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

The UN and the EU should use their carrots to steer towards a multicultural solution

Published in the Cyprus-Mail under the title “Role upgrade needed for EU and UN,” May 21st, 2015. Greek- and Turkish-Cypriots have not been able to solve the Cyprus problem between them. Neither have they been able to solve it through the involvement of their respective motherlands. The Cyprus problem will only be solved through the United Nations and the European Union, who are already involved in the process, and who should use the carrots that they hold in order to steer the two sides towards a multicultural solution. Bear with me, this is not yet another oft-repeated Cyprob cliché. The aforementioned intergovernmental organisations must promote the respect of diversity and the rights of all people — including non-dominant national minorities (e.g. Maronites...

Should we reconsider the “Bi” in Bizonal Bicommunal Federation?

Published in the Cyprus-Mail under the title “Reconsidering the ‘bi’ in bizonal, bicommunal federation,” May 24th, 2015. Once the dual meaning of the term “Greek-Cypriot” is deciphered, then one must proceed to understand the process of misrecognition that took place during the crafting of the 1960s constitution. Non-dominant minorities have experienced their ethnic, religious and linguistic identities denied to them in the name of their membership to the Greek Cypriot culture. This is what I describe as the process of misrecognition, where the initial classification of a cultural group conditions the demands that the group is entitled to make. Such acts of misrecognition have been legitimised with the 1960 bicommunally-organised constitution, and perpetuated in...

What it means to be a Greek-Cypriot?

Published in the Cyprus-Mail, May 17th 2015. In the case of Cyprus one must distinguish between the dual-meaning and usage of the dominant cultural identity. The identity and label of the Greek Cypriot (GC) can have two completely different meanings: there is a constitutional (civic) definition and a cultural definition. The civic definition is that which is found in the 1960 constitution of the Republic of Cyprus, where a GC is a member of the Greek national group. Nevertheless, the civic definition of being a Greek Cypriot includes Armenians, Latins and Maronites, who “chose” to join the GC ethnic group back in 1959, only months before the introduction of the new constitution, as well as recently naturalised third country nationals. As such, to be a GC in the civic sense...

Solve it already 

The Turkish-speaking Cypriots have expressed their political will by overwhelmingly supporting a pro-solution politician. Now the ball is in Anastasiades’ court. He has to prove that he is willing to work towards solving the Cyprus problem and that he is not going give in to the nationalists of DIKO whose careers depend on there being a Cyprus problem.

What makes a hero? — the elephant in the room (part 5)

Previous posts: What makes a hero? — introduction (part 1) What makes a hero? — outcomes (part 2) What makes a hero? — thinking about motives (part 3) What makes a hero? — two types of motives (part 4) In this series of posts I try to make sense of what makes a hero. These posts are a record of my thoughts on the matter, and might not always be coherent. If you have feedback or thoughts you want to share, I would love to read them either in the comments below, or via email. This discussion is taking place in a room that has a big pink elephant at its centre, whom we have thus far ignored. The elephant screams that our understanding of human agency and the motivations that are so central to the analysis, have been abstracted so much that they do not describe human beings who, contrary to...

What makes a hero? — two types of motives (part 4)

Previous posts: What makes a hero? — introduction (part 1) What makes a hero? — outcomes (part 2) What makes a hero? — thinking about motives (part 3) In this series of posts I try to make sense of what makes a hero. These posts are a record of my thoughts on the matter, and might not always be coherent. If you have feedback or thoughts you want to share, I would love to read them either in the comments below, or via email. The earlier discussion on outcomes distinguished between outcomes in relation to the success or failure of the act — i.e. whether the children were saved from the burning school building — and the outcomes in terms of the personal detriment endured by the act-doer. A similar distinction is relevant in the discussion on motives. They can be divided into the motives...

What makes a hero? — thinking about motives (part 3)

Previous posts: What makes a hero? — introduction (part 1) What makes a hero? — outcomes (part 2) In this series of posts I try to make sense of what makes a hero. These posts are a record of my thoughts on the matter, and might not always be coherent. If you have feedback or thoughts you want to share, I would love to read them either in the comments below, or via email. We now turn to motives. By the end of the discussion we must be in position to consider whether our determination of the heroism attached to saving the schoolchildren from the burning building changes if the random bystander is replaced by a fireman. The parameters of the example remain the same. The only change is the actor. It is no longer a third-party, an unrelated by-stander that runs into the burning building. Now...

What makes a hero? — outcomes (part 2)

Previous post: What makes a hero? — introduction (part 1) In this series of posts I try to make sense of what makes a hero. These posts are a record of my thoughts on the matter, and might not always be coherent. If you have feedback or thoughts you want to share, I would love to read them either in the comments below, or via email. This is the second post on What makes a hero? Here, I will explore two scenaria in order to tease out our intuitions on outcomes; whether the outcomes of an act play a role in determining if the act is indeed heroic. In the first scenario, our hero is someone who enters into a burning school and saves the lives of two children who are trapped inside. If our rescuer is a random bystander who is unrelated to the children that are trapped in the burning school...

What makes a hero? — introduction (part 1)

In this series of posts I will try to make sense of what makes a hero. These posts are a record of my thoughts on the matter, and might not always be coherent. If you have feedback or thoughts you want to share, I would love to read them either in the comments below, or via email. I am always weary of people who call other people heroes. What does it mean anyway? That was, until recently, my immediate thought when confronted with a hero-type statement. My response was a product of performative conditioning. Simply put, when we observe the same phenomenon over and over again, we associate it with those that perform it, thus leaving the concept itself — heroism in this case — unexplored. In essence, the performative conditioning, the fallacy that I have been committing when confronted with...

On Useless Statistics

I run to podcasts. My favourite podcast is More or Less: Behind the Stats, by Tim Harford. It is broadcasted weekly by BBC Radio 4. Tim humorously examines mainstream statistics that come up in the news. Listeners send their questions and he tries to analyse the numbers to examine the claims that are made. For instance, in the latest show, Tim analyses two interesting statistics. The first, was that joggers who run for more than two and a half hours, for more than three times per week, are as likely to die as those who are couch potatoes, whereas those who run for up to two and half hours for less than three times a week and at a slower running pace, enjoy increased chances of survival of non-joggers and strenuous joggers alike. The conclusion reached by the statisticians who conducted...

Word and Endnote almost made my cry

[et_pb_section][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text”] Today is Sunday, exactly a week since I realised that my referencing application broke my PhD by mixing the thousands of footnotes that I have. It was around 8am. I had waken up a few minutes before E., made us some coffee and turned on the computer. The plan was to keep editing until the bloody PhD is done. The night before, I was editing the “Conclusion” chapter and I noticed that its only reference was misplaced. I assumed that I had made a mistake, corrected it and called it a night. The morning after, on Sunday, sitting at my home desk drinking coffee at 8am, I decided to go over the references to catch similar mistakes. It was during that time that E. entered the room...

Scotland’s big day, morning thoughts on devolution and inequality

Today is the big day. The Scots are voting for or against their independence from the United Kingdom. Some thoughts before I start my day. The polls show the two sides starting the day head-to-head, with a slight advantage given to the Better Together campaign. Whatever the outcome of the referendum, it is safe to say that the tendency towards decentralisation will continue, and more powers will be devolved to Scotland. Quite a lot of focus has been placed on the devolution of powers, mostly to reassure those that have been flirting with a YES vote. The message is clear: this is not the end of the road, more powers will be coming to Scotland anyway, there is no need to break-up the union for this. The Tory angle was also interesting. Don’t vote YES just to get rid of the effing...

Time to rethink the book ban

A Cypriot was stopped at Stansted Airport because he was carrying emergency flares with him. The person that will likely carry mini-explosives to the airport is either a potential terrorist or “stupid and naive”, and it makes sense for the authorities to assume that he is the former. As it turned out, the defendant was not a terrorist. If this was a story about a 22 year-old with a box of distress signal mini-flares in his luggage, then there would be nothing controversial about it, besides perhaps the fact that the police actually returned the flares to him once they charged him. As it turns out, the problem were not the flares, but rather a book he was reading, called the Anarchist Cookbook, which was published in 1971. Five months before his airport arrest, Andreas...

Brief review of Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki

I have read Haruki Murakami’s new novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, and I am afraid to say, I didn’t like it as much as his other books. Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki is a young man, part of a group of five friends in high school, who suddenly finds himself excommunicated from the group. Sixteen years later, Tsukuru visits his three remaining ex-friends, to find out why they had stopped talking to him back then. The book is mostly a narrative of Tsukuru’s visits to his three friends. On the back of it, a love-story is unfolding between Tsukuru and Sara, a young friend of his who is encouraging Tsukuru to find out more about his excommunication. The book has all the traits that distinguish Murakami’s writing style: the metaphors, the existential crises, the...

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

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