Several disputes and debates about Greece’s borders send me back one century to 1919, when Eleftherios Venizelos addressed very similar issues in the context of the Peace Conference following the First World War.
It is the silence which makes life so different. The silence in the village. The silence in the town. The silence in the city. It bewilders and it disorients. It seems that life is suspended, unreal, immaterial. Everything that should “happen” normally isn’t “happening” at all.
What does “Europe” mean, and what does it mean to be a “European”? In the 1970s and 80s I was a consultant to the Council of Europe, at a time when it was limited to the “democratic” states of Western Europe and, believe it or not, Turkey.
In AD 41 Roman senators and their associates assassinated the emperor Caligula after a disastrous four-year reign marked by his egomania, grandiose building projects and incomprehensible foreign policy.
There is often a very thin line between the real and the imagined, like an invisible border on the ground between two countries, two regions, two villages. No checkpoints, no barbed wire, no customs inspection. Just the feeling that something has subtly changed.
Very few of us can be present when history is made, when a new work makes such a deep impression that it is clear to everyone that a classic has been born. The world premiere of Dimitra Trypani’s “Amiliti/The Silent One” in Paxos on September 9 was such an occasion, a defining moment in Greek, and international, music-drama.
John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech was a call for commitment and responsibility: “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” It doesn’t matter whether “your country” is a nation-state or a colony or a dependency.
“When you’ve always believed that society is built on trustworthy foundations, it’s very hard to accept the fact that this isn’t actually the case.” Are these the words of a modern-day Greek politician? Sociologist? Journalist? No: They were written by the Icelandic author Yrsa Sigurdardottir in the wake of her country’s economic collapse.