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Iason Athanasiadis

Athina, Greece
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About Iason
Iason Athanasiadis is a multimedia videojournalist based between Athens, Istanbul and Tunis. Iason has covered the MENA region since 1998, is native in Greek and English, near-native in Arabic and Persian, and conversational in Turkish. He is available for all stories related to migration, economic issues, heritage and the environment. 
His private work focuses on the Mediterranean, and in particular on how once-cosmopolitan, now-neglected port cities can recover from the effects of colonialism and nationalist narratives while adapting to the era of climate change, mass migration, and the misapplication of distorted modernities on heritage and regional traditions.
Arabic Greek English
Video Package (Web / Broadcast) Audio package (Radio / Podcast) Interview (Video / Broadcast)
Business Politics Current Affairs

‘If Only’: Greece’s Bread-Basket Rues Cost of ‘Monster’ Flood: Greeks face food shortages this winter following unprecedented floods in the Thessaly Plain agricultural region, the kind of disaster the government had promised to mitigate against.

The New Ottomans

What is the US Doing in a Disputed Triangle on the Jordan

07 Feb 2024  |  www.stimson.org
The article details the US military's operations and strategic objectives in the disputed triangle on the Jordan-Syria-Iraq border, focusing on the secretive Tower 22 base. It discusses the recent drone strike in Baghdad, the role of the Tanf garrison, and the broader geopolitical implications involving Iran, Hezbollah, and regional militias. The piece highlights the complexities of US involvement in the Middle East, including alliances, military aid, and the strategic importance of countering Iranian influence and supporting Israeli objectives. The article also touches on the potential for US withdrawal and the ongoing challenges posed by militia groups and regional conflicts.

Migrant deaths in Europe reach six-year high

A marginalised Muslim minority in Greece stands up against the government

Stun Grenades and SLAPPs: Greek Reporters under Fire

15 May 2023  |  balkaninsight.com
Greek journalists face significant challenges, including physical violence, legal intimidation, and surveillance. The country ranks lowest in the EU on the press freedom index by Reporters Without Borders. Journalists have been targeted by police during protests, intimidated by government officials and business moguls, and surveilled by intelligence agencies using spyware like Predator. High-profile cases include the murder of investigative journalist Giorgos Karaivaz and lawsuits against journalists like Stavroula Poulimeni by Hellenic Gold executives. The Greek government denies wrongdoing and has passed legislation to limit transparency around surveillance. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis's administration has been accused of sophisticated media management, including buying ad space and hiring Edelman for image management.

The Odyssey That Forged a Stronger Athenian

05 Mar 2023  |  themarkaz.org
Iason Athanasiadis recounts his journey from aspiring journalist in Athens to a seasoned correspondent witnessing the upheavals in the Middle East post-9/11. He reflects on the changing landscapes of cities like Aleppo, Cairo, and Tehran, shaped by political turmoil and conflict. Athanasiadis's experiences with Al Jazeera, the UN, and covering migrations have informed his understanding of home as something carried within oneself, amidst a world of increasing instability and displacement.

In an Iconic Athens Square, a Fight for the City’s Future

29 Sep 2022  |  Balkan Insight
Athens' Exarhia Square, a historically leftist and culturally vibrant area, is undergoing a transformation due to the construction of a new metro station for the city's Line 4, resulting in the removal of numerous old trees. Mayor Kostas Bakoyannis, part of a long-standing political family, has faced criticism for his urban development projects, which some view as failing to address environmental concerns and contributing to gentrification. The government's actions in Exarhia are seen by some as a targeted move against the Greek left, with implications of political vendetta. The construction has sparked debates over the city's future, balancing infrastructure needs with cultural identity, environmental sustainability, and the risk of gentrification displacing long-term residents.

The Accidental Death of an Anarchist

06 Dec 2021  |  Balkan Insight
Vasilios Mangos, a young anarchist from Volos, Greece, died from a drug overdose a month after being severely beaten by police during a protest. His family and activists believe the assault contributed to his death, highlighting issues of police brutality and misconduct. The Greek police, supported by the conservative New Democracy government, have been criticized for their heavy-handed tactics against anarchists and leftist movements. The article explores the historical and political context of anarchism in Greece, the state's response to dissent, and the broader implications for human rights and democracy in the country.

Greece: Fear of Corona

27 Sep 2020  |  welt.de
In Greece, men, women, and children wearing masks are held in a makeshift quarantine area guarded by police, where tents and military facilities are scattered across a desolate, fenced terrain. Asylum seekers who tested positive for Covid-19, along with their closest contacts who tested negative, are confined for 14 days. Other camp residents approach to communicate across the fence, with an Afghan woman claiming they are being held against their will without any fever symptoms.

Fear of Corona: 'Greece and the EU are luring migrants into a trap'

13 Mar 2020  |  www.welt.de
Greece faces dual crises of growing migration and the COVID-19 pandemic, with overcrowded migrant camps on islands like Chios posing severe health risks. The Greek government has implemented restrictive measures, including isolating camps and limiting migrant movements, which have been criticized by humanitarian organizations like Doctors Without Borders and Human Rights Watch. These organizations argue that the measures are inadequate and call for the evacuation and resettlement of migrants to prevent a potential COVID-19 outbreak. The article highlights the dire conditions in the camps and the fear among both migrants and local residents.

Forget taxes on income – people need to be taxed on their carbon footprint

13 Dec 2017  |  scroll.in
The article discusses the need for a global tax system based on individual energy footprints to address climate change. It critiques the lavish lifestyles of a global elite and the inadequacy of current tax systems to penalize environmental damage. The proposed system would tax individuals and companies based on their consumption of energy-intensive goods and services, with the aim of encouraging responsible living and reducing inequality. The technology for such a system, involving RFID chips, nanobots, and blockchain, already exists, and the article argues for a public debate on the use of this technology for the greater good.

Everyone in the World Should Be Taxed on Their Energy Footprint

09 Dec 2017  |  futurism.com
The article discusses the concept of taxing individuals based on their personal energy footprint as a means to address climate change and income inequality. It critiques the lavish lifestyles of a global elite and the environmental impact of modern, nomadic lifestyles enabled by technology. The author proposes a global tax regime that would charge individuals more if they travel frequently by airplane and consume imported goods, and less if they live locally and sustainably. The system would be administered by an international body and empowered by artificial intelligence, tracking a multitude of transactions and energy consumption in real-time. The author argues that such a system would encourage responsible living, reduce inequality, and compel corporations to behave ethically.

Carrying hope - a teaser for the World Humanitarian Conference in 2016 in Istanbul

Exploring the Other: A Photojournalist's Insight into Iran

27 Nov 2017  |  www.theguardian.com
The Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles is marking the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution with an exhibition titled 'Exploring the Other,' featuring the work of photojournalist Iason Athanasiadis. Athanasiadis, who spent three years living in Iran, captures the paradoxes of Iranian life through his photography. He describes three distinct realities in Iran: the strict Islamic republic, the more relaxed street life, and the private sphere, which can range from liberal to even more conservative than the public image. The exhibition offers a glimpse into the multifaceted nature of Iran that is often not portrayed in Western media.

The full archive of my reporting from the MENA region, Turkey and Greece in The Guardian

The full archive of my work from Afghanistan on EurasiaNet

First/Last Stop on the East Med: a short video introduction to a piece on the refugee landing experience on the Greek island of Lesvos/Mytilini

Mystical Kabul: A Glimpse into the Sufi Ceremonies Amidst Violence

27 Nov 2017  |  Nieman Reports
In the midst of increasing violence in Kabul, photojournalist Iason Athanasiadis presents a photo essay titled 'mystical Kabul,' showcasing the rarely seen ecstatic ceremonies of a Sufi sect. Despite the Taliban's ban on such practices, the Sufi tarighat (brotherhood) continues to engage in zikr rhythms, a form of spiritual exercise aimed at bringing participants closer to the divine. The essay captures various aspects of the ceremony, including the preparation of an opium pipe, the healing circle of faith, and the use of poetry and religious phrases to enhance perception. Athanasiadis also highlights the cultural significance of the Sufi practices, such as the use of colorful accessories by wandering dervishes to attract followers and the reverence shown towards Sufi saints and shrines.

A promotional video shot for the launch of the Refugees Deeply website.

Protecting Tunisia’s Heritage: a feature shot for UNESCO during this season of unprecedented heritage destruction sweeping the Middle East and North Africa, about how some young Tunisians are taking matters into their own hands and raising awareness about the importance of protecting their culture before it's too late.

The Angel of Catania, a feature about a Moroccan-Italian activist who helped migrants and refugees seeking to cross the Mediterranean from Libya to Italy's Sicily.

‘I Only Went to School for One Day’ - a short video for UNESCO's Education initiative on schooling for young Syrian refugees.

A documentary I shot about the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Lebanon for UNICEF

Athenian Panopticon - How can Athens inspire Documenta 14 to challenge our understanding of the global moment?

The full archive of my opinion pieces for the Al-Jazeera America website

A Tale of Two Cities - How Post-Revolutionary Libya Went to the Polls in 2012: a full-length documentary I conceived of, shot and edited for the UN Support Mission in Libya, in 2011-2012.

The tech threat: Moving towards a dystopian future

17 Jun 2017  |  www.aljazeera.com
Technological advancements such as AI, AR, VR, Blockchain, and UBI are poised to reshape society, potentially leading to job displacement, social isolation, and increased inequality. The article highlights the lack of public debate on these issues and criticizes politicians for promoting feel-good narratives that ignore the profound impacts of these technologies. It calls for a critical examination of how these innovations can be leveraged to reduce inequality and minimize environmental impact.

Photo Essay: Breaking Fast in Attica

05 Jul 2016  |  deeply.thenewhumanitarian.org
In Eleonas, near Athens, Greece, refugees are observing Ramadan in a camp that is a stark contrast to their ancestral homes. The camp, praised by Greek officials, is still a place of bleak prospects for its residents. The refugees, unable to return to Turkey or move forward to other EU countries, are caught in limbo during Greece's economic crisis. The article describes the experiences of individuals like Mustafa and Zeina, who are adapting to life in the camp and the city. The UNHCR and Athens Municipality are working to move refugees into apartments in Athens, which has caused some local concern. The story is part of a series exploring the impact of refugees on the cities they inhabit.

More than a referendum: Will Greece exit the West?

30 Jun 2015  |  www.aljazeera.com
The article discusses the implications of the Greek referendum on July 5, 2015, which could lead to Greece's exit from the euro and potentially from its alignment with Western Europe. It explores Greece's historical mistrust of the West, the nation's identity crisis, and the potential for Greece to reconnect with its Eastern Mediterranean roots. The piece also critiques the European Union for deviating from its founding vision and being influenced by corporate interests, while highlighting the Syriza party's consideration of alternative alliances. The author suggests that a Greek exit from the euro might not be as negative as perceived, citing the resilience and adaptability of the Greek spirit in times of crisis.

First westernisation, now techlienation

10 Mar 2015  |  www.aljazeera.com
The article discusses the impact of technological advancements on human behavior and society, drawing parallels with historical shifts such as westernisation during the Industrial Age. It reflects on the loss of anticipation, solitude, and emotional intensity in human interactions due to constant connectivity. The author uses examples from Turkey's modernization under Kemal Ataturk and personal experiences in Italy to illustrate the disconnection from traditional ways of life. The piece suggests that while technology progresses, it also demands a reevaluation of our online etiquette and the way we engage with both the digital and physical worlds.

The Greek Varometer

08 Feb 2015  |  www.aljazeera.com
Yanis Varoufakis, Greece's finance minister, is characterized as an outsider with a unique background that sets him apart from traditional politicians. His non-conformist approach and ideas on handling eurozone debt have garnered significant attention and support. Despite his international experience and candid nature, Varoufakis faces challenges in satisfying all constituents, especially those affected by austerity and the old patronage system. His left-leaning Keynesian beliefs and views on capitalism and austerity are central to his political stance.

The exiled generation

15 Jan 2015  |  www.aljazeera.com
Stefan Zweig, an Austrian writer, lamented the loss of a cosmopolitan, bourgeois world with his book 'The World of Yesterday'. Despite his obscurity after his suicide in 1942, Zweig's work is experiencing a revival, resonating with contemporary disenchantment with progress and reason. The post-World War II order's collapse and the 2008 economic crisis have led to a rediscovery of theory-driven politics. Technological advances promise a work-free utopia, yet social systems have not adapted, causing job displacement and inequality. The Middle East is undergoing a traumatic reorganization akin to a world war, while Europe faces rising anti-immigrant sentiment. The article draws parallels between the early 20th-century generation's unanticipated historical transition and today's generation facing a similar technological paradigm shift, resulting in alienation and a reconsideration of societal values.

Is Turkey sleepwalking into trouble?

08 Aug 2014  |  www.aljazeera.com
Tunceli, a predominantly Kurdish town in Turkey with a history of tragedy and high unemployment, shows little sign of the upcoming presidential elections. The town's traditional support for secularist and Kurdish parties contrasts with Erdogan's right-wing politics. The PKK's influence in the region and the Kurdish fight against the Islamic State's advances are complicating factors for Erdogan's presidential ambitions. Accusations of Erdogan's government aiding Islamist groups and the potential backlash from Turkish fighters returning from Syria are highlighted. The article suggests that Turkey's internal tensions are being exported to neighboring conflicts, posing a risk to its own stability.

Istanbul and the coming neo-cosmopolitanism

06 Apr 2014  |  www.aljazeera.com
Istanbul's transformation into a neo-cosmopolitan city is marked by stark contrasts between wealth and poverty, driven by globalization and technological advancements. While the city's development attracts foreign investment and caters to new elites, it exacerbates economic inequality, with many Turkish families living on less than $1,000 a month. The rise of global chains like Amazon and Netflix is displacing local businesses and services. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's populist politics offer illusory comfort against market forces, despite implementing neoliberal policies that have fueled consumerism and credit card debt. Istanbul's growth may lead to new forms of popular resistance against capital dominance and social segregation.

Stories - Washington Times

24 Jun 2011  |  www.washingtontimes.com
The article discusses the pro-democracy uprisings in the Middle East, highlighting that the first such movement in the region was not Arab but Persian, referring to the Iranian protests of June 2009. The author notes that these protests, which were a response to what was believed to be a rigged election, predated the Arab revolts that began in Tunisia and Egypt in 2011 and spread to other Arab nations. The piece serves as a reminder of the chronological order of these significant events in the Middle East's recent history.

Raiders of the lost art

06 Jun 2009  |  South China Morning Post
The article discusses the rampant looting of antiquities in Libya, focusing on the experiences of individuals like Fathi Ismail, a local who sells ancient coins, and Dr. Fadel Ali Mohammed, a former director of the Department of Antiquities for Libya's Cyrenaica region. It highlights the challenges in protecting Libya's rich pre-Islamic heritage, exacerbated by local disinterest and international smuggling networks. The article also touches on the historical significance of Cyrene, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the neglect of Cyrenaica by the central government. It delves into the complexities of the illegal trade in antiquities, which has surged since Libya opened its borders and the international embargo was lifted. The piece concludes by reflecting on the broader issues of corruption and the misuse of funds intended for the preservation and modernization of Libya's historical sites.

Arab companies set to miss out on Iraq reconstruction

25 Apr 2003  |  www.aljazeera.com
Arab companies with expertise in construction and desalination are being overlooked in the distribution of contracts for Iraq's reconstruction, with no Arab company shortlisted by USAID due to a clause restricting contracts to U.S. firms. Kuwaiti and Turkish companies, from countries allied with the U.S., have been selected for infrastructure projects. Kuwait's Kharafi National and Kuwait Pipe Industries are involved in a pipeline project, while Turkish companies are hopeful for a significant share of construction contracts. Political alignment and a history of limited cross-border operations are challenges for Arab companies. The region's analysts see benefits in subcontracting to Arab firms, while political constraints and the lack of a stable legal framework in post-war Iraq cause hesitation among companies. Despite opposition to U.S. presence, the need for employment in Iraq may lead Iraqis to work for American companies.

Iran struggles to keep stance of active neutrality

20 Apr 2003  |  www.aljazeera.com
Iran maintains a stance of active neutrality amid tensions following a US missile entering its airspace and the US-led attack on Iraq. While Iran's public reaction was subdued, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei condemned the attack on Iraq. Iran is under diplomatic pressure to preserve its neutrality, balancing its enmity towards both Iraq and the US. The country benefits from high oil prices during the conflict but is wary of a pro-US Iraq. Iran's military is on alert for airspace violations, with the Interior Minister warning of a response to any infractions.

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