submitted by Jean Michaelides on 21.12.2006
From: Nicholas Laurantus
To: The Masonic
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Dear Brother Editor,
The first time I met our worthy President
Bro. J. H. Aldridge over a drink at our Club, I told him that I was a Greek National, and although I lived for 60 years here in Australia, I still loved my old country, as I also love my adopted country, Australia.
"Of course," he said, “that’s only natural”:
and then he started reciting the following:
‘Breathes there the man with soul so dead,
Who nev’r to himself hath said,
This is my own, my native land!
Whose heart hath ne’er within him burned,
As home his footsteps he hath turn’d
From wandering on a foreign strand!”
And Bro. Aldridge went on to finish reciting Sir Walter Scott’s beautiful verse. That verse fascinated me, so I decided to write to the journal on that very subject.
You see, I am the man who recently gifted some money to the University of Sydney for the promotion of modern Greek at the above institution.
The Press wanted to know why modern Greek? Why not assist some other faculty? I replied that the Greek language is a mother language and is essential to a proper understanding of English and other European languages, because most of them are replete with Greek words and derivatives. But I also like to mention here that the Greek language, like the Greek thought, has been one of the greatest civilising mediums down through the ages. It is inseparable from European culture, philosophy, literature, science, even theology, and from almost every branch of human activity and thought. No other language has had such an impact on human society as the Grreek medium of expression.
Sorry, Brother Editor, I’ve been carried away - let me go hack to where I started:
Yes, I do love my old home land, so do most people who are horn in a free country. Nostalgia is a Greek word meaning “home-sicktness” — almost a disease, a very strong human characteristic, which should never he misunderstood by those who have never experienced its pangs.
Some people are inclined to interpret a migrant’s nostalgia for his homeland as being tantamount to a dislike for Australia. That’s not true and, in fact, the man who intensely loves his country has also the capacity to appreciate his adopted country. In other words, Australia - and Masonry also — have nothing to fear from the man who loves two countries: but what they have to be aware of is the bloke who loves none.
We all know that some migrants never manage to adapt themselves to adapt themselves to local ideas and customs, especially to the language: and therefore they are forcrd to live in a small circle of their own; but, believe me, there are some rough diamonds among them!
Lots of these people, with their close family ties, work in factories or perform other manual jobs, mostly on the basic wage: but they make sure their children receive the higher education of which they themselves were deprived.
So, every few years, a new generation emerges of dutiful sons to their parents — useful members of the community, really good Australians, and for sure, a good many of them will become good Masons.
THE MASONIC CLUB JOURNAL —- FEBRUARY, 1969
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