Georgios, Ali, and Tribal Conflict

Haim Watzman

Gershom’s meditation on how tribal conflicts impinged on his family trip to Crete reminded me of Georgios, one of my college roommates.

Duke University had put me in the most boring dorm on campus at the beginning of freshman year, back in 1974. During my first semester, I made some friends in a dorm called Maxwell House, where the social and intellectual life was livelier. I waited around for a space to open up there–the only way I could get in was for someone there to request me as a roommate. At the beginning of the second semester–January 1975–the opportunity came. The obliging Maxwell Houser was Georgios, a Greek Cypriot from Famagusta. Georgios’s family had become refugees the previous summer when the Turks invaded, in response to a clumsy attempt by the junta that ruled Greece to annex the island.

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