Open letter for my country
I am deeply sorry that my small country has been in such a painful situation that creates “trouble” in the European Union.
What we are living here now, the people of the country, are the ruins. Citizens without future.
And I will not mention the painful question: Who Greeks or foreigners have led this country to the ruin. And why. This is what history will tell.
I will say only that we, the citizens of the country, live to the depth of irrationality the chaotic reality which our life has suddenly become. We live the humiliation and the trivialization.
This letter of mine is addressed to the friends and fans of our history but also to those who dreamed of destroying our land.
To the friends I deposit my gratitude.
To the others, European or not, I feel the need to say a few words.
Civilization is not what was given ready to us.
Civilization is our perception for it.
And it is from it perhaps that the demerit starts.
The lack of respect for a place of four thousand years, which was cradle of spirit.
Before they “bury” us in their lettings, they should remember that Greece, even if humiliate it further, even if they annihilate, it will continue to exist in all their university libraries. And in all their official dictionaries.
The words: analysis, synthesis, theory, category, democracy, chemistry, cosmology, psychology, psyche, logical, politics, philosophy, and a thousand more, used every day in their scientific, philosophical, political, economical, social life, a r e n o t j u s t w o r d s.
They are frameworks of thought.
Frameworks of perception.
Possibilities of elevation.
Together with the saved tragedies of our tragedy poets and the philosophical and cosmological visions, which dominate till today the world – wide spirit.
And I will remember here the great writer of the century and philosopher George Steiner, professor of the University of Cambridge:
“There is indeed a motion of 'homecoming to ancient Greece' in western thought and speech. To articulate experience grammatically, to relate discourse and meaning as we do, is to 'be Greek'. It is in this fundamental sense that I should want to cite Shelley's assertion: 'We are all Greeks'. Most visible, most consciously so, in respect of philosophical, political, and poetic utterance”.
George Steiner, ANTIGONES – The Antigone myth in Western literature, art and thought, Oxford University Press, 1984, p. 135.
I want to believe that this country, where Democracy is born, the best creation of human spirit, will find his primitive powers – the place itself – and will come out of the humiliation and the dead-lock.
And if today some, voluntary or not, mistakes brought Greece at the awful position, this is only its ephemeral view. Immovable remains its civilization and, also, its endless struggles for freedom and human dignity.
It is written among the years of
difficult situation for our country
Ο μέγας διανοητής του αιώνα και φιλόσοφος, George Steiner, καθηγητής στο Cambridge, είπε: «To articulate experience grammatically, to relate discourse and meaning as we do, is to be Greek”.
Το να αρθρώσεις εννοιολογικά μια εμπειρία, να συσχετίσεις τον λόγο με το νόημα, σημαίνει “να είσαι Έλληνας”»
(Antigones, The Antigone myth in Western literature, art and thought, Oxford University Press, 1984, p. 135)
Και είπε ακόμα στο ίδιο σημαντικό βιβλίο: «Η ελληνική κλασική γραμματεία και ο ελληνικός μύθος, όσο τίποτε άλλο στον κόσμο κυριάρχησαν στη δυτική αντίληψη, στη δυτική φιλοσοφία, στη διαμόρφωση της δυτικής πολιτικής σκέψης». Και επισημαίνει ακόμα: «Επιστροφή στην κλασική ελληνική γραμματεία και στον ελληνικό μύθο σημαίνει επιστροφή στις ρίζες μας, είναι ο επαναπατρισμός του πνεύματος».
Και ο διαπρεπής Άγγλος συγγραφέας George Tomson, μέγας λάτρης της ελληνικής κλασικής γραμματείας, συγγραφέας και πανεπιστημιακός καθηγητής, αφιέρωσε ολόκληρη τη ζωή του σε επιστημονικές γλωσσολογικές έρευνες που θεμελιώνουν τη βεβαιότητα ότι: Η ελληνική γλώσσα από τη βαθιά αρχαιότητα έως σήμερα είναι
ε ν ι α ί α.ι η αρχαία περιέχεται στη σύγχρονη, δομικά και εννοιολογικά.
Είναι λυπηρό και άκρως απογοητευτικό να επιτρέπουν σε πολιτικά πρόσωπα να
χαρακτηρίζουν την αρχαία ελληνική γλώσσα «νεκρή». Μια γλώσσα που πάνω της
θεμελιώθηκε ολόκληρος ο δυτικός πολιτισμός.
Στην Αγγλία σήμερα με ψήφισμα νόμου τα αρχαία ελληνικά θα διδάσκονται επίσημα στα δημοτικά σχολεία. Γιατί εκείνοι γνωρίζουν καλύτερα από εμάς όχι μόνον την
αξία της γλώσσας αλλά και το πόσο ζωντανή και πολύτιμη είναι για τη δομή της
έκφρασης ακόμα και για τα αγγλόπουλα. Για να κατανοήσουν καλύτερα τη γλώσσα τους,
Στο σπουδαίο βιβλίο του, «Το αειθαλές δέντρο, διαλέξεις και άρθρα για τον ελληνικό πολιτισμό” σε επιμέλεια του καθηγητή Χρίστου Αλεξίου, ο George Thomson σημειώ
νει: «Η συνέχεια και η ενότητα της ελληνικής γλώσσας εκφράζει τη συνέχεια και την
ενότητα του ελληνικού πολιτισμού»Όμως και σε απλούστερη λογική και παιδεία, μπορεί να δει κανείς πως οι λέξεις: analysis, synthesis, theory, category, democracy, chemistry, cosmology,
psychology, psyche, logical, politics, philosophy, και χιλιάδες άλλες ακόμα που χρησιμοποιούνται καθημερινά στη διεθνή επιστημονική ορολογία, τη φιλοσοφική, την πολιτική, την οικονομική, την κοινωνική,
δεν είναι απλές λέξεις.
Είναι δομές σκέψης.
Είναι δυνατότητες αναγωγής.
δεν είναι απλές λέξεις.
Είναι δομές σκέψης.
Είναι δυνατότητες αναγωγής.
Απάντηση σε βουλευτή που είπε ότι η αρχαία ελληνική γλώσσα είναι νεκρή.
Αναρτήθηκε στις 10 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013 στο Facebook
Αναρτήθηκε στις 10 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013 στο Facebook
Το παρακάτω κείμενο είναι συνέχεια της απάντησης
για την αρχαία ελληνική γλώσσα:
Δίψα, είπε ο Ορφέας πριν από τριάντα τρεις αιώνες. Δίψα, λέω κι εγώ.
Γη και ουρανός, είπε, “Γης παις ειμί και ουρανού αστερόεντος»
Γη και ουρανό λέω κι εγώ. Και άστρο.
Λέξεις λαμπερές που όταν τις προφέρεις, αισθάνεσαι πάνω σου το ορφικό φως.
Λώπος ή λώπη, είπε ο Όμηρος, που θα πει τσέπη. Λωποδύτης λέμε εμείς.
Βράχο λέμε και όχι την ομηρική λέξη λάας, λας. Όμως λατομείο.
Δεν λέμε δέρκομαι, αλλά βλέπω. Όμως, οξυδερκής.
Λέμε πόνος και όχι άλγος. Όμως ανάλγητος ή αναλγητικό.
Λέμε φωνή και όχι αυδή. Όμως άναυδος.
Νερό λέμε. Όμως υδρότοπος.
Τρώγω λέμε και όχι εσθίω. Όμως εστιατώριο.
Φως λέμε και όχι λύκη. Όμως, λυκόφως.
Κοσμολογία, cosmolodgy σε διεθνή ορολογία. “Cosmos”
Καμιά άλλη λέξη δεν θα μπορούσε να δώσει την έννοια της «κοσμολογίας» σε διεθνές επίπεδο, γιατί η λέξη διαμορφώθηκε κατευθείαν από τους κοσμολόγους οραματιστές της Ιωνίας και έρχεται ατόφια από εκεί, από τα βάθη του χρόνου.
«Και νους επελθών διεκόσμησε χάος» λέει ο Αναξαγόρας. Μετα-ποίησε το χάος σε κόσμο.
Και ο Ηράκλειτος: «Κόσμον τόνδε, ούτε τις θεών ούτε ανθρώπων εποίησεν».
Λέξεις στιβαρές, λαμπερές, αστραφτερές, τεσσάρων χιλιάδων χρόνων, ζωντανές και ζωοποιές. Λέξεις που γέννησαν τον πνευματικό μας πολιτισμό. Γι’ αυτό στην ανάρτηση μου της 10ης Σεπτεμβρίου είπα πως η ελληνική γλώσσα από τα βάθη του χρόνου έως σήμερα είναι ε ν ι α ί α.
Λειάθηκε στη ροή των καιρών, μετα-ποιήθηκαν κάποιες δομές της από τις μετακινήσεις των στρωμάτων ζωής και έκφρασης, αλλά δεν αλλοιώθηκε ο βαθύς πυρήνας της λάμψης που τις γέννησε.
Για ποια γλώσσα νεκρή μιλάμε;
Κι όταν στην προηγούμενη ανάρτησή μου είπα πως οι λέξεις αυτές και χιλιάδες άλλες της διεθνούς ορολογίας, είναι «δομές σκέψης» και «δομές αντίληψης» αναφερόμουν στη φιλοσοφική, την κοσμολογική τους διάσταση.
Η γλώσσα είναι η ραχοκοκαλιά του πολιτισμού μας. Αυτή τον κρατάει όρθιο στις παλίρροιες των χιλιετιών. Και η συρρίκνωση της γλώσσας, όπως έγινε τις τελευταίες δεκαετίες, είχε ως συνέπεια και την έκπτωση των αξιών του πολιτισμού.
Γιατί πολιτισμός δεν είναι τα όσα έτοιμα μας έχουν παραδοθεί.
Πολιτισμός είναι η αντίληψή μας για τον πολιτισμό.
Και ίσως από εκεί να απορρέει η απαξία.
In a silver sands in Lemnos August 2014
Antigone, a symbol of woman’s dignity
and the contemporary sense of the Tragic
(A paper for the: International Women Playwrights Conference which took place in Athens in 2001 (?) )
Welcome to our country - the country which gave birth to the theater three thousand wears ago.
We are proud to have you, people of the theater, in the place where the first theatrical word was heard. And what I will today is to travel through time - to find the traces of Greek spirit with reference to the human tragic element.
The Spirit, once in its history, gives birth to great work. But this work lives forever, to glorify he place. And this moment we speak here about dramatic poetry. Great
Greek tragic poetry.
Poetry only can transcend time and create eternal human models.
And great poetry is always contemporary, because it elevates Life to the eternal.
The fact that Sophocles chose a woman to incarnate one of his most beautiful tragic heroes, a woman unyielding with regard to her moral duty, but also deeply human with regard to her love for her dead brother, is not coincidental.
This great Greek Poet knew that only women have such superior virtues and such mystic powers, which enable them to despise death, loyal to the unwritten Laws.
The plot of the Sophoclean “Antigone” is well-known.
After Oedipus’ death, Creon became king of Thebes. He was Antigone’s and Ismene’s Oedipus’ daughters uncle.
Their brothers, Eteocles and Polyneices, killed each other outside the town walls, because the first did not keep his promise to respect the other’s right to authority.
Creon ordered that Eteocles should be burried with royal honors whereas Polyneices would be left tombless, his body prey to dogs and crows.
But in those times, it was great impiety to leave the dead unburried. It was believed that their souls would never find rest, that they could not go the Hades.
The people of Thebes complied with the order out of fear.
But Antigone considered it unfair and impious. And said no.
She went all by herself and burried her brother’s body with her own hands.
From this point the tragic process begins.
Antigone knew that the price she would have to pay for her action would be death.
But she did it. And perhaps all of you, theater people, realize how much pride and dignity her attitude had. At a time that woman’s value was only to be mother or wife.
From that moment the tyrant Creon knew that he could crush her or put her to death, but would never be able to bend her.
But Sophocles chose a woman as a symbol of revolution against unfair authority.
He created this beautiful tragic heroine, to prove the nobility of woman’ nature. To prove, also, that her strength is intuitive, prophetic, and deep-rooted and innate.
As Antigone says:
My nature is for mutual love, not hate
Thus, Sophocles, the greatest dramatic poet, in Antigone elevates woman, making her a symbol of all moral values.
Because, that prophet and connoisseur of human nature, saw her great moral powers, her perception of life, her nobility - spiritual nobility.
Noone is born tragic. He becomes tragic the moment he encounters Moira ( Fate ) and must confront her. The moment he must chose to say “no” and because of that to transcend his own limits and walk alone, experiencing the misfortune until he achieves the liberating catharsis.
Turning now to the contemporary sense of the tragic, I would like to refer to my own experience, as I lived it, when, at a moment of my life, I wrote an Antigone, too. An adaptation of the ancient Antigone myth to our times.
My Antigone was for me an act of personal resistance. When it was written, I was in Paris, for theatrical studies at the Sorbonne. Then the junta took in Greece. And I felt the need to react to it by my own act of resistance.
At that time, at the Sorbonne, I studied the ancient tragedy in relation to the tragic in contemporary theater. I wrote a paper at the University entitled “The tragic sense in the theater of Samuel Beckett”.
The ancient Greek Poets taught us that the tragic exists only as tragic conscience. Since then, many forms of tragedy have been born, each of them reflecting man’s attitude to the world of his time. The main difference between the ancient tragedy and the tragedies of all other times is that the ancient Greek poets used exclusively symbols of myth. They used mythic archetypes, which are symbols. Their tragedies are symbols which helped them to explore the depths of the soul wisely. The tragedies of other times are tragedies of historical man.
The tragic hero in the ancient tragedy is the innocent who at a moment commits a fault. But he is not evil. The ancient tragic hero is never evil. If he is, there is no tragedy, there is a drama.
The tragic hero in our times is innocent and remains innocent. He does not commit a fault. This is the main difference.
The tragic hero is not morally guilty. In such a case, there would be a drama, too. He might regret and be saved.
The tragic hero is tragically guilty. This means that there is no way for him to regret and to be saved. He can achieve that only by transcending his tragedy through catharsis, after having collapsed.
Here I must say that in spirit he never collapses. The ancient tragic hero stands in a spiritual relationship with events. That was the first prerequisite of tragedy.
When I was preparing my paper in Sorbonne, two things tortured my mind. One was that, in the ancient tragedy, the innocent man could not be tragic, as Aristotle said, because he did not commit Ybris, the indispensable tragic “fault”.
Writing my paper at the Sorbonne, I saw that our demystified times could have changed the Aristotle definition. I understood that the human being is both innocent and tragic - tragic in a different way. It was what all existential philosophers of European thought had described in their works, but theatrically it had not been given yet.
After I read my paper, students used to come up to me, and the only thing they admired in me was that I might know Colonus, a place where Oedipus has lived, at the end of his life. It is now a neighborhood in Athens, and I might have walked its small streets. But that inspired me, that thrilled me, because I found that it was very important to have lived in almost the same place as Oedipus.
I said, yes, I know Colonus. I walked there. And in my memory I saw its small streets. Little by little, I moved away from the exact images. I knew, and started to see the blind Oedipus walking there, holding Antigone’s hand.
Even now, I remember the great emotion that I lived through then, the existential shiver in discovering my country’ s mythic past. Antigone became in my mind a wonderful, magic means by which to travel back through centuries. However, at that moment I could not find a way to write about her.
In my mind, I was walking in Thebes. I tried to dissolve the darkness of the time and to see Antigone, a creature three thousand years old, always new, always beautiful and angry. I was angry, too, because of the dictatorship in Greece at that moment.
Writing the play, I did not know that she could be tragic by the very fact that it was actually impossible for her to be a tragic heroine in the ancient sense. What I needed to do at that time was to present a tyrant Creon demystified, small and powerless, collapsing in our times. With such a Creon, the only thing I knew, as far as Antigone was concerned, was that she was to experience the tragically impossible.
To this day, regardless of what value my play has, she gives me the same emotion. It is the emotion that beautiful creatures can give us, when with deep dignity and nobility of spirit they accept the price of their pride.
As I look at my Antigone now, after so many years, I see that it revealed to me certain truths, like the dignity of personal resistance and the demystification of human being from the myth - a demystification that is the fate and the tragic essence of our times.
This Antigone was written at the moment of my initiation into the theater of the Absurd, in which the characters enter the stage without history or identity. My Antigone posed a different absurdity, entering as she did with a history of three thousand years, and with the courage to want to continue that history in a world that has killed all the ancient gods.
Today, as I look back at the play, beyond the youthful intoxication of those days in Paris, its characters with their long histories seem absurd and strange, at a time that is not interested in their drama.
What remains tragic and human in the play is the characters’ breakdown itself, occuring so painfully in the process of their irrational conflict with modern times.
But a play, like a theatrical character, has many aspects. Its writer is the last person who can tell what it means. She is emotionally tied to the play, she feels affection for the characters she has created, she feels compassion for them.
She does not know how to explain them. She only knows that she gave them life.
This play - together with 3 other plays of mine - has been included in a volume prepared by Rhoda Kauffman, professor of drama at the California State Hayward University, and is to be published by Guernica Editions Toronto, Canada.
It would be interesting to know that this volume is the result of the acquaintance and friendship which started in the course and because of the Women Playwrights Conference.
I can only express my gratitude for this and wish that in this and future Conferences similar collaborations may develop.
Less that two pages of my Antigone will be read. The introduction of the play.
A picture on the water
Why was Albert wearing a heavy coat in the middle of July?
Why did Albert have to leave right away by that old war ship?
Why was Albert carrying a small bundle with clothes ?
Why was Albert crying , as he was turning the corner of the earth- road?
Why did he look at us so painfully, as he was heading speeechless for the harbor?
Where was he going with his little sister?
Who was Albert?
He was a Jewish little boy.
We played together. He came with the other children of the neighbourhood and we played together.
But he left the game in the middle, because he had , they said, to leave immediately.
But where was he going?
Nobody gave us an answer.
I am standing at the side of the road and I am trying to figure out where all that mass of water comes down from...
How strange. It' s a large stream. But there was no rain. This water one could say wells out from the earth. From the depths of the earth. Or was it always there and I had not noticed it?
But it is summer. Middle July. How is it possible for rivers to
And I must cross the road...To reach the corner.
I enter the water. It comes up almost till my knees. On the left is the house of Georgia and on the right the fish-shop. If only I could
see someone. To ask about the water. There is not a living soul about.
But, suddenly , I see something floating on the water. Something like a small bundle. And I don't wonder that it doesn't sink.
The flow of the river brings it to me. Soon I will be able to reach it.
I stretch out my arms. How strange. It is not drenched. I catch it quickly. And I try to take it out of the water. To open it. My curiosity is so great! Or, rather, it is not curiosity, but a strange intuition. There is something inside it. Something very important.
I sit on the step of Elisaios' house and I open it anxiously.
And what do I see!
It is the photo of Albert. It is Albert with his little sister.
Curiously enough, this is what I expected to see. As he was the day he left. He is wearing the heavy coat. And his eyes are sad,
I feel an exultation. So, he is alive. Then, he may be still alive. It is a sign.
I leave the other things , or, rather, I don't see what else there is in- side the bundle and I get up to leave. The water has withdrawn... The road is still wet, of course. An earth-road. The one which leads to the harbor. And a green blue orange light spreads about an excellent transparency.
I move to go towards the port, to see if the boat left. But, what boat? It was years ago. I wonder. The photo, how has it been saved? And I? How come I am here? Since the war is over. I know it very well. This tangle inside me becomes an awful anguish. And my house is watery. A watery transparency. But how did my home happen to be in my way? It's something I don't understand. Its walls are watery. I can discern my face through layers of transparency which
fascinate me. But what does my house have to do with the war? And, then, I don't know if the war is finished. I hold the photo in my hands and this is a strong evidence. But, of what?
This anguish is a strange painful feeling of loss inside me.
And I wake up.
There are moments in our life, special little moments which follow us sleepless, broken pieces of an event, which is lost and which we carry in us threatening and blown up.
I was siting on the steps of Elisaios house, with other children that midday of the summer, when we saw Albert with his mother and his little sister following the earth- road to the harbor.
They were to leave, it was said, by a ship which was waiting for them there, a ship which had come only to take them. But nobody knew for where.
His mother and his sister went on, they turned the corner. But Albert remained a few moments, just there, just before turning the corner. There he raised his hand to bid us good-bye.
We went near him. He was wearing a black heavy coat. And it was midday. And it was summer.
In one hand he was holding a small bundle, so small that a child could carry, and with the other he was still waving us good-bye.
His eyes were sad. His eyes were full of tears. And he did not speak.
He let drop his arm, like a little wounded wing. And left. Turned the corner of the road. Vanished.
We never heard about him since. Noone did.The earth-road remained empty.
The light of that early afternoon was very bright. And whenever I think of Albert, a dazzling sensation of whiteness makes the incident, one might say, buoyant as if hovering slightly above its reality, in a sadness of dream.
Then, after many years, when we read about the crematoriums and the gas chambers, when we were told about those death camps, in my thought always came the picture of that afternoon. The boy's arm bidding us good-bye and the sad eyes, which did not know then yet the fate in store for them.
All this subsequent experience of mine was related to that event, which was but a small broken bit of memory which I carried in me through time. In that parallel existence out of time. In the fragments of my child in me.
Lemnos, Juin 1983
Fron the poetic prose book " Nights of Moonlight "