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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 12 January 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 12 JANUARY 2019 17 OPINION Returning home to Neos Kosmos MARY SINANIDIS After my first week in Melbourne and just three days in the offices of Neos Kosmos as the new editor of the English edition, it has become clear that the Greek community of Australia is harder to define than ever before. What was once a homogeneous group of postwar immigrants in search of a better life in a new world is now an interesting blend of tribes that interpret their Greek identity in different ways. Pulling and tugging in every direction, our readers have different needs, interests and expectations of what their community newspaper should offer. It has become clear that tell them also about the kallikantzaroi." The old treasurer shuddered. "Tό' χεις χαμένο; Νομίζεις ότι θα καταλάβουν τίποτε; Αφού δεν ξέρουν ελληνικά. Θα σκωθούνε να φύγουν... Άκου καλικάτζαροι…" I wanted to enquire into the mechanics of exactly how the children would vacate the premises, given that it was their grandparents who had conveyed them there in the first place, but before I could do so, an old lady sporting a DKNY T-shirt interrupted: "The only kallikantzaroi around here are the συμβούλιο which organises trips at cost, inflates the value and pockets the difference." Raising her voice, she shouted: "You are all liars and cheats. Τρώτε τα λεφτά μας. Μόνο για να μας κουβαλάτε εδώ ξένους είστε ικανοί. You should all resign." The hapless treasurer's brow was furrowed. His mouth was half-open in preparation for the broadcast of an invective of titanic proportions, when a large, visibly enraged woman clad in activewear interposed herself between DKNY and the treasurer, snapping in lisping English: "What kind of present do you call this? Why does Elsbeth get the Barbie and my Sienna only gets this $2 shop troll doll? My dad has been a member for thirty years you know. This is unprofessional. No wonder you've lost the νεολαία. We don't have to be here, you know. We were supposed to go to Santa's Magical Kingdom instead. And you pull this crap. You will never see us again. Come on Sienna, mummy's going to get you a chai latte." I looked around, expecting there to be a confrontation with Elsbeth's mother or grandfather but there was no one there. Having received and opened their presents, the children and their grandparents had now departed, leaving an artfully arranged installation of wrapping paper and plastic packaging on the dance floor, of a complexity that would make Pro Hart jealous, even beyond the grave. "Καλές γιορτές," the treasurer sighed. "Ὀ,τι επιθυμείς," I responded, in sympathy. Moments later, and to this day, I will never understand how, we found ourselves arm in arm, tapping forks on the empty beer wine bottles, our mouths intoning the κάλαντα, listening to them echo tid- ings of joy and good will to all men, as they reverberated, around the empty room.I saw the treasurer again a few days after New Years Day, looking ruddy and decidedly worse for wear. "Καλή χρονιά," I wished him. "How was the New Year's Eve dance?" "Well," he confided thoughtfully. "From a point of view of numbers it was unprecedented. We haven't had an attendance like this since the Nineties." "But you don't look happy." "Why should I be? Do you know what those members and their κωλόπαιδα did? They turned up demanding a free present for their ill-begotten brood because they were too busy to attend and then, do you know what? They then had the temerity to demand an extra present for New Year, since Άγιος Βασίλης visits the Greeks on New Year's Eve." "So what did you do?" "What did I do? I told them: Θέλεις δώρα; Σύρε στην Καισαρεία, βρες τον Άγιο Βασίλη και πάρε. Κακό χρόνο να᾽χουν όλοι τους." And it is with these benign words of intense goodwill, that I wish you all on behalf of beleaguered treasurers everywhere, a most superla- the Neos Kosmos sitting on my desk caters to a different readership than the one that used to sit on my parents' kitchen table so many years ago. Naturally, it had to evolve and keep up with the ever-changing identity of the Greek community. And as if that weren't enough, it had to also deal with the challenges faced by the media all around the world and ride on the crest of huge upheaval where brave decisions had to be made in order to ensure our survival. The fact that the little independent community newspaper you hold in your hands today continues to exist when media giants are struggling is a bold achievement that has only been made possible thanks to the perseverance of its publisher, the dedication of staff members that are proud of their Greek heritage, loyal advertisers and sponsors who support us and the love that you, the readers, continue to shower us with by trusting us with your stories and coming to us as a credible news source. But here at Neos Kosmos, we don't want to just exist, we want to continue being what we always have been - pioneers! And we want to continue to be relevant to your lives. Our mission is to create an environment of belonging and inclusion in New editor Mary Sinanidis, with veteran journalists Anastasia Tsirtsakis and Nelly Skoufatoglou (former editor) takes the helm of the English edition of Neos Kosmos. a newsroom that is free from allegiances. It is only when we foster open, honest dialogue and robust debate that we can bring about fundamental change that can better the lives of our diverse readers that call both Greece and Australia home. As a Greek born in a Constantinople once filled with Hellenism, an Australian in Athens, and a returned expat to Melbourne after a long stint as a foreigner in rural Australia, I know firsthand the intrinsic struggle, nostos but also the rewards and benefits of having a hologram home that is neither here nor there. Perhaps "home" is an idea more than a place. And here, in Melbourne, in the offices of Neos Kosmos, surrounded by other hybrid Greeks torn between two homelands, I can say, "Yes, I've finally come home!" So, if you happen to be in the area, and want to sample an interesting pocket of Greece, feel free to drop in and introduce yourself to us as our home is open to all our readers, advertisers, friends. Do you have a story to share that is of interest to the Greek community? We're all ears. Send your opinions, stories or even photographs from your daily life to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Mary Sinanidis, English Editor of Neos Kosmos, 1/169 Burwood Road, Hawthorn, Victoria, 3122.
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