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

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...

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...

Fatherhood Diaries: Religion

This is part of a series of blog posts under the title Fatherhood Diaries. In this post I want to discuss the difficult decision to christen our baby. Difficult because although my wife is religious, I avoid any dealings with either theism or spirituality. If anything, I have in the past been anti-religious, though recently I have turned, much like G.A.Cohen, anti-anti-religious; that is, a non-religious person with a growing adversity towards militant atheists. In any case, it is my firm belief that this world would have been a better place had religion never been invented. Yet I conceded to christening our son. Let me give you some background here. I have always been an atheist and my wife has always been a religious person who grew up in a deeply religious family. That much we knew...

Fatherhood Diaries: Everywhere

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. Ever since the birth of my baby boy I see his face in all the children who find themselves in harm’s way. I see his face on the refugee children who flee the violence in Syria either with their parents and family members or completely unaccompanied. I see him in the children who are abused by monstrous adults who find it in them to scar little children inside and out forever. I see his face on the dead bodies of little babies less lucky than him paraded on our social media feeds by organizations looking for donations. I also see myself on the faces of their parents. I feel the desperation of the father who does not have the money...

Fatherhood Diaries: Inadequate

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. These days I am constantly exhausted. My work days are longer than they should, my nights are sleepless, my Monday and Wednesday evenings are dedicated to learning french, and my weekends are full. Busy-ness is not something to feel proud about. We should not fetishise what is a essentially a failure of prioritization and an inability to say the occasional ‘NO’. That said, being busy is not a first for me but the accompanied feelings of guilt and inadequacy are. When I am at work I feel guilty for not being with the baby and not helping at home. When I leave the office at a reasonable time, I feel guilty for not staying...

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...

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

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