life 11 Apr 2023 09:51 pm


Maria Messinis 
(nee Kartapanis)

She would howl!

She really would. A shrieking sound so terrifying that even the cats and dogs of the neighborhood would hide.

“Stavroooooooooooooooooooo!” I would run, and laugh and if on the odd occasion that she’d catch me and give me a brief spanking, I’d say “That didn’t hurt!”

We were young parasites. From the moment we were born, we took from her. Milk to begin with, then, ever-constant nourishment. And always, anything we demanded, she’d give. Like little baby birds, wide open mouths, screaming for food. That was us.

She was always there, whenever we needed her. Even when we didn’t think we needed her but she knew we needed her.


As we grew and became wiser, wilier little shits, we would attempt to manipulate her. Constantly. And, she’d just take it, knowing, instinctively that that was her calling. Then she’d gently nudge the best behavior out of us.

Bringing up six children was no easy feat. Yet, she did it. Maria was legendary, even in her birth-town of Rhodes which she emigrated from at age 16. A woman who embodied the spirit of rebellion, adventure, and motherhood all in one. She was a force to be reckoned with, a true matriarch who nurtured us and taught us to stand straight and take it all on.

She knew that life can be unpredictable, but she never let fear hold her back from taking on new challenges and opportunities.

Though she’s passed on, we still look up to her as a role model, having inherited her adventurous spirit and resourcefulness. She will always have our backs no matter what.

Despite the many obstacles and setbacks she faced, she never lost sight of her goals or her values and with her life’s partner and co-creator George, they were always determined to create a better life for their children.

Through it all, she was a rebel at heart, challenging the status quo and inspiring others to do the same. A true force of nature, a mother, and a role model who showed us all what it means. Our mother Maria formed the pillar of our home.

I remember that shriek whenever I would not do homework or whenever I’d bully my little sisters or bunk school or tell lies after lies to cover up our crap. It was like an air raid siren! Stop! Take cover! Hide!

She just took it all in. Patient, caring she had to give six of everything. She worked six times as hard.

We miss you mom.

I’ve found my Maria, she’s just like you.

Explaining &life 13 Nov 2022 02:40 am

King Aegeus

I’m sitting here thinking about the day we woke our father early one morning to tell him the news.
We sat around the table with a cup of coffee. It was an abnormality. A weekday. We normally met on weekends.
He sat there confused, wondering what brought three of his six children together on a weekday and how we had woken him. His face, expressing a puzzled mixture of happiness that we were all there together but also a weird energy that something was wrong.
Then, we told him.
Our oldest brother Theo had died in the early hours of the morning.
He sat there in disbelief, the very early elements of dementia had been present for a few months now.
He was confused. “What do you mean?”
-“He had a sudden heart problem and passed away. He’s with mommy now.”
He took it all in. His eyes became wet but he held back the tears. In that moment, he probably had flashbacks of many hundreds of images of his first born son, his birth, holding him for the first time, his first birthday, his first day at school, his achievements, his sorrows and his tragedies, our fights, our joys managing a six child family, his wife, our mom.
Parents should not have to hear of the death of their children.There is nothing more tragic.
I remember a time when I was about 6 years old and our parents took us to Cape Sounion.
As we stood on the cliff near the temple overlooking the Aegean sea, my father told us the myth of King Aegeus who’s son Theseus had gone (against his father’s will) to Crete to kill the minotaur, a vicious beast that was considered invincible.
King Aegeus had instructed his son’s captains to raise a white sail if Theseus was victorious (and alive).
Well, Theseus was victorious but his captains, occupied in celebration following their vanquishing of the seemingly invincible minotaur, forgot to raise a white sail and from that very rock, where Aegeus was standing waiting for the return of his beloved son, wanting to see a white sail, Aegeus saw a dark sail and realised his son had perished. In his despair, in that failure of not succeeding to prohibit his son from doing the unimaginable, he threw himself off the rock and died in the sea below.
I was traumatised that day.
A victory turned to tragedy out of a simple misunderstanding. A parent seeing no further purpose for life when losing a child.
It’s the myths and legends that connect us, that give us direction and purpose. My dad threw himself off the cliff the day we told him of Theo’s passing.
Theo had left years before to go kill his own minotaur.
There was to be no white sail.
A parent’s mission is the equipping of their children to become valuable members of society and living long enough to see that work materialise and for them to continue being parents, and grandparents, adjusting, helping, contributing.
We need to give our kids enough to do something but not enough to do nothing.
We all have minotaurs to go and kill. But we should never go alone.
I miss my parents.
If yours are still alive, go spend the day with them.
Take them to Sounion.
You owe them everything.
They’d jump off that cliff for you.

Uncategorized 06 Aug 2020 12:30 pm

Striving to be a cool couple

18 years ago I met a girl. I knew immediately that she was probably going to be my wife.

We had a short and pleasant conversation and I kept going back to the place she worked to see her often and then, a few weeks later we went on our first date.

It was a disaster. A few years later, we met again and after a short romance, we were married.

Fast forward to today, and we have two kids and we are also one of the coolest couples I’ve ever met.

That said, our relationship is far from being perfect, as we come from different backgrounds and have arguments from time to time — all couples do. However, we are always learning new tricks on how to communicate and (cough-cough) healthily resolve conflict.

One such tool is to choose to focus on the points of strength of our relationship with each-other.

Using humor to prevent pointless arguments

Couples should tease each other a lot, and we often use humor to deflect useless arguments.

When there is some tension and we are about to fight over something small, we have the habit of changing the tone of the conversation from upset to funny. Sometimes it works. My jokes are often quite dry  and sometimes Maria might take a bit of offense. I hope she doesn’t and when I realise she’s been hurt, I’ll apologize.

Sometimes we just use an inside joke and immediately switch from feeling bothered to laughing together. Or we make fun of each other and any small tension that could grow into a pointless argument fades away.

We still address the problem, but we do it playfully — and healthily.

Obviously, if a more serious issue arises, we sit down and talk, as we believe in the importance of resolving conflict.

How to apply this habit:

Whenever you feel you and your partner are about to fight over something small, try to use some humor. Humor! Not sarcasm!

According to a study conducted at the University of Kansas, humor is positively associated with relationship satisfaction. A simple inside joke can often help release the tension and has the power to resolve a small issue without the need to argue.

We communicate assertively

Some people have the habit of subtly expressing their negative feelings through their actions instead of addressing them assertively. Other people avoid conflict by completely shutting down when their partner calls them out on something.

Maria told me that until a few months ago, any time she tried to tell me something she didn’t like, I got defensive and sometimes even a bit nervous. And I would just shut down. So she felt unable to communicate her needs because she always found a “wall.

One day we talked about it and we realized that what triggered my defensive behavior was Maria’s attitude when bringing something up. Although she thought she was doing everything right, the way she addressed issues was the cause of many arguments?—?and she had no clue about that.

I explained to Maria what exactly I didn’t like and she understood how she had to communicate negative feedback to me.

On the other hand, I understood the importance of listening to her needs and learned how to be more open to receiving feedback.

We found a way to talk openly about our expectations and needs without upsetting each other or keeping things to ourselves, and things improved a lot from that moment on.

All this was possible thanks to assertive communication, which is much more effective than a passive-aggressive communication style.

How to apply this habit:

Never keep things to yourself. If you have to communicate your needs, make sure to do it respectfully, without making your partner feel criticized. Never blame or make your partner feel guilty for communicating their feelings.

Try not to lose your patience, and don’t tell them they are being “too sensitive.Learn to actively listen instead, and always create space for healthy and non-violent communication.

We spend time apart

We both love spending time alone, from time to time. In fact, while not  introverts, we both often need some time alone.

I know and understand this and always give her all the space she needs.

Sometimes we also spend time with our friends, or on their own hobbies.

While it’s important to spend quality time together, successful couples know that time apart helps each partner recharge. It keeps things exciting and fresh. When you focus on your dreams and passions, and have the ability to respect your significant other’s space, a healthy relationship can grow. The need to spend time apart is often overlooked.

How to apply this habit:

Always make sure you and your partner make enough time to pursue your dreams and focus on other areas of your life — like your career or your hobbies. When you have a fulfilling life, you bring positive energy into the relationship and massively contribute to its success.

We know consistent, small gestures are essential

I love to cook. And I take real pleasure in preparing some delicious meals for Maria and the boys. Frankly, I wish she’d eat more of them. This is one constant complaint I have.

We also try to make each-other’s life easier. For example, if we go out on an errand, we’ll often ask if we need something from the grocery store. It’s our way to show each-other we care.

We’ll say good morning every day, and check in often throughout the day.

The fact that we consistently do all these small things for each-other makes us fall in love a little more every day. All those small gestures help her feel grateful for being in a relationship with me.

How to apply this habit:

When you consistently make an effort to make things work, you nurture the relationship and make it solid and special.

Keep doing nice things for your partner, like complimenting them, bringing gifts from time to time, or preparing breakfast  (I should do more) — not only during the honeymoon phase of the relationship but even after months or years. Be an attentive partner.

We support each other

I know that whenever I have a difficult day Maria is there for me. She know’ I have her back. Also, anytime I have to share some good news Maria is the first person I’ll call. Because I know she’s my biggest fan.

Similarly, every time Maria feels satisfied for any job-related achievement, or something related to her passions — like presenting or making a sale — she can’t wait to call me or text me, because she knows I believe in her. She knows I’m is genuinely happy for her every time she succeeds.

If we’re planning to meet, but she asks for more time to finish some work, I’m is happy to give her all the time she needs. When things like that happen, she feels supported. That’s love.

I’m not only there on the other side desk or the phone if she needs to talk, but I try to also able to show I truly care through my actions.

How to apply this habit:

Being there for one another and being supportive through concrete actions is essential to make a relationship flourish. That’s real love. Understanding and respecting your significant other’s needs and priorities is the key to successful and healthy relationships.

No relationship is perfect. All couples have their ups and downs, even the seemingly perfect ones.

However, despite the challenges, all relationships have the potential to improve.

Using humor, communicating assertively, spending time apart, consistently doing nice things for each other, and supporting each other, are all habits that can make your relationship thrive.

Healthy love is possible. It’s all about the desire to make it work and respecting each other along the way.

Podcast 12 Jun 2020 11:42 pm

Yours, digitally. Episode 3 – Mimi Hapig, Habibi.Works

Uncategorized 03 Jun 2020 09:00 pm

Yours, digitally – Ep01 Benjamin Southworth

Uncategorized 03 Jun 2020 08:59 pm

Yours, digitally – Ep02 – Nick Stevens

life 03 May 2020 09:17 pm

For Theo

On Saturday 2nd May 2020, Theo’s friends dedicated a 3 hour radio show to him. Host of the show was his good friend John Badenhorst from and the show began by playing his favourite songs and messages from his family and friends. You can listen to it by clicking the play button below. Rest in peace brother.

life 29 Apr 2020 06:08 pm

Theo, 05/01/1971 – 29/04/2020


My earliest memory is of playing pushcars with you on the carpet in that little 2 bedroom house we lived in, do you remember? It was probably 1975.

I remember playing cops and robbers and superheroes, do you remember?

Remember how as we pushed those cars on that carpet, we’d say “Ela fíle, páme fíle, me trákares fíle, den peirazei fíle, páme páli fíle”. Do you remember?

You were my first “fíle” We played a lot back then. We played so much!
Do you remember us setting the couch on fire? We almost burned the house down. They forgave us. They always did. Do you remember?

I remember us racing empty shopping carts around the supermarket because Mommy and Daddy always had two shopping carts and we would each get one to push, do you remember?

Do you remember nursery school where you helped me get on your shoulders and unlatch the door so we could escape and go play at Pappou’s garage? That nursery was shit, Pappou’s was so much better. Do you remember?

Do you remember the long drives to Durban and Daddy stopping near Secunda to show us the “Top Secrets”? Those massive towers in the distance that lit up the sky that produced oil from coal that he helped build and with which he gave us everything our hearts desired, everything and anything.

We couldn’t go near the “Top Secrets”, they were these distant symbols representing hard, hard work and special skills and trust, immense trust. “One day you’ll also build top secrets” he’d tell us.

Do you remember Anstey’s beach and how hard it was at first for us to fit in with the locals? You made so many friends. You made good friends. Do you remember you were first in class? Those years at Grosvenor High were the best, do you remember? Do you remember you captained your rugby team? They called you “Moose”. You were unstoppable. Do you remember when we went to see the All Blacks play? Do you remember?

Remember when you learned to drive?

Do you remember speeding through the streets, getting caught by the police without a license and being brought home and explaining “it wasn’t me speeding Dad, it was the policeman who was speeding trying to catch me!”

Do you remember how Daddy, realising he was losing his grip on his two eldest boys rolled a beat up old Beetle into the yard, gave us a set of ratchets and spanners and said “There, this is your car – take it apart, learn how it works, put it together again. Make it work”

It was his way of keeping us away from the bad influences that surrounded us. We did. So many parts! It ran, we learned. Do you remember? We are the Beetle experts.

Do you remember how hard it was to move away from Grosvenor? You adjusted again and made good friends again but by this time you were out of school and there were new struggles. Harder struggles. The army was a struggle. Something happened in the army that you never wanted to talk about. It changed you. You struggled after the army and we struggled too but I’m sure not as much as you did inside. I was lucky. I never went to that army.

Do you remember how hard it was moving to Greece? You came with your wife and your boy. We were a close family but we struggled. Boy did we struggle. You more than anyone. You made two more boys here. You had a bad hand dealt at that time dear brother. I was the lucky one. I wish it could have been easier for you.

A few years later you left and went back to face an easier struggle. I’m glad you found the path that you wanted. Your path. We promised we’d do our best for the boys and I hope we did. I promised I would and I still will, always. Every one of your brothers and sisters are doing something and we always will.

We had so many fights but you were my first “file”. Do you remember? I have so many memories. So many good memories. Im sorry my boys never got to know you as I remember you. I have so many memories to tell them.

Rest in peace my brother. You’ve had your last struggle. I will always remember you and speak of you fondly. I hope you’re driving fast, in a red Ferrari up there. Give mommy a big hug from all of us here.

Explaining &life 18 Jan 2020 12:30 pm

Letters to our children #3

Dear boys, today I want to write to you about running a family business.

You’ve lived through us running our business almost all of your lives. I’m sure you have your own aspects to reflect upon and perhaps we can talk about how you’ve experienced this at some point in the future. I know your mother will want to be a part of that conversation too.

We Messinis’ run family businesses. It takes a heavy toll on our personal relationships. I know you’ve witnessed this. We’ve had high high’s and low low’s and it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster hasn’t it? Rollercoasters are supposed to be fun, right? Who would you like sitting next to you on a rollercoaster? Family! Who can you trust more than family?

When we work with eachother and for eachother, the lines are very blurred. Emotions run hot and during the low low’s of business it’s easy to start laying blame on one another.

In running a family business, it’s hard to form a hierarchy, really hard. The family members often cover for eachother but when things get tough it’s inevitable that stress spills over into the home. I’m sorry it does.

I personally, have been both a good and a terrible businessperson. Good in that I can take calculated risks easily and am not afraid to fail, Bad because, too often, emotions take over and too often, I’ve trusted people who’ve stabbed us in the back. Sometimes too, I’ve taken decisions that have made our lives a bit more difficult.

Your mom has been there to protect me and keep me on track and, I hope, I’ve been there for her too. I’ve taught her and she’s taught me. We complement each-other and keep each-other accountable. If one day you join us in a family business, we’d expect the same from you too. I know you’ve often seen us argue and too often things have perhaps gone too far but we never wanted to hurt either of you.

I think our businesses have given us a relatively good quality of life. I think better than if we were employed for another organisation. I think too that you may have gained some knowledge from experiencing our toils too. It’s a fact that children are more likely to be entrepreneurs if their parents were entrepreneurs too. If they were exposed to the challenges and thrills of running a business, they’ll be more likely to be able to spot opportunities and threats.

Once I suggested to your mom that we write a book about how we’ve done this. About what sacrifices we’ve made and what compromises we’ve had to endure so as to help other families avoid our mistakes. We’re still discussing the idea.

Here’s a few ideas we’ve been working on for chapters: (Note, we haven’t done a few of these ourselves but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t. If we had, we may have had a smoother ride, I suppose)

Setting boundaries,
Communicating regularly,
Understanding roles and responsibilities,
The business is a business,
The advantages of family businesses vs others,
Treating each other fairly,
Putting things in writing,
Sympathy jobs and avoiding them,
Having clear management lines,
Fresh Ideas from trusted outsiders,
Planning for when someone moves on or is lost,
Having experience outside before joining.

One day we might get to write this book and perhaps you can contribute a chapter or two as the recipients of our flawed parenting.

Thank you for being such wonderful boys.

Explaining &life 30 Dec 2019 10:17 am

Letters to our children #2

Dear kids, I want to write about “logical explanations” and “basic emotions”

You may remember that I often tried to remain calm and collected during difficult days. There have been quite a few and there may be a few more. I haven’t always managed to remain calm and collected though and, while I sometimes struggled to maintain a cool temper I always wanted a fair outcome. I hope we managed to achieve that with you and your mother on most days.

ALWAYS TRY TO UNDERSTAND WHY something has happened. There is a logical explanation for everything. Even if the behavior or outcome seems illogical, the root cause is there. Keep searching. Ask why, then ask why again and, again. You’ll get to the right answer. During these years, as I dig deeply to understand why certain things are the way they are and why certain conditions exist or why certain behaviors manifest themselves, I can’t stop wondering how you saw all these d difficult situations. Perhaps, one day you might talk to me about them.

Understanding a person’s underlying psychological process that drives an irrational behavior is not always easy. During my life, I’ve tried to learn as much about psychology as possible. I would encourage you both to study psychology at school or university, (or the university of youtube).

While the underlying psychology is key to understand, most often, it is one’s own actions over several days, weeks, months or even years that may have led to a toxic situation. I’ve often thought I can heal pretty quickly and forgive pretty quickly. I guess not everyone has the capacity to heal as fast as anyone else so try to always be aware of the things you say and do. Understand that your actions, words and behaviors may be leaving scars that are hard to heal.

Here’s a diagram of some basic emotions that we feel as people, and their follow on emotions. One of the most difficult emotions to overcome is contempt. For one to reach this level, a whole lot of bad stuff has happened and it’s almost impossible to recover from this state. I say almost, because I’m an eternal optimist and one approach to overcome the stuff from the bottom left (rage, anger, annoyance which leads to aggressiveness and, loathing, disgust, boredom, which leads to contempt) , is to pile on a whole lot of stuff from the top right. (Love, acceptance, trust, admiration, serenity, joy and ecstasy.)

In 1980 Robert Plutchik constructed a wheel-like diagram of emotions visualising eight basic emotions, plus eight derivative emotions each composed of two basic ones.
Source: Wikicommons

Basic emotions function as building blocks, with more complex emotions being blends of basic emotions. To use these basic building blocks one needs to be calm, collected and self aware.

I hope you find this useful in life and your various interactions with each other and your mates.

Much love


Uncategorized 15 Aug 2019 01:41 am

Letters to my children #1

Dear kids,

I’ve often thought about what I should leave you that you could find useful during your life when I might be gone in a few years in the future. I thought I could do some audio or some video or write something by hand and place it in an envelope but audio means I need to store it in a format you can use and a place you can find which might be tough. Video has a similar problem really and writing will have the problem of my terrible handwriting. I was always good at writing but never quite as good at handwriting (as my teachers often told me) so I might spare you from the trouble of trying to read my scribbles. I did something similar with my father. Losing those you love is inevitable. I hate being a fatalist but I do want to have some voice clips to remember him by so one day, I put him in the car and took him on a long, long drive where I asked him very many questions about his childhood, his teenage years and a lot of other things. You’ll find those recordings if you keep reading these articles.

For you, in fact, I might do a combination of all of these and leave clues about where you might find more. This first one is here on my blog, which I haven’t updated in a while and I hope will still be here in a few years. I don’t see why it shouldn’t! It’s survived the first 14 so far. In internet time, that’s almost archaeology!

Some of the texts will be short. The short ones will be quick thoughts or pieces of advice I want to make sure you read and can refer to now and again. Some will be longer and will be thoughts and quick tips on how things work according to your dad. The long ones will be long winded rants, gripes or strategies on things that have affected me, your mother and probably you too or they might be stories from my childhood that I think will be important for you to know..

In any case, these are here to keep us together. I hope you enjoy them. You might even discover them sooner than later and we might even be able to discuss them.

By the way, they’ll be public and might even draw a little interest and criticism from others. Never worry about criticism. It’s a very useful thing. I’ve been critical of many things during my life, even to the level of being in conflict with those who I’m criticizing. More often than not, it’s lead to something good happening. Some might call it “constructive conflict”. This type of conflict doesn’t mean harm but rather it tries to achieve a good outcome. So, here’s advice No 1. ALWAYS GIVE FAIR CRITICISM and BE STUBBORN and RAISE HELL if something should be done better to the benefit of society. In the end, it will become better.

In the same light, equally important is accepting fair criticism. As I said above, it’s super useful. You first reaction might be to just get into defense mode or worse, lash out in attack mode. Chill please. It can be demoralizing or feel hurtful. You may have put a lot of effort into an activity and getting criticised by someone who does or doesn’t know much about the subject can be tough. The important thing is to look at it in a positive light. Take what seems a negative and turn it into a positive. If it’s honest, it will spur you into doing it better. Step two is to open communication with your critic. Do this in a positive way. Thank them. Thank them for taking the time to consider your work and taking more time to provide feedback. This is the time to make a promise. Commit to taking this criticism seriously. Stay humble. Become better and be the better person you can be.

If the criticism has negative and petty insults included, ignore those and focus your response on the actual content. Rising above pettyness has great benefits attached. People will admire you for staying away from negativity and being able to handle yourself through tough situations.Another great benefit from not getting invloved in dirty fights is you don’t get dirty, You’ll feel great that you avoided getting caught up in horrible mud-slinging.

So how do you rise above it all and remain the better person? Take out the person (you) from the criticism and focus on the things being criticised, be they actions, words or whatever. Seeing the positive in any criticism, and commiting to improve, thanking the critic as well as communicating with a positive attitude.

Remember to keep it classy. Class is hard to beat.

Keep reading on this medium to read the next one…..

life 19 Apr 2016 11:22 am

Another emotional encounter

Facebook post from 19 April at 11:22 · Athens ·

Another emotional encounter this morning:

Walking two streets from The Cube on Benaki str. I encounter a very old man asking someone for help – He’s confused, probably suffering from the first signs of dementia. “Where are the busses, I want to go home” – “Which bus do you need” asks the other man, an owner of a kiosk, not able to give him the attention required.
I intervene.
“Where do you live” –
He pauses, angry at himself “I don’t remember the address but I remember the place I take the bus from and the stop I need to get off on”
A needle in a haystack.
“Do you have children?” I ask, “Do you have their phone number?” He’s very confused.
“I have children but they haven’t seen me in years – where are we? I just came downtown to buy some shaving cream – now I’m lost”
“We’re on the corner of Akadimias and Benaki”
“Show me the place where there’s a dip in the road, the beginning”
“The beginning of Akadimias?”
“Yes, there where the busses leave from. What’s the name of the square”, there’s that confused gaze again.
“Kannigos” I respond – his eyes light up.
“That’s it , there”
So I walk this old man a little further east towards the bus stops
“No the other way – all I do now is go there down that street and my bus leaves from there” – He’s pointing to Solonos street – We walk past the ever present drug dealers and he tells me he’s 93 years old. He has 3 children and 8 grandchildren – he lives alone – the anesthetic used during an operation he had on a broken hip 3 years ago left his mind numb. His children slowly drifted away after he lost his wife. “They have their own lives now”
He was a bus driver – coming to Athens at age 16 “When the Germans came to Kefallonia, I left and came to Athens. It’s worse now don’t you think?” He asks.
“I don’t know, I haven’t lived through a war”
“It’s worse now”, he says
We walked for 10 minutes or so as I took him to his bus station, making sure he knew where he was going. In the short time as we waited for his bus, we spoke about life, love, war and peace, about disappointment, about achievements, about parenthood – about my Father and Mother.
“Your Dad is a youngster” he said
We spoke about Greece as it was and as it is. This old man had so much to tell and give. Yet, he’s abandoned, unable to even use a phone. – I gave him my card.
“I can’t call you”, he maintained.
“If you get lost on the way home, give it to someone, and have them call me – I’ll come take you to your home and install a phone with big buttons – all you’ll do is press one button to call your daughters”
“One button?” The impossible seemed possible.
I wonder how many old people there are that are just like him. Forgotten by their kids, the ones they once gave everything for.
It made me sad. Really sad. We don’t spend enough time with our elderly.

Uncategorized 05 Apr 2016 10:06 am

On wealth

Facebook post from 5 April 2016

We are often asked why we did coLab or The Cube. It’s not about a large financial opportunity. It’s about the opportunity to surround ourselves with interesting people doing interesting things. For us and for our children, it’s about surrounding ourselves with a wealth of activity, experience and depth. We are certainly not financially richer as a result of coLab or The Cube, but as a good friend said last night, we are certainly much, much wealthier. Wealth isn’t always about money. Vasili, thank you for that remark last night.

shameful 05 Nov 2015 09:14 am

I cried for him

Facebook post from 5 November 2015 09:14

I got into a slight spat last night with a Greek state official here on Facebook. He is something like an Ombudsman for business owners – It began with his comment about an incovenience with runners closing streets down while marathons and half marathons are bing run – I responded that there were more serious problems he could tackle. Like drug dealing – after a few comments he called me “Narcophobic” – This is my response: (It’s a true story, it happened yesterday)

Vasilis Sotiropoulos: ???? ????? ????????????. ? ????????? ??? ????? ????. [You’re simply narcophobic, policing drug use is not the solution]

Stavros Messinis: Vassili, With respect, I’m sorry but you’re appearing as if you too are out of touch with reality.?’m as progressive as you my friend, probably more but I cannot not be narcophobic. I work in and around the results of narcotics every day. Being narcophilic just doesn’t fit in my mind given that at least 1 person per day dies in this city from an overdose or narcotics related fatigue or organ failure. Today, was a terrible day for me. I lost control of my emotions on the square. Walking through it I noticed man in a wheelchair. I thought he looked familiar but I was too far away to be sure. I squinted as I approached and suddenly realised it was Spyros, an addict I knew. Spyros is an addict who six months ago had asked me to help as I walked past. “Sir”, he said, “I was unconscious last night and someone stole my shoes, look, I have no shoes and it’s cold. Do you have some shoes to give me? ” I went to the Cube and took a pair of shoes I had there and gave them to him. He was so grateful and we got talking about his situation, how he had started using and all of his failed attempts to escape the illness and his need for heroin. We talked about the things this drug will make you do about how it controls you and how it keeps you warm in the winter. We talked about the levels you will decay into if you get hooked on it, about the day he was diagnosed HIV positive and how each day is a struggle, about how he doesn’t care about taking his medication because his only mission every day is to beg for as much money as he can so he can buy his dose as often as he can. We talked about how his illnesses have led to cancerous growths in his coccix but that the pain is “manageable with heroin”. Vassili, yesterday I lost control of my emotions because I saw Spyro. Spyro was a shadow of his previous self. At least 25 kg lighter, a weak skeleton with darkened eyes sunken into his skull. He was in a wheelchair. At deaths door. I have seen this death so many times. I estimate he has less than two weeks to live. I asked, astounded “?? ?????? ????!! ?? ?????!” [What happened to you? We lost you!”] – “????????? ? ???????? ???? ?????????? ?????” [The cancer progressed to my Spine] he said with around 5 other addicts around him. I asked him full of emotion “Please! Please tell your friends here what will happen to them – show them their future in yourself if they do not stop – Why must this happen, Why!” At that point I completely lost it and started sobbing like a child at the injustice. I cried for this poor man. I ran away crying. He shouted as I ran “??? ????? ?????? ??? ?????” [Don’t cry father, don’t cry] – I walked from Kannigos to Iera Odos and back before I could return to normal function. Im crying now as I write this. I mourned his looming death and I cried for my part in it and your part in it. I cried for the injustice. For allowing the dealers to do this to him. All I did was give him shoes and offer some comfort through conversation with the hope that he might pick himself up and do what needed to be done. I can do more. Can you? Vassili, Your comment that I am narcophobic is blatantly innapropriate. You are out of touch my friend. ? ????????? ??? ?????? ??? ????? ???? [The policing of drug use isnt a solution], I agree. ???? ??? ??? ?????? ??? ????????? ??? ???????? [but here, not even dealing is being policed].??? ?? ?????? ??? ????? ??? ??? ???? ????????. ??? ?? ???????? ?? ???? ??????? ??? ???? ??????????????? ??? ?????????????? ??? ????? ??????? ?? ???????????. [ Come visit here and in the Academy, come talk to the addicts, the shopkeepers and business owners you have a duty to represent]

shameful &work 19 Aug 2015 08:35 am

Letter to the Mayor

[Below is a text of a letter I wrote to the Mayor of Athens in August 2015 about the rising drug problem in our area]

Dear Mayor Kaminis,

I own and run The Cube, Athens’ largest coworking space and tech startup cluster based near Kannigos square. It is home to some of Greece’s best web and tech entrepreneurs, people who are building globally impactful businesses. It is the defacto location for many of Athens’ tech meetups – daily , weekly and monthly group meetings of people with common interest in various technologies, tools and methods. Together, we are some of Greece’s most impactful changemakers.

Unfortunately, life in this part of the city has once again become untenable and I can no longer expend energy trying to convince the authorities that they need to do the commonsensible. I am tired of calling officials to complain about the lack of policing, the lack of cleanliness, the lack of adequate lighting – more seriously, the blatant surrender of the streets we have the unlucky fate to be in, to drug dealers, prostitutes and vagrants.

We have an ever present gang of drug dealers peddling their poison less than 50m from our entrance. Drug use on our street is significant. Addicts are constantly spiking themselves right outside our door, leaving their used needles, spraying blood on our pavement, sometimes passing out for hours on our street, very often fights break out and there is a general feeling of an unsafe neighborhood. The Police seem unable to take control of the situation, their patrols are minimal and they almost never arrest anyone. If they do, the same dealers are out on the street again within hours.

This is not a proud moment for me as I am writing to tell you about our combined failure. I am writing to inform you that due to this combined failure, it is my intent to move our business and all of our tenants out of central Athens at the first opportunity.

Unfortunately, it is becoming increasingly difficult to convince some of Greece’s most talented entrepreneurs to come and work here, in The Cube, a place that has been recognised as one of the most positive things that has happened in this country in recent years.

It is regretful but our talented clients and coworkers refuse to co-exist with the vagrants that have embedded themselves here.

Unfortunately, the negatives outweigh the positives.

I suppose one could argue that it is actually we who embedded ourselves in their territory, but I had hoped that with us moving to this troubled part of the city, that we might instigate some change and some level of care from the authorities. None has emerged, despite our efforts.

Why on earth did I choose to come here you ask? Well, I was inspired by an initiative in Lisbon, where another entrepreneur like me did the same. His story and the success delivered to his neighborhood is something that should be replicated in many parts of the world.

In creating The Cube, my second coworking initiative after founding coLab – Greece’s first (and quite famous) coworking space, I specifically wanted to go to an under-served part of town and do some good. I wanted to create an initiative that would help uplift one of the many areas that have significant challenges and are undergoing urban decay. Kannigos square was once full of life. By the time we arrived, two and a half years ago, it had descended into a no-mans land of drugs, prostitution and petty crime. The opportunity to do good had appeared. We found a fantastic building – Seven times larger than our previous location – a building that once was home to a stockbrokers, one of Greece’s biggest – but they unfortunately decided to depart after an attack by anarchists. I’m not worried about anarchists. Startups are kind of anarchists by nature too. I was more worried about the drugs and the needles. My co-investor was especially nervous about my choice for this building, as were many of the members of Athens’ startup community, but I convinced him, as I did them, that new things need to be built on the ruins of bad things and if we came here, we would give life to the neighborhood. This very large building was empty for 4 years which of course means that the city received no city taxes during that period. We came and brought life to the building and to our small street. It had become dark and lifeless. The Cube, as a working concern, currently pays very significant city taxes. I feel we get very little value in return.

In the past few days, while we were away, our tenants tell us that the situation had become extreme. We returned to find chaos in and around our office building entrance. It had become a drug den. We returned and immediately began cleaning the urine and fecal matter from HIV and Hepatitis infected addicts literally in the entrance of our office. The drug pushers stood a few meters away while we did this.They had even been so kind as to leave a small shovel for use of their customers when, in a drug induced bout of diarrhea when have the urge to relieve themselves of their infectious waste, they can use the shovel to move their fecal matter into the surrounding bushes.

Over the past two years, I have personally called the Police, the Narcotics bureau, the Ministry of Public order, several city Councillors and deputy Mayors and finally your office uncountable times. Yet, this same gang of four or five Ghanaian or Nigerian drug pushers continue to work the streets surrounding The Cube day in and day out – right under the nose of the authorities who simply raise their hands and pass the buck from one official to the next official. Your office tells me your hands are tied. I respond saying your hands are raised.

I called again and visited Omonia police station after being threatened by the drug dealers yesterday. Today, I was threatened by the addicts themselves – I was chased all the way to Omonia, manhandled and had my phone removed while they deleted photographs I had taken of the decay in Kannigos square to show to the authorities.

Enough is enough Mr Mayor. I explained to one of your aides today that my job here is to provide good working conditions to my members. I have failed them and I feel the city has failed me.

Your job, Mr Mayor, is to make the city attractive for businesses and provide the conditions (in collaboration with the other authorities) for our citizens to want to work here and for entrepreneurs to want to invest here. All parts of the city require your attention. I’d say that you might consider giving the more troubled parts, and especially those parts with the potential for improvement, with high impact individuals, as I have described above, more attention. We chose to come to this part of the city because it was at a good price and we could do something to uplift it. Without your help and support, we have no reason to remain. We are losing customers and without customers we cannot remain. Our customers are asking us to move.

I consider myself an ambassador for our city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem when I travel to speak abroad on entrepreneurship and business – I’m afraid I’m finding it difficult to represent this city given the current situation.

Today, while talking, at your office with one of your aides, I asked to see you so that I can explain this to you in person. I don’t really need to see you to complain. I have complained enough here already and I have complained to you in person before, and while I have often been accused of complaining by various authorities, including city officials, I must say it is simply because I’m very invested in this city.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you

Stavros Messinis

Founder – The Cube Athens

/cc Minister of Citizens Protection – Mr Yiannis Panousis

Uncategorized 11 Jun 2015 08:30 pm

Orbitz Hell.

I’ve just spent over 8 days battling through successive phonecalls with a few particularly frustrating conversations with Orbitz and Piraeus Bank, I have to air my grievances.

First, I never had any issues prior to this week on with my Piraeus Bank Mastercard. This issue started with Orbitz (with whom I’ve never booked before save for this first and last time).

Trying to book tickets for me and the family and Orbitz presented a great offer. I hit the buy button, put in my Credit Card info and the purchase seemed to go through. A minute later, I get an email saying the transaction has been voided and I should book a different itenerary (a more expensive one at that)
Orbitz locked up $1466 of availability on my Prepaid Piraeus Credit Card in the form of a “pre-authorization”.

After several hours talking to multiple representatives from both Orbitz and Piraeus (8 agents, a supervisor and a manager from Piraeus), I now beleive the blame is more on the bank than the merchant for the fact that I still have this non-transaction eating up availability on my card.

Orbitz screwed up on this originally, but Piraeus is the one that refuses to remove the transaction saying that there’s nothing they can do while it’s still pending.

The only recommendation they give me each time I call them is for me to get Orbitz to contact their bank or merchant services to reverse the transaction (which Orbitz cannot identify in their system) or wait 15 more days until the pending transaction cancels out naturally.

We even had Orbitz send them a fax saying they woruld not claim the preAuth but Piraeus still refuses to release the funds until Orbitz’s bank issues them with a fax.

This is terrible customer services and I’d expect more from Piraeus. Of Orbitz, I expect nothing – they suck plain and simple.

life &work 24 May 2015 12:11 pm

Best thing read

I’ve been posting a regular update called “Best Thing Read Today” to my Facebook recently. It’s normally a short text from a book,newspaper or site I chanced upon that strikes me as important. Here’s one I think is profound given Greece’s current situation and the root causes of these outcomes :


Sounds a little like Kennedy’s  “Ask not” speech.

life 24 Apr 2015 02:59 pm

Time to complain

This image expresses it perfectly. 

Today I had a coffee with Menelaos, someone I consider very highly. He said something that I wanted to share with all of you.

“If you’re doing it right, you shouldn’t have time to complain”

I’m probably wasting time on low impact things that inevitably make me complain. No more. I intend to do it right and not have time to complain.

How about you?

The next few weeks will be hectic – with a visit to San Francisco and Boulder, helping my friends from do some great things with Sparkfun and some US schools, it will be a lot of fun and we’ll make some impact. I hope too to have some time to attend TiECon  – I met the awesome TiE folks when they did their summer retreat here in AThens a few years ago. We helped them put together a great entrepreneurs bootcamp here and I’ve been invited back to do the same for their next summer retreat in Dublin. So, the following week, I’ll be closer to home, in Dublin doing that.

So, no time to complain – trying to do it right. Can I convince you to join me?


Explaining &work 01 May 2013 11:04 pm

On Values

I was asked a few days ago to contribute to a discussion on values for an organisation very close to my heart. Here’s what I submitted as the 5 most important values. I subscribe to them and I expect everyone I do business with would want to too.


  1. Honesty and Integrity
    Maintaining the highest ethical standards. Being open and transparent in all processes. Respecting the resources assigned to us.Being honest and thereby inspiring trust. Doing what we say and saying what we mean, matching our behaviours to our words and taking responsibility for our actions.
  2. Commitment to community
    Giving back. Being committed to doing good overall. Acting in an open and inclusive manner that embraces all players in the entrepreneurial community. Nurturing and inspiring nascent communities with our actions.
  3. Humility
    Valuing the the strengths, experiences, and perspectives of others while recognizing our own limitations. Being committed to partnering effectively with local communities to ensure that our work advances the broader good for all.
  4. Respectfulness
    Placing value in individuals. Respecting people for who they are and the value they bring. Embracing diversity and each individual’s unique contribution. Fostering a trusting environment that treats each person in a way that reflects our values.
  5. Stewardship
    Working towards building a better and stronger company. Developing and protecting the brand and our associated brands.

Projects &work 20 Apr 2013 02:32 am

TheCubist – a biweekly newsletter

Today, I launched a new newsletter 

Welcome to theCubist

– It’s a newsletter about entrepreneurship.

You can subscribe too by visiting

Here’s the first paragraph welcoming new subscribers.

It’s a real privilege to be welcomed into your inbox, I know this is a very personal thing and I promise to respect it by offering the most valuable insights to you. Insights I collate from my various readings as I surf the interwebs.

I love writing (it’s therapeutic), I love communicating and while this exercise will be therapeutic for me, my aim for you, is that it is informative, educational, entertaining if possible, a little inspring too.

This is a collective, inclusive newsletter. An open forum. From time to time, I will invite friends from both within our circle and from further afield to contribute too. I may promo a few things here and there where I think they’ll add value, like the excellent SWNext program you should check out, seriously click the link. Share it.

However, if at any point you think I’m overstepping the boundaries, please reach out and tell me.

Regarding frequency, I’ll try get this out to you every couple of weeks but don’t hold me to it. I know you only want value coming into your mailbox.

Will it be about Greek startups, you ask? A little (actually very, very little). There are enough forums, newsletters and sites covering that subject. Our little ecosystem is maturing so as to enable that. This rising tide is lifting all boats. StartupDigest will continue to cover Athens events. I will cover the odd Greek startup here and there but I will also talk about my other countries’ ecosystems too (those that I have been privileged to serve in the past) i.e. South Africa, UK and Brazil. Im adding a few more as we speak. We are citizens of the world after all.

Enough jabber. Let’s get this show started. Welcome again!


Explaining &work 26 Feb 2013 01:49 pm

A sunshine moment.

Sunshine momentHello friends.

What a ride! It’s been fun! It’s been challenging, but now, it’s time for something new.

I have just completed a transaction with Dimitris Tsigos and his StartTech group transferring all of my shares in coLab to them.

One key tenant in coLab recently told me “everyone who’s anyone has graduated from coLab or is about to”. I agree, and now, it’s time for me to graduate too.

The last 2 years of my life have been precious. In building coLab, I invested almost everything I had. Money, time, family, tears, everything. Yet, we built it and together, we built a community around it. With sacrifices. Through the crisis. Without (much) investment other than the investment from customers who trusted us. coLab was never meant to return huge profits financially. It did however return huge profits in social terms.

We built our corporate brand as well as our respective personal brands. We had hundreds of events and thousands of readers of our newsletter. We helped and were helped by many. I can’t count the number of kudos emails I received because of what we were doing.

Giving someone a chance in business is so important and all of you gave that to me and Spiro. We gave it to each other. It wasn’t always rosy but it was always fulfilling. I have taken many lessons from this past period. Lessons about commitment, about trust and about integrity.

Selling coLab! I know, shocking isn’t it? Well, they had it coming. The deal is pretty sweet and gives me the ability to continue along a new track.

Spiros will remain in coLab together with the StartTech team. I wish them all the best of luck. I hope you will give them the chance they deserve in this new beginning. If I can part with one final piece of advice to my past collaborators it would be this: service is more than saying, “Yes” and taking care of the customer. Above all, great service needs personality.

Now, on to the terms of the sale: There’s a small catch. The terms of the sale contain a non-compete clause with coLab so and while I will never consider coLab as a competitor but rather a collaborator, I will be going into coworking stealth mode for a short time. Let’s call it a hibernation from coworking. I will not be running a new coworking space immediately. I will be running events and some of them may be in coLab or elsewhere or some may be in a new event space I will likely set up soon(ish). It will NOT be a coworking space, at least not in the short term.

In parallel, I will continue the fun work I’m doing with StartupDigest, facilitating Startup Weekend in cities around the world and helping co-organise SW in Greece and further afield. I am about to complete my accreditation as a SWNext facilitator and the next cohort of SWNext will begin imminently. Also, I’m in discussions about a new track of work I may be tasked to do and as always, as someone who always has more than one pot of tea brewing, I have a few more things up my sleeve as well. Stay tuned to learn more.

By now, you all know my strategy. I announce something and then do my best to implement it. The announcement acts as a promise to deliver and a reminder to me that my reputation is at stake. Not delivering amounts to failure and while failure is acceptable, it is certainly not desirable. I fucking hate failing.

So, on to new things. Remember, I’m only an email away!

Stavros Messinis
coFather of coLab

life 03 Sep 2010 10:04 pm

Positive Scaffolds

Times are tough. The experts say they’re going to get tougher. I’m encouraged by the fact that in many conversations I’m hearing people offer eachother the phrase “How can I be supportive?”. It comes early in the conversation, probably the second question asked. Right after “What are you working on currently?” Most respond with an empassioned rant on their current project. Some answer that they’re not working on much but are looking for an opportunity. The response is still fitting.

It’s great that people are interacting like this. Using the word “support” rather than the word “help” implies success rather than failure.

In tough times like these we need to be scaffolds for eachother.

Projects &Social Nets &work 24 May 2010 08:53 am

On being a hub

people hub

People Hubbing

Organisations that fail to realise the importance of being a hub will simply fail. Call it what you like, a marketplace, a center of excellence, an agora whatever, it’s a hub. You don’t have to be an expert in the subject you’re hosting but you need to have the skills to get people to share and interact, meet and greet, exchange views and practices. Not all might share the same objectives with you nor serve exactly the same ideals but if you can’t get them into a room together you won’t ever get the chance to learn from them or even convince them of the merits of your position.

If you yourself don’t have the skills to encourage hubbing, hire someone to do it or better yet partner up with someone who can. It’s far worse if you fail to realise the benefits of hubbing. Hubs are great for reporting good news stories and “embedding humanity”. Remember, new technologies give anyone the tools to create, publish or broadcast. Ineviteably, people are like moths around a flame. If the flame is bright enough, i.e the subject is attractive or offers value.
Electronic word of mouth has given power to smaller hubs to
connect people to stories they have created. Today it’s cheaper to connect, create communities and empower niches. So go ahead and be a hub. Don’t fear it.

life 22 May 2010 04:37 pm

Importance of siesta’s without clocks

I’ve just woken up. It happens so often that I wake up during sleep and wished I’d had a notebook by the bedside to jot down what I, at that specific point in time, think is an incredible idea. I don’t have a notebook and naturally, overcome by the desire to nap for a few more minutes or get back into that nirvana mode where I came up with that idea, I forget the idea. Today, I beat nirvana and jotted down an incredible idea.

I get my best ideas while sleeping, that’s why siesta’s are important.
I wish I had more of them!

life &work 02 Apr 2010 10:28 am

Be professional but be a little amateur too – Don’t lose the love

It’s been a tough couple of weeks and we have been at the mercy of some cold, hard balled professionals and the impact has been devastating but we will overcome. I wanted to make a point regarding professionalism vs amateurism and how one without the other will most likely lead to failure of some sort. The last few weeks’ events have resulted in a few people being hurt, productivity is in the doldrums and work morale is at almost zero. It’s going to be an uphill battle to encourage the troops again and some valuable soldiers are likely to desert.

To make my point: The difference between professionals and amateurs is that amateurs exhibit love for what they do.

Yesterday, I advised a young colleague with a bright future that while being professional is important, it’s equally important to be a little bit of an amateur. A professional places less value in the human cost of decisions than an amateur will. I hope he takes my advice and when it’s his turn to advise those more senior than him on the best course of action, he’ll be a little bit of an amateur as well as a professional. This will transform him from a good manager to a great manager and eventually into a great leader. A leader who will have troops that return that love and will be ready to follow him into any battle. Battles that’ll then be easier to win because love is hard to beat.

There are too many professionals around lately. They’re not really producing more than the amateurs were. I’m seeing more destruction and less construction. Play a little tetris people.

Etymology of Amateur
In Greek: Erasitechnis < erasi- (eramai-to love) + -technis (techni) In English: 1775–85; < F, MF < L amator lover, equiv. to ama- (s. of amore to love) + -tor -tor, replaced by F -teur (< L -tor-, obl. s. of -tor); see -eur

Uncategorized 12 Oct 2009 10:01 am

Forces in play during Football Practice

Our firstborn had his third football practice today. He’s enjoying it. The second one was easy but the first was a nightmare for both parent and child.

Now during round three, having overcome the anxiety of the first ever practice, where Panos was “expected” to join in, accepting orders from another adult, in a team environment. The biggest anxiety was one imposed on him by his parents, the pressure we as parents unwittingly exert on him, expecting him to perform normally. in this new environment. Naturally since it was all so new, he didnt want to join in so we in turn become agitated. We ask ourselves why is my child not enjoying this? He enjoys football when we play together, is he not normal, Im dissapointed, let me pressure him a little (big mistake), now i’m embarrased. Lets just go home. If you dont play we’ll go home, if you do play I’ll buy you xxxxxxxx.

The coach was wise, “dont even mention it to him, he’ll play when he’s ready” I’m beginning to understand it now, while watching another parent go through the same motions.

Evolution is a wonderful thing.

life &work 03 Aug 2009 01:13 am

And what matters is:

My (slightly modified) view on what matters is:

* An alternative culture, a brighter light
* A tight relationship with stakeholders, partners and the wider community that all give us permission to talk with them
* Doing business in a remarkable way that’s worth talking about
* A story that spreads, a tale that sticks
* Leadership

Projects &Technology I use 04 Apr 2009 11:48 pm

Twitter & Google search greasemonkey addin

screenshot of twitter search addinI use twitter’s web interface more than anything and I hate the fact that I have to scroll down the page to go to to do a search on a hashtag or on a user or even myself. I’ve seen the experimental twitter search box on other accounts but it’s not appearing for mine yet so tonight with the help of a few friends, I modified an old greasemonkey script to add a twitter and google search box on the top right of the main twitter homepage. Suddenly my twitter experience is so much better. If you have firefox and greasemonkey installed, you can try the script here or if not, download and install greasemonkey then try the script. Let me know if you like it or if I can change it in any way. In the next version I plan to add a feature that will turn all hashtags into url’s pointing to their respective twitter search url’s. I’m also hoping to include the latest treding topics under the search boxes.

Uncategorized 01 Apr 2009 05:24 pm

dooped !!

shameful 30 Mar 2009 01:37 am

Citizens filling the gap

The number of example cases are growing, Faliron, Goudi, Villa Zographou and more. Cases of ordinary citizens taking matters into their own hands when local government has failed them.

The latest of these has been the Info Cafe campaign running at Gardenia Square in Zographou where ordinary citizens took back a large space once used as a coffee shop. Apparently the previous tenant had not paid rent to the council for several years and has left a bill of several hundred thousand euros.

Local residents have since occupied the space and have turned it into a self run “Community run cultural centre”. The city council is against them of course since they just want to find another tenant who might (or might not) pay rent. It’s a funny place, Greece. Nevertheless, the group of organisers involved here are getting things right, arranging several cool events, using the internet to announce, co-ordinate and organise more generally. Take a look at their google calendar here.

Today, while walking through Exarcheia, one of Athens’ more run down districts, I came across another citizen run action I had heard about. There is a plot of land off Navarinou str that was destined to be made a parking lot but through pressure and action of local citizens, the space has been taken back and is slowly being turned into a park. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s the city council doing the conversion: No, it’s the citizens. Today I witnessed guerrilla gardening at its best, ordinary people, fed up with urbanisation, planting trees and shrubs in the center of Athens. The day had street theater, childrens activities and more. Here’s a few pictures from there today (I didn’t take too many since Exarcheia is a risky place to take pix)

Now while on the subject of citizen action, another place that is in dire need of such activity is the Athens City Council’s Library at Agios Thomas square. The place has been closed for over two years and has at various stages been under threat of being turned into a cafeteria. I’d love to see citizens of the area take over the place and run it like the ex Info Cafe in Zographou. The place was recently broken into again and is in a truly sorry state. Take a look at the pix and judge for yourself.

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