August 03, 2008

Dimitri's Last Laugh

Dimitri Andreou must be having a good laugh, that rasping, hoarse cackle whenever he was faced with stupid or petty pomposity. For the 30 years he worked at RIK that cackle would inevitably lead to an angry explosion which would have his colleagues diving for cover as he ranted and raved about the time-serving morons he had to work for ... and with.
He had a point. He was stuck behind a desk subbing dumb stories whilst he was itching to find out the truth about so many things going on in Cyprus.

His eventually got his chance, producing hard-hitting investigative programmes which probed the events of 1974, talking to people in the know who had never been approached before (he even tracked down General Ghizikis to an Athens suburb), finding out why Greek submarines had been ordered back when they were on their way to Cyprus, why the Turkish air force bombed one of their own ships, as well as all those human stories which he was most sensitive to, the traumatised, the survivors, the relatives of the missing.

Dimitri was, above all, a natural interviewer who could get people to open up in front of the camera, whether they were politicians, diplomats, actors, artists or the monks he talked to in his series for Logos on Mount Athos. A gift few of his successsors inherited.
And lesser men were envious of him. So when Harita Mandoles asked Dimitri to give the eulogy at the funeral of her husband, father and uncles, retrieved at last from a mass grave, the quislings at RIK decided to cut his speech out from the report.

Four weeks later those petty men had to lavish praise on the 'godfather of political journalism' in mealy-mouthed tributes and cover his funeral because it was being attended by President Christofias.

I can hear Dimitri's laugh from here.


Blogger Noullis said...

I remember him doing a headstand at the press centre at the Hilton in 1974. Someone asked him if he was into yoga to which he responded: "It's yoga vita..."

May he Rest in Peace.

03 August, 2008 19:41  
Blogger Demetris said...

He was also one of the most educated and committed collectors of Cypriot Art. He would travel with Karydas, and later Travel Express, to obscure village studios bringing back rolled canvases and drawings.

R.I.P. and may his enemies brake.

03 August, 2008 21:27  

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