Author: Gillian Bouras

  • INTERNATIONAL

    The present history of Greek religious tension

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 11 September 2018
    1 Comment

    The Venetians came to power in this part of the world after the fourth crusade, during which Constantinople was sacked: this episode is still spoken bitterly of in Greece. The Venetians made many attempts to suppress Orthodoxy, so that prejudice lingers.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Dress sense or political statement? It's a tie

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 03 September 2018
    10 Comments

    Collars and ties, or lack of them, can have a specific political application. In 2007 Robert Mugabe, fearsome Zimbabwean dictator, was invited to an EU summit in Lisbon. The Anglican Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, cut up his clerical collar on television and vowed to replace it only after Mugabe had gone.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Greeks pull together in the face of fire

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 30 July 2018
    11 Comments

    Greece is a fire-prone country, and climate change has meant an extremely hot summer. In addition, the austerity forced on Greece during recent years has meant a reduced fire service, with not enough firefighters and no money to buy the latest equipment. Even so, it is heartening to see the reaction of the Greek public to the fires.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    An old poet scales the age barrier

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 20 June 2018
    12 Comments

    An old man boarded the bus, seating himself next to me and behind the boys. He was unshaven, and his jeans had seen better days. He sat quietly for a few minutes, observing the scene, and then he tapped the nearest boy on the shoulder. 'I'm impressed by your enthusiasm, and it so happens I've written a poem about that subject. Here it is.'

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Remembering Palestine from Greece

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 22 May 2018
    7 Comments

    A little over 77 years ago, Allied forces fighting in northern Greece were overwhelmed by German strength. In Kalamata, for years now there has been a wreath-laying ceremony at a memorial close to the waterfront. It occurs days before the Nakba, the remembrance of Palestinian displacement that this year marked 70 years.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Fearing and loathing that toad, Work

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 04 May 2018
    7 Comments

    Philip Larkin spent 30 years as a librarian, but famously wrote a rebellious poem in which he asks plaintively: 'Why should I let/the toad work/Squat on my life?' Technology is not the only force that shapes our destinies, an idea I need to remind myself of whenever I start worrying about the future of my children and grandchildren.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Remembering my friend Beverley Farmer

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 26 April 2018
    8 Comments

    Australian writer Beverley Farmer died on 16 April. She and I had been friends, albeit usually long-distance ones, for more than 30 years. It seems to me now that we had so much in common that friendship was almost inevitable: it was just a matter of timing that first meeting.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australian cricket's great betrayal

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 26 March 2018
    11 Comments

    The idea of cheating at sport, of setting such a bad example to the young, was quite simply unthinkable then, but now this cricketing episode, I fear, is a disgrace from which Australian sport may never recover. Something ethical, almost spiritual, has gone, and I am left with an acute sense of loss.

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    Greek village rides the rise and fall of plastic

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 09 March 2018
    7 Comments

    Yiayia Aphrodite always practised frugality. She cut old dresses into strips and wove cotton rugs out of them, and used matches twice if she could. When plastic bags came into supermarkets, she immediately made use of them: I think every house in the neighbourhood received presents of circular blue and orange bathmats and doormats.

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  • RELIGION

    Freedom from the tyranny of doing

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 06 February 2018
    12 Comments

    The human brain has always needed silence, and there have always been people who needed solitude, at least for certain periods. In 1948 war hero and adventurer Patrick Leigh Fermor retreated to a French monastery simply in order to write. But the experience of silence was an unexpected bonus.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Consummate battler's PNG Christmas fable

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 03 December 2017
    6 Comments

    'The Three Wise Men' was published in the Herald newspaper in 1943. It is set in the jungle of New Guinea, and is about three Australian soldiers called Jack, Bill, and Fred. It is Christmas Eve, and Jack, Bill and Fred are lost 'in the middle of New Guinea in jungle as thick as the hairs on a dog.'

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Teaching kids to read between the rhymes

    • Gillian Bouras
    • 21 November 2017
    16 Comments

    Nana's favourites were chain-rhymed stories such as 'The Old Woman and her Pig', and 'This is the House that Jack Built', both of which I try to communicate to my grandchildren. My sister and I never realised how we were acquiring tastes for story and rhythm, or that we were exercising our young memories, our capacities for recall, as well.

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