Mining Memories on Cyprus 1923-1925: Photographs, Correspondence, and Reflections is available in a Kindle e-book format. Based on my maternal grandparents’ involvement with re-opening the ancient copper mine at Skouriotissa, Cyprus, it contains 116 startlingly clear photos of mine life in those years as well as copious quotes from their correspondence.
This memoir not only introduces readers to the people but also to the geography, machinery, and events shaping the early days of re-opening the world’s oldest copper mine. As you can read in Homer’s Iliad, Book 11: “Atreus’s son…put on his armor of gleaming bronze…that Kinyras gave to him from Cyprus…” Against the backdrop of that long history, I reflect on what it is to recover pieces of our past, rub off some of the tarnish of forgetfulness, and try to reconstruct a history that binds us to people and places far from our usual paths. The experiences that yielded up this book have enabled me to re-balance my own identity and discover more clearly the traits as well as even the bodily form that constitute what I am.
I also see the book as an invitation to others, not only to recover forgotten or repressed parts of their memory, but also as a reconstruction of their identity. I am keenly aware, all through writing the book, of how Cyprus’s division between Turkish-speaking and Greek-speaking populations has made it very difficult for Cypriots to claim their joint history, appreciate the ecological unity of the island, and find a way toward a workable federalism grounded in a new social covenant among diverse peoples.
In a completely unexpected way, the book and the experiences that gave rise to it form a sequel or counterpoint to the story I told through the voice of Earth in Red Clay, Blood River. There it was a story of Earth’s struggle for unity and integrity in the face of human struggles of division, domination, and exploitation. Here, it is how we humans struggle with healing not only the earth we have dug into to enhance our lives but also the people who have been divided by our ceaseless will for domination.
Whether for healing, for knowledge, or simply for the enjoyment of living for a moment into the lives of people you may never have imagined, I hope that readers will find this book something that expands not only their horizons but also their hearts.
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For previous blog posts leading to the book, CLICK HERE.