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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 19 August 2017
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 19 AUGUST 2017 7 NEWS Iolas mansion to be turned into a museum It is now 30 years since the art collector’s demise and the looting of his collection Three decades after his death, Alexandros Iolas finally gets his wish granted - to see his home turned into an art museum and cultural hub. The building has been left to rot since the legendary art collector and gallery owner died of AIDS complications in June 1987. His collection, worth millions, comprised more than 10,000 works of art - among them works of Picasso, De Chiricco, Miro, Warhol and 2,500 ancient artifacts - was looted overnight, and his mansion, which he had been slowly turning into a museum, each room devoted to a different art period (from ancient, to byzantine, to pop art), was brutally vandalised. Even doorknobs and plaster rosettes were torn apart and stolen. The only thing that remained intact were the Byzantine columns scattered in the seven-acre estate and the paveway, designed by groundbreaking architect Dimitris Pikionis. Even without all the art- works that it contained, the 1600-square metre mansion remains a landmark for the Agia Paraskevi suburb of Athens and the city's coun- cil decided to buy it, repair the damage and turn it into a cultural centre. Part of the mansion will host an arts museum and another will be devoted to the memory and legacy of the legendary collector. In his heyday, Alexandros Iolas represented artists of the calibre of Max Ernst and Rene Magritte and he boasted of being one of the first people to discover Andy Warhol. But he was never made welcome in his homeland. When he first repatriated to Greece, he gave an interview severely criticising the political establishment, from the President of Democracy Kostantinos Karamanlis to his friend and Minister of Culture, Melina Merkouri. She was the one who denied his offer to donate his art collection to the state, for fear of being associated with the man who the press was waging a war against, labelling him as an antique looter who hosted orgies in his mansion. Instead, Iolas donated 47 works to the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, which is now part of the State Museum of Modern Art in Thessaloniki. Facebook fury over Father Lefteris’ sermon on 15 August A post on social media by a parishioner of the Greek Orthodox Monastery of Panagia Kamariani in Red Hill went viral amongst members of Melbourne's Greek Orthodox Community on 15 August, causing turmoil. According to a Facebook user, Father Lefteris Tatsis allegedly turned his Tuesday celebratory sermon into anti-gay marriage hate speech saying that he himself "would shoot dead anyone who is gay and wants to get married with a shotgun he keeps in the back". The post that has now been taken down was shared by numerous members of the Greek community asking for an apology or an explanation. Neos Kosmos contacted both times. I do not remember saying this, but if I did I'm sorry. It must have been on the spur of the moment. I wouldn't kill anyone; I wouldn't hurt a bird. (. . .) Gay people have this habit. Say if I have a habit, am I allowed to give it to other people? These people are in the gutter. (. . .) My h h g p Fr Lefteris Tatsis the priest and the archdiocese spokesperson yet we received no answer. Father Lefteris, however, gave an interview to SBS Greek on Thursday evening addressing the accusations. Speaking to SBS radio journalist Alexandros Logothetis he said: "Well, I don't remember. If people say I've said that it's false. But if someone recorded me saying this, then I apologise a thousand own granddaughter tells me 'they are people, too' and yes they are, and I love them but say you have a hamper full of oranges and one of those is rotten, all the oranges are going to rot." Neos Kosmos is still waiting on a response from church officials. Missing Greek American woman found in feral condition in Alabama Lisa Theris had been missing since 18 July and hopes of her being alive were dimming when she was found wandering, naked, on a remote road in rural Alabama. She was discovered by a passing driver who mistook her for a deer. When she realised that she was driving past a woman in feral condition, the driver pulled over and rushed to her assistance. Theris was disoriented, covered in dirt, rashes, and insect bites. She was on the brink of exhaustion and asked to not be left alone, New York Daily News reports. The police are still trying to piece together the parts of the Greek American woman's story and understand how she got to this state. According to The Byzantine columns and paved pathway designed by Dimitris Pikionis surrounding the Iolas mansion. Lisa Theris, left, the day she was discovered, wondering naked in rural Alabama and, right, in the photo her family had released when she was reported missing. PHOTO: CRIMEONLINE.COM the Alabama authorities, the 25-year old radiology student was riding in a car with two men who were set on robbing a hunting camp. When she found out their plan, she jumped out of the vehicle and started wandering alone in the woods, where she presumably became lost. In order to survive she ate mushrooms and berries and drank muddy water. She has lost almost 25 kilos in the ordeal. The police transferred her to a nearby hospital from where she was released to return to her family's home in Louisville, much to the relief of her brother Will, who had been leading a persistent campaign to find his sister. The family has been advised to avoid entering speculations and refrain from publicly commenting on the case, until police are in a position to officialy release the details of the case. Lisa Theris' relationship to the two burglars - who are being held in custody for the theft of over $40,000 worth of property from a camp - remains unknown; she is going to be questioned by police, once she's fully recovered. Greek islands ‘like a prison’ for refugees The EU-Turkey refugee deal is under severe criticism by independent humanitarian organisation Refugees International (RI). The deal, put into effect in 2016, was devised as a means to stop refugees crossing the Aegean Sea, after a million asylum seekers chose this way to access Europe from Turkey, through Greece. Under the arrangement, Turkey has agreed to have refugees sent back from Greece, despite not having adequate arrangments or provisions for their settlement, leaving them deprived of basic rights, housing, education, and employment. Greece, The looted mansion, which Alexandros Iolas aspired to turn into a museum of art. on the other hand, has an asylum procedure in place, but most of the refugees arriving on the islands do not have access to it and are not allowed to leave for the mainland. According to the RI's report, this means that thousands of asylum seekers are currently trapped on Greece's islands in terrible conditions, deprived of medical care and basic facilities. As a result, a large part of this suffering population is in fragile health, both physically and mentally. It is telling that the report, based on field accounts of the RI's workers in Lesvos, Chios and Samos, made as recently as a month a go, bears the title ‘Like a Prison: Asylum Seekers Confined to the Greek Islands’. In the report, RI calls for the suspension of the EU-Turkey deal and suggests that Greece should not only put an end to its containment policy on the Greek islands in light of the unacceptable conditions faced by asylum-seekers, but also refrain from returning asylumseekers to Turkey until the country can ensure that they will be accorded standards of treatment commensurate with the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, also known as the 1951 Refugee Convention, and its 1967 Protocol. "Greece's policy of containing people on its Aegean islands is having devastating effects on people's physical and mental health," said Izza Leghtas, RI's Senior Advocate for Europe, presenting the report's findings. "Because far fewer people are arriving along this route than in 2015, the EU and Greece are presenting the EUTurkey agreement as a success. The reality is that thousands of people, many of them traumatised from war or persecution, are trapped and unable to get the help they need."
12 August 2017
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