Greeks traditionally have a deeply held love for the country of our ancestry. Whether it’s because of family, fond holidays or our admiration of its history and culture, our links to Greece are strong.
However in recent times, these links have been taken for granted and its starting to have a detrimental effect.
Today, many Greeks in Australia are feeling let down by the established Greek lobby groups and societies. But before we absolve ourselves of blame and point the finger at others, we, as individuals, need to pull our finger out and promote and defend Greece – day in and day out.
Greece is entering an unprecedented attack on its reputation due to the Global Financial Crisis and a legacy of Government neglect. For that reason, more than ever, the Greek diaspora needs to start defending and promoting its culture, history and geography no matter how small the attack may seem. We need to become vigilant in defending issues of importance to Greece – at every opportunity.
Recently I was criticized for not calling someone from FYROM, Macedonian. I was told “what’s the big deal anyway?” This issue is a vital issue to our historic and modern Greek identity. While we need to be mindful that in Australia every community is entitled to their opinion, it doesn’t mean we should compromise our deeply held convictions.
We have already conceded so much territory on issues like FYROM and the Parthenon Marbles that Greeks who defend their history and culture are seen as agitators even though our position may be supported by the United Nations and historical fact.
We have allowed groups of individuals to claim something that is not theirs and worst of all, we have allowed ignorance and an incorrect perception to establish itself. We let false claims pass with no opposition, even amongst friends, for fear that we are “just being difficult.”
I fear that we are all waiting for some imaginary “Greek Lobby” to get its act together and save the day for Greece and Greeks abroad. The fact is, this will never happen while we simply wash our hands of our individual responsibility to defend and promote Greece at every opportunity.
Maybe a reason the current Greek lobby group is not successful is because no one believes they have the conviction, determination or support of its individuals.
As they say, “A rising tide lifts all boats,” and that’s what we need. A rising tide of passion and commitment to Hellenism. This will put pressure on improving the quality of the current “Greek lobby” and rejuvenate the leadership with a groundswell of vocal individuals that can give weight and force to any current and future Greek lobby group.