Greco-American stories: a giant among us | opinions, columnists

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Singer and songwriter Woody Guthrie wrote and performed the song This Land is Your L about inclusion and equality – the American ideal defined in simple, eloquent language. Mikis Theodorakis wrote, among many musical marvels, a song with a similar feeling, with the lyrics ‘Auto to xoma eivai diko sou kai diko mas…’ He sang it with fervor and a dedication reflecting his inner soul. I can’t praise this giant of a man like he deserved, but the whole world is doing it for me. Besides, there is no sentence or words that would sufficiently describe the degree of his genius, his strength, his soul. Symphonies, ballets, film music, stage music, marches spring from his pen and his heart. Even enduring the body and soul blows, he remained undefeated. His sufferings were great! Sordid prisons, concentration camps, exile, torture, broken bones, fevers, bogus executions hoping he would succumb naturally, and much more from people not worth the breath they breathe; all because of beliefs that threatened neither life nor harm. Yet nothing has diminished his marvelous genius.

I remember being in a movie theater with my mother where Zorba, the Greek was playing. When the role came where Anthony Quinn and the friend got ready to dance, so did two men in the audience. They were in different parts of the theater. Judging by their movements, I doubt they are Greek. They were just moved and motivated by the passion and freedom that music and momentum brought them. I froze, wondering how those around us would react. I really expected to hear screams like “sit down!” Or watch the usher rush to show them his flashlight in their face. My mother grabbed my hand anxiously. But we were so surprised when those around us applauded, bringing a sense of relief and humor to the scene. But, he did more! I felt admiration for the moviegoers around us. I realized at that moment that Mikis Theodorakis, through his music, despite anger, frustration and personal censorship, without bullets or ridicule or hatred, momentarily captured the minds of ordinary people, making them celebrate a freedom. interior without hard feelings, without criticism or fear, and all for the price of a movie ticket. It showed me, a young girl, how an individual should approach life.

Who recalls the colonels, generals, political gangsters of the Greek junta with some degree of acceptance; whose only mission was to kill those who had a political opinion different from theirs? I never heard a good word from them. Have you got? They had done nothing but earn our disgust. To inflict terrible pain on a man whose talent and very existence only embellished and improved the Earth was unforgivable. But, as history proves, they will always be with us, like those who attended the infamous January 6th.e, September 11the, and December 7e attacks. In the end, however, they luckily failed to win.

Hopefully they always will. As long as there are citizens with a bit of history, common sense and humor to help us endure, we will survive. All that is needed is forethought, research and recognition of the intentions behind the politician running for office. Evelyn Beatrice Hall, an author writing under a man’s name because women weren’t allowed to write a book at the time, paraphrased the words of Voltaire, who wrote in a book describing his belief in freedom expression and said, while I do not agree with what you say, sir, I will defend to death, your right to say it! Theodorakis would have approved.

Theodorakis’ life was dedicated to the oppressed and the plight of the workers when he could easily have continued to make music, sit and enjoy the applause and watch the money pour in. He had homes in Paris, Athens, and the Peloponnese, but he stuck deeply to his beliefs no matter the cost. And, the costs were great! He has written books on music, political affairs, and a five-volume autobiography. His life was well lived and deserved to be remembered, and in the same category as the saints and heroes we have known.


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