Monday, December 19, 2005


There it is Ron," Harry cried excitedly as he lurched forward past the speedily dispersing phoenix smoke, into the centre of the Chamber of Monolingualism. "Monoglot juice. Now Hermione can be released from the throes of that evil Babel spell and begin to talk in a language that we can understand." (Author's note: Hermione of course is of Greek descent, being named after her wizened grandmother, a witch of a woman on the island of Skiathos. Linguists are still deliberating as to the ethnic descent of the androgynous Lord Voldermort, but conjecture that he is of Semitic descent given that -t suffixes usually denote the female gender and as all newly illumined neo-Greeks of our community would tell you, Indo-Europeanism is benign while Semiticism (excluding that of the previous Greek governmental regime,) is thoroughly evil.)
Community response to the latest statistics that whereas approximately 15,000 pupils studied Modern Greek at VCE level in the mid-nineties, only 379 now do so, has so far been so non-existent, vague or fanciful as to rightfully claim a place in the fairy stories of J. K Rowling, rivaling the fantastic stature of her own Harry Potter. Indeed, was it not true, what a great fairy story Greek education in Victoria would make. Imagine, gentle reader, if you will, a community that hitherto placed education above all other things struggling and striving from the seventies to battle the evil curse of monoculturalism and managing to institute Modern Greek Studies in at least five major Victorian universities, only to have these be completely annihilated or excruciatingly withered away to a mere Voldemort-before-he-rose-again shadowy existence, most probably through the operation of a Crucio curse.
Imagine further, a legend of a prominent community reveling in its retention of its ancestral runes and mystical lore, building or founding a multitude of schools for its younger members, all of who pass through their hallowed halls. These schools, in the best of Harry Potter tradition exist on a parallel reality to that of the mainstream and details as to both their location and attendance is strictly provided on a need to know basis by the Ministry of Magick, save for the higher two grades, whose knowledge in magick is stretched and tried within the mainstream mangle.
These mystical schools have historically been peopled by strange teachers of a bygone age. Some, their nasal hair escaping down their nostrils with the urgency of fire-breathing dragons exclaimed, cajoled and screamed the knowledge of these most archaic runes to their hapless pupils. A slight, graying teacher, her complexion so pale as to render her indistinguishable to the wall behind her, attempted in terrified, sotto-voce tones to convey to her pupils, the more graceful aspects of their magical history while others, pale, quick-tongued and bedecked with a plumage of long, greasy hair, snappishly forced their pupils into the art of word construction, rules and declensions and woe betide anyone who was not able to recite national incantations such as: «Σε γνωρίζω από την κόψη.»
Tragically all is not well with our magical scholastic paradise. Over the years, both teachers and students have succumbed to the Imperius curse, cast upon them by the evil monolithic and megalithic Lord Voldermort, who, bent on making the world safe for democracy, free trade and cultural conformity, has enchanted our hapless friends. The Imperius curse, as J.K Rowling could tell you, is a particular insidious one, as it causes one to abandon one's own convictions and beliefs and instead, unconsciously adopt those of the enchanter. Thus, the pupils of our schools have slowly become disenchanted by the intricate spells of their ancestors. No longer do they feign interest in reciting or learning the magical incantations. Rather, they pay lip-service to these in order to gain some pocket money from their doting grandparents or in those in whom the ancestral enchantments are strong, to assuage their uneasy conscience as they slip further and further towards the deadly Rune Eaters.
The Teachers, or Aurors, whose secret task it is to capture vagrant students and cast them into the protection of Azkaban before Voldermort's hold over them is complete, are also under the Imperius curse, though in their case, it acts slightly differently. Our community Aurors become listless; their glowing desire and yearning to teach the true magic waning, they are content to merely go through the motions, year after year lowering the standard of incantation metadosis until finally, being able to falteringly spell out the runes alone, is held to be a great achievement. Along with the occasional ethnic Quidditch match, this accomplishment cynically and struthocamilically deludes devotees of the old magick that it still holds strong, whereas the vast majority of graduates can barely wave their wands, let alone intone a decent incantation to their elders.
As a result of their listlessness and their reduction solely to waiting for their weekly tithe, necessary for their procurement of Lord Voldemort’s worldly delights, by the year of our Ford 2005, attendance of mystical rune instruction at VCE level has fallen within ten years, by 97.5%. Aurors and parents alike gaze vacantly and wonderingly into space, afflicted by Lord Voldemort’s Inanus curse, vaguely aware that a problem exists, that their comfortably acculturated progeny should be able to be conversant in runes, lore and all sorts of other mysticism that the great pancosmic conflict of sorcerers had denied to them and that there must be a reason for the failure of the institutions they had so much faith in.
What then is wrong? The college of Aurors, in their deliberations have concluded that in fact, the study of mystical runes is just not appreciated by the Lord Voldermort-appointed manglers of knowledge, known as Dementors. As a result, those of our progeny who would, out of desire, or compulsion, take to the study of runes, are unfairly discriminated against, as compared to those who take on the study of more acceptable, Lord Voldermort-approved subjects such as Parcel-tongue. Short of offering them sweets, there really is no incentive for our progeny to study such a language, especially since, in their mathematico-imperialist mania to root out all differentiation, the Dementors will penalise those who do better in Runes than their other subjects and thus retard their progress through their Voldermort dominated life.
Other interested Aurors make the observation that it is the inordinately high standard of Runic knowledge demanded of mystical pupils that causes them to balk at the thought of their mastery, especially when other, more advantageous pursuits are available to them. These Aurors, suffering under the compounded curse of the Imperius, Inanus and Defeato, postulate only one solution, calculated not to instill mystical knowledge in their charges but rather, to keep them in a position to continue to pay tribute to He-who-must-not-be-named. Their solution: to dumb down the standard of Runic teaching to the level of an intellectually advanced aardvark.
It is sad that while the Dumbledores of the community may sound the alarm at the ever-increasing eradication of Rune lore, while the enchanted Aurors and their pupils slumber in their Voldermort-induced trance and the few who have not succumbed to his chthonic charms frantically search and pray for the messianic appearance of a Harry Potter who shall be a panacea to all that ails them, none can find the strength from within to disentangle themselves enough from their predicament to realise one thing: we at the Wogwarts School Greek Campus (sorry for the crass joke –couldn’t resist) teach Rune lore because its our Rune lore and in our heart of hearts, we all want to be Runelords. The only polyglot juice that can combat the darkness of the Chamber of Monoculturalism is that which lies in our veins and those of our ancestors. It is the knowledge of the wellspring of this juice and a bit of backbone that will dispel our curse. For how good would it be, if the scars of our passion for our own Runes become so deeply in our hearts that we should become as a result of our ancestor's love, the little boys that lived. And now for a last Inanus curse…..Antzela Dimitriosa!
First published in NKEE on 19 December 2005