Columbia Lecture Looks at Multiculturalism

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Columbia Lecture Looks at Multiculturalism
COMMUNITY
THE NATIONAL HERALD, FEBRUARY 16-22, 2013
3
GOINGS ON...
n FEBRUARY 23
MANHATTAN – “Movie Night at
the Annunciation” presents the
comedy-drama, “Tempest”, a film
by Paul Mazursky (in English),
starring John Cassavetes, Gena
Rolands, Susan Sarandon, Vittorio Gassman, Raul Julia and
Molly Ringwald. Co-written by
Paul Mazursky and Leon
Capetanos and loosely based on
Shakespeare’s play, “Tempest” is
about a NYC architect, a mid-life
crisis, a cheating wife, one sharp
teenage daughter, a cabaret
singer, a remote Greek island,
one eccentric, amorous hermit, a
storm, a shipwreck …life can get
really interesting! $15 suggested
donation to support the philanthropic work of the Philoptochos
Society. Refreshments will be
served. Film starts at 7:00 pm.
Demas Hall, Annunciation Greek
Orthodox Church, 302 West 91st
Street, (at West End Ave.) in
Manhattan. 212-724-2070.
n FEBRUARY 25
MANHATTAN – The Association
of Greek American Professional
Women (AGAPW) will present a
“Forum on Human Trafficking”
Co-Sponsored with the Center for
International Human Rights,
John Jay College (CUNY) on
Monday, Feb. 25, 6-8:30PM at
John Jay College – The New
Building, Conference Room 9.64
(Ninth Floor) 524 West 59th
Street (between 10th and 11th
Avenues) in Manhattan. There
will be a screening of the UNICEF
film:”Not My Life” (30 min.).
Panelists will include: George Andreopoulos, Professor of Political
Science and Criminal Justice,
CUNY; Jennifer Chan, M.Ed.,
Program Officer, End Trafficking,
US Fund for UNICEF; Dorota
Gierycz, Ph.D. Human rights
scholar, University of Vienna;
Center for International Human
Rights, John Jay College. Katerina Stefanatou, UNICEF Global
Citizenship fellow at the U.S.
Fund for UNICEF will be the
moderator. A wine and cheese
reception will follow the discussion. This is a complimentary
event, but RSVP is required. Contact Dr. Olga Alexakos at: [email protected] For further inplease
visit:
formation
http://agapw.org/site/events.
n MARCH 2
FLUSHING - This year the Pancyprian Women’s Issues Network
celebrates their 18th Anniversary
with a dinner dance on Saturday,
March, 2, 2013, at Terrace on the
Park, 52-11 111th Street in Flushing at 7PM. “We are proud to
have recognized eighteen distinguished women of our community through the years, women
who have given to the community, and created their own paths;
women who serve as an example
to us all. We are thrilled to announce this year’s honoree, Ms.
Nicole Petallides, Anchor for Fox
Business Network, 2013 Woman
of the Year. We hope you can join
in honoring Nicole.” Dinner and
dancing will follow the awards
ceremony. Dress to impress! Tickets are $90 per person. For information please contact: Dr. Florentia Christodoulidou at (718)
932-3100 office hours or after
8:00 PM (917) 402-8127;. Niovi
Philippou at (718) 428-0588 after 6:00 PM, or Maria Botsios at
(917) 301-7283.
CHICAGO, IL — The National
Hellenic Museum will host its annual Ambrosia Ball at 6:30PM on
Saturday, Mar. 2, in the Grand
Ballroom at the Palmer House.
The Museum will invite guests to
celebrate Apokries, the Greek carnival season, associated with revelry, mischief and satire. Mr.
George Stephanopoulos, Chief
Political Correspondent for ABC
News & Co-Anchor of “Good
Morning America,” will serve as
Ambrosia Ball’s honorary chair,
and Dr. & Mrs. George J. Korkos
will serve as the Ambrosia Ball
chairs. The Museum will honor
Dr. Anthony S. Papadimitriou,
Esq., President of the Alexander
S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation with the Award for Excellence “For excellence in the promotion of the world’s shared
Hellenic heritage.” The event is
black tie preferred. Tickets are on
sale now for $350 per ticket. For
tickets, call 312.655.1234, email
[email protected], or
visit www.nationalhellenicmuseum.org/events/ambrosia-ball.
n MARCH 3
MANHATTAN – The George
“Best” Costacos Foundation Walk
of Hope will take place on Sunday, March 3 at Riverside Park,
86th street and Riverside Drive
in Manhattan. Registration
10AM., walk 11AM. Join us as
we walk to raise funds to help
find a cure for brain cancer. Proceeds to benefit the lab of Dr.
David Lyden at New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical
Center. Bring your friends and
form a team. Suggested minimum registration: $20 Adults;
$10 Students For more information and to RSVP, please call 1212-252-2181 or visit the Foundation’s
website
www.georgebestcostacosfoundation.com/events.
n MARCH 4-30
MANHATTAN – The community
is invited to the new exhibition:
“Lilia: Revealing Moments,” at
Elga Wimmer Gallery, 526 W. 26
Street, #310 in Manhattan. 212206-0006, March 4 – March 30.
Lilia’s new series of works combines physical media -stone, plaster, rope- and digital media – 3d
printed sculptures, photographyto explore the concept of the female body.
n MARCH 10
FLUSHING – The Direct Archdiocesan District Philoptochos Society is proud to announce that
the District Board will honor the
women of our parishes who have
served Philoptochos for 50 years
or more. The event will be held
on Sunday, March 10 at 1PM Terrace on the Park, in Flushing. The
co-chairs of this event are Athena
Economou, and Stella Fiorentino.
The proceeds of this fundraiser
will be used to assist over 100
Greek Orthodox families that
have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy, as well as benefiting
the newly acquired Philoptochos
Center of Philanthropy at 126 E.
37th Str. in Manhattan. The Center will be the headquarters of the
Ladies Philoptochos Society. The
search for the 50 year Honorees
is chaired by Stella Capiris, who
can be reached at 203-259-7344
or email [email protected]
For luncheon reservations $65 per
person, contact Marina Katsoulis
516-627-0580
or
at
[email protected]
n APRIL 20
ASTORIA – The Hellenic Cultural
Center and the Mikrokosmos Ensemble present a historical concert “Rebetiko …To Perpetuity”
spanning the history of classical
Rebetika from Smyrna ...to
Pireaus…and the Blues of New
Orleans with Grigoris Maninakis
and the Mikrokosmos Ensemble.
Narration by Stelios Taketzis. Friday, April 19 at 7:30 PM; Saturday, April 20 at 7:30 PM; and
Sunday, Apr. 21 at 5PM at the
Hellenic Cultural Center, 27-09
Crescent Street in Astoria. Reservations Mon. – Fri. 10AM-4PM
at 718-626-5111; other times:
917- 915-8647
n APRIL 11
MANHATTAN – The 2013 Annual Career and Internship Fair
sponsored by The Cyprus-U.S.
Chamber of Commerce will be
held on Thursday, April 11,from
4:30 – 6:45 PM at the Holy Trinity Cathedral Center Ballroom,
337 East 74th Street (between
1st and 2nd Avenues) in Manhattan. The Fair is held in cooperation with AHI, HABA, Hellenic
Lawyers
Association,
and
HOUGA. Guest Speaker Maggie
Stavrianidis Human Resources
Business Partner. Job seekers
should come with their resume
Company representatives will be
available to discuss career and
internship opportunities. Companies in the field of: Insurance,
Banking, Accounting, Attorneys,
Trading, Finance, and many others will be on hand to meet with
job fair applicants. ADDITIONAL
COMPANIES INTERESTED IN
PARTICIPATING, contact: Despina Axiotakis, Executive Director 201-444-5609 or e-mail: [email protected]
Admission is Free Refreshments
will be served.
n NOTE TO OUR READERS
This calendar of events section is
a complimentary service to the
community. All parishes, organizations and institutions are encouraged to e-mail their information regarding the event 3-4
weeks ahead of time, and no later
than Monday of the week before
the event, to [email protected]
thenationalherald.com
QUESTION OF THE WEEK
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on an important question in the news. The results will be published in our printed edition next week along with the question
for that week.
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Please vote at: www.thenationalherald.com
Prof. Karen Van Dyck, Professor of Modern Greek Language
and Literature, Classics at Columbia, poses a question to Prof.
Basil Gounaris, Director of the Centre for Macedonian History
and Documentation in Thessaloniki.
Columbia Lecture Looks at Multiculturalism
By Constantine S. Sirigos
TNH Staff Writer
NEW YORK – The Program in
Hellenic Studies at Columbia
University presented a series of
talks on Balkan history by distinguished Greek historian Basil
C. Gounaris this week which
was made possible by a grant
from the Onassis Foundation
USA.
On February 12, Prof. Karen
Van Dyck, Chair of the Program
in Hellenic Studies, invited
Gounaris to speak to her class.
He made a presentation titled
“A City of Ghosts? The Endless
Search for Identity and the Post
War Politics of Memory,” whose
point of departure was Columbia professor Mark Mazower’s
2005 book Salonica, City of
Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and
Jews 1430-1950.
Gounaris, who is Professor of
Modern History at the Department of History and Archaeology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, noted that the
presentation of Mazower’s book
in Greece was a major event. It
became involved in the reaction
of some to the efforts of the surviving members of the Jewish
community to recapture their
past, and with broader issues of
Balkan and Macedonian history.
Mazower’s work, which continues the recent trends for the
recovery of Thessaloniki’s Jewish and Ottoman past, was perceived as somehow coming at
the expense of the city’s Greek
elements.
According to the series’ invitation Mazower's book “has triggered a heated debate about the
‘true past’ of the city: Is its multicultural tradition more genuine than the Greek one?”
During periods of social crisis, exchanges that require an
effort to maintain politeness and
mutual respect become arguments that could explode into
civil conflict. Perhaps the most
important discussions under
such circumstances pertain to
identity: Who we are, where did
we come from, and where must
we go?
These are also fascinating
question for outsiders, especially
historians, but if their views
clash with things that are
among the few settled matters
in unsettling times, they are unwelcome at best – for many,
they are a threat.
Thessaloniki is a very powerful symbol of Modern Greece,
underestimated as such by
scholars and policymakers alike.
The city, with the remains of
shattered ancient buildings and
its living churches that are jewels of early Christian architecture, constitutes evidence in the
critical demonstration of the
continuity of the Greek nation
from classical to Byzantine to
modern period.
Mazower’s experience shows
how historians sometimes enter
the crucible of history itself –
the name Fallmerayer comes up
in this context – and their names
become elements in political discourse.
Did Mazower grasp the consequences of what was perceived by some as an attack on
a powerful symbol of Greek
identity? That does not matter.
He is a scholar. The question is
did he properly handle the evidence with which he constructed his vision of Thessaloniki as a multicultural
Paradise Lost.
Gounaris, by focusing on the
City’s Jewish history, illustrated
the vicissitudes of particular historical studies. Earlier generations of scholars could not do
what Mazower did, and
Gounaris pointed out that the
absence of Jewish stories from
the pages of Greek history books
was not merely the result of
prejudice or indifference.
Historiography, like all fields,
requires an infrastructure: scholars willing to undertake the arduous task of mastering languages like Ladino and Ottoman
script, and the institutions willing to train and provide them
with jobs. That requires investments from both an interested
establishment –and financial resources which are not always
available.
Gounaris said, poignantly,
“Until recently there was no one
at my university who could read
the tombstones on the land it
stood on .” After the Nazis dug
up the city’s Jewish cemetery,
Aristotle University was built
there.
The leftist shift in Greek politics after the fall of the Junta
in 1974 engendered an interest
in previously marginalized minorities and their histories.
Gounaris noted that older Greek
history books were not only
missing the stories of the Jewish
community. For political reasons
entire sections of history were
omitted, such as the interwar
period, because of the sensitivities of the monarchists. There
was silence about the liberation
of the city from Nazi rule because of the prominent role of
the left that the right wing post
war governments wished to suppress.
MULTICULTURAL? REALLY?
But Gounaris’ talk also
showed that even sound scholarship can engender honest disagreements.
At its root, multiculturalism
is an expression of the right to
be different. Gounaris asked
whether Ottoman society be
called multicultural in the modern sense of valuing ethnic and
religious diversity and even celebrating the right to be different? Can Ottoman Thessaloniki
be cited as an example ? Thessaloniki was not like New York.
He said, “and the Ottoman em-
pire is not the U.S.A. Its millet
system was simply an efficient
means of Islamic rule over infidels. It served to re-enforce
longstanding prejudices, not
break them down.”
Scholars can find evidence to
counter that view, but Gounaris
stressed that it consists of the
writings of foreign visitors like
merchants and diplomats, who
were over-impressed with the
mosaic of groups they observed
in public places like the port or
the markets, and legal religious
toleration.
At its root,
multiculturalism
is an expression
of the right to
be different
Gounaris said, however. “Toleration did not imply equality
of value of the respective civilizations,” which is essential for
true multiculturalism.
The
Christian, Jews and Moslems of
the cosmopolitan bourgeoisie
that emerged in the 19th century interacted – the residential
quarters were never pure, the
barriers were weak he said, but
they returned to communities
that possessed their own
schools, newspapers etc.
“The same piece of news that
might embitter one group
brought joy to another. The population preferred to associate
with their co-religionists,” he
said.
As Gounaris learned from his
research and interviews, “the
Jews were everywhere, but invisible, as if they lived in another dimension. Greeks and
Jews walked down the same
streets, they were together but
apart.”
By the 1990s, after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, the
great port city aspired to becoming the commercial hub and cultural center of the Balkans.
Tourists were sought from
Turkey and Israel. The apparent
multiculturalism of the city’s
past gained cachet.
But the influx of refugees
and other immigrants, combined with the Macedonia name
dispute with neighboring FYROM, began to shake the selfconfidence of some of the population. Some perceived works
like Mazower’s as contributing
to the deconstruction of the
modern Greek state, and the
role of history and historians
came under scrutiny.
Gounaris’ talk illustrated the
different functions they perform. They can be disinterested
but passionate seekers after
truth, or participants in the
process of state and nation
building. The work they do contains elements of art and science, and some of them come
to be hailed as prophets and visionaries. The latter labels are
in the eyes of the beholder – and
in the history books.