Hellenism


Natalie Zervou speaks of certain approach associated with Greek nationality identity. One such approach is ‘Hellenism’. The word ‘Hellenism’ comes from the name Hellen. Hellen,according to Greek mythology, [tome_reference id=”1594″ biblio-id=”1589″]is the person from which all Greeks originate[/tome_reference]. Zervou defines Hellenism as, [tome_reference id=”3851″ biblio-id=”1600″]“the glorified and idealized aspects of ancient Greek history, including claims to cultural lineage and national purity” (175)[/tome_reference]. Greek natives assume their national identity based on their historical lineage. They assume that to be Greek you must be a descendant of Hellen.

Zervou expresses that Greek past has vital significance in constructing their national identity. Since it is often hailed as the [tome_reference id=”3852″ biblio-id=”1600″]“cradle of Western Civilization”[/tome_reference],(174) its past burdens its national identity. In return, this fuels Hellenism among Greek natives. [tome_reference id=”3854″ biblio-id=”1600″]Greek nationals became accustomed to foreigners thus ignorant of their discrimination[/tome_reference] (178). They subconsciously ignore the histories of the immigrants. Henceforth, erasing their voice from public debate. Thus immigrants have no way of sharing their struggles. Therefor when constructing a national identity, Greece tends to forget about its immigrants. It has become easier to identify with their past than face the present.

Zervou used a choreographed performance to display the struggles faced by illegal immigrants. [tome_reference id=”3855″ biblio-id=”1600″]She refers to the section of the dance sequence titled ‘fear of fascism’[/tome_reference] (176). This seem a justified titled as many immigrants feared fascist. During the performance, Zervou referred to a scene that shows ancient ruins and dancers held back by railings. While this hints at Hellenism and how it holds back the immigrants, it also shows the restriction of their voices. They are no longer seen as human but as intruders trying to cross a border. Yet, they are not intruders, as many immigrants have no homes to back to and cannot move forward. Hence their hindrance also has to deal with the government. This performance did a good job in communicating these obstacles.