George Iordanou

Politics, Philosophy and (not much) Real Life

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Fatherhood Diaries: Complacency

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries. Johnny turned two today. We are all growing up, him becoming a cheerful boy and us approaching our mid-thirties. I am a different man than two years ago. Not necessarily a better man. I experienced heights of love I never thought were possible but I also developed fears for what I may be becoming — and what role model I will be for Johnny. I fear that I will become comfortable in the complacency of middle class, resolved that nothing will change, and thus not willing to fight for anything worth changing. Someone who will passively accept the status quo and who will use narrow self-interest as the only motivation for action. These considerations were prompted by the death of a Greek singer who sang a song...

Fatherhood Diaries: it takes a village

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries. It takes a village to raise a child, particularly in countries such as Cyprus where the operating hours of both public and private schools are based on the assumption that parents do not work, or if they do, they can afford afternoon childcare on top of school tuition, or more likely, that they have retiree grandparents willing and able to take care of the little ones past 1pm. Indicatively, my son, Johnny, who is currently attending nursery, is being picked up by my father-in-law around 3pm. From September onwards he will be attending a (different) kindergarten and he will have to be picked up at 1pm. Enter the village. I don’t profess to understand how people without family support or the means for hired...

Fatherhood Diaries: Childcare

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries. Now that almost two years have passed since the birth of Johnny, I am clearly a parenting expert, particularly in childcare arrangements. The paradox of childcare is as follows: taking care of a baby on a 24/7 basis in our non-communal societies is akin to an open prison, but delegating your baby’s care to a complete stranger is devastating and triggers feelings of guilt and abandonment. If you don’t have an alternative and if you research the pros and cons of private childcare these feelings can be managed. And after a couple of months of nursery/kindergarten attendance, you will start noticing the developmental benefits on your child, hopefully making up for the fact that he or she became a magnet for all sorts...

Οι χαμένοι των χαμένων του κυπριακού

Είμαστε οι χαμένοι του κυπριακού. Μερικοί από εμάς πιο χαμένοι από άλλους. Οι νικητές, λίγοι· κυρίως κάποιοι πολιτικοί και δημοσιογράφοι που έστησαν καριέρα στην ιδέα της μίζερης, μισής Κύπρου και του “άλλου” ως αιώνιου εχθρού. Οι υπόλοιποι κύπριοι βιώνουμε τις συνέπειες ενός μεταβλητού status quo με τους μισούς, τους τουρκόφωνους κύπριους, να βιώνουν τη σταδιακή μετατροπή τους σε μειονότητα εντός μιας άλλης μειονότητας και τους άλλους μισούς, εμάς τους ελληνόφωνους κύπριους, να ζουμε σε ένα κράτος που, με πρόφαση τη διαίρεση που προέκυψε μετά τις σφαγές της δεκαετίας του 1960 και της εισβολής του 1974, κάνει εκπτώσεις τόσο στην υιοθέτηση όσο και στην εφαρμογή των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων, παραβιάζοντας επιπλέον βασικές αρχές χρηστής διοίκησης. Με άλλα λόγια, είμαστε και οι δυο...

Fatherhood Diaries: Surgery

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries. Please note that this one is a bit outdated — the surgery took place earlier today and Johnny is well and recovering. The baby will have a small, routine operation on Wednesday and I am soliciting the considerable deflection strategies I developed over the past many years, whereby I avoided dealing with the most important issues in my life, in order to similarly avoid thinking of the (quite remote) consequences of the surgery or the full anesthesia going wrong. I wasn’t particularly successful as last night my brain went on overdrive making the most macabre of syllogisms. These dark thoughts were triggered by the Instagram pictures for Mother’s Day. I was thinking of how patronizing it is to say...

Fatherhood Diaries: Resemblance

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries. “You two look the same,” Sunshine replied to my text message of a selfie photo with Johnny. She is right. The baby looks a lot like me. My mum – as mums do – has a photo of Johnny and a photo of me at his age on her coffee table. I can barely tell the two of us apart. As I observe the resemblance I wonder what else might have I passed on to him through the non-intended route of biology. Last week I went on my first 5k run after a hiatus of two months nursing a running injury. Halfway through the run and noticing that the pain did not resurface, I started contemplating subscribing to a marathon. This is what I do. I immerse myself into things I like. Thankfully for me, they are harmless – books, running...

Fatherhood Diaries: Sick

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries.The baby is sick. He has fever, diarrhoea and a runny nose. This is more-or-less constant, a very predictable side-effect of him attending nursery since he was five months old. Apparently viruses have the time of their life at nurseries and kindergartens and there is nothing one can do about it. We got better at managing the practicalities, which are familiar to any parent who ever dealt with a simultaneous poopstorm, vomiting and high fever. Emotions are harder to manage though. It is always upsetting at varying degrees, depending on the situation, to see the little fellow unwell. And the more he grows the more upsetting it gets. I expected it to be the other way around. The more times one manages such...

#Brexit mess

Let’s get the disclaimer out of the way. #Brexit is a bad idea, which doesn’t seem bad to many (most?) Britons in the same way that the election of Donald Trump didn’t seem like the horrible idea that it is to many Americans, though it was obvious to the rest of the world. This week the Prime Minister brought forward a deal in the House of Commons, which was overwhelmingly rejected by MPs, including her own Tory backbenchers, many of whom want a harder brexit without binding ties to the EU. Considering that May failed to successfully engage and get the backing of MPs, the rejection of her deal was expected. What was surprising was the level of the failure, whose magnitude was unprecedented for our generation. Of course, consensus is seldom possible in peace time. The...

2018

Let’s face it, 2018 was not a good year for Cyprus. We found ourselves living in a country where extreme poverty and homelessness became acceptable, a mere fact of life. Children sleeping rough, women forced to exchange sex for shelter, and malnourished fathers who skip meals to buy formula milk for their newborns. All real cases of incredibly resilient people whom we failed in 2018. People who are led down by the state and by us. Not only did we refuse help, we also remained neutral bystanders during the ideological assault against them, whilst accepting the normalization of extreme poverty and homelessness. Very few, exceptional people, managed to salvage our collective dignity by extending a helping hand to our fellow humans in need. These outstanding people are volunteers and staff...

Fatherhood Diaries: my parents’ grandson

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries. Before the birth of my son, I rarely thought of my childhood. Little did I also think of the parental qualities of my mum and dad. Any thoughts on my early years were limited to the recollection of the unprecedented and as of this day insurmountable sense of safety and security that defined my childhood. From my teen years onwards, the feeling that emerged was that of deep gratitude towards my parents whose sacrifices gave my a level of education above their pay-grade. But not much else. I am not one to romanticise childhood, and to be honest, I feel more comfortable now as an adult rather than as I ever felt as a child and even less so as a teenager. But after Johnny was born something clicked. Suddenly, I...

Ακούει κανείς;

Ο Νίκος Αναστασιάδης εξελίσσεται σε μια από τις πλέον τραγικές φιγούρες της σύγχρονης ιστορίας του κυπριακού. Ο άνθρωπος που υποστήριξε το σχέδιο του 2004 αλλά δεν κατάφερε να πείσει τη βάση του κόμματος του να το υποστηρίξει, ο οποίος χρόνια μετά και όντας στο πηδάλιο του κράτους βρέθηκε πιο κοντά από ποτέ στη λύση του Κυπριακού αλλά επέλεξε να την τορπιλίσει, αρχικά αποχωρώντας μια ανάσα πριν τη συμφωνία στο εδαφικό και στη συνέχεια αρνούμενος να προχωρήσει σε επίπεδο πρωθυπουργών Ελλάδας-Τουρκίας παρόλο που είχε στο τραπέζι τον Γενικό Γραμματέα των Ηνωμένων Εθνών, εκπροσώπηση της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης σε ανώτατο επίπεδο και σαρανταμελή αντιπροσωπεία του Υπουργείου Εξωτερικών του Ηνωμένου Βασιλείου, καθώς και πρωτοφανή πρόοδο στο καυτό θέμα της ασφάλειας και των εγγυήσεων. Ο οποίος επέλεξε...

Φλερτ με τους ναζί

Ο ηγέτης του ακροδεξιού κόμματος της Γερμανίας, AfD (ψάξτε τους στο Google να δείτε το πρόσωπο του νεοφασισμού στην Ευρώπη), το οποίο γίνεται όλο και πιο ισχυρό, εξηγά ότι “δεν φταίμε εμείς που στις πορείες μας συμμετέχουν και ναζί, δεν μπορούμε να ελέγξουμε πλήθη πέραν των 10,000 ατόμων”. Πέραν της προφανούς ανησυχίας που θα έπρεπε να έχει κάποιος όταν οι εκλογικεύσεις στις οποίες προβαίνει και οι δικαιολογίες τις οποίες παραθέτει για την συμπόρευση του κόμματος του με τους ναζί συνάδουν με εκείνες των ακροδεξιών της Ευρώπης τύπου Λεπέν, Σαλβίνι κτλ, το επιχείρημα καταρρέει όταν το ‘πλήθος’ με το ζόρι υπερβαίνει τα 200 άτομα. Τίποτε απ’ ότι συμβαίνει δεν είναι καθαρά κυπριακό. Το σιουμάλισμα της ακροδεξιάς και η μετατόπιση του κέντρου προς τα δεξιά είναι...

Rent and property prices in Cyprus

Many of my thirty something friends, having recently moved to Cyprus from studies or work abroad, mostly in the UK, are now considering options for long term accommodation; either to buy a ready-made house, build a new one, or buy a flat. Many of them work in finance or law and are more than competent to do the number-crunching necessary for an informed decision. They are perfectly equipped to quantify the pros and cons of whether to sell a flat, buy a plot, how much of their savings (if any) would they need to use, what mortgage to take and what income shall be generated from the renting of any existing property they own. I find interesting that, in many of these discussions, the assumption is made that current property prices, particularly for rent, will remain roughly the same, not...

Fatherhood Diaries: Holidays

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries. “It’s the first time that I truly feel like I need a break,” I told colleagues at work on the last day before my summer holidays. “This is what you always say,” was their reply before they wished me a good break. The plan was to take a week and a half off in order to spend some time with the baby whose nursery was closed for the whole month of August. We planned to spend three days in Sunshine’s village up in the mountains and three days in Protaras, which is a coastal, touristy place in the south-eastern part of the island, famous for its blue-flagged, crystal clear waters. Although this sounds like a holiday, and despite our best efforts to make it feel like one, the primary objective was to take care of the baby...

The far-right and the language of multiculturalism

It is interesting to see how to language of multiculturalism has changed in the past two decades. I was watching AfD supporters on BBC Newsnight talking about social cohesion and group-differentiated rights for the majority, which is under a perceived threat from migrants. On the other hand the multiculturalists of the 90s and early 2000s were arguing for group-differentiated rights for minorities, depending on their type (national minorities, immigrant groups and indigenous people) in order to ensure equal participation and access to rights. On the other side of the multiculturalists were the universalists who said that basic rights should be available to all without ‘discrimination’ to ensure social cohesion. The motives of the universalists were different from those of the...

George Iordanou Politics, Philosophy and (not much) Real Life

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