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"Protect the reputation of the Presidential Guard"
By Kostas Karamarkos
The Presidential Guard that was in Melbourne in April to take part in the
commemorative ceremony for ANZAC DAY, became the subject of arguments
by locals on social media as well as articles published in mainstream
newspapers in Athens and Australia.
In one such article, published "Protect the reputation of the Presidential
Guard", in the Ethnos newspaper (ethnos.gr) under the title on 27 April by
Melbourne community activist and journalist Kostas karamarkos, and re-
published by the Victorian newspaper Neos Kosmos paper, calls on the Greek
Government to protect the reputation of the Presidential Guard. The article
"In recent days in Melbourne, we have witnessed a wandering troupe called
the Evzones, or Greek Presidential Guard.
The procession of 13 soldiers and 3 officers, came to the largest city of
Hellenism in Australia to participate in the parade of ANZAC Day, the main
com-memorative event in modern Australia, with reference to the landing on
the Gallipoli Peninsula, the 25th April 1915, during World War I. ANZAC Day is
for Australia an anniversary the size of a March 25 or October 28 in Greece.
The Evzones did well and came for this purpose, at the expense of the
government of the state of Victoria. They were supposed to be in Melbourne
for the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the Greek Revolution of 1821,
but due to the Covid 19 outbreak the visit took place this year. To that end,
they did well visiting to Australia. But…
Who had the upper hand in organising the program and hosting their visit in
Australia? The diplomatic authorities of Greece? Expatriate organizations?
Who? Who made them a touring bunch of past eras and decor for videos and
photos of expatriates, who have no idea about the special historical,
institutional and political weight of the Greek presidential guard, but also
many of those who welcome them so generously have no substantial
participation and offer in the community.
Indicatively, I mention that so far, the Greek Presidential Guard, in addition to
the parade on ANZAC Day, participated in the guarding and procession of the
epitaph on Good Friday in a church officiated by the Archbishop of Australia,
visited countless parishes, organizations, charities, and schools in Melbourne,
held guard at the private Greek Museum in Melbourne for an event related to
the opening of an exhibition, in collaboration with the National Archaeological
Museum of Greece, etc., etc.
This is not cultural diplomacy. This is not a stimulus of Greekness. It is not a
sign of sensitivity towards the Greek community of Melbourne. What is
happening is an unjustified exaggeration, without a strategic goal that offends
and devalues the members of the Greek Presidential Guard, as well as the
institution they represent, but also the Greek nation itself.
Protect the Evzones. Protect the institution. Protect the reputation of Greece.
Do not let what is happening in Melbourne these days happen again in the
future, to any other Greek community abroad. Evaluate the trip to Australia.
"Pull ears" if needed. Do not submit the reputation of Greece to the goals of
incompetent adventurers wherever they come from..."
* Costas Karamarkos is a journalist and member of the Greek community of
Adelaide, South Australia