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Viewpoint: Is Greece truly independent?

On March 25 Greeks worldwide celebrate Greek Independence, but Greece will never truly be independent until its people remove the shackles within.

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Original version aired on Dialogos Radio in March 2016.
Each year, on the 25th of March, Greeks around the world commemorate the beginning of the Greek revolution against the Ottoman Empire. A commemoration which is closely tied into Greece’s national and cultural identity, and with the freedom and independence of the modern Greek state, after 400 years of occupation by the Ottomans.
But which independence and which sovereignty are we actually talking about here? The result of the Greek revolution of 1821 may well have been the end of 400 years of Turkish occupation and control, but what followed since then and what continues until today is a different sort of occupation, a political and economic occupation and increasingly a cultural one as well. Modern Greece has never been an independent or sovereign state.
In its modern history, Greece has been a colony and protectorate of the Bavarians, who soon after Greece regained so-called “independence” brought in their royal families to rule Greece. Greece was a colony and protectorate of the British, who employed divide and conquer techniques against the Greek people in order to assert control and dominance, as was the case immediately after the end of World War II, when the British turned their backs on the rebels who resisted Nazi occupation and sided with far-right, fascist, criminal elements who had been Nazi collaborators. Greece has been a colony and protectorate of the United States, who brought in so-called “patriotic” elements into power in the 1950s while emptying the country of its educated youth at the time, and who later on brought a full-fledged military dictatorship to Greece, in the name of freedom and democracy of course. And since 1981, Greece has been a bona fide colony of the European Union and later the Eurozone.
This sort of foreign control has become ingrained in the minds and the mentalities of most Greeks. It’s a mentality one comes across every day in Greece, that Greece belongs to Europe, belongs to the West, belongs to NATO, that Greece would be nothing without the European Union and the Euro and America, while you hear others saying that Greece must be saved by another power, by the Russians. You rarely, if ever, hear anyone talk about Greece standing up on its own two feet, as a nation and as a country, without being under the umbrella of some other power, some savior, without belonging to some sort of a so-called “alliance.”
Therefore, when this sort of neocolonial mindset predominates in your society and your national mentality, are you truly an independent, sovereign country?
When the so-called political leaders of your country, a bunch of ignorant and repulsive clowns and traitors, downplay the significance of this national day of commemoration and tell us that on March 25th of 1821 what took place was an “economic revolt” or that a new “nation” (pay attention to the word here), nation, was born, or that this commemoration belongs to the so-called European cultural heritage and inheritance, are you truly an independent, sovereign country?
When the totality of your parliament is comprised of political parties who have exactly the same position regarding Greece remaining part of the so-called “European family,” and is comprised of political figures who tell us that the memorandum and austerity agreements are a “blessing,” and there is absolutely no democratic debate of any kind regarding the issue of exiting the EU or the Eurozone, tell me, are you truly an independent, sovereign country?
When these so-called blessings, these memorandum and austerity agreements, have resulted in a GDP decline of 25 percent, a decline in domestic consumption of 28.5 percent, a reduction in pensions of 61 percent, an official unemployment rate of 26 percent, a 35 percent increase in the use of antidepressants, as well as 50 percent of the population living at or below the poverty line and over 500,000 mostly young and educated people abandoning the country and migrating abroad in the past eight years, tell me, are you truly an independent, sovereign country?
When the resounding result of the July 2015 referendum, which rejected new austerity measures, was itself rejected by the government which clueless people around the world hailed as a government of “hope” and “change,” by a fascist, authoritarian, and traitorous faux-leftist government which went ahead and enforced the harshest austerity agreement to date, a government which earned the electoral support of less than 20 percent of the Greek population, tell me, are you an independent, sovereign country?
When bills that are placed before parliament must also be reviewed and approved by Greece’s European so-called partners, when they have the unilateral right and ability to declare Greece as being in a “state of emergency,” and when they can decide, for instance, what crops Greece can and cannot grow, what amounts of these crops to grow, and where Greece is allowed or not allowed to export this production, when your government’s finance minister says that his government is signing anything that the Europeans ask them to sign, tell me, are you an independent, sovereign country?
When the Nobel Prize-winning European Union, in which Greece apparently must remain “at all costs” says that your country must accept hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants and when there are apparently great sums of money available to support them and to support the country, Turkey, that is trafficking them into Europe even though it is not an EU member-state, while Greece is told that there is no money for salaries or pensions or health care and that more cuts are needed, are you an independent, sovereign country?
When this so-called European “family” forces your country to accept an active NATO military patrol on your land and in your waters and forces you to accept the presence of police and military personnel from Turkey, while turning a blind eye to the thousands of violations of Greek airspace and territorial waters committed by Turkey each and every year, tell me, are you an independent and sovereign country?
When Turkey does not allow Greece’s official aircraft, in which the prime minister is traveling, to land on a Greek island and in a Greek airport, at the same time that Turkey has a police and military presence in your own country, officially and unofficially, and when Turkey considers any Greek attempt to explore for hydrocarbons in its Aegean or Mediterranean seaspace an act of war, tell me, are you an independent, sovereign country?
When your country does not possess its own domestic, national currency but instead uses what is in reality a foreign debt instrument, meaning the euro, and when you are unable as a country to develop and enforce your own economic, monetary, and fiscal policies, when your country is indeed forced to sell off all of its valuable public assets for ridiculously low prices to foreigners and the proceeds from these sales also go immediately to foreign hands in the name of repaying an illegal, odious debt, tell me, are you an independent and sovereign country?
When your very own government has watered down the teaching of your language, your history, and your culture, when it requires your children to learn at least two foreign languages, something which few other countries require, and when it enforces an education system which favors rote learning and does not allow even an inch for critical thought, when this very education system apparently teaches the new generations that they are European first and then Greek, are you truly an independent and sovereign country?
When all of the major avenues and thoroughfares in Greece’s major and smaller cities are named after Greece’s former foreign royalty instead of bearing the names of prominent Greeks from Greece’s ancient and modern past, when we have avenues named after Queen Amalia and King Constantine instead of Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Kolokotronis and Papanikolaou, are you truly an independent and sovereign country?
When you have altered and watered down the Greek language to the extent that practically half the words used in daily parlance in Greece today are English words, even though corresponding Greek words exist and were once used, are you truly an independent and sovereign country?
And the icing on the cake is that if you say such things in Greece, if you ask such questions and raise such issues, you are immediately branded as a “nationalist,” a “fascist,” a “Golden Dawn” supporter, a “racist,” and every other defamatory categorization one can come up with. In other words, in modern Greece today, one who stands up for their homeland, for their language, for their history and culture is now considered some sort of far-right fringe element. We’re European now, not Greek, we are told. When this mentality and this line of thinking predominates in society, especially among the young, tell me, is your country independent and sovereign?
Today, what Greece needs is a new March 25th. How can this occur though when the solution for Greece’s youth is to abandon the country, one that many don’t even consider their homeland, without a fight? How can this take place when the prevailing attitude in Greece is one of “woe is me, what can we do, we have no choice?,” and when there is such fear, indeed such terror, of leaving the so-called European family and missing out on the vaunted European dream?
Greece needs a new March 25th, but in order for this to happen, the people of Greece need to undergo their own personal March 25th, in their minds and in their attitudes. Will this ever take place though?
Opinions expressed are those of the author alone and may not reflect the opinions and viewpoints of Hellenic Insider, its publisher, its editors, or its staff, writers, and contributors.

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Archons of Greek Orthodox Church issue toothless letter about abortion law

The good news is the Archons did say some good things in reaction to the New York abortion law. But there was no consequence.

Seraphim Hanisch

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In relation to our previously published piece about Governor Andrew Cuomo signing abortion into the New York State Constitution, we noted that at the time of the article’s writing, no entities within the Orthodox Church in any jurisdiction issued any kind of statement condemning this law. Of all fourteen universally acknowledged Local Churches, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Greek Orthodox Church was particularly of note, since their Archons awarded a humanitarian award known as the Athenogoras Award to extremely liberal, pro-abortion politicians, Andrew Cuomo being one of these.

Well, the Archons did issue a statement yesterday:

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Condemns New York’s New Abortion Law

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, strongly condemns the State of New York’s new Reproductive Health Act that was passed on January 22, 2019. This new law allows abortions up to the moment of birth and gives people who are not doctors the right to perform abortions.

The Order also deplores the celebratory atmosphere surrounding the new law, as One World Trade Center was lit pink to commemorate the passage of the law, as if it represented a great advance for the rights of women. The rights of no human being are ever advanced at the expense of another. The State of New York will not truly have respect for the rights of women until it once again restores legal protections for every human being, from his or her first moment of existence until natural death.

Hailed as progress, New York’s Reproductive Health Act is not actually an advance, but a regression, a return to a time of barbarism when the weak were at the mercy of the strong and had no protection from legal structures or governing authorities.

The Order implores New York’s legislators to reconsider this dangerous new law and reinstitute protections for all human life, no matter how weak and vulnerable. Only when such protections exist can any society truly prosper.

Rev. Alexander Karloutsos
Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate
Spiritual Advisor of the Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle

Is this enough?

It does not seem to be so. Governor Cuomo and his award, along with pro-abortion Roman Catholic Vice President Joe Biden, also received this award at the same time Governor Cuomo did.

What did not happen in this letter was that neither politician was named, nor were the four (out of five) Greek Orthodox politicians in the New York State Assembly that voted FOR this law.

Neither did the Archons move to rescind the Athenagoras Awards they gave to Mr. Cuomo and Mr. Biden. This move appears to be still far too politically calculated, and keeping with the tragic, curious and distressing behavior of the leadership within the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Monomachos.com is a popular blog site whose editor, George Michalopulos, is undoubtedly one of the giants among those Greek Orthodox who seriously uphold at the notion that the Church ought never compromise herself. Yet, he was very happy with the letter that is shown above because for him it represented a “180-degree turnabout” in terms of the history of the Archons’ behavior, which he noted elsewhere as smacking of “the feeling that their primary job is to raise money for Istanbul.”

He neglected to mention the lack of mention of the Awards, but perhaps understandably, his surprise at any sort of traditional statement by this group was leading to exuberance where perhaps it is not deserved.

The Greek Orthodox Church seems to have an overall alignment with very liberal figures, and it is unclear as to why. But this tendency of people that are considered good and faithful Greek Orthodox churchgoers to align with liberal politics in the United States is very different than the sharply conservative tendencies of Russian Orthodox churchgoers, or Greeks or Romanians in the US.

The other rather liberal church is the US is the Orthodox Church in America, but this group does tend to involve itself in social causes in the US – especially abortion – in a very conservative, if rather feeble, manner. They do make their presence known at the annual March for Life and this is of great value.

We wish to name all the Greek Orthodox elected New York assembly members here, with their votes regarding the state abortion measure:

Michael Gianaris             (D) (co-sponsor)   – Yes.
Andrew Gounardes         (D) (co-sponsor)   – Yes.
Nicole Malliotakis           (R)                            – No. (and she is a woman!!)
Aravella Simotas             (D)                            – Yes.
James Skoufis                  (D) (co-sponsor)   – Yes.

This measure enshrined abortion at any point in a woman’s pregnancy as a constitutional right. The law stipulates several following procedures are now “rights:”

  • The law allows non-physicians to perform abortions.
  • The law allows abortion through the third trimester.
  • and the law repeals protections for babies that survive abortions (this means that if the baby gets delivered alive, it will still be killed.)

This is a barbaric law, and a resounding victory for people aligned with some very dark ideas about life and death. It is a tragedy, and while the Archons’ letter condemning it is at least a token statement, it really wants a full-throated response from the Christian world.

In fact, even Muslims and religious Jewish people ought to be outraged as well. All the Abrahamic religions understand that only God is the author of life. In this viewpoint, people do not themselves create life. We only cooperate with God to bring it into existence, by his blessing.

But we can cause death, and this power is influenced by forces that are not interested in God, traditional values, family, children or anything of the sort.

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Greek MPs pass Prespes deal with 153 votes in 300-seat House

Opinion polls indicate that most Greeks oppose the settlement, a fact which may not bode well for Tsipras in an election year.

The Duran

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Via Ekathimerini


Greece’s parliament on Friday ratified a landmark accord that changes the name of neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), ending a decades-old dispute and opening the way for the ex-Yugoslav republic to join the European Union and NATO.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who hammered out the deal with his FYROM counterpart last year, secured the parliamentary majority needed to get the accord approved with support from independent and opposition lawmakers.

“Today we are writing a new page for the Balkans. The hatred of nationalism and conflict is giving way to friendship, peace, and cooperation,” Tsipras wrote on his social media account.

FYROM has already ratified the deal, brokered last year, and its prime minister promptly sent a tweet hailing the Greek parliament’s vote.

The settlement seeks to end a 28-year old row between Athens and Skopje over the use of the term “Macedonia” by renaming the tiny Balkan state “Republic of North Macedonia” to differentiate it from Greece’s northern province of Macedonia.

Greece’s European Union allies welcomed the ratification.

“They had imagination, they took the risk, they were ready to sacrifice their own interests for the greater good,” European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted. “Mission impossible accomplished.”

Opinion polls indicate that most Greeks oppose the settlement, a fact which may not bode well for Tsipras in an election year. A general election is due by October, and his party is trailing the opposition New Democracy by up to 12 points.

The debate in the Greek parliament was heated, with voting almost interrupted on Friday when an MP for the right-wing Golden Dawn Party, asked to cast his vote, responded: “No to treason!”

Several MPs in favour of of the accord reported attempts to intimidate them.

Many Greeks fear the agreement could lead to territorial claims against Greece and say it constitutes an appropriation of their country’s ancient cultural heritage. Macedonia was the birthplace of Alexander the Great.

Protests against the deal have at times turned violent this week, and on Thursday evening police fired teargas to disperse crowds outside parliament. Smaller groups of people braved heavy rain on Friday to demonstrate outside the parliament.

New Democracy slammed the agreement.

“This deal should never have been signed or brought to parliament for ratification,” party leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis told parliament. “It is a national defeat … a national blunder that is an affont to the truth and history of our country.”

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