Tag: Greece

Le Monde diplomatique podcast – Greece in Chaos

Kolonaki, AthensIn this month’s podcast for Le Monde diplomatique, I speak to Noëlle Burgi about the heavy toll that austerity measures are exacting in her homeland, Greece.

Noëlle, who is a researcher at the Centre Européen de Sociologie et de Sciences Politique (CESSP), Sorbonne University, Paris, describes Athens and Thessaloniki as “dying cities”, in which drug use, mental health problems, domestic violence and prostitution are all on the increase.

Not least of the Greeks’ problems is a feeling of powerlessness as their welfare state becomes hollowed out and their household incomes plummet.

To listen to the interview, click here. And to read Noëlle Burgi’s article, click here.

Books of the Decade – Mark Vernon

Mark VernonMark Vernon is a writer, broadcaster and journalist.  His academic interests led him from physics to philosophy via theology (he began his professional life as a priest in the Church of England). He went freelance ten years ago and now writes regularly for the Guardian, The Philosophers’ Magazine, TLS, Financial Times and New Statesman, alongside a range of business titles, including Management Today. He also broadcasts, notably on BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time.

Plato's Podcasts coverMark’s most recent book is Plato’s Podcasts: The Ancients’ Guide to Modern Living. You can hear a podcast about that book by clicking here. His other publications include: Wellbeing, After Atheism, The Philosophy of Friendship, and Science, Religion and the Meaning of Life.

On Religion, John Caputo (2001)

Caputo: On ReligionThis book appeared in 2001. Had those folk who waged battle in the God wars of the decade read it first, we might have had a more informed debate.

Caputo aims to do a difficult thing: define religion. He does so with great verve, seeing that at heart, religion is a form of love – for good or ill.

The Athenian Murders, José Carlos Somoza (2001)

Somoza: Athenian MurdersIt is rare for a novel to combine the excitement of the thriller with the insight of great philosophy.

Umberto Eco manages it, and Somoza does too, in a plot that starts with an apparently minor conundrum and ends up engaging nothing less than the secret of knowledge itself. Brilliant.

The Kingdom of Infinite Space: A Fantastical Journey Around Your Head, Raymond Tallis (2008)

Tallis: Kingdom of Infinite SpaceI read this book whilst taking a long train trip, and it was so engaging that when I got off, I’d swear I saw the world in brighter colours.

Tallis combines the science of the body with the philosophy of consciousness and, pulling no punches, produces a truly remarkable exploration of what goes on with our heads.

Books of the Decade – Elizabeth Speller

Whoosh! There goes the first decade of the no-longer-quite-so-new millennium.  To mark the decade’s end, we’re launching a new series in which writers, editors and publishers are given the agonizing challenge of choosing just three favourite books from the more than two million published in English in the past ten years.

Over the next few weeks you’ll be able to read the choices of a host of guest reviewers and, we hope, make some interesting new discoveries. And of course we’d be delighted to hear about your favourite books of the decade too. You can use the comment form on this site or else send me an email at george[at]podularity.com.

Elizabeth SpellerI’m delighted that the first guest to make her selection is Elizabeth Speller. Elizabeth has already won acclaim for her poetry – her poem “Finistère” was short-listed for the 2009 Forward Prize – and for her family memoir (2006), Sunlight on the Garden. Of this book a TLS reviewer said: “There are echoes … of Sylvia Plath’s ability to combine beauty with irony, and suffering with comedy.”

Return of Captain John Emmett

She is a classicist by training and her book Following Hadrian (2002) took her on a second-century journey through the Roman empire on the trail of the melancholy, ruthless Roman emperor.

In March 2010, she will publish her first novel, The Return of Captain John Emmett, set in the years after the First World War.

To find out which books Elizabeth has chosen, click below.
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Greece in flames

Athens riots December 2008Click here to listen to the podcast I recorded earlier this month for Le Monde diplomatique with Valia Kaimaki of the Eleftherotypia newspaper.

In it we talk about the mass uprising of Greece’s youth following the death on 6 December of Athenian teenager Alexis Grigoropoulos at the hands of the Greek police. As she explains, the boy’s death ignited the flames, but there was already a great deal of combustible material available.

You will find Valia’s article from this month’s edition of Le Monde diplomatique here.

(Image © Vasiliki Varvaki)