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balkan beats4 free press bimonthly magazine

created by the volunteers of

united societies of balkans

General Director Aristodimos Paraschou Authors of the Issue Diego Domínguez García Ignacio Prados Ansede Maria Petkova Matteo Scarpa Michela Gennari Necdet Burak Özyurt Okan Atalay Philipa Nikolova Riccardo Rossi Editors Ignacio Prados Ansede Diego Dominguez García Designer Temmuz Onur Deniz Güzel Cover Photo Stavros Dimakopoulos

United Societies of Balkans is a Non Governmental Organization, founded in Thessaloniki in 2008, by a team of active young people. The organization was created as a response to the pressure of constant changes in the Balkan and Eastern European region and under the need for the creation of a better social environment. Key areas of the organization’s activities concern the defense of human rights, the organization of youth exchanges and training courses, which will bring young people from Balkans and Europe together,

the organization of local educational seminars and multimedia production (web radio, videos, documentaries). Main goals of the organization: -To promote the values of non formal learning, volunteering, active citizenship and democracy for the creation of a better future for European youth. -To promote human rights, solidarity and respect for diversity. -To build healthy cooperation bridges between countries of the Balkan area and that of Eastern Europe with the rest


of Europe. -To locate and multiply the special cultural attributes of our societies. -The break down of prejudices and stereotypes between Balkan countries. United Societies of Balkans, Alamanas 9, Agios Pavlos, 55438, Thessaloniki, Greece. (+30) 2310 215629 E-mail: Radio: Facebook: United Societies of Balkans Twitter: @USBngo Youtube: United Societies of Balkans NGO



Stavros Dimakopoulos

5. Dimitria Thessaloniki Festival 7. 54th Thessaloniki International Film Festival 8. Volunteering At The 54th T.I. Film Festival 11. Tips for Trips 12. airbnb 13. The + Factor 14. Skopje 2014 17. A Suspended Coffee In Thessaloniki 19. Finding Nemo 23. Nutrition Is Not What It Was

Ignacio Ansede, Diego García, Riccardo Rossi Necdet Burak Özyurt Ignacio Ansede Michela Gennari Ignacio Ansede Matteo Scarpa Philipa Nikolova Riccardo Rossi Okan Atalay Maria Petkova





ctober is a big month in Thessaloniki. Not only because the suffocating summer is over or the leaves are starting to fall giving that characteristic brownish colour to the city, October is important for Thessaloniki because it is the month of its Saint protector, Saint Demetrius, and consequently of its cultural festival, Dimitria, whose 48th edition took place from the 26th September to the 26th October. With different events in several venues of the city, Dimitria filled the city with culture in various forms, from theatre to exhibitions and music concerts. This festival is another example of the vibrant life of Thessaloniki, a city popular not only for its traditional bouzoki, its bougatsa or the sea, but for the free and cheap cultural activities that are provided specially in the field of contemporary art. Dimitria offered Thessalonians and its visitors shows by both Greek and international artists, some of them prestigious like Aymeric Hainaux o Renato Zanella who even gave master classes to anyone interested in their field of expertise.

And as you can imagine United Socities of Balkans assisted to some of its activities to let you know how they were.

and you want to know how it feels like, you should ask these two dancers how it feels like because they experienced it.

Tango toilet Tango Toilet took place on the 15th October in the windows of Notos Galleries several times during the day. Playing with the innovative concept of showing tango in a different environment, more concretely a bathroom, Rodrigo Pardo and Cristina Cortés displayed a show that was watched by a huge crowd that was blocking the way of Tsimiski, the main commercial street of Thessaloniki.

Vocal Performance Aymeric Hainaux is a beatboxer who creates music by using his voice in a “human beatbox” action. His performance is supported by two microphones, an echo pedal and a cassette player –no computer, no machine, and no loop.

Tango, still not a very well known dance in Greece, is a seductive dance from Argentina that is year by year getting more famous worldwide thanks to its spectacularity, a spectacularity that this time was multiplied by the effect of seeing them dancing inside of a not very big bathroom. Have you ever danced and sung in front of the mirror imagining that you are being watched a big audience? If you have 5

Rodrigo Pardo & Cristina Cortés

One shot recording and only live action are the features in which the artist's music is rooted. Hainaux's music style can be described as an emotional journey that takes you over throughout your deepest feelings

Photos: Ignacio Prados Ansede

Zafiris Nikitas

Indeed, the artist’s music style is an artistic emotional representation of his love for travelling by hitchhiking. On 16th October, the artist gave a master class and performed a suggestive mix of different sounds emotionally intertwined among them, letting the audience experience an ethereal atmosphere. The performance has been set at the Bensoussan Han, a ramshackle building in the downtown of Thessaloniki, gathering the audience in one room. The set has helped the audience to get closer to the artists’ sound, therefore allowing the audience to enter utterly into the sounds’ emotions.

Ultimately, the artist through his music has definitely succeeded in bringing the audience into its deepest emotions.

Blue On 13th October, it took place Blue, an artistic performance by Zafiris Nikitas that combines music and silence with strength and weakness. It is a performance made for the audience and the Bensoussan Han was the perfect place to create a unique atmosphere of interaction between performers and audience playing with the different rooms of the venue.


he two artists (Zafiris Nikitas and Elena Zikou) use all kind of techniques during the performance in order to connect with the audience: music, dance, painting, poetry, body movement, documentaries, balloons... And more other ones, but it is not our purpose to ruin the final. This performance, supported by the Drama Department of the School of Arts of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, will not leave you cold and you will feel the excitement of being the main character of a show. 6

Art night On 3rd October was the time for the “Art Night”. Museums and galleries of Thessaloniki were open to show their best exhibitions to the night lovers. From the Byzantine Museum to the Vlassis Art Gallery and from the Nitra Gallery to the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography. All of the galleries, mostly located in Tsimiski street, acted like an open door to a world of colours, forms and textures. Bottles of wine and some snacks were the point of departure for a nice talk with the different artists. During this night you could find powerful bulls from Spain, big sculptures made of cardboard, cities made of paper and ancient dances performed by young people. A huge show for our senses in a magic night.

Ignacio Prados Ansede, Diego Domínguez García, Riccardo Rossi


Image by Tod Guzel


inema has an universal language. Many directors, many scriptwriters and many actors from different countries trying to tell a story use cinema’s universal way of expression. This is why, for example, the South Korean filmmaker Wong Kar Wai can be the favorite director of a French girl or the Persian director Abbas Kiorastami can be the master of an American boy. I came to Thessaloniki from Istanbul on the first week of November. It was my first time abroad and I was not used to live in a foreign country. Everybody was speaking in a different language and my English is just enough to survive, either I cannot speak Greek. In this process of experiencing the difficulty of expressing myself, Thessaloniki Film Festival filled the void. The Festival was an unique chance for my adaptation time in my new adventure in life. I studied Cinema in

Turkey and that is why I have always followed film festivals through TV and magazines, especially the European ones. This time I followed it personally. It was really exciting to me. Without any doubt, I would like to congratulate the organization of the Festival, from the staff to the volunteers, for these amazing ten days. watched nine movies: Milk by Semih Kaplanoğlu, Don’t lean out of the window by Bogdan Žižić, Nobody’s home by Deniz Akçay, Innocence by Zeki Demirkubuz, Carmina o revienta by Paco León, Coming forth by day by Hala Lofty, Times and winds by Reha Erdem, Hank and Asha by James Duff and Bad Hair by the Mariana Rondón. I really enjoyed every one of them, but if you ask me what was my favorite movie I would definitely say Nobody’s home. It has affected me and shaked my brain because of its concept



of the ‘holy’ family and it was a movie really hard to watch. In Thessaloniki, Festival days were so dynamic and passed so fast. Especially Aristotle Square and Port area were so active. Many people was going out from theaters in order to get on time for the next movie, running from one side to the other. You could easily see Festival colors and passion for cinema downtown. During this time, cinema lovers were very happy. As it is said, cinema makes all hearts gentle and I saw it reflected in people’s faces.

Critic of Nobody’s Home By Huffington Post nfuENK

by Necdet Burak Özyurt



n Spanish the word volunteer (voluntario) has the same root that the word will (voluntad). Then, volunteering is something that should be done with will, with determination to help and to be useful in an event or organization you appreciate. But this does not mean that volunteering is only about unpaid work, it is much more than that. Being volunteer, in this case in the 54th TIFF (Thessaloniki International Film Festival), deals with friendship, amusement and life experience more than with just an actual work. Being aware that I was the only foreigner in the whole team, I confess that I was quite scared the first night. Moreover, I was also afraid because I was going to be volunteer during the opening ceremony with everything that this means. Who was I going to see? Any celebrity? Was I going to blunder? Luckily I did not and I saw some celebrities like the American film director Jim Jarmusch, who was actually standing besides me when I sneaked into the cinema to watch some minutes of his last film, Only lovers left alive. But what was actually surprising and motivating was to meet so many nice people, from the festival staff to my fellow volunteers, all of them very patient with my poor level of Greek and willing to help me to feel comfortable in a 100% Greek environment. Maybe I was not the best one to solve

Bruni Tedeschi had also a great attendance, like the tributes paid to the French directors Claire Simon and Alain Guiraudie.

the audience’s doubts, but I helped as much as I could and I improved very much my Greek. Furthermore, ten days working with the same people more than five hours a day strengths the relationships but if you add an every night party with all that this implies the bonding gets even stronger. Blame it to the cheap alcohol we could get or the great music they were playing in Αποθήκη Γ, the port warehouse where the TIFF organized parties for the staff, the volunteers, the guests and the friends, but these parties were really useful to blend with my new colleagues.


his year the 54th had the visit of people like the previously mentioned Jim Jarmusch with his vampiric film Only lovers left alive, whose screenings were always sold out, or Alexander Payne, the President of the Jury, who came to the city two years after having presented his film The Descendants to do the same with Nebraska, a tender film of a son and his father on a road trip. But American movies were not the only ones in the Festival, Italian films like Miele, by the Greek-Italian director Valeria Golino, or Un château en Italie by Valeria 8

Photos: Ignacio Prados Ansede & Giannis Petropoulos

But maybe the most expected film I was able to watch was Miss Violence, the second film by Alexandros Avranas and recently screened in Venice where it was awarded and the critics praised it. A hard film, not easy to watch and that I am not intending to do again, Miss Violence deals with the suicide of a young girl the day of her 11th birthday with a smile in her face and how her family is driven into madness after this horrible event. With a clean and austere style, Avranas is able to make you feel uncomfortable from the very beginning to the end while he is criticizing Greek society. A movie that leaves nobody indifferent and that shows that Greek cinema has many things to show to the world. Anyway, this article is about how it was to be volunteer during the festival and opposite to what happens with Miss Violence, this is an experience I would like to repeat again if I can. And you should at least try it if you have the chance.

by Ignacio Prados Ansede

Image by Tod Guzel

Kristin Kindermann

Kristin Kindermann



αλώς ήρθες την Thessaloniki! After the summer the city restarts to live! Schools and universities are ready to welcome new and old students! Shops are open! And from tavernes and restaurants comes a good food smell! Enjoy one walk in the city, from the port, where until the 10th of November you could attend the 54th Thessaloniki International Film Festival, to the White Tower, constructed by the Ottomans. This prison and torture place was known as “Tower of blood” or “Red Tower”. Only in 1860, after one prisoner who was serving a life sentence, Nathan Gueledi, whitewashed the building in exchange for his freedom, the tower was called “Λέυκος Πύργος”. Don’t forget to take a picture

of the city from the walls of the castle and take a round in the old part of the city. Descending from the hill of Άνω πόλη (upper city) take a break in Δοξα (Apostolou Pavlou, 25) where a big, fat and furry cat is waiting for you at the threshold and a lovely old non-English speaker couple is ready to conquer you with a little menu of amazing homemade Greek food! ight up a candle in the church of Saint Demetrius (Άγιος Δημήτριος), the saint patron of Thessaloniki who saved the city from the fire at the beginning of the last century and visit the crypt in which he was imprisoned and martyred. Moreover, the city is full of events, art exhibitions, music concerts, dance performances… Check and



discover the hundreds faces of Thessaloniki! And now it is time to enjoy the night life! Thessaloniki, just as New York City, used to be called “the city that never sleeps”. I hope that you took notes from “Thessaloniki vol.1. Discovering social place” by Philipa Nikolova (Balkan Beats 03) because now the list of places to have fun is going to be even longer! Let’s go to Ladadika! This is an area full of restaurants, taver nes and souvlaki shops (Σουβλατζίδικο Λαϊκόν is the best!)… and this is just the beginning! There you can find “Gaia Live” where you can enjoy live music. Or “Rover Bar” where you


Summer is finished.. It is time to come back to study and work. But the party holds up!!!


Church of Saint Panteleimon

Photos by travel adventure everywhere

by Michela Gennari

can listen to young bands playing. And many others! f you are tired, let’s move just across Tsimiski street. Here we are in Valaoritou area! You have just to flip a coin and decide where to go. There is “Fragile”, a bar on a rooftop where you can enjoy your drink and the view of the city centre sitting on wooden boxes (instead of tables and chairs) while a big projector is showing movie scenes on the wall. Or, if you feel like dancing, it is time to go to “La Doze”, an always crowded cocktail bar with cool and different music: from hip hop to gothic, from disco to reggae, from funky to punk. And do not forget to drink or eat (before midnight) something in “Four Seasons”, the grandfather of all the others because it is the first bar in this area that now hosts one of the most lively nightlife


of the city. And if you like Χαρτοπετσέτα (napkin) party, Greek pop music and crazy dancing wait for the sunrise in “Enola”, a gay bar on the second floor of a building. ow that the night is almost ending and the sun is rising… Do you remember where is Άγιος Δημήτριος?? Yes?? Sure?? Well, in front of the church there is one fantastic bakery!! Τυρόπιτες (cheese pies), Μπουγάτσα (traditional pie from Northern Greece) with cream or cheese, pastries, cakes, pizzas, sandwiches, etc.. all you need to go to bed and to be ready for another day in the beautiful Thessaloniki!!



re you thinking of going on a trip soon? Are you looking for some cheap hostel but everything you find is disgusting? In Balkan Beats we propose you a solution: use Airbnb, a new website that is changing the concept of lodging. The mechanism is quite simple: you are specifying where you are going, how many you are and which are the dates, and the website is giving you a range of private flats you can rent for those days from individuals. The prices can vary from very cheap to expensive, but without any doubt you will find an apartment that will fit your budget and your expectations. Apartments with WIFI, with a kitchen of your own, with a living room to relax after a long walk in the city, with a bathroom you don’t have to share with the whole corridor… there is a flat for everyone in this website, you just need to look for it. Airbnb is just a platform to connect travelers with owners in order to get a good lodging in your destination. The payment is done in the same website with a safe protocol and you get a direct contact with the owner in order to solve any doubt you may have about the flat. Have you already decided which will be your next stop?


by Ignacio Prados Ansede




pproved. It is official. 20142020 will mark the era of the + (plus) Generation. Hopefully. Under the name of ERASMUS+, the new EU programme for education, training, youth and sport was given the green light on 19th November by the vote of the European Parliament. After a two and half year negotiation process, we can say that the greatest and most successful education mobility programme in Europe sees its 2.0 version. But what are the main differences between the programmes? What is at stake for the future of the European youth? Honestly, the premises and the context that are surrounding the birth of ERASMUS+ are quite scary. Europe has seen hard times for its Member States in the last few years and youngsters are impatiently waiting for answers to their hopes and wills, constantly and intolerably sinking into a weaker and more and more unstable European Dream.

The + Factor is what these hopes aim at: boosting young European's skills and employability, modernizing education, training and youth employment. It is not just a matter of budget (€14.7 billion –40% increase compared to current spending levels), but an effective message from

the institutions that shows the EU’s commitment to invest in these focus areas. ERASMUS+ will provide more opportunities, combining into a single framework seven EU education, youth and sport existing programmes, for over 4 million Europeans to study, train, gain work experience and volunteer abroad. In addition to providing grants for individuals, ERASMUS+ will support transnational partnerships among education, training and youth institutions and organisations to foster cooperation and build a bridge from education to labor market in order to tackle the skills gaps we are facing in Europe. So, what is new? The whole budget has been divided in order to give at least 63% of the resources to “Learning Mobility of Individuals”, a broad 28% to “Cooperation for Innovation and the Exchange of Good Practices” and 4.2% to “Support for Policy Reforms”. These three chief categories will be the three main “Key Actions” structuring the whole ERASMUS+ and under which it will fall any Call for projects. There have been debates, public hearings, and consultations among the main stakeholders in Europe before reaching the green light. Concerns about the simplification process and the budgets’ cuts were the crucial points for youth workers. Fewer calls and a large reduction in number of actions plus an even 13

simplified management seemed a panicking factor, surely not a plus, for people now used to Youth In Action practices. Moreover, unifying and compressing into one single programme Formal, non-Formal and Informal Education could look as a reduction in real terms of the “importance” of Non-Formal sector, destroying the effort that NGOs and civil society organizations had made until now, and all the contributions they had made to the society. However, the increasing of the whole budget up to 40%, that benefits all sectors, and additional funding from external action instruments have restored confidence to main actors and European youngsters. It is going to be still an ongoing process during the first months of 2014 and surely we cannot predict the results and impact of this new approach brought in the European scene as it is now. Surely, the needs of the Youth Field en masse are getting even more complex and closer links between programme and policy objectives. More cross-sectorial partnerships with the world of work and a simpler architecture are an added value and a focus we would not like to fall short of. Local, national and European level for sure have to interact as much as possible to melt as a unique mind and to help, under the guidance of the new structure, Youth to reach the goals set and to have that + Factor we have been waiting for so long. It will not be an easy way, but youngsters seem used to it already.

by Matteo Scarpa


*The problem of the national grandeur is approached through the monumental project Skopje 2014 and the reaction of the Bulgarian and Greek media, politicians, intellectuals and citizens.


Skopje 2014 is a project financed by the Government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with the main ideology being based on that of the ruling party VMRO-DPMNE with the purpose of giving the capital Skopje a more classical appeal by the year 2014.


he project, o f f i c i a l l y announced in 2010, consists mainly on the construction of museums and government buildings, as well as the erection of monuments depicting historical figures from the region of Macedonia. Around 20 buildings and over 40 monuments are planned to be constructed as part of the project. The problem is that these new monuments are part of a new historical narrative which is highly controversial (there are statues of Alexander the Great and of figures that are recognized as main Bulgarian intellectuals and national heroes).

An interesting fact is that the statue that everyone recognizes as Alexander the Great on the main square is actually called Warrior on a Horse because of the dispute with Greece; the national airport and the highway also have the name of Alexander the Great. Skopje 2014 is part of much more complex processes of construction of national identities and cultures and the invention of tradition.

What is happening? The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is currently in a state of nationdefining. In this process, two levels of national concepts and national identification compete with each other. Additionally, this debate encourages nationalist tendencies in the neighboring countries which are hostile towards the “ethnic� national project of the Macedonians. After 1991 (when Republic of Macedonia declared independence from Yugoslavia) there is an active process of creating an alternative historical narrative (with the contribution of the Canadian and the Australian diasporas). The process is called Antiquisation as the new narrative is searching the roots of the Macedonian nation back in the Antiquity. The problem about this new narrative is that it has a lot of intersections with the narratives of Bulgaria and Greece. Everything started with the political party VMRO-DPMNE which is rejecting the traditional narrative of common Slavic past. Short historical background The Balkans is a region with a lot of tensions based on the historical past. What is worrying is that the old 15

conflicts are creating new myths and are a reason for hostility on an everyday life level. The processes of self-identification and ethnocentrism are characteristic for all the Balkan nations. In this context what is happening in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is not unique but it is interesting because it is happening very late (in the 21st century) and we can follow the course of the events. he national identity becomes problematic when it is not based on historical facts, but on interpretations and myths. There is a competition between the Balkan countries for forging their history. It is important to interpretate what is happening now in the post communist context. After the fall of communism there is a huge wave of nationalistic feelings since the socialistic ideal was absorbing all the nationalities and ethnos under the frame of unifying


Soborna Church

Photo from Wikimedia

i d e o l o g y. The Former Yu g o s l a v Republic of Macedonia is one of Europe’s youngest nation after gaining independence in 1991. The narrative of Antiquisation is looking for the roots of the nation before Christ. There are discrepancies in the historical n a r ra t i ve s. In the Yugoslavian period the accent was on the Slavic past. The Yugoslavian narrative was putting accent on the Slavic identity of Macedonia. There are discrepancies, lack of continuity, and no historical precision and density in this historical narrative. The conflict emerged in 1991 when Greece opposes the use of the name Macedonia by the Republic of Macedonia stating that millions of ethnic Greeks identify themselves as Macedonians because of the adjacent Greek region of Macedonia and the ancient kingdom of Macedon. The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is accused of appropriating symbols and figures that are historically considered part of the Greek culture such as the Vergina Sun, which was incorporated in the first flag, and Alexander the Great. The Greeks speak of a “brutal rape of history.” In response, Greece put a veto on Macedonia’s entrance in NATO in 2008. The veto

directly affected the political stability of the country. The political party VMRODPMNE is against changing the name. The final result is an absurd twisting of the basic Macedonian identity from Slavic to ‘something of everything’. The project Skopje 2014 is a good illustration of that twisted state of mind. Why is it interesting? For me what is the most interesting in this case are the mechanisms for building national identity, it is a contemporary example of the fact that the nation is an invention, a creation and something artificially created. The mechanisms that are used for creating national identity are: setting new official national days, renaming the streets (for example the highway and the airport are called Alexander the Great and there are signs with this name everywhere) and erecting new grandiose monuments. Why is it so problematic? The several narratives for the past of Macedonia and the lack of consensus are important because of the impact they have on the people’s everyday life and for the country in a political level. The project Skopje 2014 is creating conflicts with the neighboring countries. Apart from the academic discussions there is a lot of hate speech, parody and jokes in the media. In the media the building of Macedonian identity is presented as theft of the Bulgarian and the Greek history and the idea of creating national grandeur has the opposite effect. Another problem is the reaction of the local community to the project 16

Skopje 2014. There is a broad critique that is a very expensive project in times when there are high unemployment rates and poverty in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

Many of the local people are against the Skopje 2014, especially the intellectuals; there were several protests against it. Another aspect of the issue is the multiethnic relations in the region; there is a big Albanian population in Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (25%). What is their place in this new identity? The new project is seen as a way for exclusion and marginalizing them from the narrative. The Albanians see it as an attempt to exclude them from the narrative, to marginalize them. The tension with the neighboring countries has direct impact for the hindering of the integration of Macedonia. Greeks, Bulgarians and Macedonians are presently engaged in an often heated dispute involving competing claims to a single identity. Skopje 2014 is a clear example of construction of national identity, of the invention of tradition showing how big is the role of the state in the process of building a nation. The conflict is set in the broader context of Balkan history and in the narrower context of the recent disintegration of Yugoslavia but the emphasis is on the negative consequences and the need of consensus.

by Philipa Nikolova




mighty beverage necessary to pick you up in the morning, especially after having had a night blast, to give you energy, to help you in things that you have to focus on. Regardless the scientific debate over the pros and cons of the caffeine properties, people seem to agree that having a morning coffee is the best way to start their everyday routine. There are more or less 63 types of coffee from which you could choose (e.g. Americano, Espresso Ristretto —tightened, which is considered only for the Die Hards, Greek Coffee Frappé, Coffee Macchiato —with a drop of milk), or you can just load it with sugar and cream. owever, coffee cannot be seen as a simple beverage to sip it slowly or just throwing it back like a shot (as the Italian style for espresso demands), but something more cultural that could be described in terms of tradition and custom of a country. Italy, for instance, has a long-standing tradition of the coffee, especially in


Chainis Coffee Shop

Naples where it is considered a “fundamental human right” in some way. In the Parthenopean city a coffee tradition began almost a century ago, thereafter well known as Caffé Sospeso (Suspended Coffee). It consists of paying a coffee in advance for the following person who is unable to afford one. The barista keeps track of the coffee credits often in a cupboard or in a box, thus enable all the less fortunate people to have a coffee. Herein lies the nobleness and humility of the gesture: the donor and recipient do not have the opportunity to meet each other, therefore it is impossible to show off generosity as well as feeling forced to express thankfulness. One of the most famous Neapolitan writer Luciano de Crescenzo has praised and well explained this tradition in his book Caffè sospeso: Saggezza quotidiana in piccoli sorsi (Suspended coffee: Daily


wisdom in small sips). The author pointed out the value of the custom by relating that “When a person who had a break of good luck entered a cafe and ordered a cup of coffee, he did not pay just for one, but for two cups, allowing someone less fortunate who entered later to have a cup of coffee for free.” He also added that this tradition became an integral part of the Naples’ concept of life, when a cup of coffee started representing an act of generosity to be “offered to the rest of humankind, in a time when more customers were poor than those who were well-off.” However, this gesture has been put on ice for many years in Italy —actually, being confined only during the Christmas time—, but it came back with the raging global crisis burst. It produced the worsening of the Italians’ living conditions, making unaffordable for many to get

Mr. Sakellaris keeps a log of prepaid coffees in this cupboard

Photos by Riccardo Rossi

one of the national beverage (coffee or cappuccino). In 2011 a network of NGOs from Naples, supported by the Mayor Luigi De Magistris, thought about bringing back this old tradition by declaring the “Suspended Coffee Day”, which is on 10th December.

Nowadays, this tradition has taken hold in USA, Australia, in Taiwan and in Europe, especially in those countries where poverty is steadily increasing. In Bulgaria, for instance, 150 bars have joined the initiative based on the Caffé Sospeso

style, as well as some fast foods places and grocery shops have decide to join it. This is also the case of Romania, where the number of bars which have taken part in the initiative is substantially below the above mentioned one. Furthermore, in Greece this initiative, modeled on the Italian one, is called “A coffee is waiting for you”. It started in Athens, where 28 bars are currently providing coffee for free to the people in need, and now it is spreading from Crete to Grevena and from Orestiada to Ioannina — even some Cypriot bars are also starting to carry out the initiative. In Thessaloniki only “Chainis” Coffee, which is located on Toumba, took part in the Greek campaign. The owner of this Coffee Shop, Mr. Christos Sakellaris, first learned of the initiative through the Greek website “Shedia”. Then he thought of joining it, and as he said: “We did not expect such a notable amount of suspended coffees, which was worth about 40, that customers left us as prepaid or they just left their change, in the first days after having launched the initiative in our shop.” He recalled that “anyway, our neighborhood is quite small, thus all people are constantly updated about what is going on. This is the reason why it was not that difficult to call on the inhabitants’ generosity, even without promoting the initiative.” r. Christos Sakellaris also added what happened during the first day of the initiative: “As usual, I was working at the bar. A man (Mr. K.) walked in and headed straight to me. I noticed that he was holding a paper with an address on it, which had been given him by the church. He coyly looked at me and asked for a treated coffee. It did not take long before Mr. K. and I



All the Greek Bars which take part in the initiative have the sticker a coffee is waiting for you and the logo of the greek magazine shedia.

became friends, and now he got used to come over here and talk to the other customers.” Afterwards, others less fortunate people have stepped into “Chainis” Coffee. However, criticism has been leveled at “Suspended Coffee” gesture by the website consumerist. com, and they are worth noting. Basically, they are based on the following three directions: There are greedy people who are not in need at all, that may take advantage of the treated coffee; Coffee is not a very nutritious food for the hungry, so it is totally useless to the people who need something more nutritious than a coffee; Paying a coffee to someone in need, actually does not help them out. Whatever these criticisms might be shared, “Suspended Coffee” gesture, and in particular Mr. Christos Sakellaris case, it has taught us that everything we consider insignificant or either irrelevant, to other people is still something meaningful; especially to whom life has not been so generous.

by Riccardo Rossi


finding nemo...


ctually there is not such a big difference between finding a job that you like and finding the person that you will marry. In both cases what matters is what will happen later. Will you be happy and perfectly fine with the life you are living or will you regret? Firstly, to know what you exactly want is very important because looking for a job is very exhausting and if you do not know what you exactly want and what your skills are, it will be a chaos. It is always wise to ask yourself if you have suitable qualifications for the job you aspire to. Unfortunately, diplomas may not be enough anymore.

Nowadays skills and experiences can make you a desirable applicant and enhance your qualifications. But also how can you show your possible boss that you are the one for the job? In this article you will find a way to convince him or her to hire you even if you are not fully qualified. It is all about what you want and how much you want it! Let’s go! The first step is starting with CV. What is the way to prepare

a proper CV? First of all, CV is a marketing document in which you are selling something: yourself! All you start with are your personal details such as name, phone number, email address and if there is any social media presence. According to BBC you no longer need to include your date of birth, owing to age discrimination laws. Then, keep on with career history including a chronology. You can also add temporary or voluntary jobs if you like to do so. I personally suggest you to add all possible information you have. After that, it is very important to create a profile that sells yourself and your qualities, especially towards the job you are applying for. Achievements and qualifications that you gained from your previous jobs or experiences will be the main theme of this section. It is very good to emphasize the interests and teamwork qualifications. According to Corinne Mills, managing director of Personal Career Management, a company specialized on this topic, after completing your CV spelling must be checked over and over again as it is the quickest way of getting rejected. Many people think that one CV would fit all applications and requirements but do not forget that each sector may require a different emphasis on a different aspect! After completing the CV process, it is better to start 19

doing research both online and in real life. Once you make your decision on a place, share it with friends, family, neighbours, coworkers and everyone in your network. I personally call this step “spreading the information�. It is the chance to get into contact with someone that an acquaintance of yours knows.

Do not forget, finding a job requires qualifications but also depends on a little bit of chance. At this point, you are supposed to improve language skills if you do not know the local language. Improving the language will not only give an advantage to your marketable skills but also will give you the chance to meet other people with similar interests. You might be interested in working at a NGO and a plus language has the added benefit of helping you where you might land. Language skills are even more important if you are interested in working in a business-related field as you may have to conduct meetings in a foreign language. ow it is time to target the companies that you dream of working with! I put stickers on my wall just to see my desirable companies every night before I sleep. Make a proper list of companies that you are interested in working


with. Match constantly your personal interests with the companies. I call this step as “my passions”. After making the list, go directly to these companies’ web pages and search for “join us” or “career” links.

It is always good to add a personal message with your CV in order to show your passion and true interest. It is always charming for the company to have fans. Here I want to give a small example that I witnessed. One of my friends had just graduated from university. He finished political sciences at university but his dream job was to work in a small cloth-designing shop. After graduation, he decided to go to a store which he used to stop by and stare. The owner had no need of a new employee but she hired him anyway because he expressed his passion for her taste and her store. Business owners have worked hard to build their brand, and if you are a fan of it, they connect with you. Here we are at the most stressful point of all this finding a job process, having interview with the company. If they call you for an interview, it means that you did quite a well job until now. Here are some very important tips for the job interview. The first significant thing is what to wear for the interview. According

to Kim Zoller from Image Dynamics, 55% of another person’s perception of you depends on how you look. It is always good to be a little bit conservative. It is much better to be overdressed than underdressed —or even undressed. Making a research about company’s working environment will help you on this path. What to wear and which colour completely depends on the working place. If you are going for a job interview with a fashion company or unique sales shops you may be creative in your colouring to show your sense of style. owever, if you are going for an interview with a company you defiantly should be conservative. Going to casual offices and nonprofit organizations gives you the freedom to be comfortable wearing a bit more colour. The other very important thing at interviews is to be likable. The first impression is essential. Do not forget to smile! Make eye-contact and be enthusiastic. Sit forward in your chair and just be yourself. It is always good to use the interviewer’s name. Do not hesitate to ask the questions about what really matters to you. This will also show your interest to the interviewer. Be aware of what you can offer. This part completely depends on how much research you made about the company and how much realistic you were while writing your CV. Try to avoid the sentences like “I cannot”, “I have not”, “I do not”. It does not matter what the subject is, just be positive. Even the worst mistakes will lead you to a different learning process. Do not be afraid of showing that you do not know



something, do not pretend to know something that you actually do not know. You will not probably fool your interviewer. I will repeat here that it will help you a lot to study the background of the company, it will solve you many problems. Show courtesy to everyone during the interview. Speak very clearly and say “please” and “thank you”. If you talk clearly, with good enunciation, you will show that you are confident about what you are saying.

After the interview, shake hands and exchange pleasantries with the interviewer. Show a cool confidence and walk out with your head held high. I personally suggest you to send a thank-you letter to your interviewer even if it is just a formality. It could be like “Thank you for the opportunity to discuss my qualifications with you. I remain very impressed by [the company’s name] and invite you to contact me if you have further questions. I am ooking forward to hearing from you about this position.’’ I really wish you all to get your dream jobs in the future.

by Okan Atalay

David Casado

Stavros Dimakopoulos


Goji Berry

Photo from

“Let food be your medicine and medicine - food!�


ating is not what it was. We are witnessing a broad discussion across the world: what and how we eat, what is the origin of food and its usefulness (or vice versa) for us. It is an open debate about GMOs, food additives, carcinogenic foods, hormones in meat. The truth is that nobody can be sure about what we put in our fridge and even the idea to grow food on our own is questionable (and hard to reach, if living in the big city).

(Hippocrates) There is one group of people for whom the intake of raw food based primarily on fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and honey, is not just another trend, but a necessity, a way of living. They believe the food affects not only our health, but also the emotional and spiritual condition of humankind. Natural, clean food can help us to be vibrant and energetic. The food is mostly or entirely plant and raw. Not boiled, not fried, not baked, and in need of heat treatment the food is dried to 48 degrees, only then enzymes, vitamins and 23

micronutrients are bioactive, easily digested and active .The food becomes a medicine, and with this raw food diet we can easily achieve full health. Superfoods Superfood is considered a kind of food that is loaded with more extra benefits per unit calorie than others. It is rich in minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients that protect us from diseases and keep our immune system strong. For a food to be called superfood, it must meet the following conditions:

- A large amount of useful features is concentrated in a small volume; - To be consumed raw to preserve enzymes and vitamins; - To be easily assimilated to supply energy to the body. Here you have a list of some of the most frequently consumed Superfoods and their nutritional health benefits. Goji Berry: it is a fruit that comes from Tibet and it is extremely rich in antioxidants, fiber and vitamin C. This fruit contains more beta carotene than carrots, more amino acids than pollen and more iron than spinach. It protects our body from diseases such as cancer, heals eye problems, lowers blood pressure, controls diabetes and strengthens our antifungal defenses. Pollen strengthens our energy, neutralizes many allergies and it is full of antioxidants. Aloe vera is a superfood easy to grow at home. Its effectiveness is proved in skin problems and it helps to treat several digestive problems.

Cocoa is one of the richest sources of antioxidants, iron, manganese and chromium. It magically increases the levels of serotonin in the brain and stimulates endorphins, acting like a antidepressant. Macs-Poppy fruit is rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals. It increases energy, enhances fertility, reduces blood pressure and boosts immunity. Cashew is rich in phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and has strong antioxidant properties that protect us from several diseases including cancer. Spirulina is a cultivated micro-algae. Chlorella is stonewort. Leafy greens like arugula, spinach, broccoli, dandelion leaves, watercress, parsley or chicory. Royal jelly is the milky secretion from glands in the heads of worker bees. Propolis; Nettle; Ginsen and many others. If you decide that you want to change the general outlook and your diet and start raw, you should know some things. First, alcohol, caffeine and refined sugar are strictly forbidden. Second, your diet should be made ​​up of legumes, fruits and vegetables, sprouts, seaweed, whole grains and nuts. Besides all this, you will need to take some vitamins like B12. This vitamin is essential for the human body. In natural form appears only in foods from animal origin. Most people who decide to be Raw foodists abandon at once cooked meat. This leads to some stress and often depression. However, this is temporary. Another stress in the first few months among Raw foodists is that people face the fact that they do 24

not know what to buy at the store and how to prepare it. Raw food is not just a pastime and requires more time in the kitchen in order to squeeze and to cut a large amount of vegetables and fruits. If you still want to warm a little your food, not higher than 48 degrees. Internet is full of various and varied recipes for cooking, desserts and juices for Raw foodists, so if someone thinks raw food diet is just to wash two tomatoes and a peach, he will be wrong. Many of the new recruits say that in the first months they feel great and they really see the world through rosecolored glasses and this is only due to the new diet. But there are some negative aspects. Body does not adapt to the new way of life and begins a permanent feeling of hunger and you want again to taste the delicious dish of your mom. Some say that in the first months their body gets detoxicated and consequently appear pimples, spots or similar skin problems, but it is individual and nobody can say with certainty what will be the negative aspects if you do not try it. It is better to gradually change to raw food. It is also important to remember that the key for being healthy and happy is not to go to extremes and to harass the body and mind with a certain diet, no matter how much you praise it and how miraculous results are predicted. Everything must be in moderation and you should feel happy. If raw food diet makes you feel so good, do it! But if you do not like it, no one forces you to follow. The balance is important, and nobody forces you to follow something that makes you feel hungry and miserable.

by Maria Petkova


The volunteers responsible for this publication are hosted in Greece in the framework of the European Youth in Action programme, Action 2 - European Voluntary Service. This project has been funded with support from the European Commision. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commision can not be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Balkan Beats is a free press bimonthly magazine, created by the EVS (European Voluntary Service) volunteers of the NGO "United Societies of...