Monday, April 6, 2015

Teaching Resource _ Testimonies of the Second Generation (translated into English)

First interviewee: The very first question employers ask me has to do with my papers, whether I have Greek nationality or immigrant status. This hurts me because it is as if they are saying that the Greeks are favored. I grew up in this country, I attended school here, I do not know more than the Greeks, but I know kind of as much as any Greek I interact with. When I am with Greeks I do not feel different at all. When we go for coffee for example with my friends I do not feel I am from somewhere else [different country], unless one puts a mirror on my face, and then the difference in the appearance is obvious. Even my personality [identity] is Greek, I have embraced the Greek way of life, going out for coffee, going to the movies, things like this. They do not say it on my face but when I am on a bus, and I am the only “foreigner,” an elderly woman would start saying that it is the foreigners who stole the money, then I know that it is directing her comments to me and this bothers me somewhat. But I do not want to leave Greece. People tell me I should leave given all my qualifications and my diploma, but I cannot see myself leaving. I have a positive outlook about this, I see myself staying, I see my future in this country. I will leave only if there is a very important reason. 

Third interviewee (2:58’): The issue of nationality of course concerns me directly because I do not have ties with Africa, which I could develop later in life, but first comes the search for my own roots, to discover where I truly belong; though I feel Greek, this is the only place I have gotten to know. For me Greece is the light, it is everything. The moment I started understanding the Greek language, I started readily developing many facets of my identity [as Greek]. Because I have been attacked, of course I remain on the guard when in public, but I am not changing my everyday habits either. I do not allow this to change me. You see, in 2004 when I was out celebrating with my friends the Greek soccer team winning the European championship waving a Greek flag and showing off the team’s scarf, without my noticing several Golden Dawn members (neo-nazi racists) approached me and they tried to grab from me the flag and the scarf, and there was a brawl, and then I left, what else could I do? I am trapped here. That’s the burning issue. Born here and trapped here.

Translation: Yiorgos Anagnostou
April 2015