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This Greek Island Has An Exit Strategy: Become Part Of Austria


The tiny Greek island of Icaria is considering a referendum to break away from debt-saddled Greece, and become part of Austria, according to several European press reports. Icaria, which has a population of 8,000, could decide to become independent after its 100-year treaty with Athens expires later this year, Italian daily Libero reported.

The island, which is closer to mainland Turkey, became independent from the Ottoman Empire in 1912, though the freedom lasted a mere five months, before becoming part of Greece in November of that year. It derived its name from Icarus, the son of the master craftsman Daedalus in Greek mythology, who famously fell into the sea nearby after flying too close to the sun.

Fast forward to today, where they are faced with tough economic difficulties brought on by Greece's debt crisis, Icaria's citizens are disillusioned with Athens' austerity measures.

Berlin-based daily Die Welt reported that a spokesperson for Icaria's mayor Stafrinadis Christodoulos, said: "Athens has forgotten us, therefore we're thinking about an accession to Austria."

Austria's daily Heute was warmed by the prospect of their very own beach in the heart of the Aegean Sea, with an online poll showing 83% in favor of annexation.

But the sun-deprived Austrians shouldn't trade in their snowboards for water skis too soon. Austria's Kleine Zeitung reported that the Greek embassy in Vienna issued a statement stating: "Article 12 of the Lausanne treaty of 1923 confirms that the islands of the eastern Aegean, including Ikaria, belong to Greece."

Is this about modern Greek finances gone awry, or is Icaria telling another eternal tale of hubris?

An ancient monastery in Icaria (Wikipedia)

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The Changing Destiny Of Chicago's Polish Diaspora

Based on conversations with author and psychotherapist Gregorz Dzedzić, who is part of the Polish diaspora in Chicago, as well as the diary entries of generations of Polish immigrants, journalist Joanna Dzikowska has crafted a narrative that characterizes the history of the community, from its beginnings to its modern-day assimilation.

The Changing Destiny Of Chicago's Polish Diaspora

In the 1990s and early 2000s, the Polish diaspora was still quite insular.

Joanna Dzikowska

“There were instances when people came here from Polish villages, in traditional shoes and clothing, and, the next day, everything was burned, and I no longer recognized the people who came up to me, dressed and shaved in the American fashion. The newly-dressed girls quickly found husbands, who in turn had to cover all of their new wives’ expenses. There were quite a lot of weddings here, because there were many single men, so every woman — lame, hunchbacked or one-eyed — if only a woman, found a husband right away."

- From the diary of Marcel Siedlecki, written from 1878 to 1936

CHICAGO — To my father, Poland was always a country with a deep faith in God and the strength of Polish honor. When he spoke about Poland, his voice turned into a reverent whisper.

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