An edited version of this article appeared in my regular column in the Sept/Oct 2021 ed of Greek Business File Magazine – https://www.economia.gr/en/first-hand-accounts-from-the-greek-community-in-libya/
In November 2019, Greece was spurred into its biggest foreign policy shift in a generation. Borne out of the signing of the now-infamous Memorandum of Understanding between Libya and Turkey on delimiting maritime jurisdictions that encroached on Greece’s internationally-recognised maritime boundaries, Greece quickly scrambled to re-discover diplomatic and economic ties that had been allowed to decaypretty much since Greece turned its focus towards Europe in the 80s. Now after two years, it’s hyperactive foreign policy drive casts a wide net that encompasses vaccine diplomacy in countries as far afield as Rwanda, Kenya and Iran to joining the French-led peacekeeping mission in the Sahel. But the epicentre of this renewed push is still very much where it all began in Libya.
Continue reading “At the forefront of Greece’s new foreign policy drive: First-hand accounts from the Greek community in Libya”
A shorter version of this article appeared in the Sunday Cyprus Mail on 4th April 2021 and was re-published in Economia – the Greek business and finance media group on 27th April 2021
Today there remain only a few Greeks in Africa, mainly in the metropoles of South Africa. These last remnants only hint at a rich past that tied generations of Greeks to the vast African continent. There are some who still remember this prosperous past. Minis Papapetrou, a retired engineer who grew up in Sudan and now resides in Athens describes how he and around 200 members of the ‘Greek Community of Sudan’ still meet periodically in the Greek capital. Before covid disrupted life, they regularly gathered for Christmas and Easter, even though most, including Mr Papapetrou himself, left Africa almost 50 years ago. So powerful is the memory of the place that bonds them. “When we get together, or go to the club, our conversations are all about when we were back in Sudan,” he sighs. “Do you remember that? Do you remember when we went there? It’s a nice feeling to remember the country you were born.” Mr Papapetrou represents the last in a line of three generations of Greeks whose fortunes ebbed and flowed with those of the continent.
Continue reading “Where have all the Greeks gone? The story of Greeks in Africa”