All posts by valiapapa

I am a Greek journalist, from Thessaloniki, mainly interested in investigative journalism and news writing. I live and work in Rotterdam, Netherlands. I am writing for several newspapers in the Netherlands and abroad at the moment. I am an animal lover and I spend most of my free time reading novels and cooking. Feel free to follow me on twitter: @ValiaPapad or contact me at:

Who’s Behind the Curtain?

Some sex workers just sell the sexual act while others claim to offer “true love.” But whatever the proposition is, it’s for money. The Hook talked to a prostitute and an ex-gigolo about their work in the Dutch sex business.

Continue reading Who’s Behind the Curtain?


Sex. A pleasure or just a taboo?

We cannot deny that sex is an integral part of  modern society everywhere. However, sexual taboos still exist. Although in some parts of the world people openly talk about sex, we shouldn’t take it for granted. But what do we actually consider as taboo?

Continue reading Sex. A pleasure or just a taboo?

A party for the King, in Groningen

Festivities in the name of the Dutch King’s birthday, Willem-Alexander, started on Saturday in Groningen when hundreds of people joined many music events and parties outdoors and indoors, despite the cold weather.

Over the last three days numerous parties and activities were organized all over the Netherlands. In Groningen DJs and music bands, offered music for all tastes. They became the core of the parties, performing day and night in the city center’s most central squares, Vismarkt and Grote markt. Their groovy vibes motivated citizens of every age and every nationality to dance and sing along.

Continue reading A party for the King, in Groningen

Dealing with the American police

11026368_10204795873031352_968020919_n“I live in North Carolina, a place where every black person is very aware that you’re looked at as a criminal or a potential criminal,” said Traline DeMon Spencer, who is currently living and working in North Carolina.

“So when I do get stopped I say “yes sir no sir”, I don’t make any sudden movements that could make them think I’m trying to reach a weapon.”

Continue reading Dealing with the American police

Life in Gaza

10011539_941056739256164_4048024996898418214_o“The war in 2014 was the most vicious of them all. I was afraid for my life more than ever. It was like bombs everywhere and there was no specific target,” said Mo’men Ashour, 21 years old, who was born and raised in Gaza.

Ashour is studying English Literature in Gaza. Growing up in a city like Gaza was far from the childhood he was dreaming. For him every day was full of desperation and agony about what would happen next and when all the conflicts would end. Continue reading Life in Gaza

A Greek voice

10983423_10202958549039737_8390599179313947281_n“My life has changed tremendously due to the crisis. Prices didn’t remain steady and job salaries are decreasing more and more these days. Unemployment is more than visible. Fortunately, my everyday life involves people that haven’t changed due to the crisis,” said Maria Armirioti, 25 years old from Thessaloniki, Greece. Maria has studied International and European Studies and she is currently living and working in Thessaloniki.

The Hook: Maria, what do you think about the political changes and the new government in your country? Are you afraid of the ‘next’ day?

Continue reading A Greek voice

Indians are not allowed to kiss in public

There are a lot of things that someone is allowed to do in public in India, however kissing a girl is certainly off the list.  Kissing in public is placed under the header of immoral acts for the majority of Indians.

Kiss of love “It started being developed as part of our culture. It is an unwritten law and it doesn’t matter if you are married or not,” said Ajinkya Patil from India. Continue reading Indians are not allowed to kiss in public

Russia 2015: No transgenders behind the wheel

The Russian government has turned an everyday activity such as driving into a criminal offense.  A new driving law that bans transsexual and transgender people from driving was signed in December 2015 by the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

The Russian state seems to consider transgender and transsexual citizens a threat as far as driving skills are concerned. In fact, homosexuality has been faces as a mental disorder since 1999.The new road safety regulation is placing transgender and transsexual people among those with mental and sexual disorders. Continue reading Russia 2015: No transgenders behind the wheel

The next day for Greece

Alexis Tsipras’ speech after winning the Greek elections

Today, Greece’s new government was officially formed after the Greek president Karolos Papoulias handed a mandate to Alexis Tsipras, leader of Syriza and winner of the elections.

“Hope is what wrote history today. Citizens gave me a powerful andstrong command. Greece leaves behind the strategy of austerity and destruction.  Greece and Greeks must find their lost dignity. The country will move with dignity into a new era. A new era for the whole Europe,” Tsipras mentioned during his first speech after winning the elections yesterday. Continue reading The next day for Greece

The blogger who will receive 1000 lashes due to his writings

Tomorrow Raif Badawi, 31, a Saudi Arabian blogger, will receive another round of lashes. He was sentenced in 2014 to ten years in prison and 1000 lashes. The lashes will last for 19 weeks in total.

Badawi was arrested and accused of apostasy, disaffiliation from a religion, in 2012. He was accused of insulting Islam, through his website, Liberal Saudi Network, which he started in order to encourage political and religious debate in his country. Badawi is already serving his sentence, which entails ten years in prison and 1000 lashes. Continue reading The blogger who will receive 1000 lashes due to his writings