Posted by Nikos on August 06, 2001 at 20:45:33:
In Reply to: Hellenic Separatism! posted by Concerned Citizen on August 06, 2001 at 17:31:36:
You are not the only community where this occurs. I live in Seattle, WA USA, and our Greek community is fairly large. I am actively involved in ARGO the hellenic and cypriot student association at the UW: students.washington.edu/hellas . We put on many activities (lectures, free dance lessons, documentaries/films), but we have little attendence from any age group in the community, and we advertise quite well, usually only 4 or 5 ethnic Greeks come to our events, the majority of people who attend are non-greeks and the greeks straight from Greece which come in large numbers. As for Seattle, our community is not that tight and barely any of the kids here know how to speak greek or care about Greek culture. I am the only Greek born in America that is a member of our organization, the rest of our members are all gnisious ellines genimeni stin patrida. The St. Demetrious Greek Church (the greek community powerhouse) does not assist us in our attempts to promote hellenism to ethnic greeks let alone non-greeks. They recently had an event at St. Demetrios church called Yasoo dance, where some instructors came down from Vancouver and other parts to hold seminars on authentic greek dancing. While the secretary of the church is always willing to work with our student organization, the head of the Yasoo dance event refused my request to give the phone number of some of the instructors so they might be able to give a lecture at the University of Washington. He said that unless we could establish a financial relationship (my god we are students who pay out of our pockets to hold events on campus, and most of our members are from Greece living in the dorms) the event sponsors would be shooting themselves in the foot. So much for hellenism. Profit comes before philotimo for the majority of the Greek Americans in Seattle. Another example is the Hellenic Studies program. This is a new Modern Greek program at the UW which the local Greek community dontated a large sum of money to establish. We asked the chair of the program (a "Greek") to collaborate on projects/events at the university, in short he declined. We are never informed about lectures the Hellenic studies program sponsors, although we inform all departments (applicable to the event), the local community, and of course students and Greek faculty. We once asked if something could be done to increase the number of books at the university library that cover Modern Greece and cyprus (there is a shortage) and we were told by the program chairs that we could solve the problem by each donating a book. However, the faculty straight from Greece are more than willing to help and we have collaborated on many issues, and they always support us by attending our events. One professor when told about the lack of books in the library offered to buy books totatling over $1000 dollars. This is the spirit of hellenism and also education. I believe the reason why our community and maybe yours (probably not you, you canadian greeks are more Greek than the Greek Americans in the US outside of the major centers like astoria etc.) is because most of the Greeks have not been to greece in 50 years or never, do not speak the language, and have a view of Greece as 3rd world (we are all goat herders, etc.) or the Zorba the Greek thing. I believe that there needs to be serious review of Greek language learning in the communities, there needs to be more exchange programs from Greek Americans to go to study in Greece, and when kids go they need to get out of their parents horio, and go to some of the more modern areas. The only reason this is important is because coming from the "luxuries" and "customer service" system of American to Greece for the first time or first few times, the horio can become the model for what Greece represents and this is often negative. It takes time to find out that the horio is often the heart of Greek culture, that's why Greek American kids should see the many sides of Greece and be spoon fed some of the same materialistic qualities that exist in America and Greece so they don't get to much of a cultural shock. Members of Greek communities need to get past the little rivalries over who is going to be the leader or what. This old cliche of every greek wants to be the leader so nothing gets done is dated. Look at what economic accomplishments the Greek people made to join EMU, it became a national issue and everyone worked towards the goal, and they achieved it in a such a short amount of time. If language learning, study of greek history (specifically modern) cultural exchanges for Greek Americans/Canads/etc., and opportunities for non-Greeks to learn about Hellenism, then we will completely loose any trace of our roots. This is sad. I am so discouraged with the situation here, that I am moving to Greece in September (for good hopefully) because I feel that I need to complete the cycle that our parents or grandparents began, they didn't leave Greece saying let's go to America or Canada and never return, our kids to never speak Greek, to assimilate, to not be Greek. They left to make money, get an education etc. But some got to comfortable. I believe it is time for us diaspora Greeks to return or at least become more dedicated to our fatherland.
: Hellenic Separatism!
: This is an excerpt from a lecture that took place in British Columbia, Canada concerning Hellenic related topics of discussion.
: Around & about British Columbia
: By Dimitrios & Katerina Angelatos
: 21 years of education
: The lectures which “Pharos”, the Canadian Hellenic Society has provided for the past 21 years are all very informative and give all Greeks a chance to learn more about their own heritage. While the lectures are always well attended, it is sad to note that the Greeks do not come out in large numbers. Other people seem to be more interested in learning more about the Greek culture than the Greeks themselves.
: Greeks seem to avoid contact with one another here in BC.
: Is this a common occurence in other cities with a large Hellenic community? If so, why?
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