- “JUST BECAUSE,” SAYS MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY ABOUT HIS NEW CHILDREN’S BOOK
- Septemvriana: A Night of Terror for Greeks in Constantinople
- THE DARK DAY OF THE DISTOMO MASSACRE BY THE NAZIS
- The Hellenic Initiative’s 11th Annual Gala to Honor Ted Leonsis
- Full Circle: Indie Film Reconnects a Filmmaker with His Former Teacher-Turned Screenwriter
All posts by Alexander Billinis
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Rhodes Riches: An NGO Model for Greece
In the course of living and writing in Serbia, I had the great fortune to be invited by Rhodes International Culture and Heritage Society (Rhodes RICHES), a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Rhodes, to the lovely island...
- Posted September 13, 2014
My Favorite Greek Road Trips: Athens to Nauplion
When we lived in Athens several years ago, just before the cracks in the Greek pavement were beginning to appear, one of our favorite things to do on the weekends was to get out of the city....
- Posted June 6, 2014
Unofficial Histories: 1821
This past weekend we celebrated our ancestors’ Revolution against the Ottoman Empire with a parade down Halstead Street, in Chicago’s Greektown. The last time we were there, it was just my wife and I, but this year,...
- Posted April 16, 2014
Skopje (FYROM) 2014
In choosing the title, “Skopje 2014,” I am referring not to the costly, kitsch Vegas-on-the-Vardar reconstruction of downtown Skopje, but rather the state of the Slav Macedonian state in 2014. This country is in existential peril and...
- Posted February 16, 2014
Edifice Complex: Erdogan and Agia Sophia
Memo To: “Sultan“ Erdogan From: Emperor Justinian Subject: Agia Sophia YOU DIDN’T BUILD THAT! It was not three months ago, when writing to express my outrage at the conversion of Trabzon’s Agia Sophia Cathedral-Museum into...
- Posted December 14, 2013
Rigas Pheraios: My Kind of Hero
I “met” him rather early in life, through his immortal words of the Thourios Ymnos, drummed into our heads by our Greek School Teacher in anticipation of the March 25th Celebration. In the Pantheon of Modern Greek...
- Posted November 13, 2013
A Partisan Chat: Alexis Parnis
“You see, I still live like a partisan,” as he showed me his house on the slopes of Mt. Hymnetus, in the rapidly suburbanized and gentrified suburb of Peania, outside Athens. The modest house with an attached...
- Posted October 10, 2013