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December 07, 2007

Zoniana in the Greek news

One of the biggest news stories since we got back to Greece has been taking place in the next prefecture along to us, in the Mylopotamos region near Rethymno. A dawn drug raid by police officers in the village of Ζωνιανα ended up with three officers being shot, after they were ambushed, it seems, by 20 armed men.

The response was to send in the ΕΚΑΜ anti-terrorism and serious crime police, and the village was then under virtual siege for a couple of weeks as the police turned up what they claim is evidence of organised crime, drug-trafficking and caches of illegal weapons, and set up road-blocks searching everyone coming in and out of the area. Much of it being broadcast live on TV.

What has been interesting for us is not the rights or wrongs of what has been going on, but the media reaction to it. For us, of course, Crete is Greece, but the coverage reminds us that we are in one of the out-lying regions of the nation.

The fierce image of the Cretan warrior, defending his island against the Germans, and before that the Turks, and before that the Venetians, is carefully cultivated by the history books. However, it is alien to the metropolitan media in Athens, who seem to view the situation as if the island is full of gun-crazy hillbillies or country bumpkins.

We are used to it by now - it must be a bit like living on one of the islands off the Scottish coast. Whenever we watch the weather reports on the national channels, Crete barely scrapes on the map, and is certainly never one of the regions that gets zoomed for a detailed report - that always seems to be restricted to Thessaloniki, Athens and the Cyclades.

The Zoniana coverage is a bit like that - emphasising that we live on a southerly outcrop of Greece with, at times, a very different culture to Athens.

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you have much to learn about Kriti Grasshopper

Yes. When we were planning our road trip we were stopping by Perama and going through the area to stay in Anogia - http://lemontree.typepad.com/a_lemon_tree_of_our_own/2007/05/road_trip_day_1_3.html

One of our Greek friends said we were mad, and should just "drive through, drive through". At the time we thought he just meant that maybe there wasn't much to see ;-)

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