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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 19 December 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 19 DECEMBER 2015 23 OPINION OPINION ZOE STOKES-PAIZIS Greek language is my culture A Greek Australian student from a mixed marriage believes there isn’t any excuse for newer generations to shy away from their Greek heritage Growing up as a Greek Australian in Melbourne is not an unusual thing. Growing up as a child with one Greek parent and one British, well, that seems to puzzle many people! The English genes, from my father's side, within my make-up have attributed to my fair skin and light hair, which has evoked the comment "but you don't look Greek" more times than I can remember. Being a child from a mixed marriage, I do not think that there is any acceptable excuse for the newer generations to shy away from their heritage. I LETTERS Mrs Clooney and the sculptures How far and wide and high can I express my absolute disgust at the absolute lack of leadership evident in the machinations of one Alex Tsipras. Mrs Clooney is a brilliant lawyer, by all accounts. She has tried desperately to convince the Hellenic government of how it can win a battle before the International Court of Justice over the ownership of the many Parthenon relics that are held in many countries, not just Britain. Her husband has similarly been extremely vocal in calling for the stolen artefacts to be returned to the land of their ‘birth’. If Mr Tsipras had any real political sense and some imagination, he would have made both Clooneys honorary Hellenic citizens and ambassadors for the return of that which was stolen by Elgin and his evil cronies. Such an act would significantly elevate the world's attention to the pieces that London immorally uses to make a fortune for its museum and highlight the need for their return. Certainly Mr Clooney would be able to garner much of Hollywood onside, and with his wife's legal prowess they would lead a real sense of terror towards the unethical actions of London. Yet Mr Tsipras has conceded defeat without even fir- ing a shot, no doubt a legacy from his vast military experience (sarcasm intended). So to the Foundation for Hellenic Studies in SA I say a very big thank you for your loyalty, your leadership and your respect for this, the most important physical aspect of our heritage: the Parthenon. Ange Kenos Victoria Racism and memories While I have never wanted to be in Australia, and every day I wake up in a foreign land, I have contributed much more than most people to Australia, and I feel I am not eating anybody else's bread. Every daybreak I hope I wake up in my village. My contributions will never be acknowledged by anyone, and that is the way I want it. My important contributions have been philosophical ideas, seeds I carried from Greece to Australia. Extraordinary outcomes that have benefited even those people who bashed me, denied my humanity and made my life impossible at times because I tanned too readily and looked a little different, that is my crime. As a young person, and Christian, I thanked God for making me strong enough to turn the other cheek. In my hour of weakness I de- nied their humanity and did not care what they said, as if they were mere mangy dogs. While 2,000 years ago and less, wars were created to capture slaves who could be put to work at once. Children and old people were butchered or left to starve. Today the world is about creating mayhem and getting the fittest and smartest to shift to areas of peace. In just the last decades tens of millions of people with skills and child-bearing capacity have been moved to the ‘victorious’ countries to enjoy the huge increase in productivity. Often the new people have been used to undermine the ‘natives’ position as you see in the USA today, with low wages and millions living in extreme poverty. have spent time with Greeks who are fully immersed and involved with their culture, as well as those who only have their surname to prove they belong to the Greek community. It honestly hurts me to see this beautiful and interesting culture fade in our Western society. BEING PART OF THE COMMUNITY Being a third generation Greek, I have only ever seen this lack of youth in our community. For some families, maintaining their Greek culture proves to be an impassable hurdle, and has left many families slowly losing touch with their heritage. Attending church, even at Christmas and Easter, has become a rare occurrence for the younger generations. As a member of the Ithacan Philanthropic Society, I regularly attended Greek dancing classes with my brother, Michael, since we were very young. Much to our dismay, none of the other children were interested, and so it was just my brother and I performing in front of the crowd of children at the Christmas celebration for years on end. GREECE ISN'T JUST HOLIDAYS Despite Greece's recent economic and political struggles, I do love the country immensely. I love the food, the lifestyle, the religion, the night life and even the cats ... I'm not ashamed that I cry when I leave Greece after a lovely holiday, or that I feel homesick for months after my return. Zoe Stokes-Paizis with her younger brother Michael on the island of Ithaca. There is so much more to Greece than taverns and ‘Zorba’, just as pizzas do not encompass the entire Italian culture. I want the full Greek culture to be respected and celebrated in our Australian society, not just the stereotypical things. Maybe the younger generation needs to understand that Greece is not just the place yiayia and pappou came from, or a place for holidays. That it is incumbent upon Greekspeaking parents to ensure their children don't lose the language, that it is our re- sponsibility to not lose touch with where we came from. Recently it was revealed that the number of students formally learning the Greek language in Victoria has also readily diminished; fewer than 300 students completed VCE Modern Greek in 2015, while 3,080 students completed VCE Chinese. Thanks to my parents, John and Georgina, I have not and will not lose this connection I have with Greece and its culture. But what will happen to the next generation, when my peers become parents and don't speak Greek, don't attend church and don't dance? What chance do their children have of ever feeling that part of them is Greek? * Zoe Stokes-Paizis completed her work experience at Neos Kosmos this week. Email your letter to: email@example.com For many decades I no longer judge people as harshly as I may have at times because of their racism or generalisation about a group of people. I ask what their pain is. One Saturday morning with an auction of a house in my inner-Melbourne neighbourhood, walking back to our house I noticed my 72-yearold Anglo neighbour crying and his wife attempting to pull him back into their house. His comfort with me allowed him to ask me "another Greek bought the house?" I replied "yes". He was the last Anglo in our immediate area. To console him I said we all are going back home as soon as we make some money. He said "working in factories will not make you rich, and I will Have Your Say LAST WEEK’S QUESTION: Do you agree with the ratification of the GreeceAustralia working holiday visa bill? 80% YES 20% NO THIS WEEK’S QUESTION: FYROM PM says he is open to dialogue on ‘Macedonia’ name dispute. Do you believe it will be changed to Greece’s favour? 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. 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. 5670 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 Journalists: Christopher Gogos Nelly Skoufatoglou, Anastasia Tsirtsakis, Nikos Fotakis, Panos Apostolou, George Stogiannou Contributors: Dean Kalimniou, Theodora Maios, Billy Cotsis, Zoe Stokes-Paizis, Patrick Skene Sub-editor: Angela Costanzo Graphic design: Peter Kelidis die surrounded by Greeks". Soon after he had a breakdown and was placed in a retirement village in the country away from Greeks. It was sold to him as a job working as a kitchenhand and maintenance man. As most of us Greeks were under 30 years old at the time, we did not think about reaching out to the people already there and connect with them, especially the older people. We all kept to our tribal lines. The pain inflicted on me overcame the good I experienced, and, I was no more than courte- ous to my Anglo neighbour. I lost the opportunity to be a good Christian person. We did not want to displace anyone, especially someone whose grandfather was one of the first settlers in the street; we just wanted to make enough money for a pair of horses and dowries for my sisters. The world is full of words; some words said in anguish or fear of change are best answered with understanding and some humanity. Often both sides are victims of the same enemy. A. Romios New South Wales 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.
12 December 2015
9 January 2016