Op/Ed & Letters
ATHENS (AP)— When Nazi troops marched into Greece's nearly deserted capital on April 27, 1941, radio announcer Costas Stavropoulos of the Hellenic Broadcasting Corp. announced the grim news. He urged his countrymen and women not to listen to future Nazi radio transmissions and signed off with the Greek national anthem. That moment in Greek broadcasting history is indelibly etched into the country's collective memory.
Athens bohemian district of Metaxourgeio recently witnessed the debut of a new festival with a focus on bold, bright colors which took place during the final weekend of May. It proved a major success in terms of both participation and attendance.The daily number of those assembled during this joyous, meticulously planned two-day event is estimated at approximately 1,000, with the expectation for next year to double this number as word about it spreads in Greece as well as internationally.
Conceptually, Metaxourgeio's Festival of Colors was conceived and given birth to as a counterpoint to Greece's current financial crisis by the same highly-creative, dynamic group of passionate young people who came to organize and orchestrate our district's perennially-popular annual carnival, which rapidly is gaining a reputation as one of the most innovative and authentic of any currently staged during Lent in Greece.
With the introduction of Metaxourgeio's new Festival of Colors, whose umbrella of activities proved sufficiently broad to include a beauty pageant for dogs, now there is one more good reason for Greeks residing in metropolises such as Chicago in the U.S, and other major cities worldwide with a concentration of Hellenic expatriates, to plan a visit to the cultural heart of Athens to enjoy the sights, sounds and vibrant colors that represent our unique district's special magic.
If empowered by Greeks globally, we can transform these two local events into major ones with an international following that serve to bring visitors from around the world to our bohemian enclave to celebrate life the Greek way. There is much more to come, so be sure to keep your eye fixed on Metaxourgeio as the Hellenic hot spot for fun, new festivals and exciting events with a special sort of charm unique to Greece's cosmopolitan capital city.
The Cyprus bailout deal is now official. Together with the International Monetary Fund, representatives from the European Central Bank and the European Commission just ratified a final rescue package totaling about $13 billion. In return, Cyprian officials are now obligated to install a broad variety of austerity measures, including financial industry reforms and restrictions on private banking transactions.
When brothers agree, no fortress is so strong as their common life.
This past weekend, I received yet another plea for help from a complete stranger living in Greece desperate for help amidst the financial crisis. The letters have increased and I know they will not stop. The challenge for each and every one of us is to not let it fall on deaf ears. Recent reports say Greece has an unemployment rate of 26.8 percent. There is a sense of urgency to help. Underneath this financial crisis there is a bond that must not be broken but rather when we read these letters a sense of brotherly love finds its way into the need to stand up and help.
ANKARA (AP)— Turkey's prime minister used less belligerent language Thursday but said he would go ahead with redevelopment plans that have sparked nationwide protests, in comments that could be decisive in determining whether demonstrations fizzle out or rage on. Speaking at a news conference in Tunisia on the last leg of a four-day tour of North Africa, Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledged that some Turks have been involved in the protests out of environmental concerns, but insisted that terrorist groups are involved in the unrest in a country seen as a democratic model for the Middle East.
CHICAGO: Illinois has become the forty-third State in our nation to adopt a resolution in support of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople (modern Istanbul, Turkey), the mother church of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago and thousands of Orthodox Christians in the state. The ancient see of Constantinople is also the ranking see of the Eastern Orthodox Churches throughout the world, with the Patriarch serving as the “first among equals” of the Orthodox Church’s hierarchy.
BAD TO WORSE: The unemployment rate across the 17 European countries that use the euro hit a record 12.2 percent in April, and the number of unemployed is on track to reach 20 million by year’s end.
On Friday, Greek-American leaders in New York expressed their appreciation to their Senator Chuck Schumer for leading the effort to alter America's visa restrictions so that unemployed Greek-speaking youth can come to America for up to three years for employment. From his position as Chairman of the Immigration Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Schumer offered an amendment to the immigration reform legislation that addressed this Greek language issue. The full Senate Judiciary Committee adopted his amendment, which was also cosponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
On May 10-11, the Asia Minor and Pontos Hellenic Research Center, the Armenian National Committee, and the Assyrian Center for Genocide Studies jointly hosted the first international conference of its kind to explore the three Ottoman Turkish Genocides.Titled The Ottoman Turkish Genocides of Anatolian Christians – Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks, the conference was held at The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Educational Center in Skokie, Illinois.