Σάββατο, 28 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

ANDREAS PAPANDREOU: A truthful biography!!!


 


The Making of a Greek Democrat and Political Maverick



I.B. Tauris, July 2012
ISBN: 978-1-78076-080-3, ISBN10: 1-78076-080-9,
6.175 x 9.250 inches, 256 pages,

Greece in the 1960s produced one of Europe's arguably most controversial politicians of the post-war era. The contrarian politics of Andreas Papandreou grew out of his conflict laden re-engagement with Greece in the 1960s. Returning to Athens after 20 years in the US where he had been a rising member of the American liberal establishment, Papandreou forged a social reform-oriented, nationalist politics in Greece that ultimately put him at odds with the US foreign policy establishment and made him the primary target of a pro-American military coup in 1967. Venerated by his admirers and despised by his detractors with equal passion, the Harvard-educated Papandreou left in his wake no clear-cut answer to the question of who he was and what he stood for. Andreas Papandreou chronicles the events, struggles and ideas that defined the man's dramatic, intrigue-filled transformation from Kennedy-era modernizer to Cold War maverick. In the process the book examines the explosive interplay of character and circumstance that generated Papandreou's contentious, but powerfully consequential politics.

 

Praise

"The author has done a marvelous job of research on Andreas Papandreou and has brought him back to life." – Professor Dale Jorgensen, Harvard University"Spyros Draenos has chosen a difficult and elusive topic – Andreas Papandreou – and has managed admirably to walk the tightrope of objectivity balancing between hagiography and demonization. He highlights the ambivalence of a brilliant man (Andreas) torn between the lure of academia and the charm of politics and between the vastness of America and the primordial call of a return to his roots." – Ted Couloumbis, University of Athens"Discovering and presenting the 'real' Andreas, his personality, ideological underpinnings, and lasting achievements is a Herculean undertaking that requires special skills and talents. [...] Stan Draenos has proven himself equal to this formidable task and all who study Greek politics owe him a debt of gratitude for his remarkable accomplishment. [...] He has produced a political biography that is highly readable, penetrating, and rich in detail and analysis. Draenos' work is bound to remain the bench mark against which the efforts of future biographers will be measured." – John O. Iatrides, Southern Connecticut State University"Spyros Draenos has produced the first serious attempt in English to analyze the career and personality of one of the most fascinating and complex Greek political leaders of the 20th century, Andreas Papandreou. During his long tenure as prime minister, Papandreou infuriated his western allies, but also played a major role in transforming Greece into a modern European state. This book will be essential reading for anyone who wants to know how and why." – Monteagle Stearns, US Ambassador to Greece, 1981-1985


Stan Draenos holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of York (Toronto). A political analyst, historian and consultant, his articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Historical Review, Salmagundi, Ta Nea and the Los Angeles Times. He served for several years as Historian at the Andreas Papandreou Foundation and has been a Contributing Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington, DC and a Research Fellow at Princeton University, as well as a guest lecturer at the University of Michigan, City University of New York, the Greek National Research Foundation and the University of Macedonia.

Preface: In Search of Andreas Papandreou * A Prodigious Youth * The American Years * Return to Ithaca * The Leap * First Victory * Breaking In * The National Question * A Fateful Dynamic * Worsening Malaise * The Path to the People * ASPIDA * Collision Course * Apostasy * New Realities * Andreas Rising * Pivot Point * The Pathos of Change * Derailment * Descent * Free Fall * End Game * Epilogue * Endnotes * Select Bibliography

 

Τρίτη, 24 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

Orthodox Christmas, a Message for Humanity



Justine Frangouli-Argyris
The Huffington Post

Today the Virgin gives birth to him who is above all being,
and the Earth offers a cave to him whom no one can approach.
Angels with shepherds give glory
and magi journey with a star,
for to us there has been born
a little Child, God before the ages.

Bethlehem has opened Eden, come, let us see;
We have found delight in secret, come, let us receive
the joys of Paradise within the cave.


-- Orthodox Christian Contakion (hymn)

During these holy days, my father, being Greek Orthodox priest, was always sure to remind us children about the true meaning of the birth of Jesus Christ as it is understood in the Greek Orthodox tradition. Apart from explaining the origins of the traditions that decorate this sacred instant of Christianity such as the trees, the ornaments and the special baked goods, he always took the time to depict the celebration in a most simple way so that we could understand its true meaning.

I remember sitting around the fireplace on Christmas Eve and listening to his soft narration about the symbolism surrounding the 25th of December. He would always begin by showing us an icon of Jesus in the manger among the animals and describe how the birth of the Savior fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah by being born of a virgin and shedding his blood to atone for our sins.
"God became a man in order to save humanity from Adam's sin," he would say.
He was given birth in a humble cave in Bethlehem with the animals providing warmth with their breath. The appearance of Christ on earth in such humility shows that Jesus arrived with the very humanistic message that God was not a punisher but, on the contrary, a compassionate creator.

We would listen attentively as he recounted how Jesus birth was synonymous with humility, compassion, love, understanding and peace in the world and that he came here to baptize mankind in the virtues that had vanished after Adam. Perhaps the deepest spiritual meanings were beyond our comprehension but, in our eyes, my father's words, spoken as they were, brought to life the true magic of the event. To us, Dad was a saint, eternally emphasizing the ideals of Christianity, repeatedly espousing its forgiveness and compassion and telling us that we were truly blessed to be able to understand the meaning of this holy time.

Then, it was on to the fasting table. Mom would prepare lentil soup without oil which we would eat along with the "stavros," the holy bread in the shape of the cross that was baked using only strict fasting ingredients.

The following morning, dressed in our "Sunday best," it was off to church to partake in the Orthodox Christmas liturgy officiated by Dad celebrating the birth of Christ.
Listening to the "troparia" or words of the divine liturgy, special for the Day, I remember my father describing how Jesus rebirth denotes a message of forgiveness and recreation of mankind." For me, it was a tremendously joyous time, as I was thrilled to feel that I was experiencing this glorious event with soul and mind.

Lunchtime would follow, beginning with the Lord's prayer and the cutting up of Christ's bread, "the Christopsomo," a special feasting bread baked with the richest of goodies and the carving of the turkey roasted with all of Mom's love and expertise.

In contrast to the rampant consumerism of today, my memory often wanders to those wonderful times that remind me of the true meaning of Christmas . As time passes, I feel that the rest of the world should focus more on this message!

 
 

 


Follow Justine Frangouli-Argyris on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Justinakion
FOLLOW RELIGION

Τετάρτη, 18 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

Greek National Television: Of Raids and Deficiencies

Justine Frangouli-Argyris
The Huffington Post

The Greek public and the international media were left speechless last Thursday after the decision of the government to send Athens police on a pre-dawn raid to evacuate the headquarters of the country's national broadcaster. Involving the use of strong-arm tactics and tear gas, the order was given to put an end to the prolonged occupation of the building by a smattering of fired journalists who refused to leave the premises when ERT was permanently shut down in June.

At the time, I was one of a small minority of Greek journalists and citizens who considered that the shuttering of the public broadcaster was a correct policy decision, believing that it was a demonstration of the Samaras' government's determination to commence much-needed and long overdue structural changes to the country's public sector.

Unfortunately, however, the events that would follow ERT's closing this summer, would belie any hope of a government ready to clean house but, rather, depict an administration devoid of any plans for a proposed cleaner, leaner broadcaster. For, a few short weeks after the turmoil, the birth of New Hellenic Radio Internet and Television, or NERIT, was proclaimed but, instead of proceeding in a fresh direction, the government quickly re-hired an overwhelming number of politically tied and connected former ERT employees to fill the majority of the new positions.

The new corporation appeared to have no qualms with the poor resumes of its candidates nor did it seem to fret about the fact that many offers were given to those holding more than one job, even though new guidelines forbid such practices.

At the same time, the administration has failed to provide proper compensation to its terminated ex-ERT workers as was promised. As of October 18th, the due date of the third and final instalment, hundreds of ERT's 2,650 former employees remained unpaid. Under Greek law, such inaction could lead to the layoffs being declared null and void and force the government to reinstate them.

Given the utter chaos that ensued, government spokesman, Simos Kedikoglou, attempted to explain the government's reasons for sending in the riot police by declaring, "Police intervention in ERT was done in order to apply the law and restore legality. The building was under illegal occupation, resulting in daily losses for the Greek government and the intervention took place in the presence of the prosecutor."

The public outcry was such that the opposition SYRIZA party tabled a motion of non-confidence in Parliament on Sunday but that was easily defeated by the New Democracy government with the support of its coalition partner, PASOK.

It is unfortunate that, at a time when Greece's image in the world is suffering in the wake of the debt crisis, the government continues to show an inability to deal with everyday events, lacking consistency and continuity in its decision making and resorting to the use of force where negotiations can resolve matters more amenably.

The country will be assuming the rotating presidency of the European Union this coming January and must have a properly functioning and professional public broadcaster in place at the time. It appears highly unlikely that NERIT fits the bill, stacked as it will be with re-shuffled, politically connected, old hacks.

It is unfortunate that the Greek government had the daring to make the politically risky but astute decision to put an end to a corrupt and decrepit ERT only to have it replaced by what is shaping up to be a NERIT that is its clone.

 
 

 


Follow Justine Frangouli-Argyris on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Justinakion