The War Diaries

"We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

Archive for the ‘Santorini’ tag

Sunsets of Fire

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A typical sunset as seen from Oia. ©2014 Derek Henry Flood

A typical sunset as seen from Oia. A cliché to be sure, but undeniably timeless. ©2014 Derek Henry Flood

Thira- I’ve been existing in my news vacuum here for just about two weeks. I wanted to see if I could go 14 days without ingesting any news. Taking a break from breaking news on beheading videos, leading from behind the curve Obama speeches, people ranting about Putin and Putin not caring whatsoever etc. I’ve been doing some personal projects here with photo installations, writing, catching up on some old books I never finished in NYC over the years, and simply socializing. No one talks about world events here as if nothing is happening.

When I was here a few years ago and anti-austerity protests in Athens had a causal effect on the island with sanitation, airport and ferry strikes being instigated in solidarity here, we talked about Greek politics as it was unavoidable in the context of that time. My achilles heal however was my new hobby Instagram account. I was following a journalism power couple who work for opposing news outlets and when I noticed they were both on the same story at the same time next door in Turkey, I knew I was missing something big.

Otherwise I’ve had no inkling of what’s going on beyond the island save for a snippet I saw of a Greek news broadcast in a mini market talking about the crisis spilling over into arch rival Turkey. People are here to do yoga retreats and party. It’s fairly simple.

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I put images of my guerrilla art gallery on Buzzfeed just to get the project out there. For years and years, I’ve had a drawer of old prints sitting around from the turn of this century that have never seen the light of day and I finally decided it was time to do something with them that I had envisioned at that time.

I did another installation in an unfinished hotel near Monolithos Beach. ©2014 Derek Henry Flood

I did another installation in an unfinished hotel near Monolithos Beach. ©2014 Derek Henry Flood

In other news, I very belatedly saw that I was quoted in early 2013 on PBS NewsHour/Council on Foreign Relations titled What Is Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)?. In no way a new development but I only now noticed it. More recently my work from Kirkuk in 2013 was cited by Stanford’s Mapping Militant Organizations project in its entry on JRTN.

Down the backstreets of Pyrgos. Quietude. ©2014 Derek Henry Flood

Down the backstreets of Pyrgos. Quietude. ©2014 Derek Henry Flood

Written by derekhenryflood

October 1st, 2014 at 4:18 am


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The 1980's-era Iranian-built shrine complex of Sayyida Ruqayya, Imam Hussein's daughter, north of the Umayyad mosque in Damascus' Old City. ©2002 Derek Henry Flood

The 1980’s-era Iranian-built shrine complex of Sayyida Ruqayya, Imam Hussein’s daughter, north of the Umayyad mosque in Damascus’ Old City. While I hung out there Iranian pilgrims quietly milled around the site in awe. I dug this image up while mentioning Damascus in my writing today. So many places I’ve traveled to may be inaccessible now due to war or the ability of regimes to google journalists perhaps. ©2002 Derek Henry Flood

“A man who has been through bitter experiences and travelled far enjoys even his sufferings after a time”-Homer, The Odyssey

Thira- Back on Santorini after two months in Barcelona doing some long form writing and not near the bustle of any major city, although some of the drivers here think they’re racing to beat a red light in Athens. I’m keeping my head down from the constant news out of Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, West Africa or even Scotland or Catalunya.

My Magyar friend Patrik gave me an impromptu motivational talking to in Barcelona mid-summer. He’s off to Turkmenistan this week to see the Darvaza Crater a.k.a. the Door/Gate to Hell and view the absurdities of Ashgabat. When I was in Turkmenistan 13 years ago I didn’t dare take my camera out of the hotel due to the pervasive paranoid there. That’s one place, like Damascus pictured above, I’d very much like to return to.

I read yesterday that cruise ship traffic to this island is down because of “political instability in the eastern Mediterranean.” Santorini is nowhere near Syria. Are people worried about Achille Lauro redux? It kind of reminds me of being in Budapest in 1999 and the drop in tourism was credited to the NATO campaign in Kosovo. I understand people being risk averse. But sometimes boundless precautions are a bit over the top. I doubt IS is going to suddenly overwhelm Tartus and then begin a Somali pirate economy. But what do I know.

The shooting down of a passenger jet over eastern Ukraine may have seemed unlikely until it happened. Weird to think a place as tranquil as this is somehow affected by Syrian chaos in a butterfly effect for lack of a more original term.

On an unrelated note, my 2011 biography on Khalifa Haftar was cited in Libya: from Repression to Revolution: A Record of Armed Conflict and International Law Violations, 2011-2013 edited by M. Cherif Bassiouni, Emeritus Professor Law at DePaul University.  A 2012 article I authored from Mali for CNN was cited in Fragile Stabilität – stabile Fragilität (Fragile stability – stable Fragility) in a chapter written by Scott G. McNall, professor of sociology at the University of Kansas and George Basile, Professor of Practice, School of Sustainability at Arizona State University. Very pleased to learn of these citations.

Poolside reading here in Karterados. Taking a break from news and social networks for a couple weeks to focus on my own writing rather than the constant drumbeat of political violence and trends in secessionism that dominant today's inescapable news cycle. of©2014 Derek Henry Flood

Poolside reading here in Karterados. Taking a break from news and social networks for a couple weeks to focus on my own writing rather than the constant drumbeat of political violence and trends in secessionism that dominant today’s inescapable news cycle. Sometimes one has to shut down and look into longer term trends.  of©2014 Derek Henry Flood

Written by derekhenryflood

September 22nd, 2014 at 5:44 am

Posted in Europe,Syria

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Sunrise on Thira

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Took a very early morning walk down to one of Santorini's volcanic beaches. Complete calm. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

Something about the light in the Mediterranean keeps forcing me to return as often as I can after nearly two decades. There is just no other place like it on earth. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

Black sand, white surf, high contrast. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

My footprint in the pure volcanic sand. Good times here. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

But the best thing about staying at Caveland? Puppies! Romping in my room even at 5am. I felt like C. Montgomery Burns in the episode '101 Greyhounds.' ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

Written by derekhenryflood

October 2nd, 2011 at 3:24 am

Posted in Europe

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From Paris to Piraeus

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Underneath the innards of Le Tour Eiffel. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

My place on stage at Maison de la Chimie on Rue St Dominique.

Paris & Athens- Firstly I want to thank Jean-Luc Marret and the staff of his Fondation de la Recherche Stratégique for hosting me and allowing me to speak at their global terrorsim conference yesterday. The title of my talk was Western Boots on Eastern Ground: A Comparative History of Western Intervention in the Muslim World in the Post-911 Decade (Which I may very well transform into an upcoming article). My only regret is that I had virtually no time to enjoy the city on my sleepless, croissant fueled whirlwind. I was happy to be part of the trans-Atlantic political continuum if only for a moment in time.

Asia Times Online reproduced my article on Said Bahaji from the August edition of Militant Leadership Monitor.

I left a gleaming, well functioning Paris this morning, full of shimmering life and bustling with tourists to arrive in a sullen, deserted Athens. I found out upon arrival at the nearly empty airport that the Greek capital is bracing for yet another paralyzing transport strike to show union and neo-Communist displeasure at the austerity measure being imposed on them by the Papandreou government. It was told that if I had flown in tomorrow rather than tonight it would not have been possible for me to reach to port of Piraeus-where I am holed up in a budget hotel for the night to catch the morning ferry to Santorini-except if I had hitchhiked. The few locals I was able to talk said this next day of direct action is meek compared to others earlier this year where the port was blockaded and tourists were apparently prevented from reaching their intended ferries by burly union types. I was assured that ferries will be running despite the possibility that most of Athens proper will reach a tense standstill rather quickly.  But I have left my big DSLR behind on this trip in order to take away the temptation that is always there to jump into the fray (though I do have one hell of a point and shoot should the mood strike). Heading to Santorini at the outset of its long, quiet (I think?) off season to get my nose to the grindstone on some long overdue long form writing.

Written by derekhenryflood

September 27th, 2011 at 2:27 pm