Saturday, July 14, 2018

An Open Letter to Mykonians


I’ve decided not to write about the young, extraordinarily blessed soul who passed away this week at the age of twenty-four.  The wound is far too fresh and deep.  Nor could any words from me succeed in capturing the deep anguish consuming all who knew this loving, unique man. 

On Mykonos, the island of his birth, all are in mourning, but so too, are off-islanders from around the world who’d been blessed enough to have been embraced within his kind and generous soul.  He lit up my heart when he called me pappou (grandfather in Greek, though I was not). His unabashed joy for life will be sorely missed.

No, I won’t write about any of that.  I shall write about the island, and what’s been on my mind since last Saturday.

Mykonos today is an island of 24/7 glitz, with a physical past rapidly disappearing amid a relentless onslaught of construction vehicles, and a cultural past all but abandoned to an agenda of greater pleasures yielding greater profits.  It is a place without order. And every Mykonian knows that.

But there is hope. Or so I hope.

Mykonians know how to come together in crisis to support one another through the toughest imaginable times. I’ve witnessed that spirit and commitment first hand.  Custom is the bedrock of this community.  It’s at the core of what drives the Mykonian spirit.

Every core, though, needs a compass to remain on a clear course, and recent decades have rocked Mykonos off center. The island, today, is steered by external forces taking the community in directions most islanders neither fully appreciate nor understand.  Mykonians welcome the benefits, and dread the drawbacks, yet so many feel virtually helpless at changing the process in any meaningful way for their futures.

Mykonians, you deserve better. You have the power and determination to move forward in whatever direction you think best for your island.  All you need do is seize control of the tiller, and insist on staying the course you think best for you and your families.  You certainly possess the strength and resolve. You just need the purpose.

To my much loved Mykonian friends I say, in strength of community there is hope.  Otherwise, mourn not just for our dearly lost friend, mourn for yourselves.



  1. Money is winning. Yesterday Caro said we can’t breathe money. We can’t embrace it in times of sorrow either. I hope it’s not too late for Mykonos to turn the tide.

  2. How sad! Let's hope your exhortations are heard.

    1. All we can do is speak truth to those with the power. Now it’s up to them to act.