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Following the performance of Tears of Silence, a commemorative photo was taken with (left to right) Pancyprian President Philip Christopher, Nicole Petalides, Stylianos Aniftos, Consul of Greece Dimitris Papageorgiou, Paola Hadjilabri, Nicolas Nicolaou, Consul General of Greece Konstantinos Koutras, Consul General of Cyprus Michalis Firillas, and Loukas Georgiou. Photo by Eleni Sakellis
NEW YORK – The issues of domestic violence and human trafficking have been increasingly in the news as more and more survivors come forward to share their stories. On March 1, Tears of Silence by Aria Socratous, author and contributor to The National Herald, based on her own novel, had its New York premiere with actress Paola Hadjilabri in multiple roles as women suffering from abuse and human trafficking. The one-woman show was presented by the Pancyprian Association of America at the American Theater of Actors in Manhattan with production manager Alexandros Ammohostianos.
The harrowing stories shared in the play highlight the suffering and also the stigma attached to those who suffer abuse and human trafficking. Hadjilabri demonstrated a talent for accents as she portrayed the various characters and their struggles. While the stories are overwhelming in their sadness, the play’s message is clear, that breaking the silence is the key to bringing an end to these terrible issues that have unfortunately plagued humanity for too long.
The special event raised funds for survivors of domestic abuse, as Pancyprian President Philip Christopher noted, justice is blind and too often the judicial system fails to provide protection for the most vulnerable in society. He spoke about Cypriot Georgia Kontogeorge who, in fear for her life, escaped to Cyprus with her, at that time, eleven-month-old son, Leonidas. Unfortunately, from a victim of domestic abuse, she was then labeled a kidnapper.
“The courts in Cyprus failed to protect Georgia and her son Leonidas and she is mounting a fierce legal battle to regain custody of her son and prove that indeed, she was a victim and not a kidnapper. Georgia will not stop fighting until Leo is back in her loving care,” Christopher noted.
Following the play, Hadjilabri was presented with a bouquet of flowers and thanked all those attending. She invited Christopher to the stage and he also expressed his thanks and appreciation for all the supporters and benefactors of the event. He aslo addressed the invasion of Ukraine, noting how it brings to mind the illegal Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and if something had been done then, perhaps Putin would not have followed “the same playbook” as Turkey, i.e. invading to “protect” a minority population. Christopher then invited the Consuls General of Greece and Cyprus to say a few words. Consul General of Cyprus in New York Michalis Firillas noted the difficulties in dealing with cases of domestic violence and the importance of assisting in these situations especially when legal fees in the United States are so high. He also addressed the crisis in Ukraine, expressing the hope that the situation will settle down with the best possible results, adding that we are “in a new era of international affairs in Europe.”
Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras echoed Firillas’ sentiments concerning the issues of domestic violence and also concerning Ukraine. He concluded by congratulating everyone involved in the production and the effort to help the survivors of abuse. Koutras pointed out that the Diaspora community is large and Hellenism united can accomplish great things.
Among those present were Consul of Greece Dimitris Papageorgiou, Nicos Paphitis, Stylianos Aniftos, Nicos Zittis, Nicolas Nicolaou, Despina Axiotakis, Effie Antoniou, Phyto Stratis, Niovi Philippou, Popi Christoforou, Soteroulla Karacostas, Nicole Petalides, and members of the community.
A reception followed the presentation of the play with refreshments provided by Dionysos restaurant.
ATHENS - Once again this year, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) was festooned with thousands of festive lights, transforming it into a magical Christmas World, through an exclusive grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF)!
It all starts with a big celebration on Thursday, December 1 at 19:00.
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