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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 8 August 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 8 AUGUST 2015 27 OPINION LETTERS You will always be remembered Two weeks ago we had the sad news of the passing of a current teacher, Mrs Nikki Ferizis. The teacher was longserving (since 1996) and had been courageously battling the all-too-common disease of cancer. I vividly recall this same teacher five years ago, on my appointment as principal, visiting me to share with me her news of a rare kind of eye cancer. I recall her strong character and her exuding positivity at a time when many others would have curled up into their own shell. She was adamant that this disease would not stop her from doing what she loved - teaching (and making a difference in the lives of young people). She maintained her tenure as a teacher, albeit on reduced loads and more recently with more frequent absences due to the effects of chemotherapy treatment, but she always retained her strength of character and positive outlook on life - she was not blaming anyone for what she was experiencing. This lady has a loving family ,and last year celebrated her 50th birthday. This birthday celebration, which was jointly shared with her husband, was a real milestone, as the initial prognosis on the diagnosis of her disease was not good and she surpassed the timeframes provided to her (I have no doubt that this was due to her positive mental attitude). Five minutes before our whole school Term 3 welcome back assembly I was given the news of our beloved staff member’s passing. I did not have time to inform the staff separately and I knew this information would soon be travelling along social networks. 'What do I do?' I thought. In a short timeframe I requested two hymns be discreetly given to me and I whispered to a member of my senior leadership team and chairman of the board the news I had just received. At this assembly we had some special dignitaries, including Victorian politicians. The assembly was conducted as planned but following the singing of our school song (which regularly occurs at the end of the assembly) I decided to address our staff and students about the news of the passing of our beloved colleague and admired teacher. My address was difficult but it was important that the principal was calm and compassionate in the delivery of this information. A prayer was read by a trusted colleague and I had an appropriate hymn ready (again, at very short notice) so our staff and students could personally reflect on the news they had just heard in silence with just the music of the hymn playing. Together we concluded with the Lord’s Prayer. The notion of the address at short notice at the assembly was difficult but proved to be poignant and helpful for all (this is the feedback I have received subsequently). Our students and staff were all given an opportunity during the day to personally reflect or pray at our adjacent church and we had pastors and counsellors readily available to assist our students and staff. At the conclusion of the day I addressed all staff along with our pastors and made the decision to close the school on the day of the funeral service. This week the majority of our teachers and our student leaders attended the funeral service of our beloved staff member. My point is that as a community we celebrate together, commemorate together and on Tuesday (and at our whole school sssembly) we grieved together - for this is the true connection within a community that trusts and respects each other. Our thoughts and prayers are now with Nikki's family; husband Chris and children Mary, Peter and Annie. God bless Mr Mark Robertson Oakleigh Grammar School principal, Victoria Greek Orthodox Church against gay marriage Last Sunday I had to go to my local church due to a memorial service (mnimosino). When I got there I noticed a stall had been set up in front of the church giving out free coffee with signs urging people to sign the petition 'that a marriage is between a man and a woman'. At the end of the service while standing outside chatting, a woman came up to us asking if we had signed the petition to stop same-sex marriages. I told her I would sign her other petition when she brought it around. She seemed surprised and told me there was only one petition, but when I told her I would sign the petition supporting gays to marry she looked unamused and left with a huff. I am not a believer of religion but I cannot comprehend the stand the church has taken against gays marrying because many homosexuals also unfortunately consider themselves religious, unlike me, so why exclude them and their families who support them from wanting something that straight people can get automatically? Con Vaitsas, NSW The phone call I was just about to go to bed when the telephone rang in the middle of the night. I picked it up and a strange laughter was in full swing on the other end of the line. It was so loud that I was quite shocked. ‘Who is this idiot,’ I thought and banged the phone down. It rang again for the longest time but I did not pick it up. As a man of intelligence I refused to give in to phantom callers and left it ring. Then there was a hard intimidating knock at the front door - so hard I thought the door would collapse. I heard a man's voice shouting: "Pick up the phone, stupid!" I did not know what to do - pick up the phone or simply open the door and deal with the angry person behind the door. I was trapped in a dilemma: opening the door meant coming face-to-face with the unknown and probably putting up a fight and the surest thing was to pick up the phone. I wish I never did. The laughter continued when it suddenly came to an Email your letter to: email@example.com abrupt stop. I was in for the greatest surprise of my life: it was the president himself. He coughed a few times and then spoke with a bit of slur in his voice. “You can now go to sleep. I just called to tell you that I have resolved the Cyprus problem: No referendums; no more negotiations; no more hardships; no more Kommata for we are all one; no more economic problems; no more ethnic barriers; we are now all Europeans safe and well under the wisdom of EU motherland.” “But why the laughter, Mr President?” I naively asked. “Because you believe in fairy tales, idiot!” In fact, I was amazed that my president found the time in his busy schedule to call me; an ordinary citizen at that and of no importance. “... and who is outside the door, Mr President?” I asked again. “Oh, that's the Persuader - the Law - and your biggest nightmare if you refuse my most precious gift to you all; the Cyprus solution.” Satisfied, I curled up into my own cocoon and fell asleep only to discover the next morning that something happened to my voice and I could no longer speak - the Persuader was standing outside the door with eyebrows wrapped in wrath. But it's okay if I don't speak! After all, my president reassured me that I was safe and well, did he not? Andreas C. Chrysafis, Victoria Treason and selfinterest or act in the greater good? Is it possible that the suggestion former Greek finance minister Yianis Varoufakis has erred to the point of treason represents yet another twist in the warped logic and tactics that are espoused Have Your Say LAST WEEK’S QUESTION: Do you think the current uncertainty in Greece will have a long-term effect on its tourism industry? 38 % YES 62 % NO THIS WEEK’S QUESTION: Given the friction within the governing party of Greece, do you think that the sooner Greece goes back to the polls the better? 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. NEOS KOSMOS Published since 1957 Contacts Reception Phone: (03) 9482 4433 Fax: (03) 9482 2962 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: (03) 9482 4433 Email: email@example.com Web: www.neoskosmos.com Advertising letters Email: firstname.lastname@example.org NEOS KOSMOS - English Publisher: No. 5613 Address: Level 1, 169 Burwood Road, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122 Mail: PO Box 6068 Hawthorn West, Victoria 3122 Subscriptions Phone: (03) 9482 4433 Email: email@example.com Fax: (03) 9482 2962 Letters should not be more than 200 words and they must indicate your full name, address and a day time telephone number for verification. By submitting your letter to us for publication you agree that we may edit the letter for legal, space or other reasons and may, after the publication in the paper, republish it on the internet or in other media. Editor-in-Chief: Sotiris Hatzimanolis News Editor: Journalists: Christopher Gogos Michael Sweet Anastasia Tsirtsakis, Nikos Fotakis, Zoe Thomaúdou, John Pyrros Nelly Skoufatoglou, Contributors: Anthony Stavrinos, Dean Kalimniou, Theodora Maios, Alexandra Manatakis Proofreader: Graphic Design: Peter Kelidis, Fotis Petsinis Angela Costanzo by certain forces within and outside of Greece? I do not know Varoufakis, nor have I ever spoken to him, nor have I ever voted for his government or anything like it elsewhere. However, this accusation comes at a point in history when this is the first Greek government to question longheld and devastating to Greek society practices of corruption, oligarchies and the theft and misappropriation of public funds by those in the past who have abused their position of power. Could this be a coincidence? Whether we agree on the method or strategy of the handling of recent negotiations and other decisions by SYRIZA, this is also the first government to question the vested and self-serving interests of other groups in the European Union. The word treason is defined as ‘the betrayal of a trust or confidence; breach of faith; the offense of acting to overthrow government or to harm its sovereignty’. In this world of paradoxes, therefore, it seems ironic to consider if those who are behind these accusations both within and outside Greece's borders are trying to do just that to Varoufakis, Tsipras, SYRIZA, Greece and to control and manipulate Europe for their own personal gain. Can we recommend that the following groups likewise, in time, be investigated for treason or wrongdoing in Greece and Europe and are made to pay the money back to the people of Greece: 1. Those governments, their members and affiliates who have purposefuly created a climate of clientelism and encouraged or turned a blind eye to widespread corruption. Similarly, those in positions of public trust who knowingly designed an unproduc- tive, overpaid, early retirement-seeking, bloated public service, with ‘jobs’ for their own friends, relatives or other supporters who never were necessary in the first place, simply to secure votes, whilst giving the bill for this to the average taxpayer and member of the public who now is paying dearly through the high price of austerity and unemployment. 2. Those who have used their positions of power, be it politicians, public servants, some lawyers, doctors and others to extort money from others and not declare anything close to their actual incomes. 3. Those banks who have loaned money to Greece knowing full well that repayment was never possible, resulting in extra burdens to their own societies and those European groups/companies who also participated in this irresponsible lending and not-so-honest dealings with Greece. Not sure if you have noticed, Greece and Europe, however, the theft, corruption and trickery (and austerity) has backfired and is not working. As has always been the case, Greece, Europe and its beautiful peoples have a world of potential. However, these ‘shooting ourselves in the foot’ self-interested, shortsighted, dishonest practices have to stop, in favour of policies and approaches that act in favour of the greater good, are just, and lead to better incentives and a level playing field for all. This, together with streamlined government that represents a balance between all interests, might help lead to a restoration of confidence and growth in Greece and in Europe. Yours sincerely, a concerned Philhellene and European 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.
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