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Sunday, 27 January 2008

The artefacts of communication

This is the home hub or broadband router that sits on our kitchen table at home. Because it occasionally stops working I want to say something about it. Paper and ink at some point remain significant artefacts for me. At school in the late 1940s we would be allocated pens from a dim human-high stationary cupboard behind a pannelled oak door - pencil-like bodies and nibs. I'd dip these in an inkwell at the top of my desk, or where there were just tables, into a small bottle of ink I kept with me. Blotting paper was a useful extra. These things are now seen mainly as props in period films. By the 1960s I wrote with a ballpoint pen or fountain pen with a rubber ink reservoir, replaced, at university with ink cartridges and felt tips of varying thickness. It was not until the 1980s that the QUERTY board, on which I'd learned years earlier to type while it was still part of a typewriter (my parents being journalists and writers), came into its own. By 1985, though I still wrote longhand in the diary I've kept since the 1970s, the computer keyboard was the main means of transcription.

At 0100 this morning our internet connection went down. We were off-line. That felt as mildly worrying in 2008 as knowing my car wouldn't start would have been in the 1980s. My marriage to my car soured in the early-1990s. I started an affair with cycling and concluded an amicable divorce from my car, following lengthier and lengthier separation, only a matter of weeks ago.

The car was once an essential means of getting to and from places where I could communicate with others. Now, I get physically from A to B by cycle, walking and public transport with the occasional borrowed car or taxi and - in the absence of trains, ships and time - airplanes. My electronic travel has expanded, via mobile phone and internet. If that or my net connection goes down I feel in a mess. As I once assumed having pen and paper to hand and depended on it, so now I depend on connection in cyberspace. While speaking to a friendly man in Chennai on the broadband helpline, he and I relied on a landline not connected to the router, while I could use my mobile phone to test the hub phone without breaking our conversation. The artefacts of net communication dissolve distance and time, so that I experience, while hardly thinking about it, a separation between the geographical space on which I travel by foot and bicycle with increasing efficiency and the expanded electronic space from which I was temporarily disconnected.
[A take from dominagraecia on the same sort of thing - what research was like before the internet. I find the internet, a gift for secondary sources, but for primary ones the old methods are good. At some point the archaeologist must pick up a spade. You do a general scan via Google (which also gets access to groups and blogs) or Wikipedia to find an expert in the field or someone who can point you to an expert (veteran, refugee, artist, relative, prisoner, etc) who 'was there' or 'is there'. You then find their e-mail or phone number or general whereabouts and try get to talk to or meet a human being. If you find them (which can be exciting) they can usually refer you to other people, to images, locations, reading and other websites. Some police officers, stalkers and good journalists still use this approach. It's worth remembering, without getting paranoid, that most police officers, doctors, certain grades of civil servants and copyright lawyers, have better access to the internet than many researchers - though we have JANET, a multiplicity of specialist journals and increasing interconnectivity via services like eduroam. I say most researchers because if you get a government grant, perhaps sign the official secrets act, you can get limited permission to access sources the average punter (me?) doesn't know even exist. The web is such a tease - giving out bewildering amounts of secondary information - good to satisfy dinner table curiosity, settle a wager between friends, dash off a newspaper article or do well in a pub-quiz and help write a blog.]
* * *
Obama takes South Carolina. The turnout there and, we know, in New Hampshire has been unprecedently high, suggesting a message got through to those who might have stayed at home before the Florida mess that lost Al Gore the presidency to the present rogue. Obama honours rhetoric. He presses my worn buttons and he deploys the gravitas that's been so singularly absent in and around the incumbent. Despite my love of talent with language I can't relate to rap, but I can relate in my chest to Obama's US Southern Baptist style. Our friend Jill, at supper tonight, thought his victory might frighten off 'the whites'. Lin thinks not. Both would be happy to see Hilary Clinton succeed.
* * *
Via Busker - who dislikes being linked - I've stumbled on a vigorous Conservative voice commenting on the parlous state of the Greek body politic. Its author - under a pseudonym - purveys views intelligently written but hard for a lover to stomach.
Greek democracy is neither “robust” nor “healthy.” If anything, it is more in need of emergency care than ever before.
The blog, skilfully formatted and linked, relays the spread in Hellas, in the name of modernisation and progress, of ailments and depravities familiar to us northerners - dispersing families, fragmenting communities, uglified town centres, transient displaced economic migrants, trafficked women, segmenting generations, vanishing respect for shared values and guidance from authority, sprawling settlements and hideous strip mall development created by the individuating tendencies of autodependency, lengthening food-miles in the name of choice and big box retailing blighting shopping streets, and commodification of hospitality. Who'll have - who has - the spittle for the work needed to resist these trends rather than being part of them.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Returning

By Wednesday morning we should be waking to the sunrise over Epirus. Suitcases are nearly packed; passports checked; errands mostly done; phone calls made to Corfu about restarting work outdoors and indoors at 208 Democracy Street.
I've been collecting books - too many for our baggage allowance, so I'll probably take just three, but which? Kevin Andrews The Flight of Ikaros, C.M.Woodhouse Modern Greece: A Short History 324-1990 and The Philhellenes, Artemis Leontis (ed.) Greece: A Traveller's Literary Companion, and her Topographies of Hellenism: Mapping the Homeland, Thanassis Sfikas The British Labour Government and the Greek Civil War 1939-1945: the imperialism of non-intervention, John Koliopoulos Plundered Loyalties: Axis Occupation and Civil Strife in Greek West Macedonia 1941-1949, Phyliss Auty and Richard Clogg (eds.) British Policy towards Wartime Resistance in Yugoslavia and Greece, Edward Enfield Greece on my wheels, Henry Miller The Colossus of Maroussi, Harry Petrakis The Hour of the Bell and Enver Hoxha Two friendly peoples.
We know it's been raining a lot. How much water will have got in from above or below?

* * *
I am building up a pleasing collection of political-management interviews with members and officers involved with scrutiny. The order book of work for local authorities is reasonably healthy, and I'll to stay in touch with clients by e-mail and phone while in Greece. The Australia workshop and lecture tour is shaping up with my airfare paid and schedule arranged - the flying hours look daunting.

Various projects are brewing. The chapter I wrote on Political-Management Leadership should be published soon. I feel extremely fortunate to have fallen in with my three comrades outside the university, allowing me to benefit from their ideas and experience while still keeping a foot on campus. In the peaceful hours of the morning I will 'read' the recent conversations I've filmed, for insight on the way relationships work for overview and scrutiny.

* * *
One of our Japanese students came to supper the other day and as well as lending us her good company helped organise the loose pages of a collection of prints of 100 birds, lent by mum - the fine work of the 19th century Japanese artist Kono Bairei.

She was interested in knowing about our favourite detective stories and crime writers. So we had fun running by her such favourites as George Simenon, Henning Mankell, Robert Wilson, Micheal Dibden, Andrea Camilleri. She e-mailed me later to tell me of a Japanese detective I'd not heard about. The writer Seishi Yokomizo has invented a character called Kousuke Kindaichi. It's about supernatural crime which is a bit disappointing as I really like police routine dealing with the ordinary horrors of the material world - but maybe there's not enough crime in Japan to go round so other realms call. There's an English translation of at least one of Yokomizo's books. Later by e-mail our guest told me an anecdote that would do as a start for a novel by Graham Greene:
I would like to hear your and your daughter's comment on what happened yesterday afternoon. I was walking around the St Phillips Cathedral in the city centre with a mask and a hat on because I had a sore throat. I knew people did not usually wear a mask even they had a cold, though. Then, a boy - who looked in his teens ran and overtook me with a camera in his right hand. He took a photo of me without looking at me. But I noticed that he took me because it was somewhat suspicious way of running and I heard the sound of click. Then he stopped at a black waste basket, which was also apparently deliberate behaviour. So I asked him if he took a photo of me. Conceivably enough, he answered no. After a moment's reflection, I decided not to be involved, which I thought was a sensible idea and walked away. I think it is better to collect objective comment on it especially from British people's point of view. And since your daughter is almost a police, will you please hear her remarks if possible?
Naturally I have e-mailed my daughter who covers OCU F1 which includes the place this incident occurred. Intriguing!

* * *
What about what happened to me last week? I went to Gedling on the edge of Nottingham to do one of the filmed interviews. I’ve been privileged to do with scrutiny members and officers. My camera and kit were in my bike’s pannier. I’d checked my route – cycle, train, cycle, bus – on the website Transport Direct which works out an A to B route that includes walking - tho’ not actually cycling - and, incidentally, calculates your journey's CO2 use. In Upper Parliament Street where I’d cycled from the station, I found a 7 bus waiting and started to fold my bicycle to board it, when the driver, in a harsh voice - so it sounded to me - said “You can’t put that bike on my bus". The bus contained two people and had spaces for buggies and a wheelchair. I continued folding, hoping he’d see my Brompton’s portability. The driver must have read this as evidence of my intention to bypass his prohibition. He continued to repeat himself in the most hortatory tone. This sort of thing is so rare in my experience. I suggested he phone his company. He got out his mobile and after a moment's chat on the phone I saw him nod and heard him mutter "at driver’s discretion". He turned to me and, with what I perhaps imagined was a gleam of satisfaction, said “Right! I’m exercising my discretion and you aren't putting that bike on my bus”.
I had a map and set out to cycle the three miles or so to Gedling. As I climbed the hill out of the city, on the Mansfield Road, I encountered my unhelpful driver at a T-junction about to enter the same road. While 'his' bus was stopped at a red light I took out my camera and got a picture of this rude fellow. He got on his mobile phone and called the police. “I'm being harassed by a passenger” he said. ‘Passenger? I wish I was' I thought. The police soon arrived in a little car with a twirling blue light. One officer spoke to me; the other to the driver. They conferred, took details and said it was a 'civil matter' and nothing to do with them. We parted.
Later I phoned the bus company and spoke to a genial person who swiftly apologised with a remark about how some drivers, in their concern for passengers, could become 'proprietorial about their vehicles'. I was pacified. While the altercation had been going on that morning a delayed woman passenger had decided to walk. As she alighted I apologised. She shrugged encompassingly and said "men!'

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

'That's the best America can do?'

I've just been watching a documentary on More4 - called 'No End in Sight' - about post-invasion Iraq involving interviews with Bush administration officials - General Jay Garner, who was replaced by Paul Bremer; Ambassador Barbara Bodine, in charge of Baghdad's US embassy removed for posing troublesome questions; Richard Armitage, deputy secretary of the State Department; Robert Hutchings, chairman of the National Intelligence Council; Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's chief of staff and Col. Paul Hughes, who worked in the Coalition Provisional Authority.

In Centenary Square, Birmingham, Amy and Liz and me, with logo flag, and the dog Oscar - 'mutt of peace' - with many others protesting the impending war. Invasion began on 18 March 2008. Watching No End in Sight I see those who opposed invasion joined by many who now oppose the occupation.

From that perspective - the policy's implementation - I can see that had the best of American and allied talent, including Iraqis', been involved in this venture over an extended period of pre-planning - probably years - better things could have been achieved. It would never have been a rose garden. The political judgement, the global understanding, the cultural sensitivity, the skills of governance, the linguistic abilities exist among Americans and her allies in abundance, but the managerial and technocratic experience that is one of America's strengths was kept away from Iraq or, when allowed limited access, hobbled by leaden political leadership relying on inexperienced, myopic placemen. A miasma of stupidity emanates from the White House that bears no relationship to the America I know and love.

I'm not criticising the innocence and naivety for which some American's are teased. Such qualities can be siblings to enthusiasm, open-heartedness, creativity, and willingness to learn fast. This presidency muzzled those qualities - abilities needed in circumstances of such complexity and novelty. I agree with Rumsfeld that the problems of post-occupation Iraq were the 'unknown unknowns', but his period in power was brain-surgery with a coal chisel. Imagine if such a man, and others like him, had overseen the drive for the reconstruction of Europe or Japan after WW2. Bush privileged an American version of Colonel Blimp - David Low's lethal caricature, not Michael Powell's and Emerich Pressburger's tribute to an altogether more attractive character.

I can't imagine that any other power been able to deploy the political-technical skills needed to reconstruct Iraq, yet Bush and his henchman stifled the genius of their own countrymen, barrin from his Iraq adventure those ready to learn amid great uncertainty. He avoided dialogue that blemished his over-simplified world-view, excluding from his endeavours a rich array of experienced talent - in the US, among her allies and in Iraq. Bush has betrayed Iraqis and blighted the reputation of America. A brave young US marine officer quoted at the end of No End in Sight is quoted saying "That's the best America can do? Don't tell me that's the best America can do. That makes me angry." He is so entitled to his anger and disappointment.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

"...and it seems that the name of the Greeks..."

Of course I had read this many times - this quotation from Isocrates - but with what pleasure I came, by luck, across the web address of Katerina Sarri who gives the orator's famous words a special freshness with her own translation and comment:
...καὶ τὸ τῶν Ἑλλήνων ὄνομα πεποίηκε μηκέτι τοῦ γένους ἀλλὰ τής διανοίας δοκεῖν εἶναι, καὶ μᾶλλον Ἕλληνας καλεῖσθαι τοὺς τής παιδεύσεως τής ἡμετέρας ἢ τοὺς τής κοινής φύσεως μετέχοντας (Ἰσοκράτης. Πανηγυρικός. 50.)

Katerina's translation: ...and it seems that the name of the Greeks is no longer denoting a race, but a mentality, and one should call 'greeks' rather the ones who participate in our education, than those who share our common nature [DNA]. (Isocrates. Panegyricus. 50.)


Isocrates: Athenian orator 436-338 B.C.E. The Panegyricus (Celebrating Speech) circulated during the summer of 380 BCE (between July and September). It is certain, that Isocrates has been working on it for more than ten years. Most of the speech is a praise of the Athenian history and culture against everything non Athenian, whether greek or the so-called barbaric. But with this one phrase, Isocrates demolishes his own hatred of foreigners
Apart from my feelings about this phrase (did he guess how his words would endure?) I like Katerina Sarri's idea of Isocrates making a speech, worked on for a decade, that praised his cuture and history while scouring himself of xenophobia. This exemplifies the Classical ideal of achieving a fine balance between oppositions - to be passionate for one's country while welcoming those not of it. The other evening, before Christmas, it gave me pleasure to see that one of my young Greek relatives has struck a strong relationship with a beautiful raven haired young woman from Byzantium, from Constantinople, from İstanbul.

Equally close to home and as immediate are Ll's words to me by e-mail from Corfu on 10 December last year:
The issue about foreign people staying at Korakiana is surely a serious one. I believe that in ten years very few Greek families will be there - but this is not negative (this is my opinion) since the new residents more or less become a bit...Greek in lifestyle, though not in culture; you can't change culture and traditions, but still I believe that all is subject to change - life is a constant change and...recycling.
I think and hope she's right but in part whether she's right or wrong depends on us becoming 'a bit...Greek in lifestyle', as Isocrates proposed, ‘... if a man should partake of our culture, let him be called Hellene!’

Me and my half-brother George Pericles

I've been looking at the challenge for the ideals of Wikipedia to stabilise its entry on the subject of the Greco-Turkish War of 1919-1922. Of great interest is the discussion, far lengthier than the actual article, that runs beside a heavily contested narrative.
* * *
Today from Athens, bought on eBay when I couldn't find it anywhere else, comes the DVD of Πέτρινα Χρόνια - Pantelis Voulgaris' film 'The Stone Years'. It frightens me in a way because it has no English sub-titles.

[Note: Why does της appear as τ῞ς on so many Greek websites, including KS's, using Classical Greece? Is there a Greek fonts software problem?]

Monday, 14 January 2008

A very helpful communication

On the basis of the e-mail received this afternoon it's pretty clear I should be off to The National Archives at Kew:
Thank you for your email - I finally did get it, although I am no longer at the British School at Athens. It is indeed a very interesting quest you are on, with that petition!
For some background, I think it is fair to say that opposition to the union of the Ionians to Greece as it was proposed in the 1860s and eventually carried out, came from the two ends of the political spectrum. On the one side was the old guard of the Radicals, who were against it on the grounds that, by ceding the islands as a gift, Britain retained and indeed expanded her influence over Greece (rather than being forced to abandon them on the basis of national self-determination, which was what the Radicals were clamouring for). On the other side were the genuine supporters of the Protectorate, and they tended to be concentrated in Corfu because, as the capital, it had benefited more than the other islands. Most of these pro-protectionists were concerned that, with the demise of the political status quo, their own privileged positions would be threatened. In an effort to influence the issue of the future of the islands (which was debated and very much in the air since Gladstone's 1858 mission, and even more so during Henry Stork's tenure as High Commissioner) a number of petitions were addressed to the British throne (my italics SB) (it being a constitutional right of the Ionians to petition their protecting sovereign) asking that the Protection be retained.
I do not know particular details but a good source for the period is the History of the Ionians by Chiotes (only, I'm afraid, in elegant but rather old fashioned Greek) - he was a witness to the events and narrates the very upsetting last episode of the blowing up of the Venetian fortifications by the departing British, which was bitterly resented by the Corfiots.
Now, regarding the particular document you are looking for, I would suggest that the best place to look is the High Commissioner's Correspondence at the Colonial Office archive of the Protection, housed in the Public Record Office, now re-named National Archives but still held at the Kew. I would look at the last couple of years, from 1862 onwards - probably starting from CO136/177 to /184. If such a petition does exist and is signed by inhabitants of the village, it would be interesting to identify the local figure of importance, as the initiative probably emanated from there.
I hope this is of some use and not off-putting in its detail - I do get a bit carried away as I am still very interested in the subject. It was a pleasure to see the website you mentioned which is very well constructed and informative - it shows great 'meraki'! I have not yet looked at your blog because I have an antiquated internet connection which does not lend itself to surfing - but hope to be able to update soon. Since part of your family is Greek and you live here occasionally, you will be familiar with the vagaries of OTE!
Please let me know how the quest progresses and if I can be of any help in the future.
With my best wishes for the new year, E**** C*******

'His petitioners still long for "the purple seas"'


New York Times (extract) 24 Feb 1859

KKE

I enquired over the internet about a leaflet published by the Communist Party of Greece. Back from their Central Committee's address in Athens, in just three days, in an envelope with postage stamps bearing the words ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΗ ΔΗΜΟΚΡΑΤΙΑ beside rich colours like the ones Dad used in 1949, when he wrote to me at school, has come 'Notes on the Greek Civil War (1946-1949) 60th Anniversary of the formation of the Democratic Army of Greece', with the logo of a red hammer and sickle and a greeting card with a striking painting by Maria Pesmatzoglou 'Best wishes for the new year. 90 years since the foundation of KKE. Central Committee, Communist Party of Greece.' [On this see my friend Lindsay's opinion of 'liberal history']

Sunday, 13 January 2008

A year ago next month

This time last year we were getting ready to finish buying our house in Ano Korakiana. Linda, who'd organised cash via a funds transfer company (phone and internet), gave me Power of Attorney through a Handsworth Solicitor (face-to-face). The legal form needed an apostille stamp at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, near Admiralty Arch, to make it lawful in Greece (wait at a counter). I met my friend, John Richfield, at Waterloo. Planned with the help of The Man in Seat 61, we took Eurostar to Paris, Trenitalia overnight to Venice and Minoan Lines ferry to Corfu - my preferred way of arriving in Greece. From the Port, where formalities involved a swift glance at our passports, we cycled to Ipsos harbour to stay on 'Summer Song'. The next morning we cycled in pouring rain to Corfu Town - about 9 miles - and, after removing dripping rainwear, climbed upstairs to Corfu Property Agency's office in Kapodistriou Street behind the Liston, where our solicitor, the vendors - Jan and Ray - and their solicitor, had assembled. We strolled, this time under umbrellas, through wet puddled streets to the Notary Public - Philemon Paipetis - off San Rocco Square, where the deeds of the property, in Greek, were read out, discussed and explained to me in English over coffee. Then with pleasant formality came the signing of documents and the shaking of hands. Copies of the relevant papers were handed me. John took photos, after which he and I went to a taverna and enjoyed a leisurely lunch before taking a bus to Ano Korakiana to enter the deserted property, heat up the water and enjoy hot showers not available on the boat.
 * * * *
Sunday morning and I woke with a bad chest and a cough. Went downstairs. Let out Oscar and Flea, poured boiling water into a bowl of vapour rub and, with a towel over my head, inhaled the same pepperminty eucalyptus vapour that has worked since I was a child and took snaps with my laptop's camera. Curiosity leads me to the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff from whose website I read that I share the public belief that the medical establishment lacks remedies for the common cold - though ready to sell me solutions. The CCC mentions traditional remedies including - for a cough - a hot drink 'containing slightly bitter flavours such as lemon and citric acid ....' * * * On this day in 2001 C.M. Woodhouse died in Oxford aged 83. He is someone who's writing and thinking I have yet to enjoy though during my exploring of Modern Greek history he's been a regular presence. Andrew Leech finished an account of a meeting with the elder Woodhouse as follows:

'My final question covered any criticisms he might have of Greece. "The worst trait I can think of is that many Greeks in the political world have been unable to distinguish a real gift horse from the Trojan variety and have missed out on many valuable opportunities. They are just too busy counting the teeth to look at the legs, which saddens me." When one considers that not only was CW imbued with a love for Greece from an early age, but that he then volunteered to return, at 24, to fight alongside Greek resistance fighters; and later devoted his life to Greek Studies and championing Greek rights in politics, this must certainly put him among the cream of Philhellenes. My final thought, on leaving, were the the words of the philosopher Isocrates (4th Cent. BC): “And if a man should partake of our culture, let him be called Hellene!”'

Saturday, 12 January 2008

End of the British Protectorate of the Ionian

From: Simon Baddeley Sent: 10 January 2008 To: humanities-enquiries@bl.uk Subject: A petition from Ano Korakiana, Corfu re the ending of the British Protectorate of the Ionian Islands and the Treaty of London 1864.
Dear Humanities, British Library. It has been suggested at your phone enquiry desk that I should try e-mailing to you. As a local historian I have been sent this e-mail request from the village of Ano Korakiana, Corfu, Greece.
Dear Simon. It is said that before the Union of the Ionian Islands with Greece (1864), inhabitants of Ano Korakiana signed a "paper" that they asked for the British Government to remain the islands under the Britain. We have been looking for this paper for years at the Greek archives without result. We wonder if you can help us by searching this paper in British archives (Parliament, Colonies archives, Foreign Office etc). We are sure that one of the names that signed the paper is Panos, Panayiotis or Panagiotis Metallinos (Μετταλινος). He was the 'leader'. A similar paper has been signed by inhabitants of Kinopiastes (another village in Corfu) and one village in Zakynthos island. It is passed by word of mouth, and today's information from my family's environment: a well known person that searched for another theme, found it in Leeds University (history section?) at the end of 1970s, a file about the Ionian aspect that contained this 'paper'. She read it, but they didn't let her have a copy. A further source is a 'historical and more novel' book, written by a Corfiot author named Spiros Katsaros. It is supported in this book - Helio's Story - that the petition was given to High Commissioner named Sir Henry Storks (1859-1864) and he attached it behind a report to the British Parliament. According to Katsaros, this theme was published to the national media (newspapers) of that period. Thank you in advance. Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Best wishes. Thanassis Spiggos and Kostas Apergis
Making further enquiries I received the following e-mail from Prof. Holger Afflerbach, Lecturer in Twentieth Century European History at Leeds University:
Simon. It seems to be true: there were some Greek inhabitants on the islands who wanted to remain under British domination (like Gibraltar today: not very astonishing, indeed). I asked a friend of mine, who is a retired professor of International history, if he recalls this thesis in Leeds. He didn't, but he recalls that there was a thesis in Birkbeck College in the early 1960s on this topic. His advise was to look in the list of the Institute of Historical Research. I think it would also be possible to contact the British Library. They should have a copy of the thesis. It would also be possible to contact Birkbeck College. Unfortunately this friend of mine did not remember the author of the thesis or the exact title. I hope that these few informations help you further. Good luck and best wishes. Holger Afflerbach.
Since then I have not yet traced the Birkbeck thesis though I am trying to contact Dr Eleni Calligas who is now, I believe, at the British School in Athens. Dr Calligas is an expert on divisions within local Ionian politics in the later 19th century. Her 1994 LSE or University of London thesis - Rizopastai: Radical Unionists and Political Nationalists - covers the same critical period of Ionian politics when the Ano Korakiana and other petitions (if that is what they were) may have been delivered. I have also ordered The British and the Hellenes: Struggles for Mastery in the Eastern Mediterranean 1850-1960 by Robert Holland and Diana Markides, which has a detailed chapter on the end of the Ionian Protectorate and includes Eleni Calligas as a reference. I wonder if you can give me further guidance on where I might find the Birkbeck thesis mentioned or any other source that you might consider relevant. Yours sincerely. Simon Baddeley From: Humanities Reference Service, The British Library, St Pancras, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB http://www.bl.uk/ Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7676 humanities-enquiries@bl.uk Date: Friday 11 January 2008
Dear Mr Baddeley. I am emailing in response to your enquiry about the petition from Ano Korakiana, Corfu. I have searched our catalogue and found that we have the thesis by Eleni Calligas in the British Library. I am appending the details, including the British Library shelfmark, to the end of this message. While searching the database 'Index to theses', I found two further theses which may be of interest. Unfortunately we do not hold either in the British Library. The theses are: British occupation of the Ionian Islands 1815-64 Markham, S F, 1929 B. Litt., Oxford 0-6856 The Ionian Islands under British administration 1815-1864 Tumelty J J 1952-1953 A9g Ph.D., Cambridge, Trinity Hall, 3-416 I hope this is of some help, though I have been unable to find anything presented to Birkbeck College. I have also searched Birkbeck's catalogue and the whole University of London Library catalogue. I found no further relevant theses, but did find that Dr. Calligas's thesis is also held at Senate House and at the Institute of Historical research. Yours sincerely, Helen Robbins.
The `Rizospastai' (Radical-Unionists): politics and nationalism in the British Protectorate of the Ionian Islands, 1815-1964. Calligas, E., 1994, A9m British Library Shelfmark DX187456 Ph.D., London, London School of Economics, 44-9204
ABSTRACT: When the Ionian Islands were placed under British Protection in 1815, they were granted the right to regulate their internal affairs, but in the resultant 1817 Constitution political power emanated from the High Commissioner and was exercised through an authoritarian system of government. Ionian opposition acquired salient nationalist connotations during the Greek War of Independence although in the 1830s it was mostly confined to demands for liberal constitutional reform expressed by the so-called Ionian liberali. As the British introduced a reform programme that met many of the liberals' demands during the 1840s, a more radical opposition group emerged in Cephalonia, the largest and poorest of the seven islands. These political activists, who became known as the `Rizospastai' (Radical-Unionists), challenged the legitimacy of British Protection and favoured major internal socio-political changes on the basis of the right of national self-determination and the principle of popular sovereignty. Although they were involved in various popular demonstrations of discontent, they remained parliamentarians rather than revolutionaries and promoted their ideology through the press, political clubs and parliament, which they first entered in 1850. The growing popularity of the Rizospastai led the moderate liberal majority to co-operate with the High Commissioner in an effort to eradicate radicalism and exclude its representatives from the islands' polity. Most energetically pursued in Cephalonia, this governmental policy temporarily silenced the old radical leadership. However, a new leadership emerged from Zakynthos and, in the altered circumstances of the late 1850s, it redefined radicalism on purely unionist lines and carried most of the popular base with it. The `old' radicals, still considered heroes by a rather bewildered popular following, were isolated during the last years of the Protectorate and adamantly opposed the terms on which the Ionian Islands were finally ceded to Greece in 1864.
Von: Simon Baddeley [mailto:s.j.baddeley@bham.ac.uk] Gesendet: Sa 12.01.2008 12:37 An: Holger Afflerbach, Betreff: Re: AW: Continued search for petition from Ano Korakiana, Corfu
Dear Simon, my friend, DE, does not think that the paper he recalls is one of the three you mentioned. But both of us had the impression that the material you found so far should give you a quite nice overview on the question. D will be busy with other things in the next week, but he wants to come back to this in two weeks. If he finds something, I will give you notice. Best wishes, Holger
Comment from a Greek correspondent on my enquiry:
I'm not surprised they wanted the Brits to stay - the joke doing the rounds in Greece a few years back when the Brits were putting up strong resistance about the EU managing the national economy was that the Brits blanch when they're told that they'll have to cede sovereignty while for the Greeks it's a no-brainer when they're told that the Europeans will provide free funding for projects and an economist from Frankfurt to run the country's economy...
Seriously tho', it always happens that once you start looking at anything closely - in this instance, an historical event - it gets more complicated and morally confusing. More human. On the one hand there is the magnificent story of Byron giving his life for Greek freedom - 'The dead have been awakened - shall I sleep? The World's at war with tyrants - shall I crouch?' (19 June 1823) - on the other, an extract from his journal, as he and his companions waited in Cephalonia, ten months before his death at Missolonghi in April 1824:
As I did not come here to join a faction but a nation, and to deal with honest men and not with speculators or peculators, (charges bandied about daily by the Greeks of each other) it will require much circumspection to avoid the character of a partizan, and I perceive it to be the more difficult as I have already received invitations from more than one of the contending parties, always under the pretext that they are the 'real Simon Pure'. After all, one should not despair, though all the foreigners that I have hitherto met with from amongst the Greeks are going or gone back disgusted. Whoever goes into Greece at present should do it as Mrs Fry went into Newgate - not in the expectation of meeting with any especial indication of existing probity, but in the hope that time and better treatment will reclaim the present burglarious and larcenous tendencies which have followed this General Gaol delivery. When the limbs of the Greeks are a little less stiff from the shackles of four centuries, they will not march so much 'as if they had gyves on their legs'. At present the Chains are broken indeed; but the links are still clanking, and the Saturnalia is still too recent to have converted the Slave into a sober Citizen. The worst of them is that (to use a coarse but the only expression that will not fall short of the truth) they are such damned liars; there never was such an incapacity for veracity shown since Eve lived in Paradise. One of them found fault the other day with the English language, because it had so few shades of a Negative, whereas a Greek can so modify a 'No' to a 'Yes', and vice versa, by the slippery qualities of his language, that prevarication may be carried to any extent and still leave a loop-hole through which perjury may slip without being perceived. This was the Gentleman's own talk, and is only to be doubted because in the words of the Syllogism 'Now Epimenides was a Cretan'. But they may be mended by and bye. (28 Sept 1823 from Cephalonia)
I read of Byron often. I've hardly read Byron. Byron was read to me at school. I recall The Eve of Waterloo '... a sound of revelry by night, And Belgium's capital had gathered then, Her beauty and her chivalry, and bright, The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men ...'. That ignorance means the impression on me of his journal entry from Cefalonia is the greater; stronger for its poignancy (to the reader knowing he has 7 months to live) and acuity - evidence of how Byron's allegiance to the great cause of Greek independence was neither myopic nor sentimental. This points to a key element of my understanding of British love for Ελλάς - a feeling for Greece that does not eclipse an acute awareness of how her people, places and culture fall short of an impossible ideal. It is a love that evokes grief for past suffering, respect for her courage and ingenuity, contempt for her corruption, discomfort at her weaknesses, joy as her mountains top the horizon or emerge from haze or her dark sparkling terrain opens up beneath the gaze of a night-arriving plane, content at her good news, sad at the bad, delight in her company, pride, modesty and shame in due measure in contemplation of historic connections, and knowing that 'except the blind forces of Nature, nothing moves in this world which is not Greek in its origin.' Further reading: Athanasios S E Gekas (2004) Class formation in the Ionian Islands during the period of British rule, 1814-1864, Economic History Department, LSE & Phd University of Essex William Miller (1966) The Ottoman Empire and Its Successors 1801-1927, New York: Octagon Books Harold Temperley (1937) Documents Illustrating the Cession of the Ionian Islands to Greece, 1848-70, The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 9, No. 1, Mar., pp. 48-55 Extract from Temperley, p.49:
There are three periods, corresponding roughly to the three phases of the question: A. Period of abortive proposals, 1848-65 I. Lord John Russell on possible cession to Austria, May 1, 1848 11. Palmerston on possible retention, December 21, 1850 111. Gladstone against annexation to England, February 2, 1855 B. Gladstone's attempt at settlement as high commissioner extraordinary, and its aftermath, 1858-61 IV. His views on prevalent misconceptions, March 22, 1861 C. Period of cession and its aftermath, 1862-YO V. Gladstone on the cabinet decision, December 8, 1862 VI. The queen's assent, December 9, 1862 VII. Clarendon in retrospect, March 15, 1870
Temperley, p.51
. . . an incident occurred which knocked on the head Palmerston's plan of a British annexation of Corfu. The Daily News obtained surreptitiously and published a copy of a dispatch from Sir John Young, High commissioner of the Ionian Islands. Thus the world learned that Young advocated a British annexation of Corfu. Gladstone, then on his way out, had to explain matters at Vienna, while Derby and Walmesbury disavowed the Corfu annexation scheme. It was ostensibly Young's, but had actually been an idea of Palmerston's; and when Derby's government fell and was succeeded by Palmerston's, the latter did not find it possible to reverse his policy. Gladstone, though he defeated British annexationism, could not reconcile the reluctant Ionians to British ideas. Their methods dismayed him: when they obstructed him by speaking, as one orator did, for two days; or when they were openly violent and seditious. No sound British constitutionalism was a good exchange for union with Greece. Ionians were Greeks and detested any government, however good, so long as it was British. They could love any government, however bad, so long as it was Greek. Their ideal was not, and could not be, Magna Carta. It was Hellas. There never was, nor could be, contentment in the Ionian Islands until the last British soldier left them. The Whigs returned to office in 1859, and Russell certainly considered the question of cession to Greece as early as 1860. But in 1861 his colleague Gladstone was still venting his wrath on those persons who, in his view, misrepresented the question. He had not yet accepted cession, and the cabinet was still undecided.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Kosmas Kynourias

Seeing this lovely picture on Flickr of Easter in Kosmas by Panos Bobolas I recalled that in July 1996 we were driving from Leonidias to Sparta on route for Pylos. For once I was driving. Amy, then 11, was in the back. Lin was trying to look the other way as we ascended the sinuous road west. We left behind the heat on the shore. The land became cool with pines. We came to Kosmas Kynourias high on Mount Parnonas - and parked by a blank house wall on its edge and strolled along a narrowing deserted alley. At its end, to our delighted surprise, we entered a wide tree filled plataea full from side to side with people of every age eating and drinking round many tables, filling the square with their conversation. We found a space and ordered cakes and drinks to go with them. Where had all these people come from? My cousin Ioanna, who'd given us lunch at Leonidias, said these were Greeks who came back to their ancestral village on summer weekends. Kosmas had been famous for lemons which thrived at these heights, but no amount of lemons could support modern aspirations. The present was gone; the past was seasonally revived, as people, including taverna owners and their bustling staff, returned from the rest of the world [see My Greek Odyssey] filling the quiet of Kosmas with happy conversation.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Twelfth night

To ensure no wood spirits remain in the house to cause mischief I took down Christmas cards, plucked the delightful baubles and lights from the tree, the wreath from the front door plus the mistletoe and holly. The tree came apart in three pieces to be stored in the garage. This is a contemplative and solitary routine that I've observed for all the years we've been married and passed Christmas together

The things I note about this Christmas: TV was less watched this year compared to the computer screen showing internet film via the data projector borrowed for the holiday (Mum really enjoyed watching The Battle of Britain and I reminded her of Bobby Jeff); e-mail communications from new acquaintances in Ano Korakiana and Corfu Town - especially Liana and Kostas. The Christmas party in London with my Greek family, and having Mum there, who'd seen none of them for decades and the next generation not at all. Such kissings and embraces!
Amy poised to start her career. Richard working too. Dh. here at last from Irak to start on his Phd. Two poems sent from California that I shall spend time unwrapping. My mother's visit here for four days during which, despite her difficulties getting about, we visited the Barber Institute on campus and saw The Adoration of the Child Jesus by Cosimo Rosselli and a night nativity by Jan de Beer with angels' eyes forced shut and hair flung back by lambent energy from the manger.











It is almost impossible to define the joy these give me as one unencumbered by faith. Mum, in a wheelchair lent by the Gallery, and me close behind her, gazed happily, gratefully and humbly at these impeccably crafted depictions of hope. What an idea! To love humans so much that you entrust your only child to their care.




Mum held court in our kitchen and we were visited by Liz and Amy who also brought William the doll, a present from Lin.

I took Mum round Handsworth Park and later drove past Winson Green to see Black Patch Park, so she could get a 'before and after' feel for a park that's been restored and one that's only just been saved from decommissioning. We were angered by the heaps of fly-tipped rubbish around the Black Patch boundaries. The place is in limbo, blighted by neglect but almost certainly saved, by our campaigning and our supporters' backing, from being being used for building land. The park itself was chilly, drear, but mysterious, laced with sturdy trees silhouetted in the growing dusk, justifying our sense of its preciousness. It was nice to get ourselves back in the warm car Lin had lent me. I was thankful too that we'd been able, through freecycle cafe, to get the loan of a wheelchair from a lady in Solihull.
We went to the Water Hall in the city centre to see an exhibition about Birmingham's Arts and Craft Movement - salve to the ravaging blight of commodification. On Wednesday evening Mum sat at the back as I gave a talk to a pleasantly attentive audience at Acocks Green History Society about the founding of Handsworth Park, comparing apprehensions about change in the 1880s to present ones - celebrating the values that helped both understanding and practice. Then on the day Mum was due to fly home to the Highlands I took her to the Equiano Exhibition in the Gas Hall in town. There I had the pleasure of meeting up with Colin and Dh and introducing them to my mum. "Arab, African and you - what a handsome bunch!" she said later. My seasonal gift had come shortly after we arrived, when I was pushing mum through the narrowed space designed to describe Equiano's dreadful voyage from the home from where he'd been abducted to the Caribbean [what a contrast between his landfall in Barbados and mine] where he would be sold. The sounds of the grating timbers of a sailing ship were piped there. Shackles were on display and statistics of the Middle Passage. "Goodness" muttered Mum "12 million! I hadn't realised so many..." Just then, in the cramped creaking passage, Clive - Handsworth neighbour - bearing notes, encountered me. He said "Hi" and shook my hand - a spontaneous greeting from a friend but why such precise timing? "I don't want to be pompous, Clive, but you choose your places." He smiled slightly puzzled then took my point. It seemed to me that I would burst with the fullness in my chest but I saved myself. "Mum this is Clive. Clive, my mum - Barbara." Then Dh found us and I made more introductions, spoke of Ur of the Chaldees and the age of Iraq, continuing to chat by the Middle Passage about the work on the Logical Foundations of Induction by Muhammad Baqir As-Sadr whom Dh will rely on as a basis for his dissertation:
[See op-ed by Kirk Johnson in the NYT: 'Mr. Obama seemed to suggest that even having a conversation about healing and coming together was outdated, and that it’s what you do next, with a consensus and a community made real through action, that matters....We are one nation, we are one people, and our time for change has come.”]

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