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Showing posts from 2012

New York during Black Friday and inside my Smart Phone

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The new face of Athens that I will never stop loving...

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The Last Page

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This is an excerpt from my last book, The Last Page, published some three weeks ago. It has been trasnlated and edited by Gigi Papoulias It took a woman from China to make him understand that being happy with one woman is not enough to keep you from lusting after or falling in love with another. The secret-Jew had it all. He had an enviable position at the National Library which allowed him to read forbidden books in French – an act which was prohibited for m ost of the mere mortals in Albania. He often felt like he belonged to the finest caste of people and this filled him with self-confidence and great joy which led to a feeling of superiority. His life was filled with the presence of his beautiful wife and their young son. Until one day, literally out of the blue, she appeared. She had come to the National Library for two months, as part of an “exchange of experiences between workers of the two peoples of communist countries.” Perhaps it was the French which she spoke t

A simple example of "globalization"

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"Elective Affinities" in Harvard Square : )) I have found my family name, till now, beside Albania and Greece, in countries I have lived or visited: Turkey, Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia (sorry, FYROM), Poland, Ukraine, German, Czech Republic, Kosovo (sorry, Kosova), Montenegro, France and USA. From a quick research I have learned “Kaplan” or "Kapllan" (with two "l") exists also in India, Pakistan, Egypt, Libya, Israel and the West Bank (among Palestinians) and in China (among Muslim Uighurs). It’s cool to feel so globalized, having a surname which “links” people from around the world who haven’t any parental or common origin between them. I hope the people who carry the same surname “Kaplan” to not hate or fight each other, as it happens time after time in my beloved Balkan land: where often we claim and strife for the copy right of common names, foods, saints, heroes and anti-heroes, music and dances we share…

History and hysteria: The private libraries of dictators

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The Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha and his wife loved to show themselves before their huge private library. If you zoom the picture and manage to read the titles of the book you should know that at least 90% of them were banned for the "ordinary Albanians"... In 2009 I found myself again in Albania, doing some research on the lifestyle of the “Party leaders” during the communist regime. I was surprised to discover, among other things, that books and private libraries played an important role in Hoxha’s court. I was astonished by the fact that some of these guys, who systematically destroyed libraries and book collections, were also great readers and book collectors themselves. They even used to compete with each other, comparing the size of their private libraries. Enver Hoxha himself possessed an astonishing private library with almost 30,000 titles, mainly in French, as he had studied in France in the thirties. Some of these books were, literally, stolen fr

America, New York, Bloomberg and Immigrants

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There’s a nice little interview with Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of NYC, in the this month’s Monocle (July/August 2012) in which he discusses the benefits immigrants bring to a city and country. It’s worthy reading . M: you have made strong speeches in support of immigration. Why? MB: The solution to America’s problems is getting immigrants from around the world who come in and start businesses with a work ethic that is almost always better than the people who have been there for multiple generations, because we all get comfortable. Immigrants are self-selected. They are people who want to make it better. And anyone willing to give up their friends, family, culture, housing, everything they know, to take the risks—those people work harder almost by definition. And that’s what you need to encourage those who have been there for generations, to challenge them and make them understand that they gotta do it too . America has a terrible immigration policy. If anybody get