Friday, 28 October 2011

28 October 1940

At 2:50 am on Sunday, 28 October 1940, General Ioannis Metaxas, Prime Minister of Greece , was awoken in his Athens home. At the door was the Italian Ambassador, Count Emmanuelle Grazzi, with a written ultimatum to the Greek government demanding that Italian forces be given free passage into Greece from Albania and that they be allowed to garrison certain unspecified "strategic points of Greek territory". Italy claimed that its request for this "temporary" occupation was the result of British attempts to involve more and more countries in the war. If Greece refused to comply then resistance would be "broken by force of arms". A reply was demanded by 6.00 am, but Metaxas gave it at once — "Alors c'est la guerre" (well, this means War, in French). At 5.30 am Italian troops crossed the Greek–Albanian border and Greece was at war with Fascist Italy.

The Italian Ultimatum:
"The Italian Government has repeatedly noted how, in the course of the present conflict, the Greek Government assumed & maintained an attidute which was contrary not only with that of formal, peaceful, good neighborly relations between two nations, but also with the precise duties which were incumbent on the Greek Government in view of its status as a neutral country. On various occasions the Italian Government has found it necessary to urge the Greek Government to observe these duties and to protest against their systematic violation, particularly serious since the Greek Government permitted its territorial water, its coasts and its ports to be used by the British fleet in the course of its war operations, aided in supplying the British air forces and permitted organization of a military information service in the Greek archipelago to Italy's damage.
The Greek Government was perfectly aware of these facts which several times formed the basis of diplomatic representations on the part of Italy to which the Greek Government, which should have taken consideration of the grave consequences of its attitude, failed to respond with any measure for the protection of its own neutrality, but, instead, intensified its activities favoring the British armed forces and its cooperaticn with Italy's enemies.
The Italian Government has proof that this co-operation was foreseen by the Greek Government and was regulated by understandings of a mllitary, naval and aeronautical character.
The Italian Government does not refer only to the British guarantee accepted by Greece as a part of the program of action against Italy's security but also to explicit, precise nengagements undertaken by the Greek Government to put at the disposal of powers at war with Italy important strategic positions on Greek territory, including air bases in Thessaly and Macedonia, designed for attack on Albanian territory.
In this connection the Italian Government must remind the Greek Government of the provocative activities carried out against the Albanian nation, together with the terroristic policy it has adopted toward the people of Ciamuria and the persistent efforts to create disorders beyond its frontiers.
For these reasons, also, the Italian Government has acceptedthe necessity, even though futilely, of calling the attention of the Greek Government to the inevitable consequences of its policy toward Italy. This no longer can be tolerated by Italy.
Greek neutrality has been tending continuously toward a mere shadow. Responsibility for this situation lies primarily on the shoulders of Great Britain and its aim to involve ever more countries in war.
But now it is obvious that the policy of the Greek Government has been and is directed toward transforming Greek territory, or, at least permitting Greek territory to be transformed, into a base for war operations against Italy.
This could only lead to armed conflict between Italy and Greece, which the Italian Government has every intention of avoiding.
The Italian Government, therefore, has reached the decision to ask the Greek Government, as a guaranty of Greek neutrality and as a guaranty of Italian security, for permission to occupy with its own armed forces several strategic points in Greek territory for the duration of the presert conflict with Great Britain.
The Italian Government asks the Greek Government not to oppose this occupation and not to obstruct the free passage of the troops carrying it out.
These troops do not come as enemies of the Greek people and the Italian Government does rot in any way intend that the temporary occupation of several strategic points, dictated by special necessities of a purely defensive character, should compromise Greek sovereignty and independence.
The Italian Government asks that the Greek Government give immediate orders to military authoritles that this occupation may take place in a peaceful manner. Wherever the Italian troops may meet resistance this resistance will be broken by armed force, and the Greek Government would have the responsibility for the resulting consequences"

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Privacy on Facebook

Friends and family have often asked me if I have a Facebook account so that they could add me to their friends. The answer is that I don't have a Facebook account now. I used to have one, though, just to keep in touch with my daughter when she moved to London for her university studies.  She had talked me into creating an account then claiming that it's the most inexpensive way to keep in touch. But very soon, I realised that she'd rather exchange news , photos and videos with her FB friends than talk to daddy! As for my brother, he soon became addicted to playing games although he'd occasionally say hi.

Very soon, I got tired of FB and deleted my account. I prefer to email my friends and family or text message them.  My son  recently told me that FB is now allowed to children from the age of nine! I guess it's yet another elecronic game for them which keeps them away from real socialising such as go out and play with other kids or take up a sport while, at the same time, young children and teens are exposed to serioius dangers.  It's a bad idea to post dicey photos or racy prose on social networking sites, no matter how private teens may think they are. According to a 2008 Kaplan study, one in 10 college admissions officers routinely check out college applicants’ Facebook and Twitter pages. And some 38% of them found posts and pictures that reflected poorly on those prospective students.

Unfortunate Facebook postings can have serious legal repercussions too. One of the first things attorneys do with a new case is search online for information about plaintiffs, defendants and witnesses alike. In one Rhode Island case, a 20-year-old’s drunk driving accident, which severely injured another youth, could have resulted in a relatively light stint at county jail or the considerably more severe state prison. But, as the prosecutor in the case quickly discovered, two weeks after the accident, while his victim was still in the hospital, the youth posted photos on Facebook of himself at a Halloween party, prancing around in a prisoner costume. He was sentenced to two years in state prison. A woman in Germany took leave of absence from work upon presentation of a fake medical certificate saying she was suffering from cancer and had to stay away from work for three months. The woman posted some photos on FB showing her and friends partying at a club in Berlin.  A caption on one of these photos said: ".... and let the boss worry about my good health".  When she went back to work, she was quite ...shocked to find out that she was fired!

No matter how private your privacy settings are on FB, there is no real privacy. 
In 2009, Mashable‘s CEO and founder Pete Cashmore argued on CNN that privacy was dead, and social media was holding the smoking gun:
“We’re living at a time when attention is the new currency: With hundreds of TV channels, billions of Web sites, podcasts, radio shows, music downloads and social networking, our attention is more fragmented than ever before.
“Those who insert themselves into as many channels as possible look set to capture the most value. They’ll be the richest, the most successful, the most connected, capable and influential among us. We’re all publishers now, and the more we publish, the more valuable connections we’ll make.”
While I agree with his assertion that in an age where attention is king, privacy is simply an illusion, I disagree about the murderer. Sure, Twitter, Flickr, Google and others played a part in privacy’s death, but Facebook made the killing blow.

Facebook’s passive sharing will change how we live our lives. More and more, the things we do in real life will end up as Facebook posts. And while we may be consoled by the fact that most of this stuff is being posted just to our friends, it only takes one friend to share that information with his or her friends to start a viral chain.

Sharing with just your friends doesn’t protect your privacy. I know the people at Facebook will disagree and argue that users can control what is shared with whom. But this is simply an illusion that makes us feel better about all the sharing we have done and are about to do.
We may not notice the impact on our lives immediately. But it won’t be long until your life is on display for all of your friends to see, and then we’ll all know what Facebook has wrought.