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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 11 March 2017
COMMUNITY 22 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 11 MARCH 2017 Ground zero My Big Fat Greek Week NIKOS FOTAKIS • Look for the term 'contradiction' in a dictionary and, in most probability, it will refer to data regarding the Greek economy. • And then it will probably self-combust in shame. • On Tuesday, for instance, the Greek government and its creditors were sending out very different signals, regarding the still ongoing negotiations to conclude the delayed second review of the third bailout program. • Negotiators had planned to leave Athens on that day, but the government insisted that talks would conclude on that same day. • In the end, the two sides reached some kind of agreement, as the negotiating team extended their stay for a day. • The two sides were struggling to reach an agreement on a series of issues. The lenders demanded pension and welfare cuts and the government asked for mandatory collective bargaining to return to the deregulated labor market. • In the end, the two sides decided to meet half-way, whatever that may mean. • If we choose to believe Dimitris Tzanakopoulos, an agreement with the lenders will be achieved before 20 March. The Government spokesperson also said that Greece conceded to alter a bit the mix of fiscal measures and that both sides agreed that social welfare cuts - to the tune of 1 percent of GDP - will take effect in 2019, and not in 2018. • Which Greece presents as a major win. • Of course, we've heard a lot about wins and progress during these past few years. It was only weeks ago when both the IMF and the Eurogroup chief praised Athens for its remarkable compliance with the bailout program, which would allow Greece to go back to the markets in 2018. • And then the Hellenic Statistical Authority went out to say, in its official report, that Greek GDP remained unchanged in 2016, total- ing 184.5 billion euros in terms of volume. • Which means zero growth. • Greeks should be alarmed, but apparently they're too tired to even bother. • Instead, they got into a heated debate, regarding the selection process of the song that will represent Greece in the Eurovision Song contest. The state broadcaster, ERT, put on a hastily made show in order to present the three songs from which viewers would choose, by televote, the one that pop singer Demy will sing in the competition. • According to the hashtag war that ensued on social media, all songs were equally terrible, but most of all, the whole show was terrible, uninspired, and of bad taste. • Some went on to blame the Syriza government and its lack of taste. • This went on on Tuesday. The next day, viewers were watching a much better show. The fascinating Champions League soccer game that saw Barcelona inflict a surprise win by 6-1 goals on Paris Saint-Germain. • Which would have been fine, but would Greek politicians leave sportslovers enjoy a fascinating game, without ruining it? Of course not. • It is not clear why Opposition leader Kiriakos Mitsotakis had attempted to predict the outcome of the game, saying that Paris Saint Germain would win the Champions League, but this statement allowed for the Greek PM to troll him, on Twitter, Trumpstyle, mocking him that this win was so secure, as is the ND win in the next elections. • To which Kiriakos Mitsotakis answered, tweeting (sigh) that "making a wrong estimate on soccer is not cause for concern, as is missing the Greek Bureau of Statistics statements". • If you think that this back-and-forth epitomises all that is wrong in Greek politics at the moment, you're probably right. • Not that it matters. DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM ‘The Jews of Greece’ come to Melbourne Emmanuel Santos and Carol Gordon explore the community’s history from 300 BCE to now through photography and film In the Jewish Museum's latest major exhibition, Emmanuel Santos and Carol Gordon show us the history, tradition and present-day existence of the Jews of Greece. Through photography and documentary, Santos and Gordon reveal a people dating back to approximately 300-250 BCE, who witnessed, experienced, and influenced world history. The exhibition celebrates this ancient community, who despite facing almost total decimation in the Holocaust, have continued to survive. In 1986, Gordon began research into the history of Greek Jews after discovering that their ancient and long history was hardly known. Ms Gordon has always felt a strong connection to Greece and the Greek people. She says: “I became passionate about bringing this story out of the dark, in honour of 87 per cent of the Jewish population of Greece who were murdered in the Holocaust. "As a practising Jew, this project has affirmed my belief that Jewish culture has a common core among a variety of cultures and traditions". In 2013, Gordon invited Melbourne photographer Emmanuel Santos to join her in Greece, to help uncover and document this remarkable community. For Santos, who has forged a career investigating Jewish culture and ritual, this was a thrilling undertaking. "It was a very interesting project due to the fact that it owes its history dating back to Hellenistic Greece," says the acclaimed photographer. "This was an alluring prospect for me as I had never come across any remnants of a Jewish community this ancient." Objects from the Ian Potter Museum of Art Collection also illuminate this history, and video interviews within the exhibition present the testimonies of survival and rebuilding of the Greek Jewish communities after the Holocaust. ‘The Jews of Greece’ exhibition runs from 2 April - 3 September at the Jewish Museum of Australia, 26 Alma Road, St Kilda, VIC. Admission: adults $10, children up to 5 years free, 6 years and up $5, concession $5, and family tickets $20. For opening hours and more information head to www.jewishmuseum.com.au Volunteer in Greece through The Hellenic Initiative The Hellenic Initiative (THI) was founded in the US in 2012, as an effort by the Greek diaspora to assist crisis stricken Greece. Since then it has distributed over US$3.5 million in direct crisis relief and over US$6 million has been allocated to Greek development program funding. Headed by CEO of Dow Chemical, Andrew Liveris, and with former US president Bill Clinton as its patron, it has garnered the support of many influential individuals around the world. In 2015 THI's Australian leg was established. The resulting flagship internship program is now running its second year, offering top Greek graduates and professionals under 30 years of age a sixmonth internship in an Australian company. Nick Mitaros, a founding member and director of THI Australia, is proud of the initiative's track record through the work of organisations such as Boroume, Desmos, and Regeneration. "We undertook a number of activities associated with THI and visited the crisis relief organisations that are doing some wonderful work in Athens, with the people who are in need at this time," he told SBS Greek. Mitaros, who travelled to Greece with his family earlier this year, spent time in a suburban farmers’ market collecting excess food supplies for the needy as part of the Boroume organisation's volunteer program. "The response from the stallholders was amazing," says Mitaros. "What they gave and when they heard that we were Greek Australians and that our chil- dren were third-generation Australians, and that they were still prepared to give something back to Greece, the reaction was quite amazing. "A woman, overhearing we were over from Australia volunteering, bought two dozen eggs out of her own money and donated them to Boroume." The Greek people suf- fered tax hikes and savage wage cuts as well as merci- less media coverage which sometimes appeared to brand them as corrupt and lazy, he complained, stressing that in spite of those adversities "Greek people's spirit remains unbroken... so strong and it's so resilient that you feel very proud of your Hellenic roots." At the end of his interview he encouraged anyone visiting Greece to invest some time in volunteering through THI organisations and programs.
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