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Moni Ovadia: “Whoever Sits in European Institutions Should Learn Greek”

“Whoever sits European institutions should learn Greek and deliver their first ever speech in that language,” claimed Italian-based actor, director and author Moni Ovadia in the online edition of Italian daily newspaper Corriere Della Sera.

“It would be a particularly strong declaration of our identity because the Greeks have given us the words to express our thoughts, appreciate beauty, and they have a long history of including our culture. If we lose Greece, we will not know where to go and who we are,” added the Jewish playwright.

According to the Italian artist, Europe has managed to unite its nations by overcoming wars, hatred and racism. “Europe is not built with the spittle of a coin,” explained Ovadia, adding that maintaining unity within Europe requires strong feelings of participation in common plans rather than a mere common currency.

Odavia also claimed that Greece can unite and preserve the most valuable aspects of both Western and Eastern cultures.  His future plans include works focusing on Greece and inspired by the work of past century Greek poet Yiannis Ritsos.

Ovadia was born in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, in 1946 to a Jewish family who moved to Milan in Ovadia’s early childhood. There he graduated in political science and made his debut in the theatre world under Roberto Leydi, as singer and musician in the band Almanacco Popolare. In 1972, he founded a company, the Gruppo Folk Internazionale, playing mainly songs and music from the Balkans. He has been an outspoken opponent of what he regards as growing racism in Italian society. He received an award from the University of Pavia in October 2007; in his acceptance speech he denounced the treatment of immigrants, especially the Roma.

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