For years, a professor at the University of Amsterdam was haunted by a photograph of a boy dating to the era of the Holocaust. He came across it while researching the fate of the Jewish community of a small Dutch town.Find out: Holocaust mystery is solved in Chicago.
Erik Besseling knew that the child's parents had perished. But the boy with the youthful mop of hair survived, older townspeople told Besseling.
He was given letters the parents had written from a Nazi concentration camp and a tablecloth that once covered the family's table.
"I couldn't stop wondering," said Besseling, 58. "What happens after the story breaks off?"
The eastern borders of Greece, which are also the exterior borders of the European Union, are almost redrawn by detention camps. These camps are usually former warehouses (on the islands of Mitilini, Chios, Samos, Kos, Rhodos, Evia and in the town of Volos, central Greece). Moreover, police stations in most areas near the borders, as well as in the centre of Athens (Alexandras Avenue, Exarchia, Omonia, Piraeus), are used as detention centres for migrants.
According to the existing legal framework in Greece, those who cross the borders and get arrested can be detained for up to three months, until it is cleared whether they can be deported or not. The most common practice, though, is totally illegal deportation. At the marine borders re-propulsion is coordinated by the Port Police Corps, who "push" the boats back to Turkey, while in the area of Evros "illegals" are kept for one or two days, anonymously, without identification, and then are sent by boats, over the river Evros, back to Turkey.
The prefecture of Evros, the only land border between Greece and Turkey (divided by a river) is a special case. It is perhaps one of the most frequented passages for migrants, it has over ten detention camps (almost as many as in all the rest of the country), and is the only area of Greece which is still layed with mines. However, the almost complete indifference of the inhabitants about these maters and the absence of local support/solidarity groups make the area into a "black hole", both in public as well as anti-racist/ migrants’ discourses.
In the eight large towns of the area where there are border patrol/defense centers, there are also detention centers for migrants, while at the same time, detention facilities have also been set up in four old agricultural co-op warehouses which were alloted to the prefecture. Four more detention camps exist in the neighbouring prefecture of Rodopi. Finally, a new camp is being built in the village of Filakio, to accommodate at least 1000 people. While its role is still largely undetermined, we assume it will serve the purpose of removing economic and political refugees from urban centers in order to deter any possible communication between the refugees and organisations who could offer basic protection.
Evros is a war-zone: army, border-police, police, detention camps for migrants, border surveillance with technologically advanced means, but also dead and wounded, either in the river or on the minefields. Based on data that has been published, which most certainly diverge from the real numbers, at the greek borders, between 2002 and 2005, 231 people have been killed, 33 have been injured and 39 are missing.
SEOUL -- Unable to pass tough university entrance exams and under intense pressure from his parents to study harder, 20-year-old Kim Myung gradually retreated to the one place where he could still feel invincible -- the virtual world of electronic games.
In front of his computer screen, Kim played hours upon hours of interactive role-playing games with other anonymous online gamers. When he slew zombies and ghouls with particular dexterity, he recalled, the flashing words "Excellent!" or "Masterstroke!" fired him up. Kim played from 8 a.m. until well after midnight -- and in the process, over four months, gained 10 pounds while surviving largely on one meal a day of instant noodles.
The situation has grown so acute that 10 South Koreans -- mostly teenagers and people in their twenties -- died in 2005 from game addiction-related causes, up from only two known deaths from 2001 to 2004, according to government officials. Most of the deaths were attributed to a disruption in blood circulation caused by sitting in a single, cramped position for too long -- a problem known as "economy class syndrome," a reference to sitting in an airplane's smallest seats on long flights.Meanwhile, the same people to the north, the same genetic stock, separated by nothing more than a DMZ and fifty years of Communism, sometimes have to kill and eat their babies to survive. Isn't it surreal?
In one instance, a 28-year-old man died in the central city of Taegu last year after reportedly playing an online computer game for 50 hours with few breaks. He finally collapsed in a "PC baang " -- one of the tens of thousands of Internet game cafes that have become as common as convenience stores across South Korea. Users can pop in to these small, smoky dens -- with walls covered in gothic game posters -- for about $1 an hour, day or night.
Talk of messianic, apocalyptic visions is becoming increasingly common on the streets of Tehran these days. This phenomenon has, on the one hand, something to do with the fact that it's part of the Shiite worldview. But on the other hand -- and this is what's setting off alarm bells in the West -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is practically promoting such scenarios.