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“The More Things Change”…the More the Community Needs The National Herald

‘Everything changes’ the great philosopher Heraclitus believed. ‘Nothing changes’ countered the equally renowned thinker Parmenides. Those two notions have battled it out in western science and philosophy for more than 2500 years, but learned students and humble citizens alike often had the same response: it’s both – and the 25 year history and weekly content of The National Herald proves it.

Indeed, TNH’s reality reflects that of the Greek-American community it serves – some things remain the same: the struggle to maintain Hellenic culture, language, Faith, and our ties to the homelands of Greece and Cyprus. Some things change: our families are no longer maintained by men and women slaving in tough – even dangerous industries like mining and the railroads – and the hot kitchens and busy dining rooms of restaurants.

Greek-Americans are now found – often at the pinnacles – in every profession.

The majority are no longer born in Greece, and most importantly, it is reported that 90% of all marriages of members of our community are now ‘mixed’. While some bemoan that, since clearly Greek is not spoken in those homes – others point out (i.e. this writer) that it’s also a tremendous opportunity for Hellenism. At that ratio, instead of there being only 1.5 million people who identify as Hellenes, there can also be millions more Philhellenes too – a tremendous boon for the Community, Greece, and Cyprus – and The National Herald will be their Greek School.

Yes, the Herald, which has evolved over its 25 years of existence, just as its parent paper, the Greek language Ethnikos Kirix, has been evolving since 1915, is an essential element not only of the present, but in the further development of the Greek-American community.

TNH is an essential catalyst for the inevitable necessary changes our institutions and organizations must undertake.

Greek-Americans – and American Philhellenes – need to be informed of the issues and personalities, and the challenges and opportunities, so that they can be part of a lively discussion and debate.

For example, there is the crucial question of which parishes and areas will be best served by having their brick and mortar Greek and Sundays schools rebuilt (and most importantly, re-imagined) and which sections of the country will benefit most from having their Schools of the Future appear on the phones, tablets, etc. of their children – but with once-a-week in-person Hellenic Culture and History classes. By the way, wouldn’t it be wonderful for parents and children to be learning Greek together, in a fun way through the ‘gamification’ of Greek learning for children that is being pioneered with the support of great institutions like the Stavros Niarchos Foundation – which is also helping with the brick and mortar elements too? BTW2, those can be the Sunday Schools of the future too, yes, for the adults also, whose knowledge of the Orthodox Faith is quite poor.

These and other discussions (i.e. like, how can we boost our lobbying efforts in behalf of Greece, Cyprus, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate) are taking place on TNH’s fascinating Op Ed pages. They are also reflected in interviews and articles in the main section – and on the website – as well.

Speaking of the website, we don’t know what newspapers will look (feel and sound?) like after 25 more years – but you can bet TNH will be on the cutting edge, as it has been from the start.

In recent years, the teams that worked hard to get the physical paper to your news stand or home have been joined by experts in the digital realm, bringing TNH to your desktops and cell phones.

TNH is not just ‘the school’ of the Omogenia as some have said 1915, it also nurtures and plants seeds in the Community’s soul.

Through paper and digital media, TNH is helping a new generation of Greek-Americans draw inspiration from the achievements of Hellenic scientists, artists, musicians, entrepreneurs, writers – yes, and NextGen restaurateurs – all over the world.

They also grow from learning about Hellenes who are the personification of ‘philotimo’ as they are presented in TNH articles and interviews.

So, there are constants as well as developments, and TNH respects and reflects both.

Let’s now take a look at the Front Page of the paper – and the Home Page of the website – which reveal it all: Breaking news in the Greek-American Community and the rest of the Hellenic Diaspora, Greece, Cyprus – and key places like Constantinople – as well as informative and entertaining articles about the Community’s events and members.

But the real TNH treasure is inside. First I will express my gratitude for the great writers and editors of the past – who made me want to be a part of the TNH present and future in the first place. God bless them and everlasting be their memories.

Now I wish to spotlight the contributions of my talented and dedicated colleagues – first, for ‘The Look’ – the sleek and lovely look – of the paper: “Geia sta heria – God bless the hands of’ Chrysoula Karamitros, our Production Manager.

Then – among the most important components – TNH’s main forum for presenting the personalities, achievements, and backgrounds of the most interesting Hellenes in the world – the insightful and delightful interviews by Yanna Katsageorgi, Catherina Ploumidaki, Stavroula Tsoutsa, Eleni Sakellis, and others.

My favorite section is our Op Ed pages:

the incisive and learned commentary – often spiced by welcome humor in this increasingly complex and dangerous world of ours – of our regular columnists Amb. Patrick Theros, Prof. Alexander Kitroeff, Christopher Tripoulas, and Dino Scaros – and our guest columnists.

The ANALYSIS column of Theodore Kalmoukos makes sure we do not miss important happenings (and reports on the lack thereof) in the Archdiocese of America. Its parishes are still the heart of the Omogenia – Greek-American community, even as Greek Towns shrink or disappear across America, or keep moving, as they have in New York City, from Lower to Midtown Manhattan – their hey day was from 1920 to 1970 west of Times Sq. AKA Hell’s Kitchen, before moving to Astoria across the river.

I myself cannot do without my weekend dose of knowledge and sarcasm in Andy Dabilis’ sometimes explosive but always witty Letter from Athens, and of course, the Editorials make sure all the bases are covered, usually by our longtime Editor – Publisher and now Advisor to the Publishers – Eraklis Diamataris of the Ethnikos Kirix, and Vanessa Diamataris of The National Herald.

Unique and vital contributions on the history of Hellenism and our Community are made by the irrepressible Steve Frangos, the dogged researcher and archivist Stavros Stavridis, and the thorough researcher Peter Giakoumis.

Keeping our palettes delighted and our health intact with both recipes and revelations about Greece’s treasury of spices and other flora are Eleni Sakellis and Evropi-Sofia Dalampira – Eleni also provides intellectual nutrition and spice in her LITERARY column.

And there is also coverage of Community and Greek sports – TNH is a full-service public service!

And as a reader and contributor, all that is a long way of saying thank you and congratulations, and ‘xronia polla’ to the Diamataris family, my dear friends and colleagues – and most importantly, to you our readers.

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