submitted by George Poulos on 19.05.2004
WORLD COUNCIL OF HELLENES ABROAD (S.A.E.)
1009 Botany Road
Mascot, NSW 2020
61 2 9667 4733
Fax: 61 2 9667 2861
Level 1, 168 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne, Victoria 3000
61 3 9650 0107
Fax: 61 3 9650 1905
STAYING IN TOUCH NO. 72
A NEWSLETTER FROM THE SAE OCEANIA CO-ORDINATOR
The emphatic “No” by the Greek Cypriots leads this bulletin. After 30 years of hypocrisy by the international community, which completely disregarded the numerous U.N. Resolutions on Cyprus, these same hypocrites have the audacity to forget all that has transpired and present the referendum result as one in which Turkish Cypriots wanted reunification but the Greek Cypriots voted “No”. It scandalously ignores the fact that it has been the Greek Cypriots who have been struggling for the unification of their country, following the invasion, ethnic cleansing, and the settlement of colonists in the occupied territory by Turkey in defiance of countless U.N. Resolutions, damning reports by the Council of Europe and judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. The Greek Cypriots did not say “No” to reunification, they said “No” to a plan that legitimises the de facto partition, pardon’s Turkey’s documented violations of human rights, forces the Greek Cypriots to pay the cost of Turkey’s occupation and most importantly, does not provide a viable and functional constitutional framework. Greek Cypriots WANT reunification based on U.N. Resolutions, E.U. law, on the basic principles of democracy and the rule of law. Finally, the most fundamental tenet of a referendum is that the people should be able to freely express their opinion without the threats and intimidation that they will be punished if they vote “No”. Despite those threats and failure by the U.N., the E.U. and the U.S.A. to take a neutral position the people voted “No”. Why is it that the overwhelming majority’s decision in Cyprus cannot be accepted?
Athens Olympic Games
The adverse media attention on Athens continues in the face of the real facts as stated by the most objective authorities:- Scotland Yard ridiculed the Times of London, Kevan Gosper refers to the Olympic Village as the safest place on earth during the Olympics and the evidence - $1 billion to be spent on security (compared to $231 million in Sydney), almost 50,000 security personnel on the ground and NATO patrolling the skies and waterways; the venues are world class, architecturally impressive and breathtaking, (Gosper admits that the media facilities are superior to those of Sydney and that ATHOC has been much more open and truthful than SOCOG was); and the new tram and suburban railway will be operational by early July. Further, and despite the worldwide negativity and instability Athens had sold almost 2 million tickets at the close of the last selling session. Sales will restart on 1 June, 2004. Ticket sales to the public outside of Hellas are up by 20% over Sydney. It is sad that there is bias and some malice in the way the media portray Athens (the actual 60 minutes programme from America was balanced but channel 9’s previews were not; headlines such as “Let the Greek Comedy begin” and “countdown to chaos” create a misconception of an impending Olympic disaster and completely ignore the many “firsts” (even on volunteer applications Athens received 160,000 as compared to 76,000 in Sydney) already achieved by Athens).
In the meantime we are getting ready to welcome the Athens Olympic Torch in Australia – its first stop. In Sydney the Hellenic Community has organised a celebration at Brighton on Friday 4 June between 11a.m. and 1p.m. and a special fundraising luncheon for the AOC. Olive trees are to be planted along the route of the flame and there will be a Greek flavour at the Olympic Stadium in the evening. Let the Athens, Olympic Games celebrations begin in Sydney!
On another positive note we are delighted to learn that the replica of the ancient Athenian trireme – “Olympias” will carry the Olympic Torch. This had been proposed for the Sydney Olympics and had the agreement of the Hellenic Navy and the N.S.W. Government but did not eventuate because of a veto by one of Sydney’s major sponsors. Now our proposal to Athens has been accepted and the trireme will participate in the torch relay.
No, not our one in Australia but the dangerous deterioration in relations between the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Church of Greece. This is a third major issue for the Ethnos and makes 2004, as expected, a major and tumultuous year. It is important that a speedy resolution is found so as to not endanger in any way the Ecumenical Patriarchate which has endured countless assaults over the past seventeen centuries and stands out as not only the beacon of Orthodoxy but as an internationally recognised symbol of Hellenism with a history, tradition and culture that directly links us to Byzantium and our medieval past.
An example of this extraordinary continuity is the formal apology by the Archbishop of Lyon who attended a liturgy in Constantinople to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the sack of the city in April, 1204. Patriarch Vartholomeos accepted “the apology” and the reassurance that the West will never again undertake such an abomination against the Christians of the East”. (What do you call the pressure applied to the (Christian) Greek Cypriots during April 2004 – Editors Note). Following the cordial reception afforded to Turkish P.M. Erdogan on his recent visit to Hellas and the warming of Greco-Turkish relations perhaps it is the right time for a goodwill gesture by Turkey to allow the re-opening of the Theological School of Halki. You can support the call by clicking in on:-
On the 19th May each year we commemorate the Pontian Genocide and the Asia Minor Holocaust. Canada is the latest country to recognise the Armenian Genocide, its Parliament recently voting 153 – 68 in favour of doing so. If Turkey is to ever be truly accepted as a member of Europe it must accept and apologise for the mistakes of the past and commit itself to a new future. During May we also have the Battle of Crete and liberation of Thrace commemorations. Let us attend the various events being organised and show support for our Pontian, Cretan and Thracian brothers.
SAE Oceania’s Cultural Network has organised the following events:-
A series of five seminars on the history of the Hellenic Language. These will be held each Sunday, commencing on 20th June at the Alexander Club, Livingstone Road, Marrickville between 4p.m. and 6.30p.m. For details contact Yota Krili on (02) 9660 4428.
The deadline for submissions for the SAE Oceania 2004 literary contest is 31st October, 2004. For details contact Dr John Vasilakakos on (03) 9510 6887.
The world premiere of the play “Ellada’s Odysseia” will be held in Sydney during the months of September and October. The production will be the result of a collaboration between five Sydney theatrical troupes.
I also take this opportunity to thank Yota Krili and the organising committee of the 2003 literary contest, George Lianos and AHEPA (NSW).
The Australian Hellenic Council will hold its annual Conference in Canberra between 19 – 21 June, 2004. The Niki Awards for 2004 will be presented at a dinner to be held at the Hellenic Club on Sunday, 20 June at 7.30p.m. For tickets call the Hellenic Club on (02) 6281 0899.
EPA 5, “the voice of Greece’s” radio programme may now be heard on
The deadline for Applications for the Pan-Hellenic Games to be held in Sydney in October has been extended to the 31st May, 2004.
The writer is privileged to be the Australian Institute of International Affairs’ guest speaker on Thursday 20 May, 2004 at 6p.m. The venue is at the “Glover Cottages, 124 Kent Street, Sydney. RSVP 9427 2709
SAE World President Andrew Athens has been honoured by the American Jewish Committee for his leadership in promoting relations among America’s ethnic groups. Mr Athens’ close ties with Jewish Americans assisted in the recent recognition of Patriarch Ireneos by Israel. Well deserved!
Another area where Andrew Athens’ hard work has been inspirational is the medical centres in the former Soviet Union and Albania. In just 5 years $53 million worth of medicines, supplies and equipment have been distributed. The new food distribution programme has sent four containers of food to Hellenes in Georgia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. If you would like to assist any of the SAE programmes your donation may be deposited at any Commonwealth Bank branch in the following account:- World Council of Hellenes Appeal
o Account No. 2200 1008 7044
Parthenon Marbles - support the call by registering your support on the electronic petition direct to the U.K. Parliament on
The Albanian Parliament voted against a motion brought by the Nationalist Party in support of the Tsamides (political exiles from Hellas who sided with the fascist forces during world war II). Is this a sign of political maturity in the Balkans? Perhaps the Albanian Government will now permit the operation of a Greek language school in Heimarra.
Remember to apply for the Hellenic Credit Card, the only one that helps world Hellenism. Call Angelo Sikes on 0412 393 501.
The year 2004 was always going to be an important one for Hellenism. It is now also one of the most critical in recent Hellenic history. There must be absolute national unity at the political and ecclesiastical levels, between Athens and Nicosia, between political parties, organizations and individuals. The issues must be handled decisively but with delicacy, sensitivity and diplomacy and we must all lend our support to this national unity. There is no room for division anywhere.
STAY IN TOUCH!
12 May, 2004
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