Tag Archives: History

It’s over! The Muenchner Buecherschau 2014 is now closed.

Well, the Munich Buecherschau 2014 is now closed. I am very happy I took part and would like to thank the readers who visited, wrote, commented on the books, and wished me well. Not forgetting those who bought my books! A big thank you!

Did you miss this year’s Buecherschau? Don’t worry. It is on again next year. Same time, same place; same procedure!

Several people have commented on the lovely painting on the cover of my new book of short stories, The Heart and Its Reasons. It is from a painting by Maria Pierides: “Port Isaac: Golden Light.” Maria is a great artist. I am really greatful to her for allowing me to use this painting for my cover. You can make out the heart arteries in the image, as well as the blues of the Aegean sea.

For more details about The Heart and Its Reasons, where to get a copy, and for reviews and articles, please see here

If you like the book please consider leaving a review on Goodreads, or Amazon. Or even if you don’t like it, say so. Please say so on GoodreadsAmazon.co.uk, or Amazon.de. It will be very much appreciated.

Thank you for your interest in my work.

Who are the real Greeks? in The Guardian

Reading Room Blog

Reading Room Blog

To suggest something for my Reading Room Blog, please email me and I will try my best to follow it up. Otherwise, pick an entry, sit back, and read!

Matina Stevis, in The Guardian, asks: Who are the real Greeks? Sparking a thought provoking debate, she discusses the proposed legislation offering citizenship to the children of immigrants:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jan/20/greece-citizenship-immigrants-debate

I copy below my comment on Matina’s article from the Guardian website:

20 Jan 2010, 9:14PM

Greece is not an island. Unlike the UK, it is a country at the crossroads of the East with the West, at the intersection of three continents. It has a long history of wars of occupation and independence; of expansion, contraction, populations mixing, fleeing, persecution and exchange. In such an environment, the question ‘Who are the real Greeks?’ becomes either irrelevant or plays into the hands of those who try to manipulate history and race.

History helps us understand, though by no means justify or excuse, the state of a country and its people. Today, history is alive in Greece, and knowledge of the country’s past – the four hundred year Ottoman occupation, the Balkan wars, two World Wars, the war with Turkey and the resulting ‘Catastrophe’ of 1922, the treaty of Lausanne, the Civil War, the Junta –  helps us trace the roots of the divisions in modern Greek society. Unfortunately, large chunks of this history are kept in different places because they are being disputed, not accepted as true by the still warring parties in this country, as well as Greece’s neighbours. A quick read through the responses to this blog will illustrate the diversity of histories, ethnic woes and, really, the whole problem.

The Greek fault line may nowadays be seen in the reactions of some Greeks to foreign workers; in a feature shown on Greek TV some time ago, one could see footage of Greek migrants to America in the early twentieth century and the negative reactions to them by Americans that paralleled Greeks’ reactions to Albanian immigrants. The schism is also expressed in Greece’s policies towards some neighbouring countries  and now in the opposition of Greeks, thankfully not a majority, to the legislative proposal to allow citizenship to children born to immigrants.

Let us hope that those interested in Greece will feel encouraged by Matina’s article to trace the threads of this regrettable reaction to Greece’s history and the countless conflicts and migrations that made it a country and constructed its identity, and its fears of losing its recognizable format. At the same time, let us applaud the Greeks who, by proposing and supporting this progressive law, demonstrate their affinity with ideas of shared humanity and acceptance of the other.

History is on His Side

This poem was written on the tenth anniversary of Ken Saro-Wiwa’s death. It  is included in the anthology Dance the Guns to Silence, edited by nii ayikwei Parkes and Kadija Sesay, London: Flipped Eye Publishing, 2005.

History is on His Side

‘No,’ he said, No to oppression, No to injustice,
No to violence. Even as he stood before the guards.
The sun was rising proper in the East, blushing the soil scarlet.

Sozaboy was with soldiers, arguing with the heart
of darkness. We all stand before history, he thought, and
‘No,’ he murmured through cracked lips. ‘No.’

He could not wipe his sweat mimicking sorrow’s tears.
His tied hands tried. His crowded heart pounding with the fear
of the unknowable. He mouthed ‘No,’ just before
their fifth attempt to hang him. Who will claim
the corpse of free speech, but those with a pen
to their name? History is on his side. And ours. Yes.