Search Results: Greece

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    At an angle to the universe: Remembering Brian Doyle

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 29 May 2017
    14 Comments

    Brian's work was notable for its firm yet subtle control, the great tumbling yet disciplined lists of adjectives, the elevation of the quotidian, the appreciation of the natural world and its creatures, the sheer love of life. Re-reading one recent piece I find the references to the 'lovely bride' and 'the house wolf' almost unbearably touching. One reader wrote he was not initiated into Brian's 'grand mysteries', but that the joy and awe conveyed rang out with love and goodwill. How very true.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The power of poetry in the age of Twitter

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 18 May 2017
    13 Comments

    Does poetry still matter in our Twitter society? Such was the question that caught my eye during a random Google session. The answers consisted of some lugubrious comments to the effect that poetry, like the novel, is dying. It is hard to believe that poets were once considered celebrities, and that poetry was once a pre-eminent form of entertainment. We also generally refrain from mentioning poetry and politics in the same breath. 'Twas not always thus.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    It is my duty to remember

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 20 April 2017
    16 Comments

    Every Anzac Day there seem to be arguments about the legitimacy of what has been called the One Day of the Year. In the past I have taken my turn at rebutting views that express the belief that such days are part of a wholly reprehensible glorification of war. I've had a great deal of time to think about the matter, and also have a personal involvement: my grandfather and father were in the Australian Army, and both saw active service, about which periods they hardly ever spoke.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Letters from dystopia in these best and worst of times

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 03 April 2017
    6 Comments

    Small wonder there is a particular surge of interest in dystopian novels: many people feel times have never been so troubled or so complicated, although I remember my father pointing out that people felt the same when the longbow and later gunpowder were invented. Amazon recently reported that Orwell and Huxley are selling like hot cakes. This at a time when certain purveyors of doom are lamenting the fact that 26 per cent of Americans, for example, did not read a single book during 2016.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Down syndrome in and out of love

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 13 February 2017
    12 Comments

    A school mate of mine had a sister called Edith. I wondered why Edith didn't go to our school. 'Edith doesn't look like us,' I told my mother. 'No,' agreed mum, 'that's because she was born different from most people. But she's quite happy, and her family loves her. Babies bring their love with them.' Edith had Down syndrome. I know now my mother had a point: such children as I have observed in the long years since I knew Edith have been happy and loved. But it's not always the case.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    What I did in my holidays

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 16 January 2017
    7 Comments

    It seems incredible that there were ten of those summers, consecutive ones when three generations coexisted happily. My siblings and I had an idyllic Ocean Road beach practically all to ourselves, the men went fishing every afternoon, except when, to Grandfather's annoyance, an easterly was blowing, and the women, in time-honoured fashion, kept everybody fed. Of course change was inevitable, although I didn't really believe it, and started with my grandmother's death. I was 19.

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  • EDUCATION

    Christmas encounter with an unremembered student

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 19 December 2016
    9 Comments

    I have no idea how many students I've taught in two countries. I remember, usually, the high achievers and their troublesome and often troubled opposites, but most are a blur: the human memory has its limits. On the other hand I think I can name all the teachers I ever had: this, of course, is much easier to do. There was more evidence of this today. I was in the Kalamata post office, waiting my turn and clutching a fistful of cards bound for Australia, when a bearded young man asked me a question.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Bond notes bode ill for Zimbabwe's currency calamity

    • Tariro Ndoro
    • 06 December 2016
    2 Comments

    Last week, the much dreaded bond notes were released into the economy, in a move hoped to alleviate the cash crisis. Most citizens are negative about the move, with good reason - the last time Zimbabwe had its own currency was 2009, when inflation was so high the currency had to be dropped to salvage the economy. Most Zimbabweans remember that time well: every other month citizens had to drive to Botswana to put food on the table because the country's own shops were empty.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Mooted boat ban ignores history and humanity

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 07 November 2016
    15 Comments

    It would be interesting to know how many of our forbears were illegal immigrants. One of my great-great-grandfathers was. From County Down in Ulster, he was only 16 when he used his thumb print to sign on as a seaman; it was 1847, midway through the Great Famine. Throughout the long journey he was persistently bullied by a petty officer. One morning he snapped, and clobbered the bully with a deckscrubber. Convinced he had killed the man, my ancestor jumped overboard.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Flagging patriotism in a divided world

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 20 October 2016
    8 Comments

    Before I turned five, I was in the serried Monday morning ranks of children who had to swear, among other vows, to honour the flag. Years later I watched, shocked, as a Greek friend burst into tears at the sight of the emblematic blue and white stripes at a soccer match: big, strapping Panayiotis sobbed helplessly for quite some minutes. Today the American elections are almost upon us, and Old Glory has naturally been very much in evidence throughout this most gruelling and worrying of campaigns.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Athenian taxi driver's keys to happiness

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 06 October 2016
    6 Comments

    The man's grandparents were from Ithaca, the storied isle, but he himself had always lived in Athens. I learned he had not been driving a cab for very long, but had taken to it when his business failed because of the continuing financial crisis. A familiar tale in the Greece of today, alas. But he acknowledged he was lucky to have a job at all, and went on to say that he had no complaints, because he had realised his ambition. I asked what this was. He replied: 'I have educated my children.'

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Being clear eyed and misty eyed about human rights and asylum seekers

    • Frank Brennan
    • 05 October 2016
    8 Comments

    Australia's policy is unique and unrepeatable by other nations because it requires that you be an island nation continent without asylum seekers in direct flight from the countries next door and that you have access to a couple of other neighbouring island nations which are so indigent that they will receive cash payments in exchange for warehousing asylum seekers and proven refugees, perhaps indefinitely. The policy over which Turnbull presides is not world best practice. It's a disgrace.

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