On that note, I would like to congratulate Ukraine on succeeding to lose every single case out of 211 at the European Court of Human Rights—not surprisingly, you'll find yourselves in the company of Greece in this one too.
Meanwhile, all around the world we see a vibrant human rights movement. Sadly both Ukraine and Greece are still struggling to catch up with their more tolerant and progressive counterparts.
We are asked whether we want to keep clinging towards that more conservative, divisional past or listen to the global pulse towards inclusiveness.
Regarding extremism in Ukraine, I must admit that although we must be concerned about the rise of radicalism, nazism doens't seem to be the main problem here. And it doesn't seem that it is an anti-nazi strategy that will soothe the situation—this would only build up the tension as it would conveniently hijack all the movement for its tiny minority extremist part. It would even legitimize that small portion of extremists and it would lead to a direction of divisions and disorientation.
We should answer to radicalism with even more democracy and provisions for the vulnerable.
It is a passionate, never-sleeping, never hesitant, all-inclusive rhetoric that should take over.
It is our voices and the words we use—the humanity our words spread that build the cohesion and the diversity of the civil society.

Regarding the recent legislative actions:
The Ukrainian anti-protest laws were, admittedly, a rushed move to regulate protests—but also a move to restrict the freedom of expression, the freedom of the citizens to criticise the government; and were also violating the legal legislative procedure.
I shall not dwell on this, as these laws have been now correctly appealed and we salute the corrective gesture.
Most importantly, regarding the new amnesty-related law that will be discussed here, in the Ukrainian parliament, on Wednesday, and suggests to offer amnesty for protesters that have been arrested during anti-government protests only if protesters would leave the streets and end their occupation of government buildings: I will now support that it is not a solution.
Our counterpart, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, informs us that “[...]w
hereas international and domestic law alike clearly affirm the universally recognised principle of individual liability: one can be held liable for his own conduct, collective responsibility is outlawed; this Law in fact establishes collective responsibility, as release of certain individuals is made conditional on acts or abstention of others. Not only does the law run counter to the fundamental rules of international, constitutional, and criminal law; we state that its adoption violated a number of the Parliamentary rules of procedure. It cannot therefore be regarded as a legitimate resolution of the present social and political crisis. [...] We call upon the President of Ukraine to not be an accessory to the Article 147 offence and to not sign the Law On Eliminating negative consequences and preventing the prosecution and punishment of persons as respects the events taking place in the course of peaceful assemblies.
We are convinced that unconditional release of all those detained in the course of the protests, prohibition for the police to make arrests of protesters at hospitals, a ban on violence committed by the police and protesters, as well as security of the protesters against the aggressive opponents, a.k.a. ‘titushki’ is a prerequisite for negotiating any further decisions seeking a settlement of the social and political crisis."

President Yanukovych, members of the opposition and every one else that has played a part in the current situation:
You are standing in front of your legacy. Forming it; right now.
Admittedly, President Yanukovych has, unfortunately, missed his opportunity to be remembered as a 'Lech Walesa'. And we will all agree that he is no 'Nelson Mandela' either. 
But he—and the opposition leaders if they cooperate—can be remembered as the politicians that, within their privilege, they overcame personal ambition, political and economic gain, and heard to what the people are demanding: and people—more than Ukrainians being pro-Europe or pro-Russia, Ukrainians, are Pro-UKRAINE—they want to have a voice, they are calling for a democratic reform. And that might spare Ukraine from further bloodshed and even a, much-feared, civil war. 
 The ultras invite people to organise themselves “not against Russia, not pro-Europe, but for Kyivans, for our city!”. Democratic ideas as such will be hijacked by extremists if they are not brought back into mainstream politics. Therefore, a referendum on EU relations, the creation of a broad coalition government, a shift from a presidential to a parliamentary system could be possible solutions.

Yes, it is clear: Ukraine is a battlefield of influences—Kremlin, Brussels, Beijing.
In order to battle nationalism, wouldn't it be wise to allow—by supporting an enhanced democracy—the most important influence on Ukraine to be the one Ukrainians have on their country's future? That would directly tackle the radicalism that is fuelled by people's sense of having their countries being taken away of them—them not having a voice, nor power, over their own country.
Not only you must allow the citizens to criticise the government—it should be actively encouraged and both the government and the opposition should pay close attention.

This speech has been not only a call towards welcoming critique but also a sample of what that critique might sound like.

I urge you to encourage citizens to voice their views and feel they are being heard. Let citizens not be afraid of the police. Let this foreigner queer activist not be afraid of what might happen to her if she speaks her mind but to feel, rather, that she has contributed her part in an ongoing constructive critique towards the much-needed democratic reform of Ukraine and of, why not, Greece too. A state's first reflex against the rise of extremism should be to protect the targets: the Jewish community, people of colour, roma, people with disabilities, mentally-ill, hiv-positive and aids patients, ethnic minorities, immigrants, the gays. lesbians, bisexuals, trans-sexual/trans-gendered and all others that urgently need this support.
Thank you










04/01/2014

Η ψευδαίσθηση της μίας Εαυτής και η ρευστότητά του


Τρέχοντας στην αγκαλιά του Γκόφμαν, βρήκα στο 'Στίγμα' αυτήν την παράγραφο στην εισαγωγή που εξηγεί κάτι το οποίο επανέρχεται συχνά στις συζητήσεις των--με τον έναν ή άλλο τρόπο--'στιγματισμένων' σχετικά με την έννοια και τη ρευστότητα του/της Εαυτού/τής:

'[...] ο εαυτός* εμφανίζεται ως κοινωνικό προϊόν, αποτέλεσμα των ερμηνειών στις οποίες επιδίδεται το άτομο όταν βρίσκεται σε συνθήκες αλληλεπίδρασης. Από αυτήν την άποψη, η έννοια του εαυτού δεν προϋπάρχει του ατόμου· δεν υπάρχει ένας πρότερος εαυτός που περιμένει να ενεργοποιηθεί και να εκφραστεί στις κοινωνικές περιστάσεις, αλλά ο εαυτός διαμορφώνεται και επικυρώνεται σε συνθήκες δημόσιας ερμηνείας ενός ρόλου (Branaman, 1997, εισαγωγή). Ο εαυτός στερείται κάθε προσωπικό, ατομικό πυρήνα, δεν αποτελεί προσωπικό γνώρισμα του ατόμου αλλά συνιστά μάλλον μία δημόσια πραγματικότητα (Tseelon, 1992, 121). Όπως σχολιάζει χαρακτηριστικά ο Collins, στην αντίληψη του Γκόφμαν είμαστε αναγκασμένοι να έχουμε έναν εαυτό, όχι επειδή έχουμε πραγματικά έναν, αλλά επειδή αυτό απαιτεί η κοινωνική αλληλεπίδραση. Η κοινωνία επιβάλλει στους δρώντες να παρουσιάζουν μια συγκεκριμένη εικόνα εαυτού, να φαίνονται, και όχι να είναι αναγκαστικά, συνεπείς, ειλικρινείς, έντιμοι. Στην πραγματικότητα, ο εαυτός δεν είναι παρά ένα σύμβολο, ένας γλωσσολογικός όρος που χρησιμοποιούμε προκειμένου να αναφερθούμε σε ό,τι κάνουμε εμείς και ό,τι κάνουν οι άλλοι. Ο εαυτός είναι μέρος μιας ιδεολογίας της καθημερινής ζωής, ο αρχετυπικός μύθος της νεωτερικότητας (Collins, 1988, 49).'

Πάρε τώρα αυτό το εργαλείο σκέψης και βάλ'το δίπλα στην κατασκευή
και τον [αυτο]προσδιορισμό κοινωνικού φύλου / έκφρασης φύλου /σεξουαλικότητας etc και την ανάγκη / κανονικότητα στη συνέπεια έκφρασής τους.
*Boom*
You have been queerified.


--Goffman, Εrving: 'Στίγμα: Σημειώσεις Για Τη Διαχείριση Tης Φθαρμένης Ταυτότητας', εισαγωγή-μετάφραση: Μακρυνιώτη Δήμητρα, σ.21.

*Lack of anti-sexist language sic erat scriptum.

01/01/13, London.
©Goroyesque

13/12/2013

Γράμμα στη μεγάλη μου αδερφό

Εδώ και καιρό, ενίοτε χρησιμοποιώ θηλυκά επίθετα/αντωνυμίες όταν απευθύνομαι σε ανθρώπους που δεν αυτοπροσδιορίζονται ως 'γυναίκες' (και κυρίως σε cis άνδρες) μέσα και έξω από queer περιβάλλοντα--συμπεριλαμβανομένου του μάτσο παραδοσιακού πατέρα μου. Το ίδιο κάνω και με τον αδερφό μου ο οποίος πρόσφατα μου ζήτησε να σταματήσω. Να περίπου τι της απάντησα: Ενας τρόπος εξευτελισμού των ομοφυλόφιλων ή/και θηλυπρεπών ανδρών που επιστρατεύεται από ετεροκανονικούς bullies είναι η χρήση θηλυκών επιθέτων/αντωνυμιών (''αυτή'', ''κουκλίτσα'', ''πούστρα'') [ή η απόδοση στερεοτυπικών ''γυναικείων'' χαρακτηριστικών/ιδιοτήτων (όπως ότι είναι ''ευαίσθητοι'' ή ''κουτσομπολεύουν'', ''καλλωπίζονται'', είναι ''αδύναμοι/ανυπεράσπιστοι'' κτλ)]. Αυτή η τακτική βασίζεται στην ιδέα ότι ο ομοφυλόφιλος ή/και θηλυπρεπής άνδρας δεν είναι ''άνδρας'' [βάσει ετεροκανονικών προτύπων (που λανθασμένα συσχετίζουν ή/και ταυτίζουν βιολογικό φύλο, κοινωνικό φύλο, έκφραση φύλου και σεξουαλικό προσανατολισμό) αυτός προδίδει--παύει--την ανδροσύνη του είτε με την ομοφυλοφιλία του είτε με τη θηλυπρέπειά του). Με τη χρήση των θηλυκών επιθέτων/αντωνυμιών παρομοιάζεται με γυναίκα άρα καθίσταται κατώτερος του ''πραγματικού'' άνδρα και μη-άνδρας. Είναι μία βαθιά σεξιστική και, κατά κύριο λόγο, μισογυνιστική τακτική που θεμελιώνεται σε πατριαρχικές κοινωνίες όπου η αρρενωπότητα θεωρείται ως αρετή κι ένδειξη εξουσίας και καθιερώνεται με την 'αρρενωπή' εμφάνιση και συμπεριφορά--ό,τι κι αν σημαίνει 'αρρενωπό'/'πρέπον για τον άνδρα' στην εκάστοτε κατασκευή κοινωνικού φύλου. Η επανοικειοποίηση της χρήσης αυτών των θηλυκών επιθέτων/αντωνυμιών από μέλη των προσβαλλόμενων ομάδων (ομοφυλόφιλοι άνδρες, γυναίκες, queer, σύμμαχοι/ες, ακτιβιστές/-στριες), ως κομμάτι της φεμινιστικής-αντισεξιστικής γλώσσας, επιδεικνύει επίγνωση αυτού του μηχανισμού--τον αναδεικνύει και ταυτόχρονα τον αντικρούει. Ο χρήστης/στρια/στ@ της αντισεξιστικής γλώσσας συνδηλώνει πως καμία μας δε φοβάται/'ντροπιάζεται' να χαρακτηριστεί με γυναικεία επίθετα αφού το να είσαι γυναίκα/θηλυκός-ή-@ δεν αποτελεί εξευτελιστικό ή κατώτερο status. Αν ψάχνεις να βρεις μισανδρία (ή ήδη τη φαντάζεσαι between the lines), θα προσπαθήσω τώρα να σε πείσω πως η αντισεξιστική δράση απελευθερώνει τις γυναίκες όσο και τους άνδρεςαλλά ταυτόχρονα δημιουργεί χώρο για τους υπολοίπους--το Αλλο (i.e., intersex, trans*, genderqueer etc). Η κατασκευή των κοινωνικών φύλων (τί σημαίνει να είσαι "γυναίκα"/"άνδρας" και όλα τα πρέπει και οι εντάσεις που συνεπάγονται αυτές τις έννοιες) διαφέρει από κοινωνία σε κοινωνία και καταπιέζει τις γυναίκες όσο και τους άνδρες, οι οποίοι πρέπει μέσα στο πατριαρχικό συγκείμενο: - να είναι στιβαροί, να μην εκφράζουν ευαισθησίες (βλ. 'τί είσαι; Κανά κοριτσάκι; Καμιά γυναικούλα;' 'Σταμάτα να κλαις!' Οι άνδρες δεν κλαίνε.' κλ). - να πληρώνουν το λογαριασμό όταν συνοδεύονται από γυναίκα/-ες (σκεπτικό που συνδέεται επίσης με την πατριαρχική έννοια ότι το σεξ και η σεξουαλική απόλαυση αφορά κυρίως ή εξ'ολοκλήρου τον άνδρα κι άρα η γυναίκα πρέπει να δωροδοκηθεί για να 'υποκύψει'/'να του κάνει τη χάρη'--ως εκ τούτου καθιστά τη γυναικεία σεξουαλική ικανοποίηση[/απελευθέρωση] ως κάτι ανύπαρκτο/υποδεέστερο ή, όταν είναι αναπολογητική κι εμφανής, ως κάτι το βρώμικο και ανήθικο (slut shame). Στην πρώτη θεώρηση, ο άνδρας ''δωροδοκεί''/''πληρώνει'' τη γυναίκα για να καλύψει το γεγονός ότι το σεξ είναι, "εκ προοιμίου" κι "εκ φύσης"[στην ουσία "εκ πατριαρχίας"], λιγότερο απολαυστικό για αυτήν, κάτι το οποίο, φυσικά, έχει ως αποτέλεσμα πολλές αυτοεκπληρούμενες προφητείες--άλλωστε, γιατί να προσπαθήσεις να ικανοποιήσεις μία σύντροφο η οποία "δε δύναται" να απολαύσει το σεξ ισότιμα μ'εσένα ούτως ή άλλως; Well played, patriarchy.). - να 'βγάζουν περισσότερα λεφτά από τις γυναίκες τους' (συνδέεται με τους άνισους μισθούς και το σεξισμό στην εργασία). - να 'δουλεύουν σκληρά' και να είναι 'οι κολώνες του σπιτιού' (pass me the dramamine)- να είναι σκληραγωγημένοι κι αθλητικοί, να κάνουν όλες τις βαριές δουλειές, να κουβαλάνε έπιπλα, ψώνια κτλ. Η καλλιέργεια αυτού του προτύπου άνδρα θεωρείται άμεσα συνδεδεμένη με το γεγονός ότι οι άνδρες έχουν μικρότερο προσδόκιμο ζωής καθώς αρνούνται να προσέξουν τον εαυτό τους--να ανησυχήσουν ('Αυτά είναι για τις γυναίκες', 'Πώς κάνεις έτσι σαν γυναικούλα' κτλ) και να πάνε στη γιατρό. Και η καταπίεση των συναισθημάτων τους (αυτό που η κοινωνία θεωρεί τη 'θηλυκή τους πλευρά' κι άρα υποδεέστερη, καταδικαστέα) τους κάνει πιο επιρρεπείς στην κατάχρηση, τη βία, τις μη διαγνωσμένες ψυχικές ασθένειες κ.ο.κ. Το να μη θεωρούμε προσβλητικά τα γυναικεία επίθετα είναι μία φεμινιστική/queer πράξη αλληλεγγύης και κατανόησης. Υπέρ των γυναικών, υπέρ των ανδρών κάθε σεξουαλικού προσανατολισμού αλλά και όλων των υπολοίπων.  Θα συνεχίσω να αποκαλώ ανθρώπους με θηλυκά επίθετα. Κι αν το βρίσκουν ενοχλητικό, είτε γιατί μπορεί να τους 'περάσουν για αδερφές' (ομοφοβία), είτε γιατί το να είσαι γυναίκα είναι προσβλητικό (μισογυνισμός), τότε θα τους εξηγώ τα παραπάνω. Κι αν συνεχίζει να τους ενοχλεί, μπορεί κάποια στιγμή στο μέλλον να αναθεωρήσουν ή να θέλουν να μάθουν περισσότερα. Εγώ θα συνεχίζω να τις καλιαρντεύω• δε βρίσκω πώς κάποια μπορεί--αφού έχει λάβει εξηγήσεις--να προσβληθεί από την αντισεξιστική γλώσσα, και η χρήση της σίγουρα βάζει τις ανθρώπους σε σκέψεις και στέκεται αφορμή για μία χρήσιμη συζήτηση: δημιουργεί ορατότητα και επικαιροποιεί το θέμα. Εκτός αν πιστεύεις ότι το να είναι κάποιος/α/@ θηλυκός ή γυναίκα είναι προσβολή. Oh, and Iggy has my back.

05/06/2013

My speech at WWN round table in Washington D.C., 4/6/13, Capitol Hill


My name is Eliza Goroya and I am representing the Greek Helsinki Monitor where I work as an advocate for freedom of speech and freedom of—and from—religion. 
So what of Greece? 
Since my last report, Golden Dawn has become more dangerous, more aggressive... and, sadly, more popular.
[...]*

A few words about language now...

We have gathered once more in order to discuss the revival of neo-nazism, and also in order to self-define and see how we can be of any use as an organisation.
Let's see:
'International', 'Human Rights', 'Movement', 'World Without Nazism'.
What does anti-nazism mean? What does it include and what does it leave out?
I reckon that dwelling on such semantics will help us find our centre of gravity as an organisation.
I will ask you to intentionally unfamiliarise with the words in order to see their power and connotations.
How is language relevant to activism?
How do minorities re-appropriate previously hurtful words and how is that process helping our cause?
What is someone saying when he or she utters:
'What are you? A Jew? /A Paki? /A faggot? /A nigger? /A retard? /A tranny? /A gypsy? /A girl?'
What is really the power of words?
Both neo-nazis/racists and anti-nazis / activists speak this dialect of hate; the first in order to target and stigmatise and the second in order to dis-empower, and sometimes re-appropriate.
When it comes to HATE, Greek neo-nazis are very INCLUSIVE: immigrants, Romani, Jewish, L.G.B.T., disabled etc.
And we are called upon to be even more inclusive and unapologetic in our fighting back or preventing social tension.
Language acknowledges and language makes visible.
Language normalises and silence excludes; makes invisible.
When we do not allow to a minority to be visible, be it by not allowing Romani children to get education in integrated schools (sadly, ghetto schools are a reality in Greece) or by not allowing the LGBTQ community to hold a Pride Parade (spasibo Russia!), we do not ease the social tension, we only make minorities even more vulnerable.
We thus participate in the normalisation process of the marginalisation of otherness – which the neo-nazis know very well.
If I have to summarise my call towards inclusion in one word, I will choose: UNAPOLOGETIC.
Thank you

*Read my previous report here.


09/11/2012

Bon voyage, J.A.C.E.


J.A.C.E. stands for 'Just Another Confused Elephant' and it is the title of the latest film by the Greek director Menelaos Karamaghiolis who tells the epic story of a Greek-Albanian orphan that is a victim of human trafficking. Brought to Greece as a paperless immigrant, he turns into a wanted fugitivea story that resembles a contemporary Odyssey and which the narrative follows across a span of decades. If one could say that there is one prevailing theme, then J.A.C.E. is about voluntary and involuntary departures that inevitably form his identity; leaving homelands and people behindmost of the times exiting a dystopia only to enter another.

I consider myself fortunate enough to have this ambitious international co-production as my baptême du feu as an assistant director as I joined forces with the rest of the—numerous and diverse, I must admit—crew members after I had done a bit of casting for the film. A novice in the field, and having had already decided to leave the country myself, this film was both a closure of my life in Greece and a bridge to my cinematic adventures to follow.

Leaving my then fugitive tendencyand now realityon one side, I wish 'Bon Voyage' to the film and its spectators as it premiers today in Greek cinemas.

Bon Voyage, indeed, to every Jace in their identity-seeking journeys.

Official trailer with English subtitles: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xmore6_j-a-c-e-official-trailer_shortfilms 


Synopsis:
'Twice-orphaned Jace, a Greek-Albanian child, witnesses a massacre that wipes out his foster family, then falls into the hands of the predators, ruthless gangsters who 'export' children abroad for various reasons, from beggary to the organ trade. Jace ends up in Athens, begging at street corners, exploring the horrors of institutions for young offenders or serving obscure patrons in a world where violent loss seems to be his only destiny. The movie follows Jace’s inverted odyssey in a dark universe of abuse, murder and fear, as he desperately seeks a ‘family’ and a sense of belonging'[source: http://jacefilm.wordpress.com/].

10/10/2012

My speech at the assembly of World Without Nazism, 9/10/12, Strasbourg

General Assembly of the International Human Rights Movement 'World Without Nazism'Strasbourg, 9/10/12 - Opening Session: Shpigel B. I. (chairman of the International WWN), Kravchuk L. (former president of Ukraine, chairman of Ukraine WWN), Voronin V. (Moldovian MP, 3rd president of the Republic), Goroya E. (Greek Helsinki Monitor), Cvetkova I. (Latvian MP), Bondik V. (member of the Supreme Council of Ukraine), Monrose G. (Pastor, USA), Father Sup. Philip (rep. of the Russian Orthodox Church), Bogdanov V. (chairman of the Russian Union of Journalists), Kapinsky A. (Polish MP), Bishop Lazar (rep. of the Estonian Church), Srulevich A. (Director of the European Department of the US Anti-Defamation league).

Speaker: Eliza Goroya, Greek Helsinki Monitor


[After a representative of Vladimir Putin had read his letter of support to the assembly:]
The joy of listening Putin's comments on intolerance.Where does irony end and involuntary self-parody begins? Closing this parenthesis, my name is Eliza Goroya and I am representing the Greek Helsinki Monitor where I work as an advocate for freedom of speech and freedom of—and from—religion.
I assume you've heard the news (about Greece).But how did we get here?
Greece is a country where racist attitudes and intolerance towards national, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, and other minorities is widespread in society including state and judicial authorities while fight against—and especially punishment for—racism and intolerance is almost totally absent.
Most characteristically, just a few days ago, the Minister of Justice informed the Parliament that there have been only a few prosecutions with the anti-racism law 927/79 (in effect all of them—about half-a-dozen- resulted from the some 50 GHM related complaints—no one else has filed such complaints), while the invocation of the racist motive as an aggravating circumstance as well as of the anti-discrimination law 3304/2005 in courts is non-existent.
On the contrary, the acquittal of notorious neo-Nazi Costas Plevris in his trial for his 1400-page—anti-Semitic, among others—book, even by a majority of Supreme Court judges (not in the name of freedom of expression but because his book was not considered racist!), has shown that even extreme racist views are shared by the majority of even top judges.
In such a climate, in 2000 was founded an extreme right party with racist views named 'LAOS' which quickly won seats in the EP (in 2004 and 2009) and in the National Parliament (in 2007 and 2009). It was immediately treated as a mainstream party by all media and parties and that allowed it to even join the government in 2011-2012.
In 2012, two more extreme right parties, Independent Greeks and Golden Dawn outscored LAOS and entered the National Parliament. All three parties got above 20% in May 2012 and above 15% in June 2012, with an estimate of more than 25% of the voters having voted for these three parties at least once.
Golden Dawn is not an 'average' extreme right party but an outright neo-Nazi party with a violent militant membership that is held responsible for a series of violent attacks mostly against immigrants. The only other comparable parliamentary party in Europe is Jobbik in Hungary. This is not accidental: in all Euro-barometers, the highest percentage of people who express xenophobic views (e.g. 'expel all migrants') are found in Greece and Hungary. Human rights activists (including GHM) have pointed out that all three extreme right parties, including Golden Dawn, are treated as mainstream parties: for example almost all TV channels award them time equivalent to their percentage if not more, usually uncritically. As a contrast, NGOs are almost absent from TV stations.
Furthermore, while Golden Dawn is increasingly assuming the role of law enforcement officers on the streets of Greece, polls show that it is all done with the support of the police as 50% of the police officers vote for them.
As Golden Dawn becomes more and more de-marginalised, religious leaders are publicly expressing their support towards them; it seems that the Greek Orthodox Church and the far-right are developing a sinister co-dependency as they share the same 'hate agenda'. As far as the official state religion is inextricably connected with the national identity as a cine-qua-non the enemy is common:
Non-Greeks, non-Christians and—let's not forget the pink triangle, or, the pink elephant in the room—L.G.B.T.
While 'hate speech' is not illegal, anti-blasphemy laws have become more severe resulting in a bitter blow against freedom of speech.
In short, everyone who is not Greek/white, Christian and heterosexual is in danger.
We cannot allow this to continue and climax.
As this cannot be dealt with on a local level, it is of paramount importance that we work collectively and pro-actively and stop this madness.
Not tomorrow.
Let's do it today.
Let's do it yesterday.
Let's do this.-

25/09/2012

A Very Goroyesque Tumblr

I have created a Tumblr account for my photos.
Feel free to visit me there too:
http://goroyesque.tumblr.com/

And you can ask me anything:
http://goroyesque.tumblr.com/ask

14/08/2012

sa·cra·liz·ing

This is a series of photos I took in a church in London.
[Still very much an atheist.]

© Eliza Goroya



02/06/2012

A streetcar named immigration

'I come here regularly; I feed them', he said. 'Because I've always relied on the kindness of strangers too'.
Hussein from Pakistan
Hyde Park, 30/05/12


 

21/05/2012

Bilingual Blues

The fact that I
am writing to you
in English
already falsifies what I
wanted to tell you.
My subject:
how to explain to you
that I don't belong to English
though I belong nowhere else,
if not here
in English.

Gustavo Pérez Firmat, Bilingual Blues: Poems


20/05/2012

GOPLACIA is now my name.

NOPLACIA was once my name,
That is, a place where no one goes.
Plato's Republic now I claim
To match, or beat at its own game;
For that was a myth in prose,
But what he wrote of, I became,
Of men, wealth, laws a solid frame,
A place where every wise man goes:
GOPLACIA is now my name.

Lines on the Island of Utopia by the Poet Laureate, Mr Windbag's Nonsenso's Sister's Son
[Thomas More, Utopia, Penguin Books, London, 2009]



  
   Voyageuse                            © Maurizio Nannucci 2003


20/04/2012

No?

We may be the hope of a country yet to be discovered.
Ίσως είμαστε η ελπίδα μίας χώρας που δεν ανακαλύφθηκε ακόμη.

John Stezaker

16/04/2012

Normality is the prison of all

La normalità è la prigione di tutti / Normality is the prison of all / La normalité est la prison de tous / Η κανονικότητα είναι η φυλακή όλων



An island

Poppy de Villeneuve #SHOWstudio

As always

'C'est une œuvre puissante, complexe, profondément dérangeante […] On éprouve. On est éprouvé. On est mis à l’épreuve. Comme toujours avec Castellucci.'
Amélie Héliot, Le Figaro, 21 juillet 2011