Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 18 August 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 18 AUGUST 2018 23 INTERVIEW Kon Karapanagiotidis’ parents. 'emotionally mature' teen that reconciled them. Love is not enough when your bones and psyche are shattered. A STRUGGLE FOR MIGRANT MEN TO FIND IDENTITY Kon is also concerned about men and violence. I ask how he can on the one hand run the narrative of 'male toxicity' and deal with refugee and migrant men, who have been emasculated and many of their traditional values have been challenged in Australia. "I love men, not all men that are violent or bad, but men have choices not to be violent, and there is a struggle for migrant men to find identity and power, if they feel they have been emasculated," Kon says. "I ask myself why are men killing themselves at such a rate? What is it that makes many unable to express vulnerability? I look at my father, and the Greek men I grew up with," he adds. "Like Greek men from that time, my father was stoic, with a Greek maleness, born in the shadows of trauma, yet he was humble, loving and warm," Kon’s voice breaks. We talk of dead fathers. Kon empties himself out in his book. It's agonising, gripping and stirring. He talks of his struggle with his body image, with isolation, with racism. He also talks of his tenacity to reclaim his narrative. He ran marathons; he travelled to Europe, Asia and the US. He talks of the emotions that overwhelmed him when he visited a former-Nazi death camp. One sees how his own life, his work, turned turn anger into a beam of light. We talk of the racism now that has been expressed towards Africans and Muslims especially by some in our own communities. How can we who claim Aristotle's legacy, his search for 'good', or even the Christian message of love, be wary of new immigrants and refugees? “It maybe self-loathing, the desire to be accepted in the mainstream, many in our immigrant communities desire validation,” Kon says. "We need to be reminded that we – Greeks and Italians - may not cop the same level of abuse as Africans, or Muslims do, but we did once, and we still suffer bigotry. "You have felt aggressions, assumptions, stereotypes, accepted all the jokes, the stuff we've taken in for years and made us resilient and some of us self-loathing" Kon says. I have, we have and still do. "I always say in my talks, everyone here other than the Aboriginal People are migrants or refugees, be they from England, Ireland, Poland, Greece, China or anywhere," he adds. Kon regularly sites Dr Martin Luther King Jr. as his inspiration. However he seems more like the Martin Luther, the German radical monk-activist. Kon in The Power of Hope begins his search in torment and grief, burdened with physical, emotional and intellectual pain, not unlike Luther. And, like Luther's Ninety-five Theses, Kon has built the ASRC as beacon for hope. We both agree in the end that, for all the transgressions we suffered and others suffer now, there were always those that welcomed us. *The Power of Hope or: How Community Love and Compassion can change the World is out from Harper Collins Australia. Photos from Kon Karapanagiotidis on his recent book tour.
11 August 2018
25 August 2018