Sunday, April 25, 2010

On the trouble of mixing

So when I laid out my Fulbright Project the idea was to have all of these synergies.

-My Fulbright research would involve interviews.
-The interviews would make good content for a blog.
-The interviews would also feature photos, videos, etc. 
-My Master's class would make me produce all kinds of good research.
-All of this material would be good fodder for journalistic side projects. 

Let's examine how this plan turned out to be a little more complicated than expected, at the expense of this blog, but not my research.

(PHOTO: There isn't one. It's a metaphor.)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Casual Friday # 2: Greek Soccer

Greece is heading to South Africa for the World Cup in a couple of months.
Back in October though, Greece wasn't looking so good even when she was winning. Greece scored three goals in a match against Luxembourg that Hellas won 2-1. You do the math.

The Greek commentator says, 'what happened? All right 2-1.'

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Interview: Antonios Papantoniou, KSPM

"Have you talked to Antonios Papantoniou?"

This is the refrain I hear time and time again from everyone I try to interview for my project on the Church of Greece and Immigrants.

For over 35 years Dr. Papantoniou has been the Church's voice to the international community on migration. His organization, The Re-integration Center for Returning Migrants KSPM first helped Greeks who had gone to work overseas in the 50s and 60s acclimate themselves to a country that had rapidly and radically transformed by the 70s and 80s. In the early 1990s when it became clear that the Iron Curtain had rusted away and that migrants were heading Greece's way, KSPM was one of the first organizations ready on the ground to fill some gaps in services and, conduct migration research and advocate for more sound immigration policies.

Papantoniou and his small team walk a fine line between being representatives of the Church and a group of lay experts in their own rite. As a result, many academics and politicians in Greece and the EU know Papantoniou but, despite his best efforts, do not know he is associated with the Church.

The Church's role is a bit ambiguous here. Rhetorically, the Holy Synod (KSPM is technically a committee of the Synod) backs KSPM's activities. Financially, KSPM fights an uphill battle every year to keep its doors open.

Papantoniou, 73, does not need to worry about his own paycheck. He's a volunteer. The future of his organization is another matter.

Way back on December 3, 2009 I interviewed Dr. Papantoniou at his office in the Holy Synod. Though now a sociologist with a PhD from Germany, he studied theology in Athens and was born the son of a priest in the Cycladic Isalnds. With a gravelly voice that contained more than a hint of his familiarity with the German language Dr. Papantoniou spoke with me for over an hour and a half.

Note: Interview is edited for length and clarity of content. My questions are almost entirely different from what was said in the conversation.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Casual Friday # 1 : Corinth Canal

Next week, we'll get back to serious project-related posts. Today, though, Jungle Vision is proud to announce a new feature, Casual Friday, which will just be something fun from Greece.

And nothing says fun like using a motorcycle to jump the Corinth Canal.

Found this link on

Thursday, April 8, 2010

New Lease on Greece 2

In case you hadn't noticed, Jungle Vision went pretty neglected through the month of March. In fact, I only made two posts.

The truth is I was only in Athens from March 5 to March 24 because I had to do a lot of traveling. I started working with a free-lance reporter and had to get to work on my Master's programme.

On the project side, I finally secured an advisor and did as many interviews in one week (5) as I had since September. In that time, Greece passed a bill allowing first-generation immigrants to become citizens, without much fanfare. And the Coast Guard made it clear during the March 25 parade that not everyone is ready for this change.

I, however, was on Mt. Athos in the middle of a pilgrimage to once again re-appreciate Greece for all it is.

Things have flip-flopped since my first New Lease on Greece post. Back then, I longed for all the things I left back home. Now, I'm not sure what's back there, but I do know I need to enjoy everything that's here.

So over the last couple of weeks I've started re-doing things I love and doing for the first time things I've missed.

(PHOTO: Sunset over the caldera on Santorini. VIDEO: Good Friday in Nafpaktos)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Review of "Prevailing Faith" in the National Herald

Two years ago, I sat across from Angelike Contis as an intern at Athens News. Now she's working for The National Herald, a Greek-American newspaper.

A few weeks back, she e-mailed me some questions so she could write a feature on my Fulbright project "Prevailing Faith" It was a nice opportunity for me to take stock and share my opinions on the work I've already done.

Angelike also asked me questions about the development of my personal Hellenism. Reading my response in print made me cringe a little bit. I have to say I like being the interviewer better than I like being the interviewee. Now that it's on the record I suppose if I'm ever famous someone can include that bit about me in the childhood section of my wikipedia entry!

Jungle Vision also got reviewed in the article, as having 'both highbrow and lowbrow reports.' Guilty as charged.

Since Angelike did a better job summing up my project than I can, I uploaded the article on Scribd to share with you.

National Herald Article Page 1

National Herald Article Page 5

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Journey to the Holy Mountain

I'd venture to say that few places on either inspire as much awe as Mt. Athos. This enclave of 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries is almost an autonomous region of Greece, and a difficult place to reach.

It's this difficulty in access that adds to the mystique. Men can come as pilgrims, but only if they're approved for a visa far in advance. Women can't visit at all.

Once you get to the 'Αγιον 'Ορος though, you discover the place is anything but closed off to the few outsiders who make the journey.

Several of the monasteries trace their roots back a millenium. The site itself (the easternmost 'finger' of the Halkidiki Peninsula) has been a Christian refuge far longer.

"Inaccessible Athos had probably long been a haunt of hermits when large numbers of monks, driven out of their monasteries in Egypt and Syria by the Arab conquests, settled there in the seventh century."
(John L. Tomkinson Between Heaven & Earth: The Greek Church pg. 94)

I had the pleasure to make my own pilgrimage March 24-27 with two good friends from Brown.