The nothingness of 'I am Hellene'
The viral YouTube clip 'I am Hellene' is causing a stir in the online world. Here Protesilaos Stavrou gives his opinion as to why the content "disturbs" him
The preposterous effort to draw a dividing line between "Hellenes" and "Greeks", as if the latter word is somehow tainted and its use only tarnishes the memory and glory of our forefathers. For those of you who are not familiar with Greek mythology and/or history - video production team included - Hellene and Grekos were both sons of Zeus. Hellene lived in Thessaly, from where Achilles and his Myrmidons originated, while Grekos lived in Eperus, the land from where consecutive waves of migrants/sailors moved westwards to establish colonies in Southern Italy, which at the time was known as Magna Greciac (Big Greece).
The fact that "Greek" became the standard ethnonym has to do with the fact that the Romans first encountered a Hellenic tribe identifying itself as descendant of Grekos, hence "Greek". Thus the Romans assumed that all these people residing on the peninsula of Emos (Greece) and the surrounding areas are the "Greeks". We should be proud that foreigners use the word "Greek" (among others) because it reminds us of the time we travelled outside our borders and met other people and cultures, contrary to our modern narrow-minded, pseudo-nationalistic inwardness.
I understand that the morale of the Greeks may be at its nadir. That systematic efforts may be required to reignite their inner flame. To make people believe in their selves again.
However, I strongly disagree with the entire message of the above video. Make no mistake, the problem is not the video per se but its very content which perfectly depicts the failing mentality that brought the country to this point of disaster. It is that self-defeating slavishness to brutishly survive under the shade of a glorious past, without any ambitious vision of determining the future in any decisive way.
We need to reinvent Greece, not perpetuate its vegetable existence. To believe that change will come from the recycling of the same old utterly repulsive attitudes, unexamined dogmas and backward shibboleths, is in my humble opinion, foolishness of the highest degree.
To read Protesilaos' thoughts (which he licences under a creative commons attribution license) visit www.protesilaos.com/2012/04/nothingness-of-i-am-hellene-video.html and view the 'I am Hellene' clip at http://youtu.be/KpDtvumzbV0
Above one of several humorous responses to the original video.
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