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The Greek Cosmos: What ancient Greece teaches us about the world today

What can the ancient Hellenic world teach us about astronomy, science, and life itself? How can modern-day Greece revitalize itself and escape its foreign shackles with the help of ancient knowledge?

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The Greeks invented their gods in the universe and the universe in their gods. The two are inseparable.

Of gods and men

Herakleitos, 540-480 BCE, said that all things are in a state of flux, and the heart of the universe is pure fire. He was a philosopher from Ephesos, a Greek polis in the west coast of Asia Minor. He is right when he says that the “gods become men and men gods, the one living the death of the other, the other dying the life of the one” (Fragment 66).

Herakleitos by Raphael Santi in “The School of Athens,” 1510. Courtesy: Wikipedia.

This is particularly true for the early Greeks and their gods. Most of the Argonauts were sons of gods. And even Kirke, her brother Aietes, children of the god Sun (Helios Hyperionides, son of Hyperion) and Medeia, daughter of Aietes, have a place in the Greeks’ cosmos and their gods.

Raphael Santi (1483-1520), “The Council of the Gods.” Courtesy: Wikipedia.

The Oracle

One of those gods, Themis (daughter of Gaia –Earth – mother of the Seasons and Fates, wife of Zeus, mirror of Justice) also showed the Greeks to worship the gods. She convinced them that the oracle at Delphi was the prophet of the gods. She taught god Phoibos (the bright) Apollo the art of law giving (Orphic Hymn to Themis 79). Herodotos, the great historian of Hellas’ golden age, puts Delphi at the very heart of Greek piety, politics, and culture.

Delphi was so well known all over the Mediterranean that non-Greeks also sought policy advice from Pythia, the priestess of Apollo at Delphi. The Lydian kings Gyges, c.680-645, and Croesus, 560-546 BCE, had enormous respect for the integrity and truthfulness of the Greek oracles and gods. They brought so much gold and other precious gifts to god Apollo at Delphi that the polis of Delphi gave citizenship to any Lydian who requested it. No Greek polis would start a colony outside of mainland Greece or undertake anything significant like war without consulting Pythia.

“Priestess of Delphi” by John Collier, 1891. Art Gallery of South Australia. Courtesy: Wikipedia.

In fact, even when Greek armies were facing their enemy, which could be other Greeks or barbarians, they first asked their diviners to look at the entrails of the sacrificial animal for good omens from the gods before they went into battle.

Herodotus is certain that Apollo defended Delphi against the invading Persians just before the battle of Salamis in 490 BCE. He also says Demeter doomed the massive Persian fleet at Salamis. Herodotos has no doubt that the oracles of the gods are true, particularly the Boiotian oracle of Bakis that foresaw the Greek victory at Salamis. The gods, Herodotos says, sided with the Greeks during the massive Persian invasion of Greece so that they would restore a balance in what was a hugely unequal struggle. Herodotos had no doubt the gods played an important part in human affairs, and Greek affairs in particular (The Histories 1.13-14, 46-55, 91-92; 7.8; 8.13; 9.100-101).

The gods inspired the Greeks’ cosmic vision

In addition, laws and reason govern the Greek gods and the cosmos. The English classical scholar Hugh Lloyd-Jones says that the Greeks set “the foundations of most of the chief arts of civilization” primarily because of their gods who gave them “the notion of a cosmos, an universe regulated by causal laws (The Justice of Zeus, 1983, p. 179). The American writer Henry Miller also sees the gods right in the Greeks’ vision. “The gods,” he says, quite perceptively, “humanized the Greeks (The Colossus of Maroussi, 1941, p. 236).

The Greeks’ cosmos is open to investigation. That is why the Greeks began asking questions, explaining natural phenomena with data and reasonable theories they formulated from their careful observation of the workings of the natural world. That was the beginning of science.

Ptolemaic celestial spheres in Cosmographia by Peter Apian, Antwerp 1539. Ptolemaios (Ptolemy) was a great Greek astronomer who flourished in the second century in Alexandria, Egypt. Courtesy: Wikipedia.

Pindaros, 518-after 446 BCE, the great poet of Thebes known for his exquisite Epinician (victory) Odes in praise of the victors in the Panhellenic athletic and religious games, wrote that men and gods had the same mother, though they were vastly different in power. Nevertheless, Pindaros was certain, that men, in some way or another, resembled the immortals “in greatness of mind or nature” (Nemean 6.1-7).

Some seven centuries later, Galen, Greek scholar, philosopher, and great physician of the second century, said that mortals have something in common with the gods – and that is reason (An Exhortation to Study the Arts 21).

The gods, and the universe those gods represented, demanded that the Greeks understand divine power, which meant an understanding of nature and the causes and effects of phenomena in the natural world and the universe. They knew, for example, that:

(1) The god of southern wind, Notos, was the father of rain, Zeus having given him the prerogative of sending rain-giving clouds from the sky to earth (Orphic Hymn to Notos 82).

(2) Hephaistos, son of Hera, is fire – the all-devouring, all-taming, and all-haunting part of the universe. Hephaistos – the god whose craftsmanship sparked metallurgy in the Aegean island of Lemnos and Caucasus — is the eternal artisan who brings light to mortals who see the ether, the Sun, the stars, the moon and pure light through him. Hephaistos in fact lives in mortals and, because of that, nature itself burns in their bodies. In other words, Hephaistos, the god of fire, is reason in the cosmos and in the world of men (Orphic Hymn to Hephaistos 66).

Hephaistos hands Thetis the shied he crafted for Achilles. Painting by Antony van Dyck, 1630-1632. Courtesy: Wikipedia.

(3) Nomos – a cosmic principle – is all about reason and order in the cosmos. It sets limits for life on Earth as much as it arranges the stars in the universe (Orphic Hymn to Nomos 64); and

(4) Okeanos, the mighty river around the Earth, was where all life, including the gods, came from. He was also the father of all seas, rivers, and streams of the Earth from his marriage to his sister Tethys.

Aristotle confirms that the ancient Greeks considered Okeanos and Tethys the parents of creation. The gods themselves took their oath by the water of the Styx (Metaphysics 983b29-33), a river in northeastern Arkadia. Hesiodos says that the gods would pay a terrible price if they swore a false oath by the primeval and immortal water of Styx (Theogony 793-806).

Natural philosophy

Water was at the heart of the Greeks’ cosmos. It became the key with which Thales opened the origins of the cosmos. Thales was a sixth century BCE Greek cosmologist from Miletos, a flourishing Ionian polis on the coast of Asia Minor near the mouth of the river Maiander. Herodotos says Miletos was the pride of Ionia (The Histories 5.28).

Aristotle considered Thales the founder of natural philosophy (Metaphysics 983b20). Thales made water the foundation of the universe. He said the Earth rests on water (Aristotle, Metaphysics 983b21). Thales also believed that “all things are full of gods” (Aristotle, On the Soul 411a7-8).

Aristotle, too, believed the Greeks’ forefathers thought that the first substances or principles governing the cosmos were gods. It was like the divine enclosed the whole of nature. And reason was also present throughout nature and the universe. In fact for Aristotle reason was the explanation for the world and for that world’s order (Metaphysics 984b15-20; 1074b1-14).

Divine benefactors

In addition, Aristotle considered the gods the greatest benefactors of humankind. Just like children are drawn to their parents with affection and love, Aristotle said, so men and women have an affection and love for the gods who are responsible for their existence, nourishment, and education (Nicomachean Ethics 8.12.1162a4-7).

Thus the gods and reason – both essential for the origins, order and very being of the universe – were complementary. That explains why the Greeks did so much with science, which they invented. Their gods were the beginning of their cosmology. They were always curious and eager to understand the cause and effect relationships in nature without the aid of superstition. They were perpetually perplexed and delighted by the beauty, reason, and order of the natural world and the cosmos. Their gods had to be reason, and they were.

Archilochos, a seven-century BCE poet second only to Homer in greatness, put the Greeks’ attitude towards their gods this way. “Attribute,” he says, “all to the gods” (Fragment 23).

Erebos (darkness) in Western cosmology

Some 3,000 years after the Greeks thought out carefully their rational and beautiful picture of the cosmos, the cosmology of the Western people is a black hole for gods and, to some degree, science as well. By science I mean theory and applied reason, an intelligent way of making sense of the massive and exquisitely beautiful cosmos.

I am not making fun of the technical achievements of Western scientists. Their satellites and telescopes are expanding our knowledge of the universe. I am simply suggesting that, when it comes to a theory of cosmology explaining the origins and creation of the universe, the Western view is, most probably, that of science fiction.

Western astronomers and physicists on the dawn of the twenty-first century speak of the “inflation” theory of how the universe came into being. They say they believe the “universe began in an extraordinary explosion known as the Big Bang” (National Research Council, Nuclear Physics, 1999, p. 112). In addition, they say that the universe arose from a very small matter during the violent burst and a moment after it.

Brian Greene, a physicist making a career out of the Big Bang theory, is quite certain that at the moment of the huge blast “the whole of the universe erupted from a microscopic nugget whose size makes a grain of sand look colossal” (The Elegant Universe, 2000, p. 4).

Greene is a proponent of what he calls a “superstring” or “string” theory, according to which, the particles of nature behave not like point-particles but rather like loops of vibrating string. These vibrating-string particles of nature, the electrons and quarks making up the atoms, for instance, eliminate the incompatibility between quantum mechanics (of the microscopic world) and general relativity (of the universe).

Is the universe flat?

No wonder Greene is optimistic that this string idea could, one day, put everything in the universe under the marching orders of a single grand principle, a master equation. The string theory could become a theory of everything. But that’s highly unlikely. So much power in the hands of even a god would be dangerous. The Greeks knew that so they made their gods and cosmogony, and cosmology democratic.

Western scientists, however, believe in a neat separation between their science and society. They claim the universe is flat because of the afterglow of the Big Bang. They dub the afterglow cosmic microwave background radiation.

NASA’s vision of the afterglow of the cosmic microwave background radiation.

They sent a balloon-telescope 5,000 miles above the earth. The telescope took pictures of background radiation and, from that analysis of light, they say they captured photons (particles of light) dating from the very moment of the Big Bang explosion, some 10 to15 billion years ago.

This claim boggles the mind in its overwhelming demand for perfection and faith in perfect super-telescopes, satellites, and high-tech science. We know, of course, that scientists and humans in general are by no means perfect beings. To think that the truly gigantic cosmos sprang from an atom, and was brought into existence by no less than an explosion, is blind faith in miracles.

In addition, something like 95 percent of the universe is invisible to astronomers since it is dark matter or high-energy radiation. Yet Big Bang cosmologists insist they are right from the questionable measurements they took of the so-called cosmic microwave background radiation.

The Christian metaphysics of the Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang explanation of the birth of the universe is a child of Christian thinking dressed, first of all, in the impressive Opticks and Principia works of Isaac Newton, the eighteenth century British natural philosopher who believed in an infinite universe made by the god of the Christians.

Newton’s universe lasted 200 years until the Jewish physicist Albert Einstein in early twentieth century argued the universe was of uniform density, curved space, and finite nature. Alexander Friedman, a Russian mathematician writing in the 1920s when Einstein was proposing his theories, said that the density of matter making up the universe was related to time, suggesting that perhaps the universe was expanding.

Friedman’s hunch was made slightly more plausible by the British astronomer Edwin Hubble who discovered that nebulae or distant galaxies could possibly be moving away at great speeds – at least that is what astronomers said about his measurements of the possible fast movement of those extragalactic stellar systems. Hubble, however, saw no relation between his observations of far away galaxies and the origins of the universe. He was also doubtful the universe was expanding.

From these tenuous hints of Friedman and Hubble – that the universe could, in theory, be expanding – the Big Bang scientists constructed their preposterous claim that the cosmos came into being 15 billion years ago with the shuttering explosion of an infinitely small grain of matter.

How convenient that these experts, whose hubris has even dubbed their untenable speculation “the standard cosmological model,” turned science upside down by reaching the same conclusion as the Biblical legend of creation – that the Judeo-Christian god built the cosmos from nothing.

This is a disturbing proposition that leaves some scientists concerned about the nature of their enterprise. In 2015, some physicists rejected the big Bang theory, arguing that the cosmos may have existed forever. The Big Bang theory brings into conflict fundamental ideas in science.

Gravitation, explaining huge forces of the universe, and the quantum, making sense of the microscopic world, become opposite to each other. Saying that the universe came out of a huge explosion fails to explain the start of the cosmos, and, just as fundamentally, what about before the Big Bang? “Nothing” is not legitimate for an answer.

Bernard Lovell, a British professor of radio astronomy, asks the “ultimate” question. “If the universe evolved from the big bang,” he says, “what existed in the beginning? To argue that the universe came from nothing, as … contemporary theoretical cosmologists maintain, is a brilliant mathematical evasion of a problem that may lie beyond human understanding” (“Out of the Quagmire,” The Times Literary Supplement, July 13, 2001, p. 4).

Greek cosmology

The Greeks did not argue the universe came out of nothing. Their commitment to philosophy and reason would not tolerate such an absurdity. Greek cosmology assumes no one created the universe. Aristotle said the universe is eternal (On the Heavens 277b28-29). The cosmos is forever. It has no beginning or end. Furthermore, Greek cosmology includes no mathematical or other kind of evasion.

Aion (Αιων) or immortality represented by the young man surrounded by the imaginary circle of the zodiac, thought to be the path of the Sun in the constellations. The sitting woman is the Earth and the children represent the seasons. Mosaic, Roman Villa, Sentinium, 1st half of the 3rd century BCE. Munich Glyptothek. Courtesy: Wikipedia.

Greek cosmologists included Eros in their vision of the cosmos. Eros was the cosmos. Eros was the Earth and the gods. There had to be intense love for all the magnificence of the universe. And the Greeks tied everything with water without which no life is possible. But what is attractive or philosophical about an explosion? Nothing.

Big Bang: a mirror of the nuclear bomb

The Big Bang mirrors more than Christian creation myths. It is even a stronger mirror of the Western scientists’ immersion in nuclear bombs. Now that “physicists” live with their nuclear bomb creation, a monstrosity infinitely worse than the Greek monster Typhoios or Typhon, they cook up the birth of the universe out of the only thing they know and trust – atomic weapons. These terrestrial big-bang bombs blast any efforts at a rational cosmology, which can make sense of all the data scientists have about the universe. They are also pure evil.

Says Tyler Stevenson, a specialist in nuclear disarmament: “We the people continue our mute permission of nuclear weapons, death camps in our own backyards, with thousands of hydrogen furnaces at the ready” (“The Moral Flaws in Our Peace,” Christian Science Monitor, July 26, 2000).

With such political and cultural and scientific reality molding the minds of scientists, how is it possible to think of the beautiful cosmos as anything but the product of a massive nuclear explosion, the Big Bang?

We need the Greek cosmic vision

This is another way of saying that we need the Greeks desperately now more than ever. Their cosmos may still inspire clear thinking about the purposes of human life, terrestrial life, and the life of the universe.

Western industrial societies are monotheistic. Their economic models of extracting “resources” from the Earth have been threatening civilization. They heat up the Earth and pollute the global environment. They give disease and death to people and wildlife. In addition, the vision of these industrialized societies includes nuclear bombs, perpetual wars, and development-like wars against the natural world.

We must face this ominous situation with Hellenic courage. Master science and technologies, but pass them through the filters of Hellenic thought and ethics. If this knowledge is inimical to life, discard it. If it sponsors the hegemony of the oligarchs, resist it. Build a new world with the insights of Greek natural philosophers. Take it for granted, the natural world and the cosmos are divine. Love and study the natural world and the cosmos for knowledge, truth and wisdom.

This means, no matter what we do, our environmental and social policies must reflect our love for nature.

Other priorities for a sustainable, Hellenic-like society should include: Scaling down the sizes of farms so that a working family can do all the work. Grow a variety of food without the use of pesticides or genetic engineering of crops. Become self-reliant and involved in your community, town and country. Clean up pollution and ban toxic chemicals. Convince the politicians to work for environmental protection and the universal abolition of nuclear weapons.

The Greeks in Greece must wake up from their slumber and fight for their freedom. Say enough with the insults and orders and borrowing money from the European Union. Elect patriots and get out of the European Union. Be self-reliant in food – and everything else. There’s no reason Greeks can’t build electric cars, solar panels or buses and railroads. There’s no reason Greeks need so much foreign influence. Revitalize the villages. Each village can add to the country’s prosperity and strength. Turn to the Sun for energy for the entire country.

Finally, have a Renaissance of publishing and studying ancient Greek texts. Join that process of learning with the archaeological treasures of the country to also educate the millions of tourists visiting the country every year. Advance beyond the achievements of ancient Greeks.

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Paranoid Turkey Claims “Greece, Israel, & Egypt Are Part Of Khashoggi’s Murder Plot”

A new Turkish narrative has been launched claiming that Greece, Israel and Egypt are part of the murder plot of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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Via Zerohedge


As we noted previouslythe conflict over gas in the eastern Mediterranean is intensifying.

The dispute concerns gas blocks, with Turkey furious about the energy cooperation of these Greece, Cyprus, and Egypt in the East Mediterranean Sea. While Turkish warships have been active, it appears Turkey is taking a new approach to this hybrid war.

As KeepTalkingGreece.com reports,a new Turkish narrative, based on paranoia and conspiracy theories, has been launched claiming that Greece, Israel and Egypt are part of the murder plot of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggipresumably in an effort to garner global opinion against their energy-hording neighbors.

This unbelievable allegation has been claimed by Erdogan’s close aide Yigit Bulut, who is famous for his delirium and ravings, during an appearance on state television of Turkey.

“Greece, Israel and Egypt are part of murder plot involving slain Saudi Arabia journalist Khashoggi in Istanbul,” Yigit Bulut said in TRT Television, where he is a frequent guest.

Enlisting the ‘good old traditional perception’ that Turkey is surrounded by enemies, KeepTalkingGreece notesthat Bulut said:

“a belt extending from Europe to Israel has always harbored hostility towards Turkey they never wanted Turks in this region. Europe even made Turks to fight unnecessary wars against Russia.”

It is worth noting that Russia and Turkey have come closer recently due to Syria, a cooperation sealed with armament sales to Ankara triggering the anger of US and the NATO of which Turkey is a member.

Bulut vowed that Turkey will continue oil and gas exploration in the East Mediterranean off-shore Cyprus.

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Turkey vows to make ‘sea bandits’ drilling gas off Cyprus pay, like ‘terrorists in Syria’ did

Ankara claims jurisdiction for offshore research in the East Mediterranean, an area thought to be rich with natural resources.

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Ankara will not allow any “sea bandits” to roam free and tap the disputed natural gas reserves off Cyprus, Turkey’s president has vowed, while commissioning a new warship to challenge competitors militarily, should the need arise.

“We will not accept attempts to seize natural resources in the Eastern Mediterranean through the exclusion of Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC),” Erdogan said Sunday, according to Daily Sabah. While claiming that Turkey has no ambitions to annex any “territories,” Ankara promised to protect “the rights of our country and of our brothers.”

“Those who thought that they could take steps in the Eastern Mediterranean or the Aegean despite [this] have begun to understand the magnitude of their mistake. We will not allow bandits in the seas to roam free just like we made the terrorists in Syria pay,” Erdogan said at a ceremony transferring the TCG Burgazada corvette to the Turkish Navy.

The exploration of hydrocarbon resources off the coast of the Republic of Cyprus has become a sensitive issue for the international community, ever since the first gas deposit discoveries were made off the coast in 2011. While the Republic of Cyprus belongs to the EU community and is recognized by the UN, TRNC, the northern third of the island, has been occupied by Turkey since 1974. As a result, Ankara continues to claim jurisdiction for offshore research in the East Mediterranean, an area thought to be rich with natural resources.

The region has recently witnessed an escalation in tensions, after the Turkish Navy intercepted a Greek frigate which tried to interfere with a Turkish research vessel’s seabed exploration on October 18. The incident prompted a diplomatic row with Greece, which traditionally supports the ethnically Greek government of the Republic of Cyprus. While Greece denied interfering with the Turkish research vessel, Ankara has cautioned its neighbor and longtime opponent not to stir trouble in the region.

To ease tensions, Cyprus’ President Nicos Anastasiades has offered Turkey on Friday to cooperate on exploiting the East Mediterranean’s potential oil and gas wealth, stressing that the ethnically split island nation should be reunified. All previous international efforts to unite the island have failed. To avoid any further intercommunal tensions and hostilities the United Nations continues to maintain a buffer zone there.

“We will continue with our goal of exercising the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus, as an independent state – member of the European Union, proceeding seamlessly with our energy planning for the benefit of all the legitimate inhabitants of the country, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots,” the president noted.

US-based ExxonMobil and Qatar Petroleum have already been licensed by the Cypriot government to undertake seabed exploration of Block 10. Last month, Nicosia also invited France’s Total, Italy’s ENI and ExxonMobil to explore Block 7. ExxonMobil’s Stena IceMax drillship is scheduled to arrive in Cyprus on November 12. Turkey, meanwhile, started conducting its first deep-sea drilling off Antalya’s shores on its Mediterranean coast this week.

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After Embarrassing Defeat, NATO, EU and the West Try to Alter Reality in Macedonia

Amidst all the faux cheer and public displays of confidence of the pro-NATO/EU crowd, a palpable sense of unease hangs in the air.

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Authored by Aleksandar Pavic via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Although the September 30, 2018 name-change referendum in Macedonia, which was supposed to set that ex-Yugoslav federal republic on a path to (certain) NATO and (blithely promised but much less certain) EU membership, failed miserably, with only 36.91% of the voters turning out, well short of the 50% + 1 necessary for it to be valid – one would never know it from the reactions of its Western proponents and impatient beneficiaries. Indeed, a new term may be needed to adequately describe the reactions of the key pillars representing the reliquiae reliquiarum of the Western-led post-Cold War unipolar moment. Fake news simply doesn’t do them justice. Fake reality anyone?

The US State Department was firmly in denial, releasing the following statement“The United States welcomes the results of the Republic of Macedonia’s September 30 referendum, in which citizens expressed their support for NATO and European Union (EU) membership by accepting the Prespa Agreement between Macedonia and Greece. The United States strongly supports the Agreement’s full implementation, which will allow Macedonia to take its rightful place in NATO and the EU, contributing to regional stability, security, and prosperity. As Macedonia’s parliament now begins deliberation on constitutional changes, we urge leaders to rise above partisan politics and seize this historic opportunity to secure a brighter future for the country as a full participant in Western institutions.”

EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn wasn’t to be outdone in his contempt for the 63% of the Macedonian “deplorables” who stayed home in order to voice their disagreement with renouncing their perceived national identity and country name (it was to become “Northern Macedonia”) in exchange for the double joy of a) becoming NATO’s cannon-fodder in its increasingly hazardous game of chicken with Russia and b) the EU’s newest debt-serfs: “Referendum in Macedonia: I congratulate those citizens who voted in today’s consultative referendum and made use of their democratic freedoms. With the very significant “yes” vote, there is broad support to the #Prespa Agreement + to the country’s #Euroatlantic path. I now expect all political leaders to respect this decision and take it forward with utmost responsibility and unity across party lines, in the interest of the country.” He was seconded the following day, in a joint statement, by Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the EU Commission.

Understandably, as the most direct public stakeholder, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was particularly (hyper)active. As the disappointing results began to roll in, Stoltenberg went into immediate damage control, tweeting“I welcome the yes vote in Macedonia referendum. I urge all political leaders & parties to engage constructively & responsibly to seize this historic opportunity. #NATO’s door is open, but all national procedures have to be completed.” He reinforced his delusional missive the next day, releasing a similar statement co-signed by EU President Donald Tusk. And the day after, during a news conference, Stoltenberg even offered lightning-quick NATO accession to the unwilling Macedonians – January 2019, to be exact – if they would just be so kind as to urgently implement the very agreement that they had just so emphatically rejected. When NATO says it promotes democratic values – it means it!

But that wasn’t the end of the “democracy mongering” surrounding what may well prove to be NATO’s, the EU’s and the rest of the end-of-history West’s Balkan Waterloo. For example, the EU Parliament’s Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, although “regretting that the turnout was less than 50%,” nevertheless hailed the referendum’s results and “call(ed) on the opposition to respect the expressed will of the majority [sic] of voters.” The Group’s leader, Udo Bullmann, while also maintaining that, somehow, a voter turnout of under 37% still represented a “majority,” additionally used the occasion to chastise Macedonia’s President for having the nerve to call for a boycott of the referendum (he committed the crimethink of referring to it as “historical suicide” during his UN General Assembly address), as well as to decry – what else? – “reports about Russian interference in the electoral process.” It goes without saying that Bullmann offered absolutely zero proof for his assertion. On the other hand, according to numerous media reports, as September 30 approached, while no high Russian official was to be seen anywhere in the vicinity, a veritable procession of Western political bigwigs made the pilgrimage to Skopje in order to reveal to the natives their “true” best interests: Sebastian Kurz“Mad Dog” Mattis, the indefatigable StoltenbergFederica MogheriniJohannes HahnAngela Merkel. No meddling there, obviously…

Speaking of Angela Merkel, she also joined her fellow Western democrats’ show of unanimous disdain for the Macedonian voters’ majority opinion, urging the country to “push ahead” with the implementation of the majority-rejected accord, citing voters’ “overwhelming support” [sic], and arguing through the mouth of her spokesman that the required 50% + 1 turnout was actually “very high,” as voter registers purportedly included many people who had long since left the country.

Coincidentally (?), the same argument was used by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, who opined that the “yes” votes cast in the referendum do, in fact, “represent the majority despite the low turnout because Macedonia does not have the 1.8 million voters entered into its electoral rolls but just 1.2 million since 300,000 people have left the country since the voter lists were last updated 20 years ago.” The fallacy of his reality-challenged claim is easily exposed if we just take a glance at the results of Macedonia’s last parliamentary elections (December 2016), in which voter turnout was just under 1.2 million (1,191,832 to be exact) or, officially, 66.79%. If we were to believe Kotzias and Merkel (who lodged no objections at the time), that would have meant that the turnout for the 2016 elections had been 99% – a figure that would make any totalitarian dictator blush with envy. On the other hand, since those elections did produce the “desired result,” enabling the current heavily pro-NATO/EU government led by Zoran Zaev to be formed, that automatically made them “valid” in the eyes of the high priests of democracy in Brussels, Berlin, London and Washington.

Needless to say, Zaev joined his Western patrons’ charade, hailing the referendum as a “democratic success,” and announcing that he would seek the Macedonian Parliament’s support to amend the constitution and get the agreement with Greece ratified (according to the so-called Prespa Agreement, the Macedonian Parliament must adopt the necessary constitutional amendments by the end of 2018) so that the Greek Parliament can do the same, which would seal the deal. However, Zaev and his Albanian political partners are currently well short of the necessary two-thirds majority (reportedly, they can count on 71 deputies, or 9 short of the needed 80), and will have to call early elections if they don’t soon succeed in securing it.

Yet, let it not go unsaid that Zaev was singing a rather different tune prior to the referendum, assuring that “citizens will make the decision,” and that Parliament would vote on the necessary constitutional changes only if the referendum is successful. But that was then, when confidence was still high that the usual combination of Western pressure, money and overwhelming domination of the media spectrum would get the job done. And then reality struck on September 30…

Still, amidst all the faux cheer and public displays of confidence of the pro-NATO/EU crowd, a palpable sense of unease hangs in the air. As a Deutsche Welle opinion piece put it, the “low voter turnout for Macedonia’s referendum is a bad starting point for the country’s future development.” And, according to DW in Serbian, a Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung commentary warned that “politicians who otherwise ceaselessly talk of democracy as a ‘special value’ should not call on the parliament in Skopje to accept the voting results.” In other words, Macedonia’s people (read – a large majority of the majority Slavic population) have “voted with their feet” and rejected the agreement, and no new parliamentary election, no matter the results, can change that unpleasant-but-immutable fact. That alone will delegitimize any Western-led effort to “manufacture consent” by ramming the agreement through the present or future Parliament – although, as we know, NATO doesn’t put too much stock in referenda anyway, while the EU is not averse to making citizens vote as many times as needed to obtain the “right” result.

But the West has lost more than just legitimacy in Macedonia – it has damaged its reputation, perhaps irretrievably. In the words of former presidential advisor Cvetin Chilimanov, “The West has humiliated us… Macedonians have rejected this media, psychological, political and propaganda aggression against the people, and that’s the tragedy of these days, that a large percentage of a people that had been genuinely oriented towards the West has changed its mind and stopped looking at the West as something democratic, something progressive and successful… That is the reason for the boycott. Pressure was applied against Macedonia, a country that had always been open to ties with the West, but which did not want to make this disgusting compromise and humiliate itself before the neighboring countries, before Western countries. We did not understand why that humiliation was needed so that we might become a member of Europe. What’s worst, perhaps that is now the thinking of a silent majority of the people, that they won’t forget this insult and this attack on Macedonia.”

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