Thursday, 21 July 2011

Cross-posting: Pin@ys in Greece

I got this posting in another site...well in Facebook actually.
I would like to share it with you. Thanks Margie.
Posted by Kasapi Hellas
Dear Mr Theodorakis,
When will the lack of awareness end?
I’m sure you consider my question to be impertinent, but I’m actually being quite polite when you consider the feelings that are not being expressed. What I really want to say is that your statement in Naoussa on June 27th when you claimed that Greece had become the “Filipineza” of the troϊka and the IMF is thoughtless, hurtful and racist. I also know that to continue expressing my feelings in this way would be both useless and damaging.
I don’t want to make things worse. My aim is not to insult or to stand as your judge, but to attempt to make you understand what you have actually said. I would like to give you the opportunity to see how hurtful and unjust your statement is. I’d like you and others like you to realize that Greece cannot move forward by trampling on others. Filipinos are a just people. They are your allies and stand in solidarity with Greeks in the hope of finding common solutions. They deserve and it is their right to be treated better.
The truth is that you are a good man. I know you have worked all your life for justice and the good of your people in the best way you knew how. You have bravely spoken out with integrity in times when the risk to your own freedom was high. You have been a freedom fighter as an individual, as a musician and as a politician giving courage, hope and inspiration to people around the world. Your personal story is more than impressive.
And yet you have no awareness whatsoever of the racist attitudes that you are reinforcing while attempting to speak for your own people. Why should a floundering nation of Greeks be compared to Filipinas? How can you callously categorize Philippine women in a way that ignores their individuality, their intelligence, their strengths and their charms? How can you use hard-working and courageous people as a symbol of everything that you find humiliating, a symbol of servitude?
Is your hurt as a Greek so deep that you cannot see that you are being oppressive towards people who themselves have been badly used by both the Greek and the global economy. Just the fact that you choose Filipinas to show your indignation means that you know something of the injustices that these people face. This does not give you the right to humiliate them in trying to express your own humiliation in the face of the measures being forced on Greece during the current economic situation.
I know Greek people use the word “Filipina” as a catchall term for a domestic worker, but that doesn’t make it right. Babiniotis, who compiled the well-known and very comprehensive dictionary for the Modern Greek language, distanced himself from all responsibility for the entry “Filipineza” by stating that he was merely recording the common usage given to the word by the Greek people themselves. He rightly claimed that he was not responsible for giving words their meaning. However, while defending himself, he obviously felt no obligation to attempt to right the wrong that has grown within the Greek language that he claims to love so well.
Surely, Mr Theodoraki, you remember that no one is free until everyone is free. Surely, men like you and Babiniotis, who have the attention and respect of so many millions of people, can use that attention to influence positive change rather than adding to the injustices.
Think about what you have said. Think about your indignation at what is happening in Greece and then think about the indignation of the Filipino people and how they have been used over the years. If it weren’t for globalization, you might never have met a Filipina in your life. Filipinas do not want to leave their families or their country to come and work in your homes. The global economy forces them to do so. However, regardless of the necessity, they come with their dignity intact, knowing who they are and how to cope with every situation.
Greece would be lucky indeed to be able to truthfully compare itself to these people who have migrated from the Philippines in search of a better life. Their search has always added greatly to the richness of every country they enter!
Margie Doyle Papadopoulou

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