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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 28 February 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 28 FEBRUARY 2015 27 OPINION LETTERS An insult to our country’s dignity Although our government is bombarding the media with the perception that it is struggling for the dignity of its citizens, we feel that in fact, it is our country's dignity that is being insulted. It is insulted when, for the second time in the last four years, the Grexit issue figures once again on the global daily agenda and our country is viewed as the pariah of Europe. It is insulted when, the government takes to begging for new loans, while at the same time it reviles and ridicules Germany, our country's largest financial supporter. It is insulted when, government absurdities, from dress code antics to vapid boasts of transforming Europe, culminate in a negotiation with the same representatives of our three partners, albeit now under a different name in order to exorcise the term ‘troika’ from sight and sound. It is insulted when, not only no policies are initiated that might allow our economy to recover so we no longer are Europe's ‘bête noire’ of Europe, but even those few, insipid and incomplete measures that were taken during all these years of crisis are recalled and cancelled. It is insulted when, we see the economy fall prey once again to Greece's bloated public sector and a multitude of special interest groups, when the education system falls prey to party hacks, when the all-too-few foreign investments, which we laboured so hard to attract, are being vilified and backing out. It is insulted when, our society is being drenched with xenophobic bluster, so that it applauds a government that is peddling anti-western sentiments and nationalism to such an extent, that the neo-Nazis of ‘Golden Dawn’ are first in the clapping line. It is for all of these reasons that we are appealing to all Greek democrats who share our beliefs in European principles and values and in the need for reforms that will lead to our country's recovery, to put aside their political and personal differences and to unite in a common effort to present your fellow citizens with an alternative way out of our current desperate situation. An alternative solution that exists as a requisite in all advanced democracies but is sorely lacking in ours. Professor George Bitros on behalf of Greek academics all over the world Speak Greek in March As we are all aware by now, March has been declared as the ‘Greek Speaking month’ for 2015. Every Greek Australian is encouraged during this month to speak to each other in the Greek language. The idea is to keep the Greek language alive here in Australia. ‘If you do not use it, you lose it’ so the saying goes. My friends, how do you feel about this challenge? Will you make every effort to speak in Greek with your family members and friends? On Facebook, will you try to write in the Greek language, either by writing with the Greek alphabet or with ‘Greeklish’ (using the English alphabet)? Do you feel comfortable about it, if not why not? Personally I think most of us will pleasantly surprise ourselves with our/their abilities in this exciting attempt at speaking Greek for one whole month. My suggestion is to give it a go, have some great fun along the way and at the same time promote and be proud of your Hellenic heritage to the younger members of our proud Greek community. Savvas Grigoropoulos Victoria The sanctity of citizenship The National Security policy announcement by the Prime Minister includes the power for government to revoke the citizenship of dual nationals and denial of social welfare payments to those who support terrorism. Although this proposition may appear to some as logical given the abhorrent crimes committed and or planned by jihadists, it will if implemented deliver an even greater injustice and threat to the value of Australian citizenship in a multicultural nation like ours. For it will play into the catastrophic two classes of Australians. Those born here whose rights to citizenship, residence and social security payments etc. cannot be denied, and those born overseas, whose similar rights can be taken away. It should be noted there are millions of Australians born here or overseas who hold dual citizenship recognised by Australia and many other countries. If a citizen and indeed a resident is proven before a court in this land to have committed a crime they should be sentenced accordingly and the penalty carried out in Australia. When immigrants take the oath to citizenship they know and certainly they are told by governors, prime ministers etc. that they are now Australians entitled to the same rights enjoyed by all Australians and the security, sanctity of citizenship looms largest. Given Australia's history on immigrant rights, where as recently as in the ‘50s and ‘60s thousands of ‘legal’ and law abiding non-English migrants including myself were denied citizenship for over 20 years and threatened with deportation, because they wanted to participate in legitimate political and trade union activities not to the liking of the party in government, with no right of appeal to a judicial body, not to mention the greatest injustice of all time, the non-recognition of Aborigines as Australia's first citizens, or even citizens until 1966, and more recently the breaches of international law and common humanity in relation to refugees and asylum seekers and the attempts to open the doors to racial vilification, proposals to revoke citizenship should be rejected outright for what they really are - divisive and discriminatory. We have travelled a long and at times torturous road in doing away with policies of first and second class citizens. Legitimate concerns on national security should not be addressed at the expense of what we have achieved in building a multicultural Australia, still in the making. One and the same democratic law for all should never be compromised. George Zangalis Victoria Together we can I am a Hellene of the diaspora. As such I cry over what I see in the patrida and what I hear from family via Facebook and Skype. But at least here we have a leadership in the community striving to move forward. Yet, despite that, there were so-called Greek businesses in Lonsdale St that were closed when they should have been open during the magnificent previous weekend’s celebration. There were others who did not market themselves well enough. And many more were not even willing to come into Melbourne from further away. This was a great event and all involved should be extremely proud. But a united community - stop laughing, I did say united - can achieve even more. We must believe in ourselves and we must share that belief with our patrida. Together we can achieve. A. Kenos Victoria Participation in jeopardy In recent times, when people argue about extroversion, exportable cultural products, worldwide discernibility and multilayered rebranding efforts for our country, Greece's participation at the most significant international platform for the promotion of artistic achievements in the field of performing arts should be considered self-evident. On the contrary, however, our participation is in jeopardy. The Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space (PQ) is organised every four years in Prague and it is the largest exhibition for Scenography Performance Space, and Theatre Architecture in the world. PQ's forthcoming edition will be held in June 2015 with more than 5,000 artists from 60 countries tak- Have Your Say LAST WEEK’S QUESTION: Do you think Greek street festivals in Australia need a drastic overhaul? 84 % YES 16 % NO THIS WEEK’S QUESTION: Will you actively try to speak Greek in your household for the Speak Greek in March campaign? Yes/No Vote online now. Go to neoskosmos.com Published by Ethnic Publications Pty Ltd (ABN: 13005 255 087) of 169 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122. Printed by Rural Press Printing, Ballarat. 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Editor-in-Chief: Sotiris Hatzimanolis Graphic Design: Peter Kelidis Fotis Petsinis Contributors: Dora Kitinas-Gogos Christopher Gogos Journalists: Proof Reader: Angela Costanzo Maja Jovic, Helen Velissaris, Michael Sweet, Nelly Skoufatoglou, Anastasia Tsirtsakis Email your letter to: email@example.com ing part, while the total number of visitors from all over the world is expected to exceed 60,000. Until now, Greece has participated five times in PQ (since 1991) and has won outstanding awards. As always, the Organising Institution of the Hellenic National Participation is the Hellenic Centre of the International Theatre Institute (ITI), the participation has already been held under the auspices of The Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Hellenic National Committee for UNESCO, The Greek Theatre Designers Association and the Hellenic Theatre Studies Association. The Hellenic exposition has been organised on the basis of collectivity and group representation of Greek artists. We have appealed for funding to relevant state institutions and their initial response has been positive. The Ministry of Culture and Sports has supported the project with 15,000€ and private cultural foundations have supported it with 15,000€. But the available at this moment sum of money covers only half of the total budget. There is still a substantial amount needed for the realisation of our participation and this money can only be sourced from private funding, latest at the end of March 2015. Thus, in order to secure the Hellenic participation in such an important international event, we appeal to the sensitivity of business and enterprise-related Greek homogeny. We hope that you will cooperate in sending out the crucial message about the financial worries that make Greece's participation at the International Prague Quadrennial Exhibition still dubious, and we remain at your disposal should you require any clarification and further collaboration. Thanos Vovolis, curator of the Hellenic Na- tional Participation at PQ 15 on behalf of the Hellenic Centre of the International Theatre Institute Lonsdale Street Festival needs overhaul Our readers took to our Facebook page to give their two cents on what they'd like to see changed for next year's Lonsdale Street Festival. Here's what you had to say. Jo Karagiotis: Enough of appealing to the lowest common denominator when it comes to Hellenic festivals. It makes it hard to defend our heritage and to promote the interesting things being done by Greeks when all most see is covered in tzatziki. Esther Kaghelaris-Mikropoulos: Children need to be catered for more. Think more along the lines of a food and music festival. At the moment the area allocated is very cramped and uncomfortable. We have outgrown Lonsdale St - considering that the street is no longer predominantly Greek and hasn't been for many years. Time to rethink, revamp and evolve, otherwise you can't grow. Other nationalities have done this in Melbourne with great success. Nick Sardis: I highly recommend a bit of Greek history learning, traditional costumes and not only traditional Greek dancing but let’s also do Greek theatre acting! Have big photos of our heroes who fought for Greece. Have photos of wise philosophers who taught the whole world what's right from wrong. Please note that the submission of a letter does not guarantee that it will be published. We reserve the right to edit your letter for clarity, grammar, spelling and style. Letters that use inappropriate language will not be published. All letters published will include the author’s name and location. Comments posted on Neos Kosmos’website, facebook and twitter pages can also be included for submission at the editors’ discretion and will be edited accordingly.
21 February 2015
7 March 2015