Sunday, November 30, 2014


The first thing that aged Greek clients ask me when they attend my office for the purposes of making their wills is whether their assets are protected when a concatenation of circumstances causes the surviving partner, usually the male, to become 'mixed up,' (μπλεγμένος), with a younger and the inference is, rapacious, new companion. For some reason, that companion is invariably cast as being of Asian extraction, more often than not hailing from the Philippines. My response, in these cases, is to turn to the said male, squat, with a bulbous nose, droopy eyelids and pendulous breasts and exclaim: "Look at him. Do you really think that anyone else apart from you would have the courage to take him on, even for a half share of your nineteen-eighties brick veneer home?" Nine times out of ten the anxious spouse chokes with laughter, the male wakes up and we move on to the next topic.
That topic concerns the identification of labyrinthine machinations of Byzantine complexity that would enable the aged couple to bequeath their assets to their offspring but only upon a multitude of prescriptive conditions as to what they can and cannot do with that property. It pains them to the extreme to learn that, except in certain circumstances, a bequest under a will is a gift where the bequeather has little or no say as to how that gift is utilised after their death. 
Try as they might, my aged Greek clients find it difficult to understand that the law works in such a way as to prohibit them from managing the family property within the grave.
A similar attitude can be evidenced in the approach of some first generation members of our community to our community structures and its assets. Recent laudable debate as to the necessity of rationalising all of our dormant or unproductive assets in order to restructure our community for the purposes of placing it in the best position to withstand future challenges has been met with anguish but also imagination by members of the first generation. In a recent meeting to determine the sale of the Pansamian Brotherhood's building, as it no longer serves the needs of an ageing and most ancient community, having been extant since the early 1900s, a member remarked: "We didn't build this for the youth [all of whom are in their fifties and sixties]. We built it for ourselves. Let the next generations shift for themselves."
Most first generation community members do not follow this approach. Instead, they are concerned with the survival and best use of the assets their collective, superhuman, voluntary endeavours amassed over the most productive decades of their lives. They are apprehensive that these assets will not be appreciated (emotionally) and dissipated by latter generations who are disengaged, disinterested and no longer share their forebears need at least for the semblance of unity on the level of cultural origin. For this reason, they seek to lay down structures that they believe will stand the test of time. One of these recent attempts to lay down guiding principles for the future smooth running of the community would see us adopt a structure reminiscent of the Holy Roman Empire, whereby the current regional clubs and federations become electors within the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria, while a prytaneum (traditionally, in ancient Greece, a city's own central hearth and sacred fire representing the unity and vitality of the community, but here a collective of the best and brightest of the Greek community as a brains trust and so much more) could suggest or explore future directions and challenges, much as the Vatican dictated cultural and religious policy to the Holy Roman Empire in times medieval.
Such suggestions, and there are many more, though not without intrinsic flaws, are novel and absorbing. Yet what they all have in common is a complete disregard or non-comprehension of the current complex social position of the indigenous Greek generations, as well as an unwillingness to perceive how these generations relate, or rather don't relate, to the current existing structures. Furthermore, what unimaginably passes without comment is the fact that a first generation, in the swan song of their active, productive life, purport to set rules, boundaries and structures for a second generation that has a) grown up, b) permeated all spheres of Australian life, c) displays a fierce independence and often defines itself by its emancipation from what it perceives to be the outdated, oppressive or quaint mores of its progenitors. In short, the latter generations, if they appear at all in the calculations of the self-appointed architects of the perpetuity of the Greek community, make a cameo appearance as mere abstractions, something which is the height of folly when one considers that it is for their benefit that such rules are being crafted.
Moreover, the key questions that potentially marry the latter generations to the existing structures of the Greek community are not being asked. Firstly, why have these latter generations (with a few notable exceptions), deserted the current structures of the Greek community in droves? Secondly and most importantly, if the current structures of the community do not address the needs of these generations, or have alienated them, as is often argued, why have these generations, so capable and dynamic in all other respects, not formed their own, as their parents did and continue to do? Thirdly, if these latter generations are unwilling, incapable or require motivation to rejoin the Greek community, under what terms should this take place? The answers to these questions are a condition precedent for determining the future direction of the community. For the latter generations enjoy a diversity of opinion, outlook, values, language skill, exposure to Greek culture, economic and career status far exceeding that of their hitherto close-knit predecessors.
Rather than perpetuate the fractiousness of the past by parodying political process, whereupon the energies of the first generation were often expended upon tail-chasing intricate plots and schemes solely to gain and maintain illusory and ineffectual power, what we need to do as a community is to establish some key priorities, the accomplishment of which are intrinsic to our survival. One of these has already been achieved - the erection of the Cultural Centre, a remarkable feat, brought about largely by committed members of the second generation, in consultation and collaboration with the rest of the Greek community. Here then is a cloud with a silver lining - acting not in accordance with a calcifying constitution, to be interpreted and re-interpreted according to one's needs, but rather, acting in a fluid, flexible fashion, according to the needs of the time and most importantly engaging with and including all those persons who wish to contribute, regardless of their age, region of origin or political opinion.
Further than that, there are some serious issues to be addressed, such as the availability of Greek early learning and child care centres in the suburbs, for it is the early years that are crucial to the formation of the linguistic capabilities and cultural identification of our children. Then there is the formation of facilities that will enable young Greek families to get together in ever increasing outlying suburbs where no current structures exist and social isolation is the norm. Chances are, if people relate to each other as Greeks from a young age, they will want to continue to do so in later life. Laudably, the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia is currently conducting research into this very question. In addition, given the internecine strife that saw the first generation, having accomplished its erection of edifices, turn on each other, often inexplicably and through the creation of mini-parliaments, attempt to destroy that which they wished to achieve, often transforming their organisations from family-centred social clubs to war-zones, we need to return to the grass roots and re-construct a community that is friendly, easy to belong to and, let's face it, fun. The vibrant Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria has made great strides in this regard in recent years, yet the catch up work that is required is still enormous.
As in the case of my anxious clients, the first generation cannot and should not solely abrogate to itself the right to determine the structures that will guide the community through the generations, or the future of its assets. Instead, this is a process that requires intergenerational engagement and the participation of all sectors of our community, working in concert and in a spirit of compromise to provide for each other's needs. After all, the best way to ensure that your children will respect and utilise that which you will give, devise and bequeath to them in your will, is to talk to them, work with them and ensure you all share the same aspirations, not corral them within a set of rigid, incomprehensible structures that can only breed resentment and disengagement. And if they do not, they deserve the chance to determine things in their own way, long after we are gone.


First published in NKEE on Saturday, 30 November 2014

Saturday, November 22, 2014


My octogenarian great aunt, my grandmother’s sister, is a most formidable woman. Possessed of a steely brow, piercing eyes and thick hair, carefully restrained within a plait the thickness of a handspan, that reaches all the way to her knees, she is renowned within the family and beyond for her practical, no nonsense approach to life, an approach that can be likened to construction machinery, as she bulldozes through life’s innumerable obstacles.  Such an approach came to her in her youth where, back in the village, charged with administering injections for the local doctor at all hours of the night, she happened to be walking through the village in the darkness, when she was accosted by a sleazy male, who made various lewd suggestions to her. Without a moment to lose she waylaid him, subjecting him to a beating so severe that no one in the village ever so much as raised their eyebrows in her general direction ever again. Given that my aunt’s forearm are twice the size of my own, such a beating was not inconsiderable.
Aptitude for self defence notwithstanding, my great aunt is also possessed of a religious temperament, and as a child I loved to sneak upstairs her creaky Victorian terrace home gaze at her iconostasis, comprised of icons lovingly arranged upon a mantelpiece. At their centre was an extremely old icon of the Resurrection, executed in baroque, manneristic style. Its triumphalism and deep passion would always transfix me, until that is, my aunt would materialize silently behind me and whisk me away, so as to do no damage. My aunt’s religiosity also is the cause of the mortal peril in which I happened to find myself one day, when in conversation, I casually remarked that Jesus Christ was a Jew. My remark was met with an ominous silence as I saw my aunt turn various stages of pink, red and then violet. “What?” she eventually snapped. “Who told you that?”
“Well, everyone knows that he is a Jew,” I replied sensing I had committed a grievous error but not quite knowing just what that error was. “You do know that he is a Jew, don’t you?” I continued, apprehensively.
“Rubbish!” my aunt spat, as she threw her arms up into the air. “Absolute rubbish. Jesus was Greek. His mother was called Maria. She was Greek! Who teaches you this twaddle?”
            Carefully, I picked up her coffee cup, which, in her indignation, she had sent sprawling across the coffee table and replaced it upon its saucer. I then opened her Bible, which always stood upon her sideboard and turning to the first verses of the Gospel of St Matthew began to read aloud: “Book of the Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah - This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers...”
“What was Abraham, aunt?” I asked. “A Jew. What was Isaac? A Jew. Jacob? Judah in particular? All of them were Jews. How can you say that Jesus was Greek when even the Bible states that his ancestors were Jews?”
“Give me that,” my aunt said, snatching the Bible from my hands. She sat there, lips pursed, mouthing every syllable, as she attempted to absorb the information I had just given her, thick forefinger, following the text in front of her. As she continued down the page, the furrows in her brow became ever more pronounced until finally she put the Bible down and looked up at me:
“This Bible has been written by Communists and Jehovah’s Witnesses,” she shouted. “This is disgraceful Now get out of here.”
            This memory is germaine to the recent attempts by the Greek tourism board, to appropriate the Twelve Apostles along Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, in their advertising campaigns. Greece of course, has no shortage of wondrous natural and man-made landmarks to offer to travelers for exploitation, for the purposes of extracting funds from them and thus, the appearance of the testament to the erosive properties of the Southern Ocean in a Greek tourism campaign can only rendered explicable by a thought process akin to that of my aged aunt, to wit: If Jesus is Greek, it stands to reason that the twelve Apostles, are also Greek and therefore, the Greek ministry of tourism, headed by the western educated Olga Kefaloyianni, (whose name, tortuously belabouring the motif of this paragraph literally translates as Head-John’), is entitled to claim them. Furthermore, the word apostle is Greek and if indignant Australians continue to poke fun at Greece’s righteous claims upon this landmark, the Greeks can demand the payment of royalties from them, for the continued use of the world ‘Apostles,’ and utilize these funds for the re-payment of European bail-out. If this is refused, then Australia should be compelled to rename them the “Twelve Emissaries,” instead. At any rate, the onus in upon Australia to prove that the Twelve Apostles were not Greek, having regard to the propensity of communists and ne’er do wells to alter the text to suit their anti-Hellenic agenda.
            Mystifyingly, the Greek ministry for tourism did not cite any of these cogent arguments in support of its appropriation of the Twelve Apostles. Instead, it concocted a nebulous justification that has regards to the stars above the Twelve Apostles, all of which apparently are Greek, including the Southern Cross, which of course, goes by the sobriquet of Stavros. 'When the day is done,’ the narrator pronounces,  ‘the moon and her stars paint the sky in brilliant constellations, named from astrology by ancient sailors, navigating their way from island to island across the broad sea,'
In one section of the advertisement, entitled  'Gods, Myths, Heroes' (because according to the Greek tourism board, there is nothing worth seeing in Greece that took place after the mythological era), the video pans over the Twelve Apostles under a starry night sky, while the English narrator tells how it is here that Aphrodite, goddess of love, lust and kindness, 'emerges from the waves.'
            This is fascinating, as it is common knowledge that Aphrodite emerged from the waves off Paphos in Cyprus, where there exists one Twelve Apostle-like protuberance. One wonders why the Greek tourism board did not appropriate this image instead. One also wonders why the Greek tourism board and its buoyant minister could have possibly thought that the existence of Greek-named constellations in the night sky could act as an incentive for people to visit Greece. What will be next? Video footage of the Palace of Westminster and the Capitol to invite people to Greece as the home of democracy? Footage of the Scienceworks museum that will move tourists to flock to Greek shores to pay homage to the home of systematic science, or indeed, photographs of Peter Singer and Bertrand Russell to showcase Greece as the home of philosophy?
            It did not take long to wiggle my way back into my aunt’s favour. I did so by diverting her religious sensitivities to one of her favourite topics, the life and works of St Kosmas the Aetolian, one of the Geek nation’s most famous enlighteners and evangelists. It is to whom now who the talented people at the Greek Ministry of tourism should turn, using 1950’s footage of Billy Graham and current clips of Creflo Dollar and Joel Osteen to lure people to Greece, as the home and place of origin, of evangelism.
First published in NKEE on Saturday 22 November 2014

Saturday, November 15, 2014


The year was 1987. I was accompanying my grandmother on her weekly excursion to acquire groceries, when, passing by the local opportunity shop, we chanced, in the window, upon a rather large 19th century Greek icon, accompanied by a large framed tapestry with the Greek words intricately embroidered upon it: «Το πεπρωμένο φυγείν αδύνατον.» (It is impossible to escape fate). My grandmother shrugged her shoulders, as she walked past: “That belonged to old Maria. She died last week and already her children have cleared out her things. Vanity of vanities, all is vanity. Walk on…” When I ventured to suggest that she purchase the icon, as it was beautiful, skilfully executed and probably would be worth a significant sum in the future, she shook her head: “I will not bring the curse of an old lady who has been dishonoured by her children into my house. Let’s go.”
                In those days, most homes were decorated in the Balkan Baroque style. Antimacassars or doilies, most often crocheted by the grandmothers themselves, covered the tables, arm rests and head rests of all chairs, while, at least in the homes of my aged relatives, the couches and some walls would be covered by hand knitted «βελέτνζες,» often sporting colour schemes louder that Al Grassby’s choice of tie-wear, thanks to the available range at Spotlight. Duller, two-chrome counterparts for the floor were known as «στράτες,» and these were strategically placed upon those areas in the house that received the most foot-traffic, regardless of the fact that all that they were protecting was carpet.
                Above the mantelpiece of a fire-place that had long been bricked up and converted into a gas-heater, my grandmother placed two oil lamps, which she had brought with her on the long journey to Australia. Also prominent, were two plaster statues of the goddess Athena, purchased on the first trip back to the motherland in 1973 and in between these, occupying pride of place, an impossibly long and inordinately heavy iron key, the key to the door to a home that no longer existed, across the waters, in Turkey, a reminder of a first migration that was the precursor of the second. On the adjoining wall, the sombre and jaundiced visages of both sets of my paternal great-grandparents gazed down at us sternly, from yellowing photographs encased in thick, wooden frames.
                The obligatory painting of the Last Supper hung in the formal dining room, complemented upon the opposite walls, by two matching, gaudily painted plates depicting  a burly gent clad in an implausibly short foustanella, blowing a trumpet, (most likely his own) in front of the Parthenon. The wall of the living room, wherein, for reasons unknown the refrigerator was also housed, was adorned by a print of a scantily clad woman lying languidly upon some lush grass at night. When I asked my grandmother whether this woman was Persephone, and the scene the underworld, she dismissed my question summarily. “No idea. This was hanging here when we bought this place in the fifties. It is part of the history of this house, so we left it alone.”
                Apart from these items, my grandmother’s house was sparsely decorated, furnished only with the glossy, pseudo-high grained furniture of the time, including complementary cigarette lighter and ashtray stand, and powder blue telephone. In my aunt’s cabinet of curios however, there existed an amazing array of traditional storage vessels and cooking pots and even an old tsimbouki, a pipe that was two metres tall and lovingly decorated with geometric designs. Most bizarre, was a pair of shoes, made out of reeds. These were objects of fascination for all of the cousins and woe betide anyone of us who was to be found playing near said cabinet.
                Mindful of the many curses that our progenitors advised us befell those who dishonoured our ancestors, my grandmother’s various paraphernalia were packed up after her death and have been preserved until the present day. Yet not a week goes by when the personal effects of the deceased elderly members of our community make their modest appearance at local second hand shops. With their passage into other hands, an entire history can either be transmitted or lost.
                Restaurateur, benefactor and enthusiastic collector of Greek ephemera John Rerakis recently was moved by the discovery of a pair of stefana in an opp-shop, complete with original stefanothiki. He purchased them, in order, as he stated, to save these sacred items from desecration by those who do not understand their significance. Among the many Greek-Australian items he has been able to collect, mostly embroidery, he singles out this and a large suitcase clearly marked with the words “PATRIS,” as his most poignant finds. This was obviously the suitcase that accompanied a now departed Greek migrant upon his voyage to Australia, and is thus, replete with a meaning for al of us, that ought to be preserved.
                My own find of poignancy on the other hand, took the form of stumbling over the complete Greek library of a prominent local poet, weeks after his demise. The books, covering a gamut of Greek literature and poetry are not only inscribed with the poets distinctive signature, but also heavily annotated, giving a unique insight in to the appreciation and critical thought of a Greek-Australian of significance. I have chanced upon other, smaller caches of Greek books in shops around Melbourne and have acquired as many as I can, believing that in this way, I am preserving the collective cultural yearnings of a lost generation, at least until my own progeny, separated by my own yearnings by generation, language and zeitgeist, determine that they should divest themselves of the burden of their progenitor’s psychological clutter.
                Nonetheless, in the increasingly solitary homes of the elderly in Brunswick, Fawkner, Oakleigh, Preston, Carnegie and beyond, a whole way of furnishing homes, firstly in the sparse style transplanted from the motherland, then with the nostalgia expressed by kitsch souvenirs, and lastly, when firmly established, with aspirational bourgeois Franco Cozzo style décor, representing a philosophy of combining nostalgia with practicality and the need for an invented past, is slowly passing away. When it does, much of what is tangible of the pioneering ethos of the first migrants will pass away and become irretrievably lost. This is the way of all things yet it is incumbent upon us, even when it is not possible or feasible to preserve all the ephemera that bear witness to their sojourn and foundation of the community in which we live, to at least record their natural habitat, even as it diminishes, before it vanishes. For this reason, let all of us descend upon the homes of our elderly, cameras in tow and photograph, the quaint, the stereotypical but ultimately, the warm, the vital and the endearing in the history of our home decoration, prior to the devastation of modern tasteless minimalism. We owe at least this to the people whose homes were built in hope, optimism and ultimately, immense love and to the interior decorators of the future, so as to determine the precise placement of the doily, when, in their infinite innovative wisdom, they resolve to bring it back.

First published in NKEE on Saturday 15 November 2014

Saturday, November 08, 2014


On Late Night Live a few weeks ago, the sagacious Phillip Adams asked Graeme Blundell if 3XY, a Melbourne radio institution still exists. Graeme in turn mused that it had probably been dissolved. It was to this conversation that my thoughts turned, when I beheld the breathtaking Yiannis Ploutarhos on the stage of Hamer Hall. Clean-cut Yiannis, the sort of person you would have no qualms taking home to meet your mother except when forming the sneaking suspicion that she may try to steal him from you and take advantage of his boyish demeanour, generously offered to fly the long distance to Australia in order to perform at a charity concert for the benefit of Agapi Care, Frontitha and the Australian Greek Welfare Society. He did so at the behest of 3XY Radio Hellas, which is definitely in existence and this year, celebrates 20 years of Greek broadcasting. 
I remember in October 1994, the founder of Radio Hellas, Spiros Stamoulis calling us excitedly and stating: 'Τώρα έχουμε φωνή.᾽ For the first time ever, our community would have a twenty-four hour radio station, run by the community for the community. What followed completely transformed our community, as we then knew it. Firstly there was the novelty of having a Greek voice reach each and every available home at any hour. For years, our radio, permanently tuned to 1422AM, would be on during every one of our waking hours. In those days, local actors, journalists and would-be media personalities all scrambled to contribute to this audacious undertaking. We would avidly listen to the radio-play Ἡ οικογένεια Στουρνάρα,῾ following the fortunes of a typical Greek-Australian family, and laugh at George Kapiniaris' humorous "Hair Loss is not a Greek Island." Visiting Greek educator and historian Kostas Tsonis produced a remarkable set of programs tracing the multi-faceted history and culture of the various regions of Greece, whilst the presenters of the current affairs program 'Ο κόσμος σήμερα,᾽ Dimitris Papanikolaou and Panayiotis Souvatzis, became overnight celebrities, feted at Greek functions for years. In those days, vast number of Greeks would gather around the table, and engage in heated discussions on the topics presented by the station. In many families, such as my own, that tradition endures, with a new generation of broadcasters.
The key to the success of 3XY Radio Hellas has been the accessibility and relevance of its content. For the sports fans, there are live sports-casts of the various leagues. For home-keepers, there are programs devoted to recipes and handy hits around the home. For children, there are fairy tales and children's songs. For students, there is the long running NUGAS programme. For music-lovers, there is a wide range of the latest, as well as the most traditional of Greek music, often played by enthusiasts who wish to share their love of any given particular singer. The Kazantzakis-worshipping Dimitris Tsambasidis, who ends his program with the catchphrase "I love yous all," enjoys legendary status among his followers. Unbeknownst to many, there has existed within Melbourne, a large coterie of non-Greek fans of 3XY, who tune in, simply to enjoy the music. 
Even its advertisements are historically important for they would provide the sociologist with ample material to study the needs and attitudes of the Greek community in Melbourne. Some of those jingles are purely magical. Take for example, this pearl from an advertisement for Nicholas TV Service: "Αν χάλασε το βίντεο, το στερεοφωνικό σου, αν έπαψε να παίζει το τελεβίζιο σου...῾ Then there is this emphasis on healing by Goumas Smash repairs: ᾽Γκούμας, γκούμας, της τράκας ο γιατρός...᾽ By far the best advertisements however, where those produced for the car dealer George Kotses, one of which in particular, is significant because it possibly is the first Greek-Australian rap song ever-written: Ἑπούλησα το ακίνητο, να πάρω αυτοκίνητο, να σ᾽ έχω στο αμάξι, μη βρέξει και μη στάξει, Κω, κω, κω, κω κω, Κωτσές.᾽ Absolutely brilliant, and definitely not as disturbing as the advertisement for George's Lingerie, which begins: ῾Σέξυ, σέξυ...᾽ and ends, ᾽για σένα το φοράω μωρό μου, για σένα᾽. We would do well to realise that a generation of Greek-Australian children have been brought up upon these jingles and harness this knowledge to better effect.  
Most importantly, for those who are bereaved, lonely, ill or isolated, 3XY Radio Hellas is a lifeline that brings into the home, a social context and sense of community that many would have otherwise have lost. This is why the fact that 3XY Radio Hellas is present at almost all significant functions of the Greek community, providing commentary for those at home who cannot make it, or encouraging others to make the effort, or relaying the Orthodox church service for those to ill to attend their local parish, is of intrinsic importance to our community. Furthermore, without 3XY Radio Hellas' generous commitment to community fundraising, the raising of necessary funds for worthwhile community endeavours and charities would prove a difficult task indeed. Quite apart from the annual radiothons for Aged Care and other facilities, one can remember just how united the community was when it scrambled to raise money for the survival of Heidelberg United soccer team, or when it donated generously to the appeal to raise funds for the Greeks of Northern Epirus. In encouraging and facilitating us working together, Radio 3XY is an inestimably intrinsic part of the complex glue that binds us all together.
The commitment of the Stamoulis family to the community as exemplified in 3XY Radio Hellas and its many other endeavours has now been assumed by an Australian-born generation of that family. This commitment has intensified, adapted itself to the changing demographic and cultural needs of a diverse community so that a nuanced, sensitive and inclusive approach to Greek broadcasting is achieved. With no less a personage as the ubiquitous and passionate Deputy Victorian Multicultural Commissioner Ross Alatsas as manager, 3XY Radio Hellas has elicited the praise of Federal and State Governments, including, just recently, that of the Prime Minister himself.
My own association with 3XY Radio Hellas has been a long and rewarding one. In 1999, having returned from accompanying the Archbishop of Albania Anastasios on a visit to the Greek villages of Northern Epirus, I was requested by Spiros Stamoulis, who was then also the president of the Panepirotic Federation of Australia, to present a four-part programme on the region. He also asked me to write an accompanying article, in Greek, which was published in the newspaper TA NEA. For a young Greek, still not out of university and knowing nothing about radio, this was a big deal, and I remember how carefully I attempted to craft the narrative around a selection of admittedly cacophonous polyphonic Northern Epirot funerary dirges, some of which were culled by Spiros Stamoulis, in the interests, as he stated, of not frightening away listeners, possessed of a less hardcore tolerance to he music of the region.
In 2003, I was back, this time presenting an arts and literature programme in Greek and in 2005 I returned yet again at the behest of Spiros Stamoulis, presenting the Epirus programme every Wednesday night, ever since. The programme, punctuated by telephone calls from Spiros Stamoulis in the early days, demanding that we play happier songs, has proved to be my own window into a community that is demanding, devastatingly critical and yet, infinitely supportive. Week after week, listeners will call in, to offer suggestions and opinions, share memories, or in many cases, because they are lonely and just wish to speak with someone. It is a humbling and yet infinitely heart-warming experience to know that, through the radio waves, we are all linked together and can reach out to each other, via the same frequency, if and when we need to. Other volunteers, such as the committed presenters of the Pontian, Macedonian and Cypriot programs have expressed similar sentiments and provide invaluable services, not only to their compatriots in the narrow sense, but to all of us in general.
It is for all these reasons and more that there was such an outpouring of good-will and joy at 3XY Radio Hellas' 20th birthday concert. For it cannot be disputed that Greek communal life is now inconceivable without 3XY, an institution that has deftly incorporated itself within the warp and the weft of the intricate tapestry that is the Greek community of Melbourne, and without which, one would hazard a guess, the community itself would begin to unravel. Twenty years ago, the late Spiros Stamoulis, in his own words, gave us a voice and we are externally thankful. It is now up to all of us, via our own engagement and participation with, along with our support of, 3XY Radio Hellas to ensure that this voice will be continue to be heard and understood, far into the future. Paraphrasing an old 3XY Christmas jingle:
᾽3ΧΥ, 3ΧΥ Ράδιο Ελλάς,
δέξου τα χρόνια πολλά 
από τους ακροατάς...῾