The many forms of harassment and constitutional rights


After a somewhat difficult week in relation to my site I can upload material again. Last Tuesday and Wednesday our computer was attacked with viruses. As a result, I could not upload anything on my site, nor work on our computer. Later extracts from texts were removed, which was creepy. Then on Thursday and Friday as we were resolving this problem the site ‘disappeared’ completely…… But now I can upload material again, so there’s a new drawing and a film I’d like to suggest Oranges and Sunshine by Jim Loach based on Margaret Humphrey’s book, which refers to the Forgotten Australians, the thousands of children migrants, adults today, who were deported from England to Australia, especially during the 1950s and 1960s. Humphrey wrote ‘when Jim Loach first asked to make a film based on Empty Cradles, I was concerned that the lives of former child migrants should be captured on the big screen in all their complex humanity. I must confess that I dreaded seeing myself, my family and my colleagues twisted out of shape to suit the drama. My fears were unfounded. I would have been its fiercest critic if it had fallen short, but Jim’s film, Oranges and Sunshine, is sensitive, compelling , finely crafted and absolutely true to the spirit of this book’(2011, Empty Cradles, Kindle Edition).

Tonya Kyriazis-Alexandri

Χωρίς τίτλο            Institutional care and training…….

All persons have the right to the protection of their health and of their genetic identity. Matters relating to the protection of every person against biomedical interventions shall be specified by law (from Article 5 of the Greek constitution)

Torture, any bodily maltreatment, impairment of health or the use of psychological violence, as well as any other offence against human dignity are prohibited and punished as provided by law (from Article 7 of the Greek constitution)

Every person’s home is a sanctuary. The private and family life of the individual is inviolable (from Article 9 of the Greek constitution)

All persons have the right to be protected from the collection, processing and use, especially by electronic means, of their personal data, as specified by law. The protection of personal data is ensured by an independent authority, which is constituted and operates as specified by law ((from Article 9Α of the Greek constitution)

Every person may express and propagate his thoughts orally, in writing and through the press in compliance with the laws of the State (from Article 14 of the Greek constitution)


Knowing how memory works is empowering

 ‘Knowing how memory works is empowering for all of us’ (Daniel Siegel, 2012)

Memory plays a significant role in defining personhood and our capacity to learn. It determines the quality of our life and choices and is inherently linked to our well-being. Robin Vance and Kara Wahlin, whose chapter I have partly relied on to briefly write about memory is also about art making. With the aid of neuroscience we now know that memory systems are expressed in art-making, and also, that therapy and art therapy practices contribute to growth and brain plasticity, which is ‘the overall process with which brain connections are changed by experience’ (Daniel Siegel, 2012) and art creation can enhance our sense of worth and well being. Vance and Wahlin write that ‘successful art-making enhances the memory of self as capable’ (2008). Furthermore, Robin Vance (art therapist and practicing artist) and Kara Wahlin discuss how ‘artwork can be an expression of several types of memories as it engages multiple cognitive and perceptual neural pathways processes’. They further discuss how the art process ‘updates memories, and supports a broader and more flexible personal agency’. Their chapter is also very interesting because it highlights the connections between the nervous, the immune and the endocrine systems. In particular, Robin Vance shows us how explicit and implicit memory processes are expressed in her artwork. In relatively little space the chapter discusses the different types of memory in relation to the artistic process, healing and personal agency.

To begin with, there are different types of memory and I will briefly refer to these and the brain areas connected to these, using information both from Vance and Wahlin’s chapter, mentioned above, but also from Daniel Siegel’s Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology. Our explicit conscious memories are held by the left hemisphere, which is the center for understanding language and expression. The left hemisphere ‘coordinates the conscious, social side of our experience’ (Vance and Wahlin, 2008). Neuroimaging experiments have shown that our verbal working memory takes place in the left hemisphere of the prefrontal cortex, whereas, our visuo-spatial memory takes place in the right hemisphere of the prefrontal cortex, as well as in the parietal lobe, which also coordinates experiences of the body. (Walter et al. 2003, cited in Vance and Wahlin, 2008). Utilizing visual-spatial and musical abilities, emotions and understanding facial expressions are mostly right brain processes. Robin Vance, who is also an artist, describes her experience of making art in connection to the different areas of the brain. She writes that she moves, often to music, as she makes the art and believes that moving assists her towards implicit unknown somatic memories. She believes that this probably ‘enlists her right hemisphere, leaving the left’s sequential planning and problem-solving behind’ (Robin Vance, 2008). What she finds interesting is that this process allows her to update and remember, but also to let go of outdated, unused, emotionally charged memories, which in turn allows her to ‘move into unrecognized territories of self-awareness’ (Vance, 2008). She also describes how art making and moving reduced her reoccurring back pain. She writes that she ‘moved to forget pain, gratified with making new memories and focusing on the pleasure and joy of discovery’ (Robin Vance, 2008). In this case, Vance and Wahlin claim that forgetting may involve strengthening existing coping pathways, while doing the art helps distract from the pain, which involves procedural memory; discovery engages hippocampal and amygdala functioning, and finally, movement stimulates dopamine and endorphins.