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Letter to Editor

An Official Greek Diaspora ID

To the Editor:

I am a second generation member of the Greek Diaspora, living near Vancouver, Canada.  I very much appreciate the coverage you provide of  issues within Greece as well as the diaspora.

I have an idea that I believe could greatly assist in bringing Greece and the Greek Diaspora all over the world much closer together. I am hoping that you will be willing to consider promoting it through your newspaper and social media as your reach is much greater than mine.

The idea is very simple:  As part of the 200 years of independence activities in 2021, diaspora Greeks should be given an opportunity to apply online for an official Greek Diaspora ID. This could be a very simple process, requiring only a name, maybe a photograph, an address and an email. The ID would not have to carry any legal significance. Rather, it would be symbolic of one’s connection with Hellenism. As a result, no background checks or fact checks would be necessary.

I believe that the potential impact of such a campaign could be tremendous. It would provide many descendants of Greeks abroad with a concrete connection to the land of their ancestors. It would finally allow for accurate statistics on Greek populations abroad to be collected. It would also enable the Greek government to instantly communicate with the diaspora on matters that are relevant to them as well as matters relating to foreign policy.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it could lead to the creation of strong links between Greece and populations that feel connected to it, yet alienated from it. For instance, hundreds of thousands of Orthodox Christians in the Middle East and especially Lebanon feel as though they are part of the Greek diaspora, yet are never recognized as such. Another example is the Greek speaking Muslims who still live in Pontus, most of whom are descended from Pontic Greeks. And what a simple way this would be to create a connection between the Greek-speaking people of Southern Italy and the Greek motherland. Finally, it would be a very easy way for the millions of descendants of Greek immigrants living in countries such as the USA, Australia, and Canada to maintain a concrete link with Greece and Hellenism, keeping their Greek identity alive even in cases where their own personal ancestry is multinational.

Over the years, I have watched in dismay as countless descendants of Greeks have lost their ties to their culture and their heritage, becoming assimilated into their adopted societies. This could be a way to finally reverse that trend. I would greatly appreciate any contribution you could make towards promoting this idea.

George Costopoulos

Vancouver, Canada

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