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Best & Worst of the Week: Nominees

Friday, May 11, 2012  |   |  Tags:

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. The Greek electorate

Last Sunday’s elections were the most critical in decades, and the people of Greece made their voices heard. While enduring a painful recession and having to listen to the world lash out countless myths attacking their very identity, Greeks went to the polls on Sunday to speak out and express their dissatisfaction with the status quo.  Not every eligible voter turned out; indeed, turnout was abysmal. Yet those who showed up to vote proved to the world that Greece, the birthplace of democracy, was still dead-set on working to repair it.

Their collective action turned the entire political system in Greece upside down. It was a messy, confusing result, but it was Greece’s result — a set of events determined not by eurozone members or external forces by the self-determination of every Greek who stepped into the voting booth. As one analyst explained:

For 2000 years Greece has lived with a foreign knife in its back. The bankers of Western Europe now have their hands on that knife. Self-interest, greed, power, and the accompanying corruption certainly motivate Greeks as well as Euro-Bankers, but I have known the power of philótimo over many years. It will prevail.”

For exercising their right to vote and making their voice heard — even if the result was messy — the people of Greece are this week’s first Best of the Week nominee.

2.  WordPress
The Internet’s most popular content management system, WordPress, suspended the website of Greece’s neo-Nazi and fascist political party Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi), claiming violation of service. The far-right Golden Dawn party has expressed anti-immigration views and is known for its violent attacks on immigrants, which is especially troubling to Greece since they took as much as 7 percent of the vote. Golden Dawn won 21 seats in Parliament in Sunday’s elections but has since been embroiled in controversial incidents with journalists. Among the reasons WordPress gives for suspending content is inciting “violence or threatening or impersonating a private person.”

For their decision to stop the spread of hatred and violence, WordPress earns a spot on our Best of the Week nominee list.

3.  George Mavrakis, Man of the Year nominee

One of HALC’s own, Chicago Council Member George Mavrakis, has been nominated for the prestigious Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man of the Year award. George is a cancer survivor himself and knows the difficulty of battling the disease. He has begun a huge fundraising effort to honor two family members that have been diagnosed with the disease. George writes on his Man & Woman of the Year home page:

The initial diagnosis of cancer is shocking and it is accompanied with life changes that can be overwhelming, and often devastating to individuals and their families beyond just the health challenges. That is why this cause is so important to me. Helping fund the proper support mechanisms for patients battling the disease is vital. Not only aiding with medical expenses, but patient services, such as, support groups and social workers which undeniably improve patient’s quality of life.

Vote for your choices now! Click here to vote on our Facebook page! 


1. Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Last week, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan “went berserk” when Standard & Poors downgraded Turkey’s economic outlook. This week he’s after the “fable” writers:

“This is an individual whose pen always drips with filth,” Erdogan said of columnist Bekir Coskun, whose account of a privileged military that puts comfort and security before freedom drew on a fable from ancient Greek writer Aesop. Writing in the secularist Cumhuriyet newspaper at the end of April, Coskun retold the ancient Greek story with a twist by naming the tame dog “Pasha”, the honorary Ottoman title given to generals and to secular state founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. “I think the Pashas should now seek legal redress over this matter,” said Erdogan, who himself once sued a cartoonist who had depicted him as a cat.

For his inability to tolerate any form of criticism whatsoever, Prime Minister Erdogan earns a spot on our Worst of the Week nominee list.

2. Thugs who attacked SKAI journalist

Journalist Konstantinos Bogdanos

Konstantinos Bogdanos, SKAI TV host and radio presenter, was attacked and badly beaten in downtown Athens on Wednesday night.
Ekathimerini has more on the attack:

I can say with absolutely certainly that they knew I was a journalist. As they were kicking me, they made reference to “Skai” and to the [EU-IMF] memorandum,” added Bogdanos, who said he could not say if the attack has a personal motive.

They may be anonymous for now, but the thugs who beat up a journalist certainly have earned their nomination for Worst of the Week.

3. Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag
Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag refuses to hand over one of  Interpol’s most wanted, Iraq’s Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi. Iraq has charged Hashemi with terrorism and running a death squad. Turkey said it would not extradite Hashemi back to Baghdad for prosecution:

I am not sure whether there will be a new evaluation in the period ahead,” Bozdag said. “But as the government, our position in this is very clear. We would not extradite someone to whom we’ve given support.

Harboring a suspected terrorist in the face of an Interpol “red notice”? Yes, that behavior — unbecoming of a EU candidate country — puts Bozdag and his government on our nominee list for Worst of the Week.

Vote for your choices now! Click here to vote on our Facebook page!

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