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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 28 September 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 28 SEPTEMBER 2019 23 OPINION could have ta'en an oath/ That ye were the unlorded Amazons/ That fare on flesh." It is only after a lengthy narration of the ancestry and history of the Danaids, that the king grudgingly accepts an ancestral commonality of lineage: "Anciently, I do verily believe,/ A common tie unites ye to this land." Yet at the same time, although by the laws of Argos, the Danaids should now be entitled to protection, King Pelasgus' affirmation of the ancestral tie does not automatically afford the protection against harm any Argive would be afforded. For him, he continues to see the daughters as strangers, whose interests are not synonymous with those of the rest of the "trues" Argives. They can call themselves Argives, as long as they do not inconvenience the polis: "Oh, may your cause who claim to be our kin/ Work us no mischief, nor on any hand/ Strife grow from what we neither could foresee/ Nor have a herald of the Aegyptians arrives to attempt to force the Danaids to return to their husbands to be. Pelasgus threatens the herald, urging the Danaids to remain within the walls of Argos. The play reaches its conclusion with the Danaids retreating into the Argive walls, protected and, presumably, considered as Argive, not Libyan. "Pelasgus and the State at large/ Each offer us a home; and both are free." Of course, the Danaids did not remain in Libya and demand they have a say in the running of Argos. What is of significance here is the manner in which practicality informs the conferral of kinship. After all, the sons of Aegyptus are also Argive in origin, and thus, also potentially able to claim the rights and privileges that go with that ancestry, hence the appeal to popular consensus, rather than the application of law. Ultimately, expediency and the perceived interests of the state will inevitably trump What is of interest however, is the manner in which the mainstream of the motherland distinguish between Greeks and homogenes (ïìïãåíåßò), that is, people of the same genos. “ provided for. That to this realm/ Were an unwanted, a superfluous care." It is evident that to King Pelasgus, regardless what the tenets of his religion or prevailing kinship ideology may prescribe, common ancestry does not automatically grant the Danaids equal legal rights. When faced with the prospect of the angry sons of Aegyptus arriving in Argos to claim their fugitive brides, he implies that the Danaids are subject to not Argive, but to Aegyptian law: "If by the law of the land Ægyptus' sons/ Are your rightful lords, to wit, upon the plea/ Of nextkin, who would choose resist their claim?/ Your answer must be founded on the law/ Domestic; and ye must maintain and prove/ That over ye they have no power at all." This dramatisation of the conflict between matrilineal and patrilineal inheritance reaches an emotional climax as the asylum seekers threaten to hang themselves upon the very ideological foundation of the polity: the statues of the Argive gods. King Pelasgus, unable, or unwilling to confer kinship upon the Danaids himself, refers the decision to the vote of the Argive people. They vote to recognise the Danaids as their peers and affrod them sanctuary. Consequently, when prevailing ethnic myths and ideologies. The Danaids of myth, true diasporans, did not remain in Argos. When the sons of Aegyptus landed in Argos and declared war on the city, Danaus, in order to spare Argos from war, handed his daughters over, instructing them to murder their husbands on their wedding nights. All of them did so except of Hypermnestra, who refused because her husband, Lynceus, honored her wish to remain a virgin. Danaus was angry with his disobedient daughter and pursued her legally through the Argive courts, necessitating the divine intervention of Aphrodite, who saved her. Vows of virginity notwithstanding, Hypermnestra and Lynceus, went on to found an Argive ruling dynasty, which is exactly why you can't trust those wily diasporans. The other forty nine hapless daughters of Danaus were condemned to spend eternity carrying water in a sieve or perforated device. Thus in the ancient tradition, they came to represent the futility of a repetitive task that can never be completed; a fitting metaphor for the interminable attempt by the Greek to define the relationship between itself and the Greek diaspora. Greece: Time to open up the vote to the diaspora FOTIS KAPETOPOULOS The Hellenic Diaspora's desire (or otherwise), to vote for Greek elections, has been a recurring theme over 100 years. Greeks enjoy the 'right of return' to their cultural patritha or homeland. One can secure citizenship based on bloodline across generations regardless of how long they, or their forebearers, have been living abroad, not unlike the Jewish Diaspora can in Israel. Since the financial crisis, Greece has lost up to 500,000 citizens who sought a better life outside. This is a drop in the ocean of millions of Diasporans living across the globe. There are three proposals in the Greek Parliament by the main parties, seeking to extend the vote to the Diaspora. The ruling party New Democracy (ND)'s proposal wants expatriate citizens who are already registered to vote, to be able to submit postal votes, something they do not currently have the right to do. Democratic nations tend to allow their citizens to vote at election time from outside their borders. For the birthplace of democracy, the current situation seems undemocratic. The ND proposal also wants Diaspora citizens to be able to vote for any party they wish in Greek national elections. Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis can read the numbers. Greeks from the US, South Africa, Canada and Australia tend to vote conservative in comparison to their peers in Greece. Syriza's proposal is more catholic - at least on the face of it. Syriza wants all the Diaspora, who are citizens, or who want to be citizens, to access the vote. There's a catch, the Diaspora vote should only go towards the election of Diaspora representatives, not for Greek parties contesting an election. Syriza worry that the more conservative Diaspora will keep pumping ND and other conservative parties. KINAL or Movement for Change, made of bits of the old PASOK party, is treading water like Syriza, wanting those in the Diaspora who are in the electoral role to vote, and like ND, they want them to vote for any party in the General Elections. They want to garner support from the centre. KINAL, is banking that the pre-crisis Diaspora may have fonder sentiments towards the Papandreou and Simitis led PASOK governments of the 80s and 90s. Economically things are getting better. The protest vote has ended, Greeks are now seeking more stable centrist or 'normal' politics. Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn are thankfully just a bad memory now. The Diaspora played a fundamental role in Greece's national identity by sparking the War of Independence against the Ottomans in the early 19th Century. If not for Greeks in the intellectual salons of Moscow, London, and Paris, there may not have been a Modern Greece. In the 1920s, after the Great Catastrophe, when over 1.5 million Greeks were burned out of Turkey, and again in the post-WWII period, hundreds of thousand of Greeks migrated across the globe. Their money flowed back to Greece in the form of support for families in hard times and in investments. Now the Greek Diaspora is in business, government, science and the arts, as children and grandchildren of migrants with links to Greece. Greek interests are promoted in Washington D.C., Canberra and other state capitals across the EU, by our Diaspora. It is important to include the Diaspora in Greece's political process and what better way than extending the vote? There are those that worry that the Diaspora do not understand the issues faced by Greeks in Greece and may vote not knowing the issues. That holds little water when it is catastrophic wars, bad politics and economic collapses in Greece that created the Greek Diaspora. In our case, our command of English, our culturally deep understanding of the Anglosphere as citizens of Australia, would have come handy when negotiating with the EU, the US, or GB. Greeks in Greece should worry less about opening the vote to us, given there may not have been a Modern Greece without the us, the Diaspora.
21 September 2019
05 October 2019