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The Ovi way for 15 years The Ovi way for 15 years
by Thanos Kalamidas
2019-12-20 10:01:08
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Celebrating Ovi’s 15th birthday, a sort of tricky question comes to mind, what does fifteen years in internet mean. While in human years, a child enters adulthood in dog year -for example- it is like …105 years. We are not just talking about an old dog but a century old dog.

15th03_400But internet has proven a long time ago that it is neither a human nor a dog and fifteen years is …long time. Think of it, when we started publishing Ovi, December 2004, there was no Instagram, Zuckerberg had just launched Facebook in February the same year, while MySpace monopolized social life in the virtual world. Blogging had just started and AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) was the cool thing for …texting.

Fifteen years later, Facebook has conquered the internet world and MySpace barely exists. Both sad news, but that is for a different conversation.

In these fifteen years Ovi followed its own way and just like Frank Sinatra sings:
I travelled each and every highway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

We did it our way, sometimes challenging, sometimes provoking, often encouraging, always supporting fellow writers, creators and always building this strange virtual family feeling that could tolerate every social, political or religious view in the name of democracy, not just as a theory but as a choice and a life style. And I think that this is one of the reasons we are still here. With the knowledge and stubbornness of a century old dog and the energy of a teenager entering adulthood.

And just like every other family, we did have our dysfunctional problems and just like any other democratic family we also had our … interventions. Publicly. With an audience that often exceeded 160,000 readers, we made our disagreements and arguments public. We also confronted each other publicly with articles answering to articles. No fear there, I said it before, the Ovi’s way; democracy is our choice and our way of life to every extent.

It was also the personal element where Ovi became the altar for personal confessions. Passion, love, depression, unemployment, divorces, neglect and illnesses paraded from the pages of Ovi for fifteen years. Last year even death remembered us and I’m really grateful to Yossi Gatt for mentioning Lino Paparella and Lawrence Nannery in his birthday editorial. Both Lino and Larry were personal friends of mine. I met them both virtually through Ovi, but soon they became friends and while I never had the chance (despite often talking about it) to meet Lino face to face, I spent ten fantastic days in Stockholm with Larry talking about philosophy, poetry and architecture. And that itself says a lot about Ovi’s spirit.

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
when I bit off more than I could chew
but through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all, and I stood tall
and did it my way

During these fifteen years a lot has happened, from feeling hope with Obama to feeling dismay with Trump, and from celebrating the Paris environment agreement to see Madrid falling in environmental pieces, from the refugee waves in Mediterranean to the Brexit bitterness – that influence personal lives even inside Ovi – we’ve seen a lot. We tried to express opinions with respect to human life, ideas and dignity but mostly to democracy hoping that these in average 160,000 pairs of eyes that read us daily will understand and stand with us in the name of democracy, tolerance, peace. And we are grateful to them, that they are still with us, stubbornly reading us day after day, some of them for fifteen years.

Personally I’m grateful to all Ovi contributors, new and old and despite the fact that I am an old dog in human years, often a grumpy old man, I always learn from them and every new article is a lesson for me hoping that this is also the way all the readers read them as well.

To say the things he truly feels
and not the words of one who kneels
the record shows I took the blows
and did it my way

Thank you all for 15 wonderful years.

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