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

Fatherhood Diaries: Friendships

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries, which will be published here every Monday (for the foreseeable future). Enjoy. The birth of our baby has tested our friendships. Though some didn’t make it to the other side, our closest friendships are now stronger. Admittedly talking about baby-related topics — his naps, his appetite and you-know-what — can get really boring exceedingly fast and so does refusing most invitations that involve us getting out of the house. Being among the first of our friends to have children immediately rendered our lives incompatible with theirs. The joint life that Sunshine and I led over the past decade, and up until a couple of years ago, was that of the academic nomad. We moved cities every couple of years, from...

The two leaders’ meeting makes me feel… nothing

We hardly have anything in common with the president of the Republic of Cyprus. We come from different ideological, political and moral worlds, and our priorities and viewpoints in life are diametrically opposed. Nevertheless, and although I never voted for him, I have been a strong supporter of his efforts to reunify the island in the only realistic way that I think possible; namely through a federal state with territorial rights to its constituent parts. Make what you will with this but I don’t think there is any other way to solve the Cyprus problem besides a bizonal, bicommunal, federal state, which makes me increasingly suspicious towards those who reject it without offering any plausible alternative. When the negotiations collapsed I was so devastated that I needed a few days...

Fatherhood Diaries: Normality

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries, which will be published here every Monday (for the foreseeable future). Enjoy. Five months into parenthood. I am grateful for a couple of things. First, we now know how to address most of our baby’s needs. It is unlikely that he will be crying his lungs out without us being able to do something about it or at least understand the reasons for his discontent. Second, he is healthy and has started to interact with us. This brings us a totally primitive sense of joy. But we are still taking it one day at the time. Every day he survives is a win. There is no plan. We have no plan, at least not one we can stick to. Each day is different irrespective of our consistent efforts to adopt a spartan routine that babies...

Fatherhood Diaries: Expectations

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries, which will be published here every Monday (for the foreseeable future). Enjoy.  If you recently had a child, you must absolutely be happy and content. A slight digression is allowed but only just, and only due to the tiredness of sleepless nights that you are expected to have. The happiness of having a newborn ought to make up for everything physical as well as emotional. Such are the social expectations for new parents, which although for the most part true, they can be suffocating. It was about two weeks after we brought the newborn home from the hospital. He was neither eating nor sleeping, and we were both exhausted and concerned — concerned for the baby, concerned with our exhaustion and exhausted from...

Fatherhood Diaries: Separation

Every time I leave the baby is a small separation, ranging from midly upsetting to full-on heartbreaking. The most difficult of separations was during my return to work following the lapse of my job’s (rather generous) paternity leave. It was hard leaving him and his mum alone, knowing full well that she was not confident enough to become his sole caregiver during the ten or so hours that I would be away from home. I am one of those few lucky people who like their job and who get fulfillment out of it. But the first couple of days back in the office felt like an assault; as if someone was forcing me to be away from where my heart and instincs were urging me to be, like a forced separation. I have since then realised that my instincts and my feelings are not objective determinants of...

Fatherhood Diaries: Unprecedented

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries, which will be published here every Monday (for the foreseeable future). Enjoy. It is difficult to discuss feelings. Not the opening-up part but rather the description of a feeling that may not be familiar to everyone, which I only experienced after the occurrence of the life-changing event that was the birth of my son. I met my son seconds after his birth. I wasn’t able to see him immediately. I had to remove my glasses and get the tears out of my eyes. The same for his mum who was in the delivery room laying on the bed next to me holding him for the very first time. The initial feelings were shock-driven from the sighting of the woman I love making unprecedented sounds and getting a baby out of her formerly...

Fatherhood Diaries: Being a new dad

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries, which will be published here every Monday (for the foreseeable future). Enjoy. A new baby boy joined our family a little more than four months ago. My job’s generous paternity leave entitlements enabled me to spend precious time with him during the first month of his birth. Being at home during this critical adjustment period gave me an insight into the exhausting affair that is taking care of a newborn and made me appreciate all of the hard work that my wife is putting in whilst I sit comfortably in my office. The day-to-day tasks required to keep a baby clean and happy are easy to master. Really, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how to change a nappy, neither does it require a PhD to...

Apathy is not the reason people don’t bother voting

The lack of interest in the forthcoming presidential elections in Cyprus is noteworthy. Contrary to previous elections, I don’t see people passionate about any of the three candidates (perfectly understandable) and I don’t hear heated political arguments for or against either of them. I reckon the abstention rate will be high. This, of course, is not to say that Cyprus is in any way special. After all, voters are disenchanted with formal politics everywhere and in particular where there are high levels of nepotism fueling distrust towards the political system as a whole. As a result, people who generally want little to do with formal politics often engage in alternative political action or end up supporting unorthodox (read: populist or radical) candidates. Others are just...

The enosis fiasco signified a new low

What I find most disappointing is not that the whole enosis debacle almost led to the collapse of the negotiations, though it is deeply disheartening to see two leaders almost giving up on a joint Nobel peace prize for the sake of satisfying the extremists within the bounds of their respective communities. Rather, what I find most disconcerting is that mainstream political parties decided to support a bill promoted by the self-professed sister party of the Greek Golden Dawn. And let’s not kid ourselves – it is by now evident to anyone possessing the slightest sense of dignity and reason, that the Golden Dawn, and by extend, ELAM, are full-blown neo-nazi parties and not the mere nationalists they so desperately portray themselves to be. Whereas in other countries mainstream parties form...

Setting red lines

​Setting red lines is really not a good idea. When one sets a red line, he proclaims that some options are off the table. He specifies how much he is willing to go in relation to a contested issue, effectively showing off all of his cards at once. Sometimes red lines are genuine, other times they are symbolic or a product of political maneuvering. Proclaiming something as non-negotiable is costly and should be done only with full awareness of the potential cost. Red lines are maybe useful when discussing the terms of the negotiations; that is, the conditions and the format of the negotiations, especially when there is room for getting once’s own prior to the actual diplomatic process. Otherwise, red lines render one vulnerable to the label of the aggressor; you become the person to...

Indestructible

How a common injury triggered existential concerns I went to the doctor with E. I used to make fun of my parents who went to these things together, but here I am, sitting in front of a doctor, the universal secular authority figure, telling him about the increased pain in my lower back. He examined me. “You most likely have some sort of dicopathy, a problem with one of your lower discs,” he said. “As you are young and fit, it might be a good idea to have an MRI in order to decipher what exactly is causing your pain.” A week later, the MRI results were in, and my phone rang. It was the doctor. “You have discopathy at L5 S1. A surgery is not necessary but you will need physiotherapy. Give me a fax number to send you details”. I asked him a few questions...

Making sense of #brexit resignations

The political landscape in post-#brexit U.K. reminds of the creation and subsequent destruction of Buddhist sand paintings, known as sand mandalas. This is the process whereby coloured sand is strategically placed on a surface through an extremely laborious and time-consuming process in order to create a lovely and detailed sand painting, only to be ritualistically dismantled soon after completion. Like the sand mandala takes weeks of round-the-clock work to create only to be destroyed in mere minutes, the U.K. is experiencing a rapid dismantling of its political and social order, which was moulded over decades of cooperation within institutions such as the E.U. A multiculturally-oriented Britain is rapidly transformed into an inhospitable place, with political campaigns reminiscent of...

The rest of us and #brexit

The UK was never a hospitable place for “foreigners”. Not outside London and university campuses, at least. Nonetheless, I care about the place and its people, I have an attachment to it, having lived there for nearly a decade. The referendum results are devastating. Racism, nationalism and xenophobia prevailed. My heart goes out to my many friends who work in the UK and help make it one of the world’s stronger economies. The British people have spoken. They very clearly sent the message that you’re unwelcome to *their* country. And this is so very sad. However, it’s time for the rest of us to show moral superiority. British people must and will remain welcome to our countries all across Europe. We need to be better than them, to contain the racism and...

Is being a hypocrite so bad?

Recently in the UK a conservative peer of the House of Lords was caught by the Sun, using an illegally installed hidden camera, snorting cocaine from the breasts of a sex-worker. Notwithstanding the illegality of using a class A drug, the accusation that was levelled against the married Lord was that of “staggering hypocrisy.” He was, after all, head of the Lords standards watchdog, the body responsible for judging peers who misbehave. On first instance, the Lord is surely a hypocrite. However, we should not have acquired knowledge of his immoral behaviour. After all, whatever one does in the privacy of their own home is really none of our business. But now we know, and we judge. For better or worse, his indiscretions are now a matter of public record, and the public should...

What is nation-building? Rousseau might have the answer

We do not live in monocultural states. Our modern states are multicultural and include people with different life-plans, comprehensive doctrines, and perceptions of the good-life. As such, the concept of the nation-state is outdated and so are nation-building policies. If ever states were monocultural, they no longer are. Now states are multinational. But how did the now outdated idea of the nation-state came about? By reading the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau we can get an insight into the thinking that established what we today describe as nation-building policies. The state and the nation are two concepts that have been combined, creating the modern understanding of the nation-state. The theoretical origins of the nation-state are found in Rousseau’s idea of the general will...

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

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