Geopolitique de la Grece by Georges Prevelakis

Despite the overwhelming abundance of travel-guides about Greece, Crete and the major and minor islands of the Archipelago, and despite the good book selection available as to the historic side (just check a Bibliography of Richard Clogg on The Library of Congress Online Catalog, if you don’t want to browse by subject, or have a look at the volume, and at its respective Bibliography, by Theocharis Detorakis, History of Crete, Iraklion, 1994, 469 p. ), we can’t find a comparable quantity of non-greek essays as to the present geopolitical environment of Greece.

So we have the pleasure of pointing out a book by George Prevelakis (namesake of the great cretan writer Pandelis Prevelakis, the author of To chroniko mias politeias, “Chronicle of a City”, 1938), who is maitre de conferences at the University of Paris-Sorbonne and at the Institute of Political Sciences of Paris.

george prevelakis, greece, crete
Geopolitique de la Grece by Georges Prevelakis
Editions Complexe, Bruxelles, 1997, 144 p.

Without dwelling upon the different issues of the essay (Geostrategy of the Greek Espace; The Greek Political Identity; The Regional Contrasts; The Greek Political System; Foreign Relations), we would like to point out the paragraphs concerning Crete : The Cretan Monolith and The Cretan Particularism.

Prevelakis describes Crete as a region conscious to be a kind of “unicum” as to the greek society, a region which has undergone a deep change especially from 80’s years onwards and, far from painting a mannered picture of the island, he emphasizes the contradictions of the cretan reality and the peculiarity of the cretan spirit: patriotic sentiment and a strong sense of insular identity (the effects of centuries of foreign domination, from the arabian, to the venetian and turk), political liberalism (Crete is one of the greatest stronghold of the PASOK,despite the remount, in late years, of the Right in the main towns ) and a deep-rooted attachment to traditional values, a dynamic attitude towards the useful aspects of modernity and the new technologies (due to the elasticity of mind developed by the cretan people under different cultures) along with the persistence of a backward patron-and-client system.

These are just a few of the aspects stressed by the Author who doesn’t fear also questionable (and, in our opinion, not historicist ) remarks such as that concerning the military dictatorship in the years 1967-74, which, according to Prevelakis, could have been overthrown “si elle (i.e. Crete) l’avait voulu” (“if [Crete] would have liked it”). How? The Author doesn’t explain. Rousing an other civil war? With the USA supporting the Colonels and having their naval base at Souda? So the Cretans could have been charged to be communists in Soviet Union’s pay and the island would have turned into a powder-magazine in the very middle of the Mediterranean. The discussion is open…

Review by Flavia Radetti

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