Originally posted by Brian:
Wasn't Merlina a Government Minister under Papandreou??
Merlina? Well, she was a magician on the stage.
Yes, she was Minister of Culture under Papandreou as well as a passionate socialist and beloved within the International. It is also true that she was a strong feminist--none of that, "Ne, pasha mou," bows and kissing -of- the -hand subservience to one's husband, Epirus style. However she was sincere to a fault and fought like a tigress against the neo-fascist tendencies in Greek politics. I don't think she was beloved by the church, except on the day of her funeral. I hope she is in Paradise. Without her--and souls like her--I imagine Paradise will be excruciatingly dull.
Here is a short narrative of her funeral:
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Theodore Zarros)
Subject: News (in ENGLISH)- Fri, 11 Mar 1994 (Greek Press Office BBS, Ottawa).
Athens News Agency Bulletin,
Mercouri buried amidst torrent of grief and admiration
Athens, 11/3/94 (ANA): The Greek capital came to a standstill as thousands of Greeks turned out to pay a final tribute to actress and politician Melina Mercouri and escort her to her final resting place. Official representatives and dignitaries from all over the world attended the funeral service at the Athens Metropolitan Cathedral, along with Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou in whose Cabinet she served a total of nine years as Culture Minister. The European Union was represented by Information and Culture Commissioner Joao de Deus Pinheiro. Other foreign dignitaries included the Aga Khan, spiritual leader of the world's 15 million Ismailite Moslems, the French and Spanish Culture Ministers Jacques Toubon and Carmen Alborch, former French culture minister Jack Lang and the representative of President Francois Mitterrand, Pierre Chassigneux.
Government offices, schools and shops closed all over the country as huge crowds in the capital lined the route along which Mercouri's casket, draped with the Greek flag, was drawn on a gun carriage from the Cathedral to the Athens First Cemetery. Police said more than 300.000 people followed the procession, applauding and showering her coffin with flowers, past the Parliament, where she served as a member for 16 years, and to the cemetery where they sang the national anthem as her body was placed in the family grave. She was buried next to her father and grandfather, dressed in her favourite red dress. Mercouri, who gained international fame in the film "Never on Sunday", died of lung cancer at the age of 69 in a New York hospital, on Sunday.
"Mercouri was one of the rare people who combined poetry and action. She had the grandeur and the prestige which marked only a few people in our century", said Parliament President Apostolos Kaklamanis in a short funeral oration at the Cathedral. "In her eyes, you could see the Acropolis. Her greatest pride was that she was a Greek and always saw herself as an ambassador of Greece", he added.
Representing the government, Interior Minister Akis
Tsohatzopoulos said: "Your final and fateful return home became for all Greeks a festival of flowers, placed devoutly by each one of the millions who accompany you to your final resting place". "Melina did not talk about culture, she was culture", said theatre critic Costas Georgousopoulos, who described Mercouri as "a natural phenomenon incarnated in the most perfect form which matter can take". "Melina loved with passion and was loved with passion", said Metropolitan Chrysostomos, who performed the funeral service. Jack Lang, a close friend of Mercouri, stressed that "Melina expresses an ideal which one rarely finds, the ideal of universality ... Melina lives and is spitting fire".
Athens, 11/3/94 (ANA): "The French loved Melina. They loved the artist, her rare temperament. They loved the fighter, her generosity and her courage", French President Francois Mitterrand said in a message. "I want to express my grief for the loss of Melina Mercouri", President of Socialist International Pierre Mauroy, said in a letter to the Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou.
"We are shocked at the loss of Melina Mercouri, we share your pain", President of the European Socialist Party Willy Claes said in a message to Mr. Papandreou. Describing Mercouri as a brave and persistent woman, he added that "she service of her ideas, our ideas, for we've always felt proud we belonged to the same political family with her".
In a message of condolences, Algerian Foreign Minister Mohamed-Salah Dembri said: "It is with infinite grief that I was informed of the death of Melina Mercouri, whom the Algerian people were honoured to include amongst their sincere friends since the times of their struggle for independence".