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All posts by Alexander Billinis

About Alexander Billinis

Alexander Billinis is a writer and lawyer in Chicago, Illinois. He and his family returned to the US after nearly a decade in Greece, the UK, and Serbia. He writes prolifically on Balkan topics. His books, The Eagle has Two Faces: Journeys through Byzantine Europe, and Hidden Mosaics: An Aegean Tale, are available from Amazon.com.
  • hellenes without borders
    “Uncle Nick” of Greenville

    I met him through my son. We had just moved to Clemson, South Carolina and I searched for a local Greek community for spiritual and cultural anchorage. After the church service, I saw my son in an...

    • Posted December 2, 2018
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    Maritime Shift

    I have been writing in this column at Neo Magazine for nearly nine years now. Nearly every month, I have had to come up with a topic relating to Hellenism, particularly the Diaspora, to bring to Neo...

    • Posted October 16, 2018
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    The Macedonia Agreement

    by Alexander Billinis It is of course premature to call the agreement signed, all too symbolically, at Lake Prespa between Greece and its northern neighbor, “North Macedonia,” as a done deal. National parliaments need to weigh in...

    • Posted July 8, 2018
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    How to Talk to your Kids about Byzantium

    A rather odd title to an article, but the reader familiar with my work ought to be familiar with my . . . eccentricities. Perhaps it is not so odd, as Greek parents often talk to their...

    • Posted June 22, 2018
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    In Confronting Turkey, History is on our Side, but Historical Lesson is from 1938, not from the Ancient Past

    Another Greek Independence Day has come and gone. It’s a time for parades, poems, and speeches, recalling the heroes of that era. This year, the Evzones came to Australia, as they have come to key US cities...

    • Posted April 14, 2018
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    The Brothers Macedonian

    A centuries-old conflict in a region known for discord has returned, once again, to the headlines. The so-called Macedonian Question—in this case, most specifically, what name to assign to this former Yugoslav republic—is back in many of...

    • Posted March 11, 2018
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    Stamps of My History

    Moving is never easy. It is a loss of nerves, and in my case, pounds from work and stress, and it always costs more than you anticipate. Things get lost, and broken. Sometimes, however, things do get...

    • Posted January 14, 2018
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    The Case for Cultural Literacy

    On Sunday, October 29, 2017 I had the singular pleasure of addressing members of the Hellenic Cultural Association of Salt Lake City, Utah. For a Utah Greek boy long away from his home community, this was a...

    • Posted December 14, 2017
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  • hellenes without borders
    Could Greece become the Linchpin of a Balkan-East Mediterranean Alliance?

    Even in asking the question, I feel a wave of doubt and skepticism. The region is dysfunctional and poor, full of failing states and weak institutions. I know the rot of Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia first hand,...

    • Posted July 11, 2017
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    Nostalgia for My Favorite Athens

    I am not the greatest fan of Athens.  Having lived and worked there for two years, I believe that my impression is based on the hard facts of daily life there. And yet, the city possesses a...

    • Posted April 22, 2017
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    A Letter to Deputy Foreign Minister Terence Quick

    Dear Readers, please forgive the digression from my normal column “Hellenes without Borders” wherein I usually discuss Greece, the larger Balkan area, and our Diaspora, but I feel that comments made by Deputy Foreign Minister Terence Quick,...

    • Posted March 17, 2017
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  • hellenes without borders
    Erik Bruns, a Dutch Rhodian

    I have known Erik Bruns for many years, meeting, as one often does these days, over the ubiquitous medium of Facebook. In our case, a shared affection for the works of Patrick Leigh Fermor was the initial...

    • Posted October 27, 2016
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    Byzantium: Hidden in Plain Sight

    Today, when I am writing this, is May 29. For many Greeks, and other successors of Byzantium, the date’s significance is self evident. The seismic event, the final fall of Constantinople to the Turks, on this day...

    • Posted June 26, 2016
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    Mystra: Byzantium’s Indian Summer

    Mystra figures less prominently in historical commentary and touristic itineraries than other Greek sites, but for profundity and for a true taste of sublime, understated beauty, it is peerless.  Here is where Byzantium expired, yet with its...

    • Posted April 30, 2016
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    The Athenian: Elizabeth Boleman-Herring, an American-Greek

    We met the way most people do these days, digitally, due to common interest in all things Greek. After reading her work, our friendship deepened via online correspondence and her patient mentoring of my midlife attempts to...

    • Posted March 24, 2016
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    For a Generation of Greeks, is Cyberspace the new “Thalassa”?

    My readers will know that I have not been particularly bullish about Greece in the past few years.  Who has, really, and in contrast to some, I have not pointed the finger outwards at others, but rather...

    • Posted January 10, 2016
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    Hello Anatolia: a belated review, and a chat…

    In the world of digital information bombardment, I somehow missed it. It was only after doing research on my next book, set in Izmir and parts of Greece, that another Greek writer friend insisted that see Hello...

    • Posted October 26, 2015
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    Homeland: The Greeks of Utah

    After visiting Greek communities in so many parts of the world, it only makes sense for me to “come home” to my own community. The Greek Community of Utah is both typical of Greek communities in the...

    • Posted September 25, 2015
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    Book Review: “The Great Fire”, by Lou Ureneck

    Smyrna’s (Izmir’s) destruction by fire and sword during the horrible month of September 1922, in the wake of the retreating Greek Army has been the subject of many a book.  While many are the heroes and many...

    • Posted June 28, 2015
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    Hydra: Summers on my Father’s Isle

    For this month’s column, I wanted to avoid discussing the existential situation in Greece and instead walk down the road of nostalgia, recalling my late father, John Alexander Billinis, and his island, our beloved Hydra.  I wrote...

    • Posted May 18, 2015
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    Another Lesson from 1821

    Once again this year I listened as my daughter’s Greek School here in the Northside of Chicago extolled the bravery and the unity of the “Heroes of 1821.” While my wife and son, knowing just a wee...

    • Posted April 11, 2015
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    Greece: Where the Sidewalk Ends …and the IDs Look Fake

    I pondered a great deal as to what to write in my monthly column. Given the events of January 25 (Greek election), there is certainly much to talk about. I prefer not to. Instead, I offer a...

    • Posted February 18, 2015
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    The Eloquence of Humble Architecture: Homes Lost …and Refuge Gained

    Stone by stone we built, A poor corner. Our lives we enclosed, in Kokkinia (Pireaus) . . . . . . But the evening, when it came, It brought the dreams. It brought us to Pergamum ,...

    • Posted December 24, 2014
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    Modern Greece and Greeks …In Whose Image?

    Many Greeks and foreigners consider today’s Hellas to be the resurrection of a lost ancient polity, Classical Greece. The Greece that emerged from Ottoman rule after a chaotic, heroic yet haphazard war of independence received a measure...

    • Posted November 14, 2014
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    Should “Hellenes without Borders” be allowed to vote in Greece?

    My vote on this, for what it’s worth, is “No.” I am not making light of this desire of many Diaspora Greeks to vote and to participate politically in the affairs of the homeland. Not at all....

    • Posted October 19, 2014
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