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Best & Worst of the Week: Nominees

Friday, April 20, 2012  | 

Continuing HALC’s “Best & Worst” of the week series, here are the nominees for this week. Every Friday, HALC’s Facebook community votes on who should win each category. The results are announced on our Facebook page every Monday. The nominees are:


1. Arianna Huffington

Greek media mogul Arianna Huffington stepped into the record books this week. Greek Reporter reports:

Today, Greek-born Arianna Huffington (Stasinopoulou) has an extra reason to be very proud of her “digital child.” The Huffington Post will go down in history as the first commercial online publication to receive a Pulitzer Prize.

HuffPost’s David Wood won the Pulitzer for his “Beyond the Battlefield,” article becoming the first online reporter to receive the top honor in Journalism.

Huffington appeared on The Colbert Report to talk about the prize:

When pressed what she will do now that her site won a Pulitzer, Arianna said that her next life goal is decidedly more low tech. “What’s next for me is to learn to cook,” she told Stephen. “Do you know what it is like to be Greek and not know how to cook? It’s a little bit like being French and not know how to have afternoon sex.”

2.  Dimitris Mitropanos

The legendary singer passed away this week. Kathimerini‘s Iota Sykka pens a poignant profile:

“Are you afraid of death?” I had asked timidly during our last meeting. “What’s there to be afraid of? We’re all going to die anyway,” had been his response. He had spent most of our time together talking about the problems plaguing the Greek health system, helpless pensioners and the so-called “Indignants” on Syntagma Square, as opposed to his own health issues.

“He was a strong and proud man,” said Mikis Theodorakis on Tuesday, while Kraounakis, speaking on public radio, used the following words to describe the loss: “The door of ‘laiko’ music closed with a loud bang.”

3.  Nasos Ktorides

Cyprus Mail brings us the remarkable story of Nasos Ktorides — and a striking photo of the Greek and Cypriot flags planted at the North Pole:

CYPRIOT businessman and philanthropist Nasos Ktorides completed the world’s coolest and most northerly marathon, parking the flags of Cyprus and Greece at the Geographic North Pole.

Ktorides, 44, battled temperatures of -26 degrees Celsius and a sprained ankle to come 16th in the gruelling race, recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the northernmost marathon on earth. He completed 42.195km in six hours and 34 minutes, running entirely on the frozen water of the Arctic Ocean.


1. Columnist John Kass

Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass was sent to Greece and Turkey to report on developments in the region. While his pieces on Greece provided insight into the plight of ordinary Greeks, his columns on Turkey lacked critical analysis. We wrote about the problems with Kass’s piece here. HALC Executive Director Endy Zemenides wrote a letter to the editor highlighting the problems with Kass’s series:

When it comes to politicians in Chicago, Illinois or Washington, Tribune columnist John Kass always keeps the heat on them when promises are not kept or broken. In “With faith and hope, Turkey builds new identity” (News, April 11), Kass has no comment about Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan’s unfulfilled promise to reopen the Orthodox seminary at Halki, which has been closed by the Turkish government for more than 40 years.

Erdogan could honor religious freedom, interfaith acceptance and peace easily if he really wanted to. He has been prime minister of Turkey for a decade. He has won re-election convincingly, and has neutralized the once-powerful Kemalist/secular structure that could have blocked his agenda.

Despite such a mandate, and despite the “promises” issued to Patriarch Bartholomew and to the Obama administration, the seminary at Halki is still closed, Turkey still has the final decision on who is eligible to be the Ecumenical patriarch, 95 percent of church-owned lands are controlled by the Turkish government, and Turkey still denies legal personality to the Ecumenical patriarchate.

If the mayor of Chicago abused power in such a way, Kass would roast him.

Kass should point out that to really provide hope, Turkey should restore the full religious freedom of the Ecumenical Patriarchate — which leads Christianity’s second largest church — and give us reason to believe that a clash of civilizations is not inevitable.

2.  Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney

There’s nothing like a little Greece-bashing to energize a presidential campaign, right Mitt Romney? In an attempt to score laughs from his audience, Romney played into myths about Greece:

“One thing I am convinced that you are not going to see at the Democratic convention, you’re not going to see President Obama standing alongside Greek columns,” Romney told attendees.

“He is not going to want to remind anybody of Greece,” he said to laughter and applause. “He doesn’t want to remind anyone of Greece because he has put us on a road to become more like Greece.”

Politicians shouldn’t use Greece as a boogeyman, and the claim that the U.S. is or can become “like Greece” has been thoroughly debunked time and time again (see our overview post here).

 3.  London Olympic Organizers

It’s been called an “Olympic snub” this week, earning a slot on our “worst of the week” nominee list. London Olympic organizers planned to have the olympic flame carried into the opening ceremony “aboard the replica of Olympias, an ancient Greek warship that showed its mettle at the Battle of Salamis against the Persian empire in 480BC.” They canceled the plan:

The Olympias would start its journey from Tower Bridge, after receiving the flame from the Queen’s Jubilee barge, and meander down the river towards the packed Olympic stadium in Stratford.

From there, the world would watch the flame being carried into the stadium, then lit, to mark the start of the London Olympics.

But in a tale more fitting for the Olympic TV satire Twenty Twelve, the plan has been scuppered because organisers were worried the spectacle of Olympias along the Thames would prove too popular, causing a security risk that might even see people throw themselves off bridges.

And for good measure, the decision has sparked off a diplomatic row with the Greek government and enraged the Greek navy.

This letter to the editor sums up why this story earned a slot on our worst of the week nominee list:

Scuppering the plan to have the Greek trireme as part of the Olympic torch relay is a failure on many levels. Not only is it a snub to the Greek government, which surely needs European solidarity now, not bureaucratic nit-picking, it is a denial of the heritage of the whole Olympic history and its Greek origins.

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