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Meet the Greeks of Medellin, Colombia

Greeks of Medellin
The Greek Tsolias, the hit attraction of the Greek restaurant “Greek Connection” in Medellin’s upscale Poblado neighborhood. Credit: Greek Reporter

The small Greek community of Medellin, Colombia–comprised mainly of entrepreneurs and professionals–is booming.

Colombia’s second-largest city, called the “City of Eternal Spring” for its temperate weather, has changed a great deal since the 1980’s and 1990’s, when it was regarded as the most dangerous place in the world.

Home to the violent Medellin drug cartel, for years the city was held hostage to its leader, Medellin resident Pablo Escobar.

After the death of Escobar, crime rates in the city, which is nestled in the verdant Aburra Valley of South America’s Andes Mountains, have decreased dramatically and today Medellin is considered one of the safest and most up and coming cities of South America.

However, more than thirty years after his death, Escobar remains a polarizing figure in the city. “The city is still divided. One half loves the guy and the other half hates him,” says Cristos Haritonides, owner of the “Greek Connection,” one of the most popular restaurants in Medellin.

The Greeks of Medellin share their stories

Evropi Vangelatou
Architect Evropi Vangelatou Credit: Greek Reporter

Christos Haritonides, the owner of “The Greek Connection” restaurant – probably the best Greek restaurant in Medellin – advertises his business through a “tsolias” at one of the city’s most popular spots, Pobaldo.  A local boy dressed like a Tsolias of the Greek Presidential Guard has learned all the specialties of Greece.  “We serve avgolemono, tzatziki, Greek salad, spanakopita,” the tsolias says in a singsong voice, trying to entice potential customers into the restaurant.

“The tsolias is a big hit in Medellin. People love our tsolias,” Haritonides says, who adds that the people and the scenery of the city remind him a bit of Athens.

“When you say you are Greek here, the response is one of admiration,” he declares with pride.

Panagiotis Chalavazis, operations manager at Balalaika S.A., the second largest women’s underwear factory in Colombia, says of living in Medellin, “it’s like living in the Land of Canaan.” He compares his life there to the biblical “land of milk and honey” located in the Levant region of present-day Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel.

“The people are fantastic, there is great culture and fun, the scenery is beautiful and the women are the most attractive in the whole of Colombia,” Chalavazis claims, a feeling which is also shared by Haritonides.

Architect Evropi Vangelatou, who has a Greek father and a Colombian mother, has been living in Medellin since 2002.

“I’ve studied here and I decided to stay and start a career. Over the years, I’ve fallen in love with Colombia… It has won me over,” she explains to the Greek Reporter.

However, Vangelatou adds, “Wherever I meet someone from Greece, it is like finding a small piece of the homeland.”

Retired seaman Konstantinos Kokkinakis says that he loves the people and the culture of Latin America.

“I learned through my job as a seaman that there are other parts of the world worth exploring. Different styles of living. Colombians live a simpler life than Greeks, and that makes them more pleasant. They party more than us and the family is more tightly knit here,” he claims.

Spiros Mitrakos
Arcadia Hostel owner Spiros Mitrakos Credit: Greek Reporter

Spiros Mitrakos bought house which used to belong to the Colombian mafia. He renovated it and then turned it into a hostel. He named the hostel “Arcadia,” which in Greek and Roman mythology represented an earthly paradise.

Leonidas Vangelatos Ruiz is a nutrition and health commercial manager at Greco S.A, a factory which makes kourabiedes, the famous Greek butter cookies which Greeks eat during the Christmas festive season.

Vangelatos Ruiz says that kourabiedes have by now also become a part of Colombian dessert culture. “There are not many Greeks in Medellin. Maybe about fifty. But all that I’ve met are really warm people and proud to be Greek,” he adds.

This community might not be as big as the Greek community in Bogota, but is leaving its mark in this ever-progressing city. Medellin has successfully regenerated itself from the dark days of crime and drug cartels. It is now a vibrant urban hub, famous for its universities, academies, commerce, industry, science, health services, flower-growing and festivals.

In February of 2013, the Urban Land Institute chose Medellin as the most innovative city in the entire world due to its impressive recent advances in the realms of politics, education and social development.

Hades: The New Greek Mythology Game Taking Over Consoles Worldwide

Hades game - Greek mythology
Hades is the 2019 game taking the world by storm. Credit: Public Domain

Hades is a roguelike Greek mythology videogame developed and published by Supergiant games. The game was initially released for MacOS, Microsoft Windows, and Nintendo Switch on September 17, 2020, and quickly took the gaming world by storm. The game swept the end-of-year lists of major publications like IGN, Entertainment Weekly, Time, and the Washington Post. Within three days of its official release date, Hades sold over 1 million copies.

The game is set for re-release for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S consoles on August 13, 2021. But what exactly is Hades, and what is its relationship to Ancient Greek mythology?

Well, its relationship is a pretty big one. Hades may be the most intricately designed game about Greek mythology in the history of modern gaming. Hades features far more than the most famous and recognizable names from Greek mythology like Zeus and Athena–the game is stacked with deep references across ancient mythology, building its plot on real relationships between characters like the Fury sisters Megaera, Alecto, and Tisiphone.

A deep dive inside the world of Hades

The game centers around Zagreus, the son of Hades, as he attempts to flee the Underworld and reach Greece’s Mount Olympus.
Along the way, he encounters many iconic figures from Greek mythology. The game engages with its mythical sources, as players can engage in conversations with gods and goddesses which reflect events and relationships found in Greek mythology.

In order to reach Mount Olympus, Zagreus must take on a variety of mythical enemies. As an immortal, he doesn’t die when defeated, he just wakes up back where he started in the Underworld.

Even though this feature leads to a gameplay loop, in which players battle through the same stages, the conversations between Zagreus and other characters are never the same, making each escape attempt an exciting new layer to the story.

Certain abilities, weapons, and achievements are only unlocked after players start over again, so it’s to their advantage to play through the rich mythical world multiple times.

Hades is billed as a roguelike dungeon-crawler game. These types of games are centered around complex, labyrinthine worlds that have conversations, enemies, and puzzles built into their very environment. Levels are encountered on a grid, but each new room generates new arrangements of fights, traps, objects, and characters to be encountered.

Hades’ combat typically takes place in “runs” through generated rooms whose interior layouts are predetermined but the order they appear in is randomized. In between these runs the player can freely move through the House of Hades.

Along with its exciting combat and stunning character design, critics note that its structure and storytelling, centered around the immortal themes in Greek mythology, make Hades a masterpiece. Hades was named IGN and Time Magazine’s number one game of the year for 2020.

Ancient Greek Crown of Pure Gold Found in Box Under Man’s Bed

ancient greek crown
An ancient Greek crown, much like this one, was found under a man’s bed in England. Credit: Tilo 2005/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

In Somerset, England, a British pensioner who wishes to remain anonymous found a 2,300-year-old ancient Greek crown packed up in some crumpled up newspapers in an old cardboard box under his bed.

According to Daily Mail, which interviewed the man, he had had many possessions left to him by his grandfather, who was a seasoned world traveler and collector.

“I inherited quite a lot of things from him and I just put this to one side for almost a decade and didn’t really think anything of it,” the elderly man told the Daily Mail.

He took the golden crown, along with some other items, to be appraised by a nearby auction house, Duke’s of Dorchester, about five years ago.

The extraordinary find

It was there that the crown was discovered by one of the appraisers, Guy Schwinge; he described that unforgettable moment to the Daily Mail. “When the owner pulled the gold wreath from a tatty cardboard box filled with paper, my heart missed a beat,” Schwinge said.

“When I went to the cottage the last thing I expected to see was a piece of gold from antiquity.”

The handmade crown, made of pure gold, is approximately eight inches across and weighs about 100 grams (about 11 ounces, less than one pound). The rare find surprised both the owner as well as the appraiser.

“I knew my grandfather traveled extensively in the 1940s and 50s and he spent time in the northwest frontier area, where Alexander the Great was, so it’s possible he got it while he was there,” said the man. “But he never told me anything about this wreath.”

The mystery, therefore, will remain.

Ancient Greek crown likely from Hellenistic Period

The crown is believed to be from antiquity in Northern Greece, dating as far back as the Hellenistic period, which took place from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire at the Battle of Actium in 31 BC. It has been reported that the crown is worth as much as £100,000 to £200,000.

It is not easy to trace the exact lineage of the crown since it has no paper trail or documents, but because it was found with traces of dirt, it is believed that it may have been buried at some point in time.

“It is notoriously difficult to date gold wreaths of this type,” said Schwinge. “Stylistically it belongs to a rarefied group of wreaths datable to the Hellenistic period and the form may indicate that it was made in Northern Greece.”

Crowns such as the one discovered usually depicted branches of laurel, myrtle, oak and olive trees, all symbolic of the ideals and morals held in ancient Greece such as wisdom, triumph, fertility, peace and virtue.

The crowns, which are extraordinarily fragile, were typically worn on special occasions or dedicated to the gods and placed as offerings at the graves of aristocratic people in ancient times.

The Unparalleled Beauty of Tzoumerka Cave

Cave of Anemotripa in Tzoumerka
Inside the Cave of Anemotripa in Tzoumerka. Photo: Screenshot from Youtube.com/Epirustravel eu

The cave in Tzoumerka, in the Greek region of Epirus, one of the most impressive and most visited natural wonders of Greece is an ideal destination all year round.

Tzoumerka is a mountain range found in northwestern Greece. These limestone peaks rise east of the Axeloos River and are surrounded by the main column of the Pindus Range.

Many of the areas are part of Natura 2000, a network of protected areas, as many species of flora and fauna, some of them endangered, are native to various areas of Tzoumerka.

The Anemotrypa cave in Tzoumerka

The Anemotrypa cave is located three kilometers from Pramanta, west of Stroggoula, and at an altitude of 900 meters (2,953 feet).

The uniquely sculpted, colored stalagmites and the three lakes in shades of gray, brass and white that have been formed over the years, create a unique, dreamy landscape.

According to voreiatzoumerka.gr, the cave interior was discovered in 1960. Two young men, Apostolis Lambris and Georgios K. Karakostas were told by the community chief to open a bigger slit in the rocks from which cool air was emanating in order to explore its interior, on the occasion of the arrival of the Honorary President of the Hellenic Speleological Society, the late Anna Petrocheilou.

The two men opened the hole and crawled for about 10 meters (30 feet) when they found themselves in front of a wide pit, but the lack of light did not allow them to continue the search. After that, a part of the cave – approximately 270 meters (886 feet) long – was studied and explored, and by the year 2000 the cave became accessible to visitors.

Inside the cave, there is a pond that tis completely blue — not because of its depth, but because of the quartz crystals at the bottom.

Cave of Anemotripa in Tzoumerka
The blue pond inside the Cave of Anemotripa in Tzoumerka. Photo: Screenshot from Youtube.com/Epirustravel eu

The cave has three levels. The highest, and oldest, has collapsed in the past and only parts of it are preserved. The middle level is where visitors walk and the third and lower level is the underground riverbed, which is seen at the end of the visitors’ trail, just before it creates a two-meter waterfall.

The visitors’ part has a length of 250 meters (820 feet). The unique stalagmites are of exceptional beauty, making curtain-like formations, adding to the eeriness of the atmosphere.

At the same time, Polyxenio, in combination with Calcite, creates cavities inside the cave, which are green in color and, especially in winter, are filled with water.

The temperature and humidity conditions in the cave are constant throughout the year. The air temperature is always at 19 degrees Celsius (66 Fahrenheit), while the water is constantly at 10 degrees Celsius (50 Fahrenheit).

The cave of Anemotrypa is considered the “whitest” cave in Greece, as it is made of pure limestone.

The Origin of the Name of the Greek Capital of Athens

athens name
Athens. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/ Public domain

The story of how Athens, one of the oldest cities in the world, attained its current name is a foundational Greek myth.

Unbeknownst to many, the city actually had several names throughout its 3,400 years of recorded history.

The initial name of Athens was “Coast” or “Aktiki,” and it was taken from the first king of the land, King Aktaio. Afterwards, as the city continued to grow, Aktaio’s successor, King Cecrops, named the city after himself.

Greek mythology says that the Gods of Olympus looked down at the beautiful prosperous city of Cecrops and decided to make it their own, causing Athens’ name to be changed one last time.

A duel between the gods for the name of Athens

As history notes, the ancient city of Athens was a powerful force and played an important role in the developing and advancing ancient Greek civilization.

In modern times, remnants of the Gods and their glory from antiquity are scattered throughout the city.

There is a rich and mythical history all around Athens, and the way the Greek capital was named is no exception.

The story starts with a duel between the ancient gods of Olympus to determine who would give the city its name and become its patron.

It is said the god of the sea, Poseidon, and the goddess of wisdom, Athena, made it to the final round, and were ready to duel it out to possess the city.

Zeus then intervened in order to avoid a violent fallout.

Zeus declared that both of the gods had to present a gift to the city’s king, Cecrops, who was a half-man half-snake creature, and whichever gift was accepted by the citizens would determine the new name of the city.

The gifts presented to the people of Athens

Legend says that all of the citizens went high up on the Acropolis to witness the offerings of Athena and Poseidon.

First up was Poseidon, who struck the rock of the Acropolis, opening a spring of water, offering the new city success in war and at sea.

However, the people tasted the water and were not enchanted as it tasted salty, like the seas that the god reigned over.

When it was Athena’s turn, she stepped forward and planted a seed into the ground which immediately sprouted up into a beautiful olive tree.

This was the goddess’ gesture of giving the symbolic fruits of peace and wisdom to the Athenians, as well as planting the tree that provided them with oil, food, and wood for burning and creating tools.

According to the fable, the men supported Poseidon while the women, who out-voted the men, were in favor of Athena.

The Legend of Athena

From that day, the city took the name of the goddess, becoming Athens. The owl, which signifies wisdom and was connected with Athena, came to represent the city in antiquity.

The goddess Athena was depicted on one side of the Greek drachma coin, while the owl was on the other.

The citizens of Athens built temples, statues and held festivals dedicated to their patroness, Athena, like the majestic Parthenon on the Acropolis.

Tokyo Olympics: Greek Athletes Make it to Long Jump, Pole Vault Finals

olympics greece greek team
Emmanouil Karalis will represent Greece in the pole vault finals at the Tokyo Olympics. Credit: Filip Bossuyt/ Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Greek athletes Miltos Tentoglou and Manolis Karalis have made it to the final round of the long jump and pole vault events, respectively, at the Tokyo Olympics.

Tentoglou qualified for the finals in the long jump event on Saturday. The Greek athlete ranked second amongst his competitors in the qualifying event with a terrific jump of 8.22 meters, which is about 27 feet.

His personal best is a height of 8.60 meters, or 28 feet, 2.5 inches, which he achieved in 2021. In 2018, the Greek athlete won gold at the European Championships.

Tentoglou will have a chance to compete for a medal at the long jump finals on Monday, August 2, at 4:20 AM Greek time.

Tokyo Olympics a first for Greek athlete Manolis Karalis

Greek pole vaulter Manolis Karalis will also be moving to the finals in his sport. With an astounding height of 5.75 meters, or just under 19 feet, Karalis will represent Greece at the final round of the event.

This is the 21-year-old’s first time at the Olympic Games. Son of a Greek father and Ugandan mother, Karalis has consistently ranked highly in youth competitions across Europe.

Stefanos Ntouskos wins first gold medal for Greece at Tokyo Olympics

Greek athlete Stefanos Ntouskos won the gold medal at men’s single sculls in rowing at the Tokyo Olympics.

This is the 24-year-old competitive rower’s first medal at the Olympic Games and it is Greece’s first Olympic rowing gold medal, as well as it’s first medal of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Ntouskos had also competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, in the men’s lightweight coxless four, finishing in the sixth place.

Ntouskos pulled off a breathtaking Olympic stunner, setting a new record at the Games with his time of 6:40.45. Norway’s Kjetil Borch finished one second after Ntouskos to take the silver medal, and Croatia’s Martin Damir trailed Borch for the bronze.

Ntouskos pulled ahead during the third quarter of the race and sustained his pace for a glorious 250-meter-run that ended in his smashing of the Olympic men’s single sculls record.

Despite Greece’s previous drought of Olympic rowing medals, a new generation of Greek talent are showing that Greece can become a dominating presence in the aquatic sport.

Greek rowers break world record

Greece’s rowing athletes Maria Kyridou and Christina Bourbou made history on Wednesday at the Tokyo Olympics after breaking the world record in the semi-finals of the Women’s coxless pair category.

The Greek duo finished at 6:48.70, making history as this was the fastest time in the world in this event.

The previous world record was 6:49.08, held by the New Zealand duo of Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler, who had competed in the final round of the Women’s Pair category at the Rowing World Cup II event that was held in Poznan, Poland in 2017.

However, during the second semi-finals of Wednesday, the world record that had just been achieved by the Greek athletes, was broken yet again — this time by the team from New Zealand.

Prendergast and Gowler managed to break the record of Kyridou and Bourbou, finishing at an impressive 6:47.41, which is 1.29 seconds faster than the time the Greek rowers had just set.

The Fascinating History of Greek Loukoumia, or Turkish Delights

loukoumi greek turkish delights
Greek Loukoumia, or Turkish Delights. Credit: Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA 4.0

Greek loukoumia, or Turkish delights, hold an important place in the world of Greek sweets. The delectable, soft little squares of sweet flavor coated in powdered sugar are an iconic symbol of Greece.

In Greece and Cyprus, loukoumia, the plural of loukoumi, are a traditional sweet offered with coffee. In many villages across the country, visitors are welcomed into the homes of locals with an offering of the delicious gelatinous confection.

Made from the simple ingredients of water, starch, and sugar, and flavored with iconic tastes of Greece like rose, bergamot, and mastiha, loukoumia are easy to make but difficult to perfect.

The delicate squares of flavored gel coated with sugar are often filled with nuts like pistachio, or served plain.

Variations of loukoumia are found around the world

The magic of the confection, variations of which are found in Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey, but also throughout the Balkans, the Middle East, and North Africa, comes from its flavor and gelatinous texture.

A flavor too strong is overwhelming and cloying sweet, and one too faint defeats the purpose of the Greek loukoumi.

The art of making loukoumia is finding the balance of flavor. The best, most traditional recipes for the sweet include naturally-derived extracts like rosewater, which imbue the confection with a wonderful nuanced flavor.

Although they are called Turkish delights around the much of world, the origin of these sweets may come from farther East, in Persia or the Arabian Peninsula.

Mysterious origins of “Turkish Delights”

Some believe that Turkish word for the sweet, “lokum,” derives from the Arabic “al-lukum,” which means “morsel,” or “mouthful,” while others argue it comes from the Arabic phrase “rahat al-hulqum,” or “throat comfort.”

In Turkey, the confectioner Haci Bekir is thought to be the first person to create the sweet in the 18th century, although there are records of the confection in Persia and Arabia from centuries earlier. Bekir’s descendants still produce loukoumia, five generations later.

Food historians generally dismiss the tale as a kind of legendary advertisement, and, considering the fact that the Bekir confectionery is still one of the most popular in Istanbul, it worked very well.

While the exact origin of the sweet is debated, the Ottomans brought it around the world with them as they conquered swathes of land in the Balkans, Middle East, and North Africa.

Areas known for delectable loukoumia

Although found in many parts of the world, certain areas of Greece and Cyprus are known internationally for their delicious loukoumia.

The island of Syros, located in the Cyclades Island chain, is said to have some of the best in the world. In the early 19th century, after the Greek War of Independence, Syros exported mounds of the sweet to loukoumi lovers across Europe and Asia.

Similarly, the loukoumia from the Greek city of Patra are so famous they have their own name–“Patrina Loukoumia.”

The loukoumia produced in the town of Geroskipou, Cyprus are the only confections of the kind that have received a protected geographical indication by the European Union.

Large Fire Breaks Out in Achaia, Residents Evacuated

fire achaia greece
A firefighter works to contain the blaze that broke out in Achaia, Greece on Saturday. Credit: AMNA

A large fire broke out in Achaia, a region of the Peloponnese, Greece on Saturday. Residents of the forested villages of Ziria, Ano Ziria, Kamares, and Lampiri have been evacuated due to the blaze.

A portion of the National Highway running from Patra to Korinth has been closed because of the dangerous fire.

Emergency responders and paramedics have rushed to the scene to aid in the evacuation of citizens, as firefighters work to contain the blaze, which is fueled by high temperatures.

The fire in Achaia, the region where the city of Patra is located, has spread rapidly due to strong winds in the area.

As of Saturday afternoon, 25 firefights on the scene are being aided by 10 specialty vehicles to curtail the spread of the fire. There are also five planes and one helicopter dropping water on the blaze from above.

The fire razed down a number of houses and buildings in the villages of Ziria and Ano Ziria, and at least one man has been hospitalized as a result of the blaze.

Large fire broke out in Achaia on Wednesday

A large fire broke out in the agricultural and heavily-forested region of Elekistira, in the same region of Achaia, on Wednesday afternoon.

Due to the strength and rapid spread of the fire, residents of the area Souli in Achaia were evacuated.

This fire broke out after a different fire in the same region began to spread near the village of Drosia near the Erymanthos mountains, which was also evacuated.

Small blaze breaks out in Mykonos

A smaller fire broke out on Mykonos on Saturday. Firefighters quickly quelled the blaze, which threatened to damage six houses near the village Paragka.

A car, three motorcycles, and a pergola on a resident’s property all burned down in the fire.

The blaze was sparked by the high temperatures on the island that set dry plant matter alight.

Heatwave in Greece fuels fires

A heatwave currently scorching Greece could fuel wildfires throughout the country.

This is not the first brutal heatwave the country has faced this summer; however, forecasts show that temperatures are supposed to skyrocket again to over 43 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit) in some parts Greece, reminding many of the deadly 1987 heatwave.

Earlier this week, the National Meteorological Service of Greece EMY issued an urgent announcement to bring awareness to the dangers associated with the soaring temperatures Greece will face in the coming days.

From last Tuesday onward, temperatures have been taking a gradual upward turn that won’t stop at least until next Tuesday.

This is due to the hot air masses which are traveling from north Africa to the countries of Italy and Greece and send thermometers skyrocketing in both nations.

This heatwave will be at its absolute worst from Friday, July 30, to Tuesday, August 3.

Meteorologist Klearchos Marousakis, interviewed on the Greek television channel OPEN, earlier this week said that the heatwave will be one of the worst Greece has ever seen.

“According to current data, this heatwave, at least in terms of its duration, will be reminiscent of the great heat wave of 1987,” Marousakis said.

However, he was quick to remind viewers of the significant strides that Greece and the world has made since 1987 which means that temperatures of this magnitude are no longer likely to have such tragic outcomes.

Six Women Murdered by their Husbands in Seven Months in Greece

murdered women greece femicide
Caroline Crouch was murdered in Greece by her husband Babis Anagnostopoulos. Activists argue that a recent surge in femicides points to societal issues in Greece. Credit: Hellenic Network for Feminists

In Greece, six women have been murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in a period of just seven months. The series of brutal, disturbing crimes, which many argue should be called femicides, has highlighted the issue of domestic violence in abuse in the country.

The latest murder happened in the neighborhood of Dafni in Athens on Friday. On the afternoon of July 30, a 40-year-old man willingly appeared at a police station in Athens to confess to the murder of his 31-year-old wife.

The police then entered the home, where they found the victim’s body. When asked why he committed the crime, the murderer simply stated that he was jealous.

Despite his attempts to appear like a good family man toward the outside world, friends of the victim claimed that she revealed that she was being abused by her husband before the murder.

Shockingly, neighbors called the police to report domestic violence in the home just over two weeks before the murder. Two police officers arrived at the scene, where neighbors heard the woman screaming, but never went upstairs to the apartment.

Those two officers were put on temporary leave while the Hellenic Police investigate their handling of the case.

On Saturday, the Greek Ministry for Civil Protection stated that police officers are “required to do their duty,” and that “there does no place in the Hellenic Police Force” for those who don’t.

Often, when women are killed in domestic violence situations, the public wonders how such a horrendous crime could go unnoticed and unreported by the people around her. Many argue that intervention could have stopped some of these violent murders.

Yet it seems that despite warnings and reports, no action was taken, causing the public to call for answers, and potentially more robust support systems for victims and harsher punishments for abusers in Greece.

The murder of Caroline Crouch shocked Greece

The issue of abuse came to the forefront of Greek society when 20-year-old Caroline Crouch was murdered next to her newborn baby by her 33-year-old husband Babis Anagnostopoulos in the Athenian suburb of Glyka Nera.

The murder shocked the public, as violent crime is relatively rare in the country, and killings of this type are not common. As time went on, and details emerged, the case became even more disturbing.

Anagnostopoulos, a helicopter pilot, confessed to killing his wife and staging the scene, which included killing the family dog and disabling security cameras, to make it seem as though strangers entered the home and murdered his young wife.

He blamed the crime on foreigners, stating that the intruders were speaking broken Greek and could have been Albanian, an ethnic group that is often the victim of discrimination in Greece.

After two month of professing his innocence and blaming a mysterious group of foreigners, Anagnostopoulos was arrested and confessed to the crime.

Investigators had determined from text messages that the couple had fought the night before the murder, and that Crouch was determined to leave her husband.

From the statements of her friends and family, and her own diary entries, the police pieced together a picture of a relationship based on control, abuse of power, and manipulation.

Crouch femicide sparked country-wide discussion of femicide, abuse

The murder of the young woman, who was raised on the island of Alonissos, disturbed Greek society.

The fact that her husband seemingly disposed of her so easily, almost as though she were an object, distressed the country, who faced the brutal reality of domestic violence.

Additionally, questions of racism and discrimination emerged in Greece after many felt that Anagnostopoulos’ accusation that the intruders were foreigners was too easily believed.

At this time, feminists and victim’s rights advocates in Greece pushed the public to face this crime as a femicide, or the murder of a woman because of her sex. They argued that Crouch’s womanhood enabled her murderer to see her as his possession, a possession he felt he could get rid of when it was convenient for him.

While the murder of the young mother at the hands of her husband was the crime that set off the discussion surrounding murdered women in Greece, it was not the first femicide in the country in the past seven months.

Young woman, brother, murdered by estranged husband

Just one month before Crouch’s murder, 28-year-old Konstantina Tsapa and her brother were murdered by her estranged husband in Makrinitsa, a village near the city of Volos.

Tsapa left her husband, who went on to brutally stab her and her brother, after years of abuse.

Experts and victim’s advocates argue that the time after leaving an abusive partner is actually the most dangerous period for the victim, as the abuser feels that they are losing control and are willing to do anything to get it back, including murder.

Like Anagnostopoulos, Tsapa’s murderer claimed in his confession that he “blacked out” before stabbing the young mother.

He claimed that he went to the victim’s house, with a knife, to visit his child, and the young mother and her brother wouldn’t allow him to see the child, causing him to murder them in a rage.

Femicides in Crete, Athens

Earlier in the year, in January 2021, a 54-year-old woman living in Meskla, Crete was killed by her 47-year-old husband, who is Norwegian.

The man claims that he stabbed his wife, who was the mother of two children, 14 times because he was drunk. He asserts that he was so drunk that he does not remember committing the horrifying crime.

In early June, a woman, aged 64, was killed by her 75-year-old ex-husband in the Athenian suburb of Agia Varvara. Her body was found in a pool of her blood just outside of her apartment building.

Her former spouse, who allegedly was so abusive that he would beat his ex-wife brutally in public, according to a friend of the victim, claimed that he shot the woman because her “behavior [toward him] was totally despicable.”

Young woman in Greece murdered by boyfriend in what he calls a “bad moment”

While on vacation with her boyfriend on the island of Folegandros, a young woman named Garyfallia, 26, was horribly beaten and then thrown off a cliff into the sea by her partner.

The man, aged 30, claimed that he killed the victim in what he calls a “bad moment” because she was “making fun” of him.

According to the coroner’s report, Garyfallia was brutally beaten and then thrown off a cliff into the rocky sea below while she was still alive.

When her body was first discovered in the sea by fisherman, police were immediately suspicious of foul play, because she had an injury on her eye that was consistent with a beating.

Her boyfriend was missing at the time, but was found sitting alone on a nearby beach the day after the murder.

Despite the evidence, the confessed killer asserts that he never beat her, only that he pushed her off the cliff to her death.

Coronavirus lockdowns were hell for domestic violence victims

While much of the world was locked down at home, staying safe from the coronavirus, victims of domestic violence were trapped at home with their abusers, in what can only be described as hell.

Without any excuse to leave the home to escape the violence, victims were left at the mercy of their torturers, many of whom became even more violent due to the stresses of the pandemic, including loss of work.

In Greece alone, calls to 15900, the emergency distress line for crimes against women, including victims of domestic violence, increased by 230% during the country’s first lockdown.

The majority of calls, 84%, were related to domestic violence. Married couples make up 56% of the instances of domestic abuse, and those in intimate relationships make up 13%. A total of 12% involve members of the family, such as fathers, brothers, or other relatives.

The World Health Organization (WHO) posted  a warning on their social media sites about the rise in violence against women due to COVID-19.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, risks of violence increase due to: More time at home with abusers! Rising stress! Isolation from social support networks! Limited access to critical services! We must END violence!

“Violence against women is causing harm to millions of women and their families and has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said  WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “But unlike COVID-19, violence against women cannot be stopped with a vaccine.”

Satoshi Nakamoto, Creator of Bitcoin: Who is Behind the Pseudonym?

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Who is actually behind the identity “Satoshi Nakamoto,” the pseudonym credited as the creator of Bitcoin? Credit: Deal Drop Images, CC BY-2.0

“Satoshi Nakamoto” is universally credited as the founder of the now ubiquitous cryptocurrency Bitcoin, but who is Nakamoto? The answer is more complicated than you may have thought.

After further scrutiny, people started to realize there was no traceable biography or personal details attached to the name “Satoshi Nakamoto.” In fact, “Satoshi Nakamoto” isn’t a real person at all, but rather a pseudonym used by the person (or people?) who brought cryptocurrency into existence in the mid 2000’s.

Satoshi Nakamoto became associated with Bitcoin in 2008, when a paper titled Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System was published under the name. The paper laid the groundwork for cryptocurrency, detailing the bare bones of how the digital currency would come to function.

The paper introduced the peer-to-peer network that would become the blockchain. The blockchain records timestamps of exchanges between those making transactions with Bitcoin. But what do the long-lasting innovations present in this early paper tell us about the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto?

The development of Bitcoin

While this work and the early development of the software that powered Bitcoin is attributed to the name, Nakamoto’s association with Bitcoin mysteriously–and perhaps by design–disappeared in 2010.

A cryptic email sent between developers tersely states that whoever Nakamoto was had “moved on to other things.” Despite this exit, the community of developers who took up the helm of the open-source software that powers Bitcoin have not revealed much about who he may be, and they may not even know themselves.

Nakamoto certainly innovated the field of cryptocurrency, but he did so by implementing it for the first time, not by inventing the concept.

According to Bitcoin’s website, Nakamoto developed Bitcoin from an idea written by Wei Dai, a Chinese computer scientist:

“Bitcoin is the first implementation of a concept called “cryptocurrency”, which was first described in 1998 by Wei Dai on the cypherpunks mailing list, suggesting the idea of a new form of money that uses cryptography to control its creation and transactions, rather than a central authority.”

The theories surrounding Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity

Some people have floated the idea that the name “Satoshi Nakamoto” is a pseudonym to disguise a group of people instead of a single creator, and there are some interesting theories to support this.

In the early days of Bitcoin, a group of closely associated developers worked together to get the digital currency on its feet. Those developers were Hal Finney and Nick Szabo. But a systems engineer who shares the same name as Satoshi Nakamoto got caught up in the speculation as well.

A profile in 2014 announced that Dorian Nakamoto–whose birth name is Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto– was Satoshi Nakamoto, and a massive wave of media attention subsequently followed the 64-year-old Japanese-American systems engineer.

He later came forward and said that he was not, in fact, Satoshi Nakomoto, and that poor communication between him and the journalist led her to believe that this was the case.

Hal Finney was a developer who was active in the cypherpunk community, from which the idea for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies originate. He participated in the development Bitcoin all the way up to its first transaction, which he received.

Finney tragically died in 2014, but it was revealed that he lived just a few blocks away from Dorian Nakamoto, and some have suggested that that was the source of the pseudonym.

Others have pointed to Nick Szabo, a member of the same cypherpunk community as Finney who wrote extensively about the ideas undergirding Bitcoin, even writing about the concept of a decentralized currency called “bit gold” years before Bitcoin was developed.

Szabo himself has denied being Nakamoto, and has frequently referred to Nakamoto as another person (whose identity he does not know) when speaking about the early days of the digital currency.

The last word has not been said on who actually is behind the name “Satoshi Nakamoto,” or if it might be a number of people who had a hand in the beginnings of Bitcoin. Maybe one day Nakamoto will step forward and reveal his identity himself.