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“I am Hellene” Greek Actress Katerina Moutsatsou’s Controversial Video

Katerina Moutsatsou is a Greek actress who chose an original way to scream out her frustration. A video performance called “I’m Hellene!”. A bit her Hellenism,  a bit her copy of the Canadian beer commercial ” I am Canadian“, a bit her own performance and the bit of patriotic clichees sparked a “war” among Greek internet users. With one half of the user to hail her and the other half to sharply criticize her.

Video: I am Hellene (English with Greek subtitles)

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Criticism

Free-lance journalists Asterios Masouras  picked up some of the twitter comments. Some are in English, the majority in Greek though. Here I have translated one or two:

– “Hellene am I who cooks every morning chickpeas and then runs around to submit CVs to get a job”

– “For me the proble is not whether the ‘foreigner’ will call me ‘Greek’ or ‘Hellene’ but whether the native will fire me”

-“The attitude that we launched the world, and others should bow in front of us is tragic, my Hellene”

-“This country need a f….. hard reboot”

-” The video is so tragic, I am almost ashamed to be Greek”

On her Facebook page Moutsatsou wrote, she just spoke out when everybody in the world speaks bad about the Greeks.

Below the text of her video performace, Moutsatsou posted in her YouTube channel:

“Hey, 

I’m neither a public service worker, nor a thief. 

And, I don’t drink ouzo, break plates or say Opa in my daily life. Oh and I don’t know Yorgo, Yanni, or Niko from Greece, although I am certain that they’re really really nice… 

My country is a democracy, actually it invented the concept… 

I speak Greek and five other languages, and most of the people from my country speak at many foreign languages… 

I could probably sew my country’s flag in my backpack, but Greece’s heritage goes far beyond the geographical borders. It invented the West… 

I believe in Hellenism… The entire world aspires to its ideals…

And if I owe anybody any money today -and by the way I am not the only one- it’s because I invented the idea of a free market! 
And if you critique me today, it’s because I invented the idea of critique.

I believe in Freedom , so if I need to, I protest… 

I believe in the joy of life. I have the right to. There’s nothing wrong with that!

I can swim in the waters of over 6000 islands!

My country is of exceptional beauty, and tradition. And my family is a sacred institution!

You call me Greek, but it’s Hellene, NOT Greek, HELLENE!

My name is Katerina…

And I am Hellene…”

Katerina Moutsatsou lives currently in Los Angeles, USA

PS And what do you, KTG-readers, think about the video?

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21 comments

  1. Athena Angelopoulou

    Anything that projects Greeks (or any other nationality) as “supreme beings” is disturbing and annoying. Not to mention that the entire video was kitsch and disproportional using the initial concept of a humorous beer commercial for video about the current Greek situation.

  2. Perhaps people like Katerina wouldn’t feel the need to flaunt their national identity so strongly if there weren’t so many Hellenes who did the exact opposite, and actively bad-mouthed practically every single aspect of their country (including those negative qualities held by many other societies in the world today). Perhaps if there wasn’t so much self-loathing, which I see and hear and observe on a daily basis, there wouldn’t be the need for someone like Katerina to stand up and say “wait a minute, I’m not a walking stereotype, nor am I what people think I am!” Perhaps if we didn’t put up, for all of these years, with the stereotypes and misinformation that the rest of the world have cast Greece and the Greek people with…even during the good times…we wouldn’t need a youtube video starring Katerina to “flaunt” our national identity.

    Greece may not be an ideal democracy, but which country is? How about the United States, where a man who did not win the popular vote OR the electoral vote won the elections and became president? How’s that for democracy? We need to get over ourselves and over this collective thought process that always makes us “worse” than those “civilized” Westerners. Patriarchal, sexist, and homophobic Greek family? I have to wonder if some people have even traveled abroad to see what patriarchy, sexism, and homophobia really are.

    Maybe we should stop looking at foreigners as if they are “gods” and create our own positive example, and in fact, also embrace the fact that we do have some positive qualities as well. Instead of being ashamed of them, maybe we should be proud of them, and find our own solutions to what isn’t working, instead of ridiculing someone who spoke up for her country at a time where most people from that country apparently are too embarrassed to do so. Thank you.

  3. The best ever production i have ever seen. It is fair, balanced and promotes the ancient hellenic ideals of democracy, critique, free market and moderation….
    Katerina i do not have the honour of knowing you but i am proud about you…
    Congratulations!!

  4. keeptalkinggreece

    of course, when if prime ministers speak bad about their own people, somebody should stand up and speak out. However, I think the video comes out with almost two years delay.

  5. Better late than never! Especially with all of the sickening negativity in the Greek psyche, which has made itself quite apparent in the reaction of many to this video. And Konstantinos, it’s refreshing to see someone else who agrees!

  6. she’s awkward, and weird, and i don’t like this video

  7. It is not lost on me that this young woman lives in Los Angeles which in itself is telling… Gee, get famous, LOL…

  8. Ann, easier to be one if you do live here (I assume you mean Hellenic territory).
    Athina, why do a patriotic video projects Greeks as supreme beings? Why stating some facts from the official history is a sign of superiority, nationalism or even snobbing against other nations? On the contrary, I suggest that indirect acceptance of foreigner’s superiority by not accepting your accoplishments in fear that someone will judge you as a fanatic, is not acceptable. Every man in this planet should be proud of who he is. Every one. The rest is for the people willing to erase personalities and establish masses.
    Michael, I will not hide my preference to your comment, since it approves a video that makes me proud. I will also note that you don’t have to be in the middle of a crisis (true? fake?) in order to remember who you are. I would also welcome a video like this anytime.
    From anybody. It’s the fundamental right to express yourself.
    Phillip, well yeah. That too. Free speech.
    Sue, this is something that you cannot exclude from one’s motives. But, could a farmer from Hellas make such a video? Would a video from a Hellen fisherman have such an impact? I think not.
    For all of you that did not understand, I greet the move from Katerina Moutsatsou to make a video like this. Not because it suits me (of course it does!!!) but because such videos play a dramatic part in an actor’s life; mostly negative if you are not among people sharing the same ideas. This video that can actually burry her career, that is why I mostly like it. Well done Katerina. I wish I had the guts to do something similar. I hope to see similar videos by more people (not necessary Hellens, not necessary for Hellas).

  9. I find it really embarrassing that a woman who is clever enough to learn 5 languages can not say anything nice about her country than the geographic conditions and the truth that they had a high culture milleniums ago… this has NOTHING to do with the current situation. I live in Greece now for three years and what I see is that people still stuck in their history but don’t do nothing to keep things running… nobody seriously cares for the archaeologic sights neither for there so “amazing” beaches or environment, they throw garbage everywhere and think that the rest of Europe with this idea of saving the environment are just exaggerating and have no idea of freedom and joy of life. History, landscape, they are SOOOO proud of it – blablabla.
    Maybe if she would stop playing the cosmopolitan and live in HELLAS she would find out that pride doesn’t fill the stomach – neither the discussion of how to call a country or its people.
    I really hope that one day they will understand this and stop talking about things that they can’t change and start to work a little disciplined to make things better.

  10. Athena Angelopoulou

    “…sickening negativity in the Greek psyche…”

    Father, 55, and Mother, 46, laid off. Both with university diplomas.
    Two children, one with a Masters degree, one finishing high school.
    All four UNEMPLOYED.
    All four living off a grandfather’s feeble pension of 420euros.
    Unemployment aid cut off many months ago.
    No heat in the winter. Not possible.
    Luckily, they have their own home in a not so well to do region (no home loans, no vacation loans).
    The refrigerator always empty. The cupboards with the barest necessities.

    Don’t you just hate that “”…sickening negativity in the Greek psyche…” ????

  11. keeptalkinggreece

    Athens, unfortunately those who haven’t met the nightmare of chronic unemployment and zero income cannot understand why we are negative (and depressed).

  12. iaourti iaourtaki

    Yes, may be too late but it would make sense to subtitle it in other European languages before the summers comes.

    If you check it out a bit closer is has nothing to do with concepts like patriotism and nationalism, it explains the concept of Philhellenism and also Hellenism.
    In this article she give more background and explains the connection to Canadian videos:
    http://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/i-am-hellene-angry-actress-hits-back-at-greek-stereotypes-in-debt-crisis-with-viral-video-3092613.html

  13. Hello there,
    you seem to be reffering to every greek inhabitant of greece but, funny enough, what you say does not apply on me despite the fact that i am greek and i do live in greece. We don’t “exist” to take pride in our ancestor’s achievements nor do we push our “incompitence” under the rug of former glory, i wonder which greek people you hang around with, but please don’t be as resentful as to not recognise that if it weren’t for the birth of democracy you would still be washing the feet of your monarch somewhere outside an arena where slaves would fight lions for your people’s amusement. And, please, why don’t you just leave the country if your discomfort is of such an intensity.
    have a nice day sir

  14. “Why stating some facts from the official history is a sign of superiority, nationalism or even snobbing against other nations?”

    Because there are far older civilizations than Greek in the world, like the Chinese or the Hindi people. We seldom see a Chinese strike his chest with his fist, shouting “I’m Chinese, you owe all your advances in science to our culture, we invented paper, gunpowder etc etc”

    We Greeks on the other hand like to bring up past glories instead of concentrating on our present situation.

  15. Thanks for the text. Like to reply to the ‘artist’:

    “Hey,

    I’m neither a public service worker, nor a thief.

    -Great! So now the cliché is that being a public service worker (ANY public service worker) is bad.

    And, I don’t drink ouzo, break plates or say Opa in my daily life. Oh and I don’t know Yorgo, Yanni, or Niko from Greece, although I am certain that they’re really really nice…

    -You do NOT know Yorgo, Yanni or Niko from Greece? Then you do not know any Greeks.

    My country is a democracy, actually it invented the concept…

    -Democracy was first developed in Mesopotamia, Phoenicia and India. The WORD appeared in Greece first, yes. Athens was NOT a democracy: women could not vote or have possessions. Voting could only be done by the ‘haves’.

    I speak Greek and five other languages, and most of the people from my country speak at many foreign languages…

    -Most people of Greece do not speak many foreign languages. Some do. Most are not fluent and a lot can not even have a simple conversation in English. Doesn’t matter. But this is after spending thousands of euro in frontestirio thanks to the dismal level of the ‘free’ education system.

    I could probably sew my country’s flag in my backpack, but Greece’s heritage goes far beyond the geographical borders. It invented the West…

    -So does the US-heritage and of a lot of other countries

    I believe in Hellenism… The entire world aspires to its ideals…

    -No it does not. And if you take this as a definition: “Any of the characteristics of ancient Greek culture, civilization, principles and ideals, including humanism, reason, the pursuit of knowledge and the arts, moderation and civic responsibility.” I can honestly say that an awful lot of people calling themselves Greeks do not aspire to this either.

    And if I owe anybody any money today -and by the way I am not the only one- it’s because I invented the idea of a free market!

    -Apart from the question if that is true: Greece of today is a true non-free-market country. In fact it is a Stalinistic economy where everything is managed or influenced by the government. And an awful lot of people think that is either the norm in the whole world or they would not have it any other way.

    And if you critique me today, it’s because I invented the idea of critique.

    -No you did not invent that idea. Some great thinkers, more than 2000 years ago did.

    I believe in Freedom , so if I need to, I protest…

    -Nobody is denying that right. But freedom is also: not being forced by those who protest to do something that is not in my interest or in the interest of the country as a whole. And killing people who are not participating is NOT a legitimate form of protest.

    I believe in the joy of life. I have the right to. There’s nothing wrong with that!

    -Your welcome. Only when it is at the expense of the joy of life of others it is wrong and I will deny that you have that right.

    I can swim in the waters of over 6000 islands!

    -No you can’t. Some places are heavily polluted. Some have fish-farms just around the corner. Some have heavy shipping. One beautiful stretches there are oil-refineries or there are plans to build huge coal harbours for the lignite power stations that belong to the most polluting in Europe. There are stretches of coast that are fenced off and stolen by Greek companies, individuals and thugs. And this practice is against the constitution but, like so many things here, the well-connected get away with it.

    My country is of exceptional beauty, and tradition. And my family is a sacred institution!

    -Greece is very beautiful and has great traditions. But not exceptional. Around the world there are equals in abundance. Same goes for the sacrecy of the family.

    You call me Greek, but it’s Hellene, NOT Greek, HELLENE!

    -Whatever you whish. But will you please stop referring to people from The Netherlands as ollandika? They are not. In fact it is referring to an awful small part of The Netherlands. Germanoi? They call themselves Deutschen. Gallica? Francais!

    My name is Katerina…

    And I am Hellene…”

    -You forgot to add: “And I don’t live in Greece.” Well, and we do! Thank you for your concern.

  16. this is partly true! Whether the chinese or hindi culture is “far older” than the hellenic cannot be proven and is only stated by speculation. Even so, I don’t recall hellenic movies trying to propagate the hellenic culture as intensively as those from China and/or from India!!! I also don’t recall people from Hellas striking their chests with their fists, I only see people that defend their history by saying: “hallllloooo!!! I existed tooooo!!!”. Of course, there are some orangutang wanna-be Hellens, but being Greeks as in Graikoi, stating that their DNA is superior than the others, but that is why laughter exists for… 🙂

  17. -Great! So now the cliche is that being a public service worker (ANY public service worker) is bad.

    Nope, but being in a public sector without any kind of control, led to the majority of the public employees unaccountable for their authority abuse. Since the rest of the employees did not work a normal 8 hours shift (that is why the public sector never produced, only consumed) then it is a safe conclusion to generalize something specific. And as we say in Hellas “μαζί με τα ξερά καίγονται και τα χλωρά” (liberal translation: along with the dead trees, the alive ones get burned too).

    -You do NOT know Yorgo, Yanni or Niko from Greece? Then you do not know any Greeks.

    Well, I always get frustrated when someone does not understand the meaning of allegory. Let me explain this: when you say something,
    and you mean something else. Your words though, guide one’s thought to what the true meaning is. I.e. I do not know Giorgo, means: just
    because you had a chance to come once in Hellas and met a greek-kamaki called Giorgo does not mean you know my life. So, don’t try to
    remedy the meaning of this because, do you know any Ahmed? Any Tariq? Any Husein? Then you are a Greek nationalist-imperialist that wants to eradicate Turkey. (tons of irony indicating the false way of thinking)

    -Democracy was first developed in Mesopotamia, Phoenicia and India. The WORD appeared in Greece first, yes. Athens was NOT a democracy: women could not vote or have possessions. Voting could only be done by the ‘haves’.

    This is an opinion propagated by people that deliberately misinterprete history. Let me remind you that in ancient Sparta all equals (“omoioi”) were compelled to have fortune and did not have the right (by law) to loose their status. Thus, they were “haves”. On the other hand, now that everybody is a free person, how many of them do you see voting freely? I see none. Political analysis goes further down to “Democracy was first developed in Mesopotamia, Phoenicia and India”, since you seem to forget that civilization does not always go by democracy. I will, of course, ignore the fact that Phoenicia (hellenic name) as an ancient democracy is not a well established argument, and you should not propagate a heavily disputed claim without judgement.

    -Most people of Greece do not speak many foreign languages. Some do. Most are not fluent and a lot can not even have a simple conversation in English. Doesn’t matter. But this is after spending thousands of euro in frontestirio thanks to the dismal level of the ‘free’ education system.

    Well, I can prove the opposite: every man, woman or child (mostly on islands) speak many languages since they are depended upon tourism to make some money. Now, since there is no financial affordance to hire translators to every single small enterprise (“rooms to let”, “Marias villas”), how do you think they communicate with the tourists? What you confuse here, is that not everybody is as fluent as perhaps you, that had the time and money to spend in learning english for example. But I wonder, do people from Europe speak as good hellenic as you speak english? Do you speak as good hellenic as english? I doubt that.

    -So does the US-heritage and of a lot of other countries

    Two points on your point: 1/ No, US-heritage did not create culture, it only created technology (something that is actually disputed in some nothern european circles).
    2/ In USA you can go around with the flag sewed in your back or tatooed in your arm and be proud of it, but in Hellas if you do that they will stigmatize as nationalist and imperialist. This goes for “a lot of other countries”.

    -No it does not. And if you take this as a definition: “Any of the characteristics of ancient Greek culture, civilization, principles and ideals, including humanism, reason, the pursuit of knowledge and the arts, moderation and civic responsibility.” I can honestly say that an awful lot of people calling themselves Greeks do not aspire to this either.

    Definition from where my friend? Yes it does. Aspiring does not mean go exclusively by its rules. Aspiring means get something that I admire and use it. Many things in modern society were inspired to the hellenic ideals. Brief example: Hippocrates owth. Do you know how many doctors have to take it? As far as the “I can honestly say that an awful lot of people calling themselves Greeks do not aspire to this either”, I don’t actually understand how this cancels the aspiration thing…

    -Apart from the question if that is true: Greece of today is a true non-free-market country. In fact it is a Stalinistic economy where everything is managed or influenced by the government. And an awful lot of people think that is either the norm in the whole world or they would not have it any other way.

    Well, how does this incline with your own first statement about the bad public sector? Just for your information, this is not a stalinistic economy, this is a Kaynes economy which is implemented the wrong way. What you support is the classic economy theory at it’s extreme, which has been proved to be false (as you can see).

    -No you did not invent that idea. Some great thinkers, more than 2000 years ago did.

    I refer to you the allegory comment above. By the way, why do you devalue so much your contemporaries? Do you honestly believe that there was a superiority in the thoughts of ancient people that you can not find in today’s people? If it is, why do you try to make an argument, since some people 2000 years ago made that for you?

    -Nobody is denying that right. But freedom is also: not being forced by those who protest to do something that is not in my interest or in the interest of the country as a whole. And killing people who are not participating is NOT a legitimate form of protest.

    Wait, wait!?!?!!! who forced you to do anything? Nobody forced *me* to do anything!!! WHERE DO YOU LIVE? if things are *that* bad in your area then move to another one. Hellas is full of free areas…

    -Your welcome. Only when it is at the expense of the joy of life of others it is wrong and I will deny that you have that right.

    Please elaborate on this. At the expense of whose joy of life did we joy life? And how did we do that? By borrowing money using uneducated/traitors for politicians, by killing education and letting different “cults” cultivate educational chaos so that Hellens become an easy-to-be-manipulated-mass and then by protesting about it? Do you imprison a child for its mistakes? Do you really think that Greek state is more that a big child – unbrained body (people+politicians) with overbrained head (politicians “consultants”)?

    -No you can’t. Some places are heavily polluted. Some have fish-farms just around the corner. Some have heavy shipping. One beautiful stretches there are oil-refineries or there are plans to build huge coal harbours for the lignite power stations that belong to the most polluting in Europe. There are stretches of coast that are fenced off and stolen by Greek companies, individuals and thugs. And this practice is against the constitution but, like so many things here, the well-connected get away with it.

    How many industries are found in how many islands? How many of these companies belong to Hellens?

    -Greece is very beautiful and has great traditions. But not exceptional. Around the world there are equals in abundance. Same goes for the sacrecy of the family.

    This is a matter of personnal judgement. I find my country exceptional. And I have visited more than a few countries, more than a few times.

    -Whatever you whish. But will you please stop referring to people from The Netherlands as ollandika? They are not. In fact it is referring to an awful small part of The Netherlands. Germanoi? They call themselves Deutschen. Gallica? Francais!

    Greece, which came from Graecia from the Roman empire, considered to be the areas of Attica, Thessaly and Pelloponisos. Hellas on the other hand, was, is and will be considered all the area that was inhabited by Hellens; Macedonia, Ionians, Aegean, Lydia, Crete, Cyprus etc. So, you see, my Greek fellow, I am Hellen and not Greek.

    -You forgot to add: “And I don’t live in Greece.” Well, and we do! Thank you for your concern.

    And you forgot to add: “I don’t like my country. I envy other countries. I am ashamed of who I am. I was taught so.”
    And I live in Hellas. Born here actually.

  18. keeptalkinggreece

    (BTW: he does live in Greece since a couple of years)

  19. gargarokrotida

    Tragic..

  20. gargarokrotida

    i sincerely hope that she was on drugs when doing the video…no other possible explanation..apart her despairation to receice some attention…