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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 30 May 2015
10 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 30 MAY 2015 NEWS Brothers in arms Crete’s WWII story honoured in Victoria MICHAEL SWEET Bonds forged in war between two peoples - and across the generations - were honoured in Melbourne last week, as Victoria's Battle of Crete anniversary commemorations marked the duty and sacrifice of the Cretan people and the Allies in WWII. The ceremonies in Victoria saw some of the largest turnouts in recent years, with the official wreath-laying ceremonies taking place at the Shrine of Remembrance and the nearby Australian Hellenic Memorial. Social events - involving hundreds of families from Melbourne's Greek community - included the sold-out official Battle of Crete dinner dance, and a lunch at the Cretan Village in honour of the visiting officers of the Hellenic Defence Force. Jim Papadimitriou, president of the Cretan Brotherhood Melbourne and Victoria, told Neos Kosmos that the level of participation by young people at the events was a highlight of this year's program. "Participation by youngsters at all the events was probably the highest it’s ever Warrant Officer Brendan Woodsell is handed a wreath by Desi Levoyiannis to lay on behalf of the Royal Australian Navy at the Hellenic Australian Memorial. PHOTO: KOSTAS DEVES. been. Having said that, I'm not sure the younger people fully understand the events and significance of the Battle of Crete," said Mr Papadimitriou. "It's something we've discussed with the Pancretan Association and we are looking at introducing an educational component to the commemorations in the future." The Cretan Brotherhood president said the attendance at the events of two of the last remaining Australian veterans of the Battle of Crete - 92-year-old Norm Maddock and centenarian Les Manning - was an enriching highlight of the weekend's events. "Norm gave a very emo- tional speech at the Saturday night event. It was a privilege for me personally to be able to spend some one-on-one time with him, listening to him talk about those times, but also life in general." In his speech, which received a standing ovation from the hundreds of guests present at the dinner, Mr Maddock spoke of the privilege of attending the event. As his voice broke with emotion, he said: "I am one of many thousands who can only say I'm still alive today for what the Greeks did for us, in Greece and Crete - how they hid us from the Germans, how they fed us when they were starving." "When we got to Greece the Greek army was fighting the Italians, and they were giving the Italians a bloody good hiding. But when the Germans invaded Greece it was a different situation," added the Anzac veteran. "We were soldiers - that was part of our duty, but we'll always be very grateful to the civil population. I'll never forget the Greek people and the way they looked after us." Mr Maddock, who served with the Australian 2/7th Battalion, was captured during the Battle of Crete and became a prisoner of war but - helped by the Cretan people - managed to escape by boat to North Africa. NT launches Greek language exams NELLY SKOUFATOGLOU Eleven participants from the Northern Territory were able to officially certify the level of their proficiency in the Greek language last week, thanks the Greek Orthodox Community of Darwin and Charles Darwin University (CDU). The examination - to obtain the Certificate of Attainment in Greek - was held at the university's Casuarina campus by the newly-appointed CDU head of Greek Studies, Mr George Frazis. The certificate is recognised internationally and the Darwin participants ranged from 10-year-old students to school teachers. The certificate of Attainment in Greek is held across the world, but there's never been an examination in Darwin. CDU media officer Katie Weiss told Neos Kosmos: "The Greek communities came together after finding the much needed financial support to push for this step." Associate Professor George Frazis said that was a historic moment for Darwin and the Territory's Greek community, which now can access a formal qualification Greek approved by the Greek government. "It is a great example of how CDU is working with the community and strengthening these longstanding, vital relationships," said Dr Frazis. The CDU initiative was supported by prominent Hellenic organisations in the NT, including the Friends of Greek Language and Culture and the Guardians of Greek Lan- DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Ioannis Karavokyros and Kaleopy Kypreos - two Territorians who took the Greek language examination in Darwin. guage and Culture as well as the CDU Foundation. Exam participant Kaleopy Kypreos said she hoped to receive the qualification to complement her current role as a teacher at the Greek Orthodox School of Darwin. "This is an opportunity for me to test my knowledge in a friendly and cosy atmosphere at Casuarina campus," she said. "Every step for knowledge helps to become a member of a bigger community worldwide, especially when studying a language - and the history, culture and values that come along with it." Ioannis Karavokyros, a teacher, said he was surprised by how interesting the exam was, with the questions triggering a deeper understanding of the language and Greek culture. Examination results will be announced by the Thessaloniki Greek Language Centre in October. Australia to act on same-sex marriage CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 “This of course would not be legitimate, given that we respect the free will of all. "Rather, our concern is that the very institution of marriage, which has a Christian tradition of two entire millennia, should remain as it is, and not be confused with the political debate concerning the legal status of samesex unions." Meanwhile the Greek Australian gay community welcomed the Irish referendum result as a motivating force for change in Australia. Speaking to Neos Kosmos, the administrator of the Greek and Gay Facebook group in Australia, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "There is a separation of Polls suggest over 70 per cent of Australians are in favour of gay marriage legalisation. PHOTO: TED ALJIBE AFP. church and state in Australia - and this should remain at all levels. The Church is entitled to its own opinions as are we [but] the marriage act changes proposed solely impact on civil marriage - and as such do not impact on any church in Australia. "The Greek Australian gay community has been offering support to its members for over 20 years, yet it's been very private in that aspect. We struggle to get the message out there, it's falling on deaf ears within the Greek community," he said. "I've got two children who are very supportive of me. The ones who have the problem with gay marriage in Australia are our ageing families. "Many Greek migrants, like my mother, even though they were treated as a second class race upon their arrival, have forgotten what they've gone through, and are acting like they own this country, holding the same mindset as when they left Greece decades ago... “The position of the Orthodox Church worldwide - not only in Australia - can never depart from the teaching of Holy Scripture.” Archbishop Stylianos "It's time these issues of racism and sexuality are addressed. All human beings should be regarded as equal in the eyes of the law." One of the first Greek Australian politicians to comment on the marriage equality debate since the Irish vote has been Senator Nick Xenophon. "It is a conscience vote for me," he told Neos Kosmos. "I regard the right of a person to hold their religious beliefs as fundamental in a free society. But beyond religion and religious beliefs, I also believe in the law, and our laws should apply equally to all." Senator Xenophon said that a conscience vote on marriage equality could take place within weeks, while a referendum could be as much as two years away. "If the conscience vote fails then a referendum needs to be pushed for. It's too important for too many people," he said.
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