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GREEKS 
IN AUSTRALIA

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AUSTRALIA DAY

A FAIR DINKUM MILLENIUM DAYFOR ALL AUSTRALIANS OF GREEK ORIGINS

Everyone has a point of view as to how they see Australia day in the new millennium. It is certainly a far cry from the generations of Australians of a bygone era. That bygone era being post WW2 and the arrival of millions of migrants escaping the horrors of WW2. This article skims only the surface and does not accurately reflect all of the feelings of what Australia day may mean to those of the past and certainly not the views of the younger generation of Australians of Hellenic heritage. Rather itís more of a reflection of just how far the migrants of this great nation have matured and contributed to it.

As young immigrants in the 50ís and 60ís we who were of Hellenic stock did not understand exactly what Australia Day meant, nor its true meaning as it is known today. All that we knew was that Australia day was a special Day for the Anglo Saxons (or the "Anglezi" as we called Australians) and that the "Anglezi" stood to attention and saluted the flag. The word "Anglezi" symbolised all those of Anglos Saxon background. The "Anglezi" were not seen as Australians for we felt that the only true Australiansí were the Aboriginals that were living in Australia long before the white man came. This, migrants knew from their schooling back in Greece.

In the 50s and 60ís, while at school, we as youngsters, with the Australian flag flying high on the school mast we would start the day by standing to attention; neatly in our rows outside in the school yard in front of the headmaster with the school band playing, sang "Long the Queen, Long may she reign over us" etc. The anthem to the Queen had emotional strains attached to it and it gave one a sense of belonging to something greater than our own. It was a nice and easy song to remember and one wonders why in 1984 it was changed to Advance Australia Fair which many of us found it difficult to remember all the words.

At Greek school which was mainly at the local church. St Constantineís and Helen in Praharan (the original collapsed in the authors day), we would proudly sing the Greek National anthem with pride and with emotion. I guess because we were young, impressionable and not being any wiser, did not understand the Australian national Anthem as well as the Greek. After all, education and culture began at home. As youngsters, we were in a bind. At school If you did not conform or try and learn the national anthem, there was always corporal punishment in the form of the leather strap and you would be looked upon as an outcast; while at Greek school or at home, if we did not learn the Greek alphabet and memorize the Greek anthem, we would also receive a hiding. No matter which way you looked at it, we could not win either way. Talk about a "Spartan" upbringing?

On reflection it was no surprise that cultural conflict would emerge its ugly head and divide families. This cultural divide began to grow within us causing cultural and family disharmony at home with the children who were learning English and in many cases interpreting for their parents. The parents as role models felt inadequate and ill at ease to see the changes occurring on a daily within their families. Their fears on todayís standard would be seen as cultural baggage, a heavy and fearful baggage borne out of the atrocities witnessed during WW2 and passed onto their children. Therefore Australia Day in the home of most Greek homes was replaced by chores, reading and writing Greek, learning the cultural aspects of the Greek language and religion. Those whose parents who were more enlightened would allow their children to partake in Australian day activities conducted by the local council or school and thus exposing their children to the Australian way of life early, without the fear of losing their Greek identity.

The meaning of Australia and what it meant to Australians of Hellenic origins took on a new meaning in the 70ís. A fresh wave of thinking was coming to the fore, a wave of wanting to be part of Australia, wanting to be an Australian and to enjoy all the trapping of what it meant to be an Australian was washing over the Australians of Greek heritage. Free education, removal of barriers, job equality, cultural integration as against assimilation, immigrant acceptance by the wider Australian community, intermarriages and a host of many other changes that opened all doors to the new generations of migrants whose parents had arrived in the 50ís and 60ís. This change was almost immediate and with the doors all being opened, the Greek migrants began to spread throughout the various suburbs of the major cities of Australia. Mind you, a nucleus always remained in one form or another within the major cities that one could rightly call the Greek area.

Yes they wanted to be Australians and yes they wanted to feel Greek at the same time. Some embraced the Australia way of life completely immersing themselves in all things Australian and forgetting their Hellenic heritage, but the majority had the wisdom ad foresight to value both culture without one dominating the other. Australia day had come to mean a whole new meaning to Australians of Greek heritage. No longer feeling inadequate or second class citizens, for at long last they truly felt part of the fabrics of Australian society. From that decade onwards, Australia Day was celebrated by Australians of all cultures without the fear of being looked upon as a leper or an outcast. The Australian Greeks sympathized with their aboriginal brethren who saw Australia Day as a day of invasion hoped that some form of reconciliation would take place as they considered them the original Australians and not the Anglo Saxons who had invaded the country.

As the years went by, so did the remaining barriers and cultural differences. It became chic to be considered an ethnic to some, while to others they felt it was too divisive. For many in Australian society, you were looked upon as an Australian by birth, Australian by citizenship, an Australian of long term residence or you retained your identity with the old country and did not integrate. The latter however were few in numbers and it was more of not having the capacity or the knowledge to integrate without losing the cultural heritage rather than embracing the Australian culture. Australia day however by this time had reached its peak and became the established

holiday celebrated by all Australians no matter their origins or heritage. A day where all Australians could stand up and be counted as one people, one nation, under one flag, without fear or favour.

The 80ís also brought many changes, like the changes in the Australian Anthem, reconciliation, Allegiance to Australia and not the Queen of Great Britain. Those in the Australian Defence had to be discharge on one day under the old allegiance (to the Queen) and reenlist in the Australian Defence Force the next day with our allegiance to Australia. A mere formality some may say, but looking back to those days of confusion, the author remembers the odd one or two who took advantage of this administrative ambiguity and either resigned or were discharged for not reenlisting under the new conditions. It was a most confusing time for many of us who were serving the nation in one capacity or another. These changes of course had no bearing on Australia day other than learning how to remember the new national anthem, Advance Australia Fair.

From the authorís point of view, he found it rather odd that the national anthem was being changed at a time when we still retained the union jack on our flag. It was even more peculiar find that the new national anthem was created by Peter Dodds McCormick, a Scottish born composer and it was felt that the original owners of the land were not being acknowledged. Many of those with the larrikin spirit and sense of false sense of bravado (including the author) wanted to sing Waltzing Matildas instead as we felt that it symbolised the Australian character, was emotional and it had ties to the Australian landscape. Despite submissions and objections from various communities, it was not to be and Advance Australia Fair became the official anthem sung on Australia Day at all official functions and events. With the flags of both nations flying proudly in the gentle breeze, Advance Australia Fair is now played at every major event that is hosted or held by Australians of Greek origins.

In essence Australia Day in the new millennium means many things to many people. Australians of Hellenic origins and are now to be found in every sphere of Australian society, whether itís in the industrial and construction sectors, public service, professional spheres, academic world, political, defence or in the agricultural and farming areas, they and their families are contributing to the strength of the Australian nation. It is the authors belief that it is a time to reflect and remember those who have gone before us, the original owners of this land, its beauty and its landscape, to feel free, secure, to raise families, to enjoy life and to thank our lucky stars that we live in a land where being an Australian means to belong to one nation no matter where our origins may lie.

As for the authors personal view, he believes that we as Australians have come a very long way and as a nation, we are on the verge of greatness. Alongside that greatness will also come the emotional and maturity awareness, that we are truly are a unique people borne, (no longer tied to the mother country wherever that may be) out of a struggle to survive in an alien environment tamed by generations of migrants that has created an Australia Day for all. Peter Adamis

 



DOMESTIC TERRORISM
REACTION
AND ALTERNATIVE CRITICAL ANALYSIS

Peter Adamis 24 September 2014

Over the past few months we have seen Australia leading the coalition and the alliance of the willing in the MH17 air disaster over the Ukraine and the recent initiatives by our government towards reacting to the ISIS/ISIL acts of barbarism on a savage scale. In addition to these overseas incidents we have also lead the world on combating alleged terror threats on our doorstep which has attracted a worldwide positive reaction.

These initiatives by Tony Abbot are a welcome change from the world leaders who appear to pontificate and procrastinate in the face of the rise of ISIS/ISIL in the Middle east. Top marks to Julie Bishop (Foreign Minister) and Scott Morrison (Minister for Immigration and Border Protection) have also come out on top in securing our borders and overseas image. Australia has finally come out on its own and world leaders are looking closely at our government responses to the acts of terrorism on our doorstep.

I have said this on previous occasions that Tony Abbott will become one of our greatest Prime Ministers' and will rise to the occasion in the face of challenges facing this nation and that of the world. he has not disappointed me or the Australian people. Not since World War 2 have both sides of the political fence come together in a bipartisan manner to combat this rise n world terrorism and it warms the cockles of my heart to see our Prime Minister, Tony Abbott and that of the Labor Opposition leader Bill Shorten jointly denounce the barbarous acts of violence and terror that threatens our Australian way of life.

However, despite our success on the world stage, I am becoming somewhat concerned at the domestic scene and the enthusiastic responses to alleged terror threats by our law enforcement agencies. I wonder what kind of alleged threats were made to bring this type of reaction. People make veiled threats against politicians all the time without really carrying it out. It's called letting off steam. In this case I am referring to the recent anti terror raids in Brisbane, Sydney and the alleged threats against the Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Melbourne.

One can assume rightly that our security and defence organisations with their analysts have been working diligently overtime in massing information. Information that has been gleaned from human intelligence, various department feeds and organisations, overseas data, domestic community feedback and that of our own eavesdropping techniques. (Good reason for George Brandis (Attorney General) for beefing up our anti terror laws and the

collection and storage of meta data) All of which is funnelled, filtered, checked, analysed and scrutinised for any potential threats or anomalies that appear out o place or threaten our way of life.

Therefore when we see our law enforcement agencies reacting to an alleged plot or threat, we become alarmed as the event has startled us out of our normal life patterns and reacted accordingly. Whether we have strong feelings of privacy, justice, right or wrong, we are still affected by the sudden impact on our immediate environment and that of our way of life.

Therefore, when such incidents occur, I do hope that coroners and investigators conduct a thorough job in reviewing the evidence and all the information and whether the force being used was equal if not more to the alleged act or threat of terror being made and that the after incident report is not become a white wash, leaving the public in the dark.

I say this because I question whether these counter terrorism tactics are the kernel of things to come then I fear for our Australian way of life and good old Aussie humour and banter. I love having a joke just like anyone and will on the odd occasion make a remark that may appear offend someone but in the knowledge that there is no malice and/or intent in my remark.

I never want to see a climate of fear replace the good old Aussie way life where we call a spade a spade, where everyone has a fair crack of the whip, looking out for that little Aussie battler and never kicking a bloke when he is down. This way of life is precious and nowhere else in the world with the exception of Canada and New Zealand can citizens feel free to live a way of life free from bigotry, racial tensions and fear of their neighbours. We are so fortunate that we take things for granted, so much so that we the public at times may over react to the tactics being used by our law enforcement agencies.

However I am sad to say that the terror threats being made on line by ISIS/ISIL are to be taken seriously and we the public must be prepared to change and adapt to the changing fortunes of our own environment without those changes impinging too much on our way of life. What those changes are is far too early to tell, but I am of the opinion that they are on their way.

Therefore, I do hope that our law enforcement agencies are educated in the diverse community behaviours and attitudes and do not become cocky, overzealous and take matters into their own hands without any obligation to those they target. I am aware that some twenty years ago if not more, the Victorian Police Force in their wisdom implemented Community policing programs to educate their ranks in understanding diverse communities, their cultures, behaviours and way of life along with programs in understanding Mental health issues.

I am aware that within the Australian Defence Force e there are some good initiatives being taken up by military commanders and educating the personnel under their command in diverse cultures with emphasis on understanding the Islamic culture and their way of life. In one particular case, one commander took the initiative and invited a local Imam (Muslim cleric) to Q and A sessions with his soldiers. The outcome exceeded his expectations and it turned out to be a win win situation for both the officers, soldiers and for the Imam who came to understand the ethos of a an Australian soldier in this particular case.

We must also not forget that serving to look after Australia's interests are military, and law enforcement officer of the Muslim faith, who live amongst us and contribute to our way of life. Let us not judge those of that faith harshly in light of the recalcitrant and evil extremist followers of the discredited ISIL/ISIL followers. Muslim leaders throughout the world are uniting against ISIS/ISIL as they have come to realise that it has nothing to do with the Islamic faith but an abomination to world peace.

By all means keep our streets free of fear and terrorist threats, but I do hope that the groundwork has been conducted prior to taking out any alleged plot, threat or act of terrorism. There are far too many unanswered questions at the moment, but in the absence of those unknown questions, all that I can see is a climate and an environment of:

UNWARRANTED SHOCK, HORROR, AWE,

HARASSMENT FEAR AND INTIMIDATION.

I also hope that our law enforcement agencies are answerable to a higher authority, if not then they can over time become a law unto their own and answerable only to the elite. That would be a sad state of affairs and UN-AUSTRALIAN. Having said the above, I would like to add that I have always been of the belief that we have one of the most highly trained and educated law enforcement and military personnel in the world. Personnel who strive for the best in their fields and always with the best interests of Australia first.

As Australians we should be thankful that that there safe guards built into the systems that identify recalcitrant members and when found are soon dealt with expeditiously in an effective many and steps taken to overcome any misuse of power. After all these men and women entrusted with our security and safety take their duties and responsibilities seriously. However gong by the recent scandals and abuse in certain Australian Defence Force circles, this sadly was not always the case. Still where evil lurks so does the long arm of the law and angel of retribution.

In closing, I would like to add that we should not live in a state of fear but that we must adapt to meet the challenges in order to maintain our Australian way of life. If that is to mean that some privileges are to be curtailed in the short term to safeguards or interests in the long term, so be it. To achieve all of the above, we must have faith in those whose job is to safe guard our economic security, institutions, and way of life.

Therefore in order to move forward with confidence, let the unknown forces that dwell in the realms of darkness be ruled by the light of knowledge and wisdom. We who live in this country, we call home, Australia; must always remember that no matter what our origins, faith, colour and community standards are, we are all Australians.

Authors note: Apologies to the purists for any errors of grammar and punctuation, for these are only the opinions
of an ordinary bloke.


 


 


Peter Adamis
The Voice from the Pavement - Peter Adamis is a Journalist/Commentator and writer. He is a retired Australian military serviceman and an Industry organisational & Occupational (OHS) & Training Consultant whose interests are within the parameters of domestic and international political spectrum. He is an avid blogger and contributes to domestic and international community news media outlets as well as to local and Ethnic News. He holds a Bachelor of Adult Learning & Development (Monash), Grad Dip Occupational Health & Safety, (Monash), Dip. Training & Assessment, Dip Public Administration, and Dip Frontline

Coming to terms with Assimilation or Integration in Australia of many colours
 A point of view


 


 

 

 
 
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