Greek Language and Culture October 2011 OMILO Newsletter
Dear OMILO friends,
This Newsletter will have fewer subjects than usual! There is so much news at the moment, that it is hard to make a choice what to cover! Thank you for your emails and your concerns, asking if the OMILO-staff in Athens is fine! As we have written many times before, the pictures of Athens you see on TV and in the media with violent protests, are limited to about 5 streets in center Athens and do not happen often. A small minority chooses to make this mess and the media loves it! No Greeks we know are approving this, and most protests are peaceful. It is a tragedy that the foreign media destroys the tourism in Greece, by choosing to cover the news about Greece, with the most violent pictures. Greece does have financial problems, but remains an excellent and safe tourist destination. So how to cover “the real problems’’ οf Greece? Not simple, but with “humor” you can say it all! Therefore we chose to cover the “Greek reality” at this moment from a humorous point of view! In this Newsletter, three subjects: 1. About OMILO 2. A Greek sense of humor 3. Political Cabaret *************************************************

1. About OMILO
a. Since the beginning of October we have updated our website and added the new course dates for 2012. Everything is online. However, there is a small change in the dates of the Syros courses in September. We originally had written that courses would start on Monday and finish on Saturday. This has changed and now all Syros courses start on Sunday (19.00) and finish on Friday (13.30). For all 2012 course dates, visit: http://www.omilo.com/cms/index.php? option=com_content&view=article&id=14&Itemid=15&lang=en b. The accommodation prices are also updated. Good news: the hotel prices in Nafplion and center Athens became cheaper than last year. Other prices stayed the same. Greece will need tourists to survive, so we appreciate the hotels are doing their best to maintain good prices.

c. We added a new link on the website with various photo-albums of various courses . This link will bring you to the facebook-albums, where you can also add your comments: http://www.omilo.com/cms/index.php? option=com_content&view=article&id=35&Itemid=53&lang=en d. For you, family members or friends … do not forget we also offer “cultural walks in Athens”. The media does not help to show the “total picture of Athens” and chooses to constantly concentrate only on violent protests. Athens is more than that and has to offer a lot. We did several cultural walks during the last 2 months with German, American and Dutch families on holidays. They loved it! More info on: http://www.omilo.com/cms/index.php? option=com_content&view=article&id=30&Itemid=39&lang=en e. Our dear teacher Dora lost her heart to an Austrian (Omilo student!) and finally decided to move this autumn to Vienna. Dora will continue to be an OMILO teacher during the intensive courses out of Athens, but will not teach anymore during the “school year” in Maroussi. We wish her all the best and we are sure many Austrians are now very happy (and lucky) to have a very good teacher in their capital! f. And last but not least … a new idea, a new concept! OMILO will organize a “Greek cultural week” on the island of Andros from Sunday, July 29 till Friday, August 3, 2012. What this means? Not so much language this time, but a week with several cultural activities like “cooking lessons”, “dancing lessons” and more ... We need some more time to get organized and define prices, but that week the OMILO team will be in Andros, and we will have fun! Hope you will join as well! If you are dreaming of some “special courses” in Greece in a nice environment, let us know what you would like to do, and we will try to serve your needs! You are the first ones to hear this news, it is not on the website yet! ************************************************

2. A Greek sense of humor
In times of crisis, you need some humor to survive! Greeks do have humor and use black humor… But what about their ancestors? Were the ancient Greeks funny? It’s a question not often asked. When thought about, most people will turn to the ‘comedies’ put on at different theatrical festivals across ancient Greece, most notably in Athens. The majority of the “ancient comedies” surviving today are by Aristophanes, written in the 5th and 4th centuries BC. Aristophanes makes political jokes, imitates the politicians of the day (who without doubt were often sitting in the audience) and uses exaggeration and caricature to pass comment on the social and political well being of the city. But did the ancient Greeks tell jokes? Yes, they did. One ancient Greek idiot joke reads: “An idiot, wanting to go to sleep but not having a pillow, told his slave to set an earthen jar under his head. The slave said that the jug was hard. The idiot told him

to fill it with feathers.” There are also ‘doctor’ jokes: ΄΄A person went to a doctor and said: “Doctor, whenever I get up from sleeping, I’m groggy for a half an hour afterwards and only after that am I all right.” To which the doctor replied: “Get up half an hour later!”΄΄ (Source: 24grammata.com) So what kind of jokes we hear today? Apart of the usual jokes about other nationalities (Albanians, Pontic Greeks, Turks…), known figures (Ms. Merkel!), and “blond Greek ladies”, there are a lot of “political jokes”… Some examples: A. They ate the fish from Pangalos’s platter because ‘they ate them together’! The following event took place in a fish tavern in Piraeus, where Pangalos had gone with some friends of his. The tavern owner led him and his company to the best table and right afterwards they ordered fresh fish. Half an hour later, the waiter –with a smile on his face– placed a big platter of fish on the table. Out of the blue, a well-dressed gentleman in his mid-thirties sitting at the next table with three other people stood up and approached Pangalos’s table. ‘Excuse me, you are the Deputy Prime Minister of Greece, Mr. Pangalos, aren’t you?’ The Deputy Prime Minister replied dryly ‘yes’. ‘Mr. Pangalos, let me remind you that you said ‘We ate them together’ (‘them’ refers to ‘public money’)’ went on the well-dressed gentleman and the Deputy Prime Minister started to feel somewhat uncomfortable. ‘We’d better not start the same discussion again’ he said. ‘No, Mr. Pangalos, you are right, we ate them (the public money) together and we will eat them (the fish) together! May I have, please, your platter?’ went on the 35 year old man who without a second thought took the platter with the fish and went back to his table to eat with his company. Right afterwards Pangalos left the tavern. B. Black humor! After the death of Steve Jobs beginning October, this photo was found in Facebook… (the picture shows the Prime Minister G. Papandreou)

C. Kanelli at the Parliament with milk and bread

Not exactly a joke, but a political speech with a lot of humor, by MP (Member of Parliament) L. Kanelli (it took place in the Parliament on 22/9/2011). For the advanced students in the Greek Language, watch and listen to the speech at: http://news247.gr/ellada/politiki/h_kanellh_sth_voylh_me_gala_kai_pswmi.1380432.html Liana Kanelli, a member of the Greek Communist Party, made a sensational appearance at the Parliament. While addressing her fellow MPs, she took out of her plastic grocery bag a loaf of bread and a bottle of milk. She emphasized the fact that a family of four needs 950 euro per year to buy this stuff. Her impressive symbolic gesture aimed at showing the insurmountable financial hardships that Greek households are facing at the moment because of the hard austerity measures. D. The ARKAS comics ARKAS is known for his comics. He can say a lot with his humor, drawings and few words… An example of everyday reality…

Dangerous Waters by ARKAS - ‘You know it well that I can catch and eat you all! However, I've got a deal to propose!’

- ‘If you show no resistance and you don’t make me run after you, I will eat half of you.’ - ‘That’s a deal! At least, some of us will make it through.’ - ‘A deal is a deal!’


3. Political Cabaret
“Greece gave the world democracy, theatre, mathematics. Without us, they could not even calculate how much we owe them!” Jorgos Katsáros: comedian, magician, variety artist, German, Greek. We meet Jorgos in Xirokambi. Here are his roots, his father is one of many who moved out of Greece after World War II and the subsequent civil war had left the country devastated. He characterizes the Bibliothekar –the Greek German word for librarian– as the perfect immigrant: he loves pretzel and sauerkraut, speaks the language without accent, and has more German than Greek friends. Jorgos’ mother is German, and so was his upbringing. It were mainly the yearly and long summer holidays on the Peloponnese that nourished the artist’s Greek roots. Born and raised in Stuttgart, he makes good use of his background for his personalities on stage. And the Greek crisis provides plenty of themes for political cabaret. In his theater show „Kommt ein Grieche geflogen…“ [A Greek flies in…], Jorgos combines self-criticism and confrontation. His favorite trick: “I can make money disappear very well.” The fame of Sparta is another of the artist’s themes. “Leonidas and his 300 men against millions of Persians – that is similar to 300 Stuttgardians against Bayern München.” His audience can expect a new personality the upcoming season. Kostas, the typical Greek immigrant in Germany: an elderly, hospitable restaurant owner who loves to talk with gesture, plays with his komboloi, smokes and speaks with a great accent. The Germans love his jokes about Greece, because of its topicality. But in his personal life, he regularly is ‘attacked’ for being Greek: “Why are you and your family spending so much money, so that we cannot build new Kindergarten!” The accusations make Jorgos angry, especially when people speak without knowledge about Greece or never even have set foot in the country. Luckily he does not face the same problem when he is here in Greece. Even though his knowledge of the language is limited, he is regarded as a local. His father is Greek, so he is. “Go on holiday in Greece, your money is already there” Katsáros loves being in Xirokambi. In the next decade he would like to live part of the year here, part of the year in Germany. For now, holidays will have to do. He is not joking anymore, when he says he really wants people to go on holiday in Greece, and especially here. “Xirokambi is a Geheimtipp, a well kept secret. It is an original, authentic place, with so many things to do and see all around, and without having to share them with other tourists!” Jorgos Katsáros will be performing in Leipzig from November 2011 till January 2012. For more information, you can visit www.jorgos-katsaros.de. Source: www.photothema.com Laurien and Anton (http://www.xirokambi.com/wordpress/) ******************************************************* Tomorrow, 28/10/2011, Greece will be celebrating its “OXI-day” ! A national holiday and a day to feel proud again!

Many greetings from all of us. The OMILO-team

OMILO, PO Box 61070, 15101 MAROUSSI, ATHENS Tel. (0030)210-612.28.96 email: info@omilo.com