The following article appeared as a “Guest Post” at tweedling.com
Since the spring of 2010, Greece has become the epicenter of a pan-European financial crisis with global repercussions. This beautiful, sun-drenched but arid land, in the southeast corner of Europe, had missed entirely the industrial revolution. It has long been accustomed to centuries of severe underdevelopment and dire poverty. As a result, generations upon generations of destitute Greeks were forced to migrate to faraway places such as America, Australia, and Germany, to escape the misery. However, a startling reversal of Greece’s fortunes took place in a single decade, when the ascension of the country into the European Union, coupled with the collapse of all her neighboring ex-communist countries, resulted in the rapid transformation of that backward land into a regional powerhouse that enjoyed a booming economy, based on European subsidies and loans, that lasted from about 1990 to 2007. When the global financial crisis hit in 2008, the steady flow of cheap loans dried abruptly, exposing bare the structural weaknesses of a country that essentially lacked any manufacturing capacity and any solid technological foundation. The whole country suddenly collapsed into a tormenting death spiral that is rapidly dismantling its societal web, and is forcing large chunks of its unlucky citizenry into joblessness and dire poverty. The country is only kept barely alive by the financial support provided by her European allies, who are afraid of the unknown consequences in the overall European economy of an uncontrolled Greek default.
To the millions of second and third-generation ethnic Greeks who live outside the country, especially in places like North America, Australia, Germany, and in dozens other countries, who are the descendants of the earlier emigrants, those startlingly rapid developments are baffling. They fail to comprehend the underlying factors that led the motherland of their parents and grandparents to such a huge mess. Amongst many other goals, my novel, “Fateful Eyes”, humbly attempts to address, expose and explain some of those factors, at least according to my perception.
Who am I? I am Panos Nomikos and I was born in 1961 in Athens. During my carefree, youthful years, I roamed the idyllic islands of my home country, having fun on the golden beaches under the sun, with my friends and lovers. Later on, I studied for a Ph.D. in the UK and I started a career in Information Technology in the maritime sector, roaming again across the world on intercontinental business trips in faraway places in Asia, Europe and America. In the course of my career, I have authored numerous essays and articles in professional publications.
Witnessing first-hand and participating in the rapid socioeconomic developments that characterize the final decade of the previous century and the first years of the new millennium, from my professional standpoint, I wished to share all my observations and my opinions about the world-wide developments, one way or another. Moreover, the acute crisis that occurred in my home country, that again I am witnessing first-hand as it evolves around me on a daily basis, gave me an additional insight on how things can go terribly wrong, for a whole nation. I do maintain the position that, what has happened so far in Greece, is not unique to this country and, if the appropriate lessons are not learned by the educated world-wide elites, the intellectuals, the professionals, and the masses themselves, and if risk mitigation actions are not taken now rather than later, then I will not be surprised to see the same phenomena repeated again and again all over the world, including today’s richest, industrialized countries.
But how to “spread the word” about what has happened, and about what can go terribly wrong? I opted to follow my “literary instinct”. I wrote a novel, “Fateful Eyes”, where the protagonist, Peter, is a cosmopolitan Greek who grew up in Athens but who migrated to the UK. During his youthful years in College, apart from his numerous, passionate love affairs, he also participated fervently in the student movement of the early 80s that brought to power a leftwing-minded generation that is considered by many pundits today to have seeded the easy-going mentality and the other root causes of the country’s recent malaise. Peter wanders around Greece again in the “golden era” of the years 2002 – 2005, when Greece was accepted into the rich and exclusive Eurozone club, executed impeccably a hugely successful 2004 Olympic Games, and basked proudly in the spotlight of the global admiration, enjoying a prosperity that seemed, at that time, joyfully never-ending. Peter, never failing to apply his inquisitive mind on whatever happens around him, is of course hugely impressed by those “miraculous achievements” of his motherland, but he does not hesitate to look below the surface, to try to understand what is really happening in the country and what the future will really look like. Needless to say, what he finds is not encouraging at all, considering the unfortunate grave problems that resulted from that wrong-footed mentality.
Then, to apply some more “spicing” to the book and to make it palatable to the wider reading audience, I decided to create a plot based around a “mystery”. Peter is forced to troll throughout all the world’s latitudes and longitudes, and to revisit the details of his passionate, youthful past, in order to solve a big puzzle. He is persistently searching to find a mysterious lady who came from his distant past, and upset his life and his relationship with his lover. This mysterious plot weaves Peter’s long journey from place to place and from situation to situation, hoping to keep the acute interest of the reader as Peter moves towards the resolution, while continuously contemplating and reflecting on what is happening in the world around him.
Apart from the novel, I also maintain a blog writing about my favorite themes related to my beautiful home country, its position within the world-wide socioeconomic transformations, and its current nasty upheaval. I am especially writing to talk about ordinary Greeks, those living within the country, but also those who live and distinguish themselves around the world, trying to understand their vivid pulse and their feelings of belonging to the world-wide Greek diaspora. And, since Greece and Greeks are in the eye of the storm currently, I believe that those lessons need to be shared by everyone else too.
Fateful Eyes is a story of one man’s quest to comprehend fate’s dizzying gaze as he searches for love and true fulfillment.”
About the Author:
I was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England and have always been a bookworm and enjoyed creative writing at school. In 1999 I created the Elencheran Chronicles and have been writing ever since. My first novel, Fezariu’s Epiphany, was published in May 2011. When not writing I’m a lover of films, games, books and blogging. I now live in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, with my wife, Donna, and our six cats – Kain, Razz, Buggles, Charlie, Bilbo and Frodo.