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James Prineas

July 2006

Kythera, August 12th, Discover Your Roots 2006

Dear Friends of Kythera,

yes, it's on again! On the 12th of August, members of the world-wide Kytherian community will be meeting on Kythera to participate in lectures, exchanges and presentations. In English. If you haven't heard of our "Discover Your Roots" events before: those interested in the Kytherian family history get together for a day - last year it was in Hora at the town hall. A few seasoned family researchers and island historians give lectures in English and all the participants have a chance to ask questions and give advice. In 2005 we had a total of 50 participants from all over the world, many of whom had organised their visit to Kythera specifically to attend the event. Many had lost their family links to Kythera and used the day to find out how to reconnect. This year we will spend more time exchanging knowledge, family trees and research methods. Two leading contributors to the website - Vikki Fraioli of California and Spyro Calocerinos of Sydney - are heading the organising task-force this year. The program for the day is still being developed so you have time to make suggestions and let us know if you want to give a short lecture. You can contact Vikki at [email protected] and Spyro at [email protected]. They will also be able to let you know the exact details - such as where it will be held and when it will begin - as soon as they are fixed.

Mia Fazza, Mia Razza
Fellow Kytherians, we are not alone. Proud as we may be of our unique heritage, I can now confirm that, although perhaps at the top of the heap, we still are just a part of a "Greater Mediterranean Culture". Evidence to this effect was recently gathered on my recent trips to Palestine and southern France. I must admit though that the first indications of this truth came back in 1996 - years before the website was conceived - at my exhibition of photographs ("A Village on Kythera") at the Bondi Pavilion. The exhibition turned out to be not only a draw-card for Kytherians of all ages and sizes, but also for Spaniards, Italians, Maltese, Portuguese, Lebanese and of course other Greeks. Most prominent were the Sicilians, who often wiped tears from their eyes as they viewed the pictures of our island's stony landscapes and hospitable faces. I approached many of those showing emotion at the exhibition, assuming them to be Kytherians viewing their home village for the first time in decades, and was surprised when they revealed to me that "it isa justa like at home in de olda country!" The word must have spread because I gave up trying out my basic Greek on every black-clad woman who came to see the pictures, because many of them turned out to be nonnas (Italian for grandmother) and not yiayias.

Of course Sicily was probably colonised by the Dorian or Ionian Greeks (my ancient history is rusty), so there should be little surprise that we are all more or less one race. But it goes further than that. The smell of the golden olive oil in the Provence in France sends me back to Thea Katerina's kitchen in Mitata; the parched sage on the rocky hills of Artas in Palestine is the same as that on the slope below Agia Moni. The six-month rainless summer of the plains of Seville is just as dry and seemingly endless as that in the Bay of Kapsali. And the smiles on the sun-browned faces of little French farmers is indistinguishable from that of the old man at the Potamos markets selling his herbs. One Face, One Race.

After this article appeared in the last issue of the Kytherian Association of Australia's newsletter, Vicky Poulos wrote and added an important dimension to my theory: "As a teacher I have the pleasure of teaching students from diverse cultural backgrounds and yes we do have a commonness with other Mediterranean cultures whether it be Syrian, Turkish or Italian etc. which goes far deeper than landscapes and cuisine. I believe it is the passion we have for our families and for life." Thanks Vicky!

James Prineas ([email protected])
Team Leader Europe

We need your time!
If you have at least two hours to spare each week for Kytherian heritage work we'd love to hear from you. Whether typing up excerpts from books or interviewing 90-year-olds about their childhood exploits on the island, you can help from anywhere in the world. Please contact our Content Leader George Poulos on [email protected].

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