After the major problem of removing the photograph of Makarios from the wall of the presidential palace, above the fireplace, where it had been for years, came the representation of the Virgin Mary on the uniforms of the students of the Pallouriotissa high school.
The school’s decision to offer two different uniform designs caused an uproar on the Internet, among some media outlets and politicians, forcing the school administration to (vigorously) defend its commitment to the nation’s Greek Christian symbols . (Translator’s note: The author is referring to reactions after the school offered students of other religions the choice of an alternative uniform without the depiction of the Virgin Mary in the school logo)
From what we can deduce from the announcement, the decision was made last year, it concerns the winter uniform (and only the pants) and is conditional (depending on what the new associations of teachers, parents and students).
The school says it holds high the standards of Christianity and Hellenism and protects the school’s sacred symbols as much as possible. “The school banner with the emblem of the Virgin Mary constitutes a shield of resistance against the conqueror. The Greek flag symbolizes our national heritage, our history and traditions, the struggles of our race for freedom and dignity. The Cypriot flag symbolizes our state, the Republic of Cyprus, born from the struggles and sacrifices of the heroes of our special homeland. Furthermore, at the start of the school year, a blessing ceremony took place in the presence of all students regardless of their religion.
In a few months, when the exam results are released, we will talk about the low level of education, look for where the fault is by looking at the bottomless pit (for another year) and look for clues to critical thinking. Already, desperate parents of children with special needs are looking for ways to get their children into school.
However, what is identified as a problem for the new school year is the symbol of the Virgin Mary on the school uniform. As if a person’s faith and identity are judged by a symbol. Those with authority and those without authority are taking to television channels to express their anger. But no student will be made better by the clothes they wear.
No one will excel and contribute to the progress of the country because of the uniform they wore to school. Nor is his patriotism and respect for the sanctity of the earth judged by a symbol embroidered on the school uniform he once wore. Instead of dwelling on symbols as a sign of our Greek identity, let’s think about why, after 12 years of education, students are not learning Greek correctly. Let’s start with that in order to preserve our Greekness.
This is an unofficial English translation by CDF available at penna.cydialogue.org. The translated text has not been verified for accuracy by the original author.