The question of creation has been always a mystery to me, not just in universal context, but in my realm of writing, the creation of a story. I think that something triggers an unspecified part of the brain and then a Big Bang happens and the primary idea of a story is born. I often claim that EUGENIA was born accidentally but this is not completely the case. EUGENIA is the culmination of my life’s past, transformed in a literary format.
The initial idea of the story arrived unexpectedly and it was a powerful arrival in my life. It was like giving birth to a brainchild. Even today I tell women, “I have been a single mother for almost two decades” and they try to figure out what I mean. The day the book idea arrived it was a turning point in my life. I was an early writer, beginning in my teens, but at eighteen I destroyed my writings and promised myself never to write again. Ten years later, I found myself breaking that covenant and making a new one: to not let go of this story.
That day I made another commitment that was almost too heavy to bear, as I found out later: to write the book in English and publish it in America. English was not my mother language and at that time my knowledge of English was very basic. Initially Eugenia’s story was fun, but as it progressed I realized that it was too difficult to express my thoughts in proper English sentences.
In addition I realized that it was difficult to write a woman’s story from a male perspective. Often I tried to get inside a woman’s mind, and this effort made me more observant of the women around me. The challenge was compounded since I was trying to depict a feminist, and I tried to understand better the world of women with research on women’s and gender studies.
As the story progressed I understood that I needed detailed information about all the places I describe, especially Rhodesia and Germany. I had to travel to Africa, Germany, London, Amsterdam, Washington D.C. and I spent nearly three months in the Library of Columbia University. Some information was easy and straightforward, but portraying Rhodesia was a major undertaking. I noticed that each witness provided different and often contradictory details about the era I describe and the Rhodesian war. I also came to terms with a new realization: I should never take for granted what I know about politics, history and religion; because the past has been provided to us by those who are in power and there is little actual evidence for what we really know. Those in power have very little incentive to tell us the truth. Only a fraction of the human historical record can be proven. My search for historical evidence for my book profoundly affected my attitude towards life. I became more skeptical about statements like “Jesus said” or “as Plato mentioned.” I correct the assumption and say: “Someone claims that Jesus commented or Plato mentioned…”
During my long research I found that people related to the era provided grossly contradictory accounts, about the events that led to the Rhodesian war and the sociopolitical landscape of that period. I noticed, however, that both sides of the divide, whites and Africans alike, agreed on one point: that the war could have been averted. It was the political maneuvers backstage that led to the bloodbath which followed and which still haunts the country now called Zimbabwe. The common word used by all sides was “conspiracy.” That was when the idea of the “Rhodesian Deep State” was born in my mind. Until then the villains of my story were just embargo breakers and arm dealers, but now they took on a different dimension. My effort to blend history, conspiracy and politics in a believable way was an interesting process. The most enjoyable and less difficult part was to describe the colorful cultural tapestry of the country, its customs and traditions, social beliefs, and the fairly simplistic view of life before the so-called war of independence.
Unlike the days of the malevolent KKK and Jim Crow laws in America, white Rhodesians and Boers had a more paternalistic approach toward indigenous people. They went to great length to prove to others and themselves that racial segregation and colonialism were beneficial to both, Africans and themselves alike. Their understanding about the changing world is more analogous to the British who voted for Brexit, or the voters in the USA who support Trump. The Rhodesian and South African phenomenon in the 60s, as portrayed in the book EUGENIA, could help contemporary American or British voters to understand better what is happening these days in our countries. The problem is what happens when the sharp pin of history arrives and pricks the colorful balloon that surrounds our supposed reality.
EUGENIA represents two parallel journeys: Jenny’s dramatic passage to Africa, and my pursuit of this book. Some people learn through studies, and others discover through meditation, but the book EUGENIA has been a school of life for me. Not just the writing itself but my intense struggle to complete it and promote it. I have sacrificed multiple career opportunities and tailored my personal life to stay focused on the completion of EUGENIA.
The book is about conflicts: not just external duels and struggles endured by my heroes, heroines and villains, but the conflicts within themselves. I think that those inner struggles are direct reflections from the author, Georgeos C. Awgerinøs, himself. Conflicts of conscience, career dilemmas, conflicts in love, struggle with sexual desires. The author has been a torn-apart person himself, so how can the characters not be mirrors of their creator?
EUGENIA is a highly symbolic fable, trying to depict the evolutionary journey of humanity to enlightenment. I even considered the alternate title, Citizen Eugenia. My vision of the book goes beyond the plot, the allegorical characters and the historical information, to a view about a Planet Earth Confederation: a canton-style democracy, with diverse citizens, spiritually and intellectually evolved beyond gender stereotypes, nationality, cultural and social background, race, religious persuasion or spiritual perception. It is not just perceivable, it can happen. Instead of an epilog I would like to mention two
excerpts of the book: the letter of a decorated Luftwaffe pilot and Nazi member to his sweetheart in 1942 during the disastrous Hitler’s Eastern Front campaign and a speech their son Dietrich gave in Columbia University during the anti-Vietnam war days:
“………..It brought to my mind the evening we walked in Alexanderplatz and what you said to me: “All people, men and women, Aryans and Jews, Germans and non-Germans, members of the same family called Earthean race, are more similar than different. We will never be happy if others suffer. There is an invisible chord between humans whether they wear a different uniform, call God by a different name, or do not look alike.” I’m ashamed as an honorable pilot of the glorious Third Reich to admit your words have merit, but if I let these mental images infiltrate my mind, I won’t be a good pilot for the Reich. But your words haunt me, Brigitte….”
“President Kennedy in his inaugural speech, back in 1961, conveniently uttered the famous challenge, ‘Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.’ To this I have a rebuttal: I should not only ask myself what I can do for my country, but what my country can do for me as well. Responsibility must be shared, and commitment goes both ways. Unconditional allegiance is for serfs only! Dear friends, learn how to be free citizens of the world, not subjects of the state!”
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