Author Jim Demetrakis Ioannou was born in 1949 in a picturesque little village called Ora on the island of Cyprus. Growing up in a family of four boys during the occupation of Cyprus by the British was not very easy.
What kept his family together and his connection to his national heritage alive, were the saying of the elders; the parimies.
“When we hear parimies we often say ‘I remember my grandmother saying that’, but we probably never fully captured the power and depth of these words,” Greek Cypriot author Jim Ioannou explains.
“During my childhood, parimies comprised a rich part of my parents’ and grandparents’ vocabulary, who often conveyed messages to us through the powerful tool of these proverbs.”
In 1970 Ioannou migrated to South Africa where he met his wife Irene, and in 1973 they got married in the Greek Cathedral Church of Johannesburg. They had two children, Christalene and Angelo, and in 1977 they decided to move to Melbourne Australia, where Irene was born, to re-unite with her parents and the rest of her family and where they live up until this day.
In Australia Mr Ioannou acknowledges that even though the young generations of diasporans may have been exposed to the language of the parimies by the eldest members of the family, the beauty and strength of the messages is only vaguely understood.
To touch on these cultural misunderstandings lost in translation, the author made a promise to himself that one day he would present these ancient gems in a way which he hopes will ignite a spark of inspiration to be carried through to future generations.
This is what this book, Inner Beauty Is What Counts, is all about. Mr Ioannou, staying true to his goal, and after four years of research and hard work, has put before his readers every aspect of the fascinating world of the parimies.
“The wisdom, philosophy and logic of the parimies fascinated me as a young boy,” he continues, adding that “younger Greek Cypriots living abroad are experiencing a language barrier which prevents full comprehension and appreciation of these proverbs”.
“I hope that the humour and sadness of the stories used as examples, mainly true stories from my own life experience, will resonate with you, dear reader, and give you an insight into the richness of the Greek Cypriot culture’s family values and life in general.”
On Sunday 29 May, Mr Demetriou will present the English translation of his Greek Cypriot book I Athrobia En I Omorkia in Australia, in a seminar at the Greek Centre.
Deakin University Academics John Milides and Costas Procopiou will also read excerpts from the book.
“It’s the kind of book that you will come back to from time to time and I truly hope that it will find a very special place in your personal library,” Mr Demetriou says.
The book will be available at the seminar or on line from Amazon bookstore and Xlibris Books www.Xlibris.com.au
When: Sunday 29 May at 2.00 pm.
Where: 168 Lonsdale Street Melbourne, VIC (Greek Community Building).
Entry is free.