Ithaca looks at books on terrorism

A photograph of a. 38 revolver makes an unexpected but apt cover for the June 2003 issue of Ithaca, a monthly magazine published in English by the Greek Book Center (EKEBI). The gun belonged to police officer Christos Matis, who was murdered in December 1984 during a bank robbery. The weapon was found near Savvas Xeros when a bomb exploded in his hands in July last year, an event that led to the unraveling of the November 17 terrorist organization, whose members had eluded capture for 27 years. With the trial of alleged members of November 17 still making headlines, Ithaca’s special feature on Literature and Terrorism is topical. In «Terrorism in Greece: The 17 November Organization,» Tassos Pappas explores the few works of fiction that touch on the subject. Describing most of them as «a combination of detective novel and political chronicle,» Pappas asserts that many of the books revealed «farsightedness on the part of their creators.» Spilios Papaspiliopoulos examines the political dimension of terrorism in three books that attempt to explain the terrorists’ «murderous paranoia,» and two books that are «historical in nature and attempt to explain the conditions that created fertile soil for the development of terrorism.» In the regular Personalities section, Vangelis Athanassopoulos presents writer Nikolaos Episkopoulos, with his cosmopolitan outlook, as «A European from Zakynthos.» Thanassis Vassiliou’s interview with eminent sociologist Constantinos Tsoukalas ranges over Greece, the European Union, globalization, socialism, and the war in Iraq. Novelist and translator Phaidon Tamvakakis offers a tantalizing introduction to the charms of his native town in «The Ironic Smile of Alexandria.» Reviews of recent publications cover fiction, poetry, essays, politics, children’s literature and gastronomy, fulfilling Ithaca’s mandate of promoting Greek books beyond the borders of Greece.