Author: Gillian Bouras

  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Blessed are the whistleblowers

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 02 October 2013
    12 Comments

    The International Day of Non-Violence on 2 October coincides with the birthday of Gandhi, who pioneered the concept of political non-violence and the notion of passive resistance, and paid the highest price for his moral choices. A great many people, like Gandhi, desire a non-violent world, in which whistleblowers and thoughtful, idealistic individuals are honoured rather than punished.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Hostages freed to forgive

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 21 August 2013
    6 Comments

    Forgiving and forgetting are weighty matters. It is unlikely, for example, that Judith Tebbutt and Nigel Brennan, both of whom were held hostage in Somalia, will ever be able to forget their experiences of prolonged isolation, near starvation, and threats of death. Yet both have achieved a kind of forgiveness via the effort to understand their captors' lives.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Bookworm skinned by kin and Kindle

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 17 July 2013
    23 Comments

    Knowing I was going to spend six months in Greece, I arranged for a trunk of books to be sent over. My illiterate mother-in-law was stupefied: 'So many books! Can't you sell some of them?' I should have known she'd react like this, as during her one visit to Melbourne she'd told me roundly that too much reading was the cause of my prematurely grey hair and my need to wear glasses.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The imperfect mother

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 08 May 2013
    5 Comments

    My mother came to stay for a week after my eldest was born. She cooked, cleaned, showed me how to manage the basic baby-care routines. I felt utterly desolated when the time came for her to leave. 'Do not worry. You are perfectly capable of looking after this baby,' she said. I didn't believe her. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Greece's brush with linguicide

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 17 April 2013
    8 Comments

    The label 'crazy script' really infuriated me. The article suggested the Irish were all the better for having parted with their own 'crazy' Gaelic script in the 20th century. But an attack on a culture's language is an efficacious way of destroying the culture itself, and scrapping an alphabet seemed to me to be the thin edge of the wedge.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Agnostic prayers for an infirm infant

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 13 March 2013
    15 Comments

    Orestes was found to have a malformed oesophagus and, at the age of only 19 hours, underwent a two and a half hour operation. I'm what Patrick White might call a 'lapsed egotist agnostic pantheist occultist existentialist would-be though failed Christian Australian'. But if I have ever prayed, I prayed that night.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The lost art of posting a letter

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 20 February 2013
    10 Comments

    She was about to post some letters in the box near her house when a car drew up: a man leaned out and asked if he could watch, as he'd never seen anyone post a letter before. 'How many?' he asked. When she said, 'Six,' he drove away, shaking his head.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Winter of Greece's discontent

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 16 January 2013
    6 Comments

    I have always felt safe in Athens, but recently, while travelling in a crowded train, I was jostled by several large young men. When I alighted, feeling more than a little shaken, I discovered that my wallet was missing from my bag. There have long been beggars in Greece, but now there are many more, and of a new type.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Best of 2012: Greek peasant's faithful fatalism

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 09 January 2013
    4 Comments

    Maria was born into poverty and did not have much luck in escaping it. Yet she was an unchallenged believer, who would say regularly, Oti thelei o Theos: Whatever God wants. This, while I would huff and puff and mutter that God helps those who help themselves. But part of me envied Maria her certainties. Wednesday 28 March 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Painful lost years for unmarried mothers

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 06 November 2012
    23 Comments

    The phrase 'enforced adoption' conjures up visions of babies being wrenched from a wailing mother’s arms, or babies being spirited away in the dead of night. Of course it wasn’t like that: girls signed the requisite consent forms. But the idea of force is there, because the notion of choice rarely was.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A day in the life of a nun

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 03 October 2012
    6 Comments

    The convent has a history of catastrophe at the hands of invaders like the Franks and the Turks, not to mention the earthquake of 1986 and fires of 2007. There are now only two nuns in buildings designed to hold 100. One announces that she would rather someone plunged a dagger in her heart than be forced to leave.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    After Greece's party ended

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 15 August 2012
    3 Comments

    Things were speeding up. Greece entered the European Community, banks were throwing money at every Tom, Dick and Spiro, credit cards seemed a form of modern magic. The party is over now, and the ones who have survived in the best shape are the older villagers who never expected a party and so did not join in the spree.

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