Infinite Menus, Copyright 2006, OpenCube Inc. All Rights Reserved.
 


Info Zora - The Rainbow/Vinozhito Newsletter

December 2002/January 2003 - No.9
RAINBOW (VINOZHITO), European Movement
Member of the European Free Alliance (EFA)
STEFANOU DRAGOUMI 11, P.O. Box 51, 53100 FLORINA, LERIN
GREECE
TEL, FAX: +302385, 46548
URL: http://www.florina.org/
It is our opinion that the issue of immigration will dominate the political stage over the next years, if it does not already, in both Greece as well as the entire European Union. The principle on immigration policy upheld in the Rainbow party Political Manifesto is as follows: Rainbow endorses the rights of immigrant workers who have been forced by hunger and despair to seek a living in Greece. We support their right to earn a living provided that this does not negatively impact on the wages of Greek workers and create a condition that opens the door to racism and fascism. Rainbow advocates equal pay and equal security and benefits for equal work with respect to all workers, Greek and foreign, as well as full civic rights for immigrant workers who have resided in Greek for a specified and reasonable period of time.

As an example of migrant solidarity we have republished below a letter by Mr. Gazi Kaplanni, written in the days just prior to 2003.

An Open Letter from an Albanian Migrant

By Gazi Kaplanni


To those who govern:

Gentlemen,

Forgive me for bothering you. The reason I am writing is both simple and complicated. I am one of those tens of thousands who have left my homeland for foreign soil. However, I hate playing the victim and I don't want you to feel sorry for me. The decision to emigrate is a personal one. Painful, but personal nonetheless. Besides which, I do not want to take up your valuable time by telling you all about how many days I walked, how much I paid for visas (counterfeit or genuine), how many times I changed my name, how many police vans I rode in, etc, etc. Also, I don't like telling only the sad stories. Still, we are all God's vulnerable creatures and sometimes our patience wears thin. In short, I would like to tell you just some of the things that have happened to me this past year. The idea to do this occurred to me as I was looking through my journal, the place where I jot down both my physical activities as well as my metaphysical concerns. I realized that this year alone I'd spent more than half the time waiting on lines.

The first line was the one in front of the office of the Athens Prefecture, which I joined, elated that I was finally to become legal. I'd written in my journal that there are three things that a migrant treasures: a Lover, a Job, and a Residence Permit. As the line in front of the Prefecture grew my joy diminished. As usually happens in such circumstances, arguments soon broke out. The Albanians started cursing the Moroccans. The Moroccans the Pakistanis. The Pakistanis the Albanians. And the police, who were maintaining order, began at some point to curse the Albanians, the Moroccans, and the Pakistanis. They also sent them the message with their truncheons. Seven days on line; the same amount of time it took God to create the world (if I'm correct, because all these years I still haven't had a chance to look at the Bible). Finally my turn came. They told me then that I was missing a paper that I needed to get from the Albanian Embassy. I left the line at the Prefecture and got on the one at the Embassy. Three days in front of the Embassy door like Jannisaries before Kruje Castle,as they say where I come from/ but I never got in. I finally got inside on Wednesday, got the document stamped, paid 40 euro, and left.

I returned to the line at the Prefecture. The scene was the same: Albanians, Moroccans, Pakistanis, and policemen. Eight days on line. When my turn finally came I was informed that while I was gone something called an interpretive circular had arrived, which invalidated the papers I already had and demanded others. I got off the line and spent some 66 days going from line to various line: The Employment Service (OAED), Social Security (IKA), Internal Revenue, the Hospital, the Justice Ministry, the Foreign Ministry's Translation Bureau, the Police Station, back to OAED, back to IKA, the Embassy& Plus 22 days that my employer needed to think about giving me a confirmation that I worked for him. I got back on the Prefecture line: Albanians, Moroccans, Pakistanis, and policemen. But this time my cousin's advice came in handy: I found a go-between and paid 150 euro outside the Prefecture and another 150 euro inside the Prefecture to make an application that I wish to become legal. Thus I realized that being a migrant means becoming He who Pays (like, He who Laughs). At any rate, I still haven't received a regular Residence Permit so I'm living here with half-legal/half-illegal status.

Besides my daily job, every so often I'm also required to pass through a police holding cell. The reason for this are the operations to verify personal data carried out by border guards - in Athens. By the time they have verified your data you have spent several long hours waiting in a cell. There I've met other migrants: Moroccans, Ghanaians, Kurds... Strangely enough, these visits have made me more cosmopolitan. Still, I'm not so happy that cosmopolitanism is promoted through police stations.

One day I realized that my passport was about to expire. So I thought I'd go to Albania to see my parents and get a new passport at the same time. My cousin and I set out in his car for the old country. Between the time that we crossed into Albania and our arrival in our hometown we were stopped more than 30 times by the Albanian police. Of course, there is nothing amiss in being stopped by the police. But they become so agitated when they see foreign plates that they always find some violation, which my cousin corrected each time with a gratuity and a great deal of sighing. We arrived in our hometown. While I was there I spent more time chasing after my passport than seeing my parents. In the end they asked me for a not at all negligible (under the table) sum. This time I decided not to pay. Why, I though, should I pay for a document verifying that I am me and not somebody else? Isn't this the job of the state? Is this what we meant by transitional period? The transition from totalitarianism to the dictatorship of corruption and the Mafia?

So I returned to Greece, embittered, and with my old passport, not the new one. There, another line awaited us. At customs something metaphysical/para-psychological often occurs: the computer sees an Albanian and goes crazy. It usually crashes. Four days in line and that's not a lot, thanks to the efforts of my cousin who once again dealt out something left and right. During the days we waited I learned some other, mind-opening things from my cousin. The first was an ancient Chinese saying that it is disgraceful to be rich in a badly governed country and disgraceful to be poor in a well-governed country. Second explained why the computers at customs break down every time. It's because they know that no Albanian migrant is going to say: What the hell! I'll just go back and stay in Albania. As soon as crossed to the other side my cousin sealed the cycle of ideas: The bonds of humanity are forged by documents, and those of immigrants by customs bureaus, police inspections and interpretive circulars. This last,again according to my cousin/ was written by someone with the terrifying name of Kafka, which means Skull in Albanian. So this phrase has been literally riveted in my skull.

As I write this I am standing on line outside the Albanian Embassy. It's raining nonstop and we've been waiting for three days now. We're terrified. We were told out of the clear blue that anyone not holding a valid passport would immediately be delegalized. My cousin isn't here and I'm a bit panicked. While waiting in line I happened to get a hold of two newspapers, one Albanian and one Greek. The Albanian paper talked about the sumptuous days the Albanian Prime Minister spent in Athens. Fortunately, someone sighed, We have the Prime Minister to reverse the stereotype that we Albanians are born only to suffer. The Greek paper wrote on page 3 about a robbery carried out by masked Albanians who spoke perfect Greek, and on page 13 about a celebration where happy immigrants prepared the foods of their native land. Meanwhile, some girl asked how come those trafficking in drugs and in women could get residence permits and passports in any name they want while we have to go through hell? Another guy added that in the end it's easier to win the Lotto than to get a Residence Permit. And I'm thinking, in the place where I've migrated they still see me as an accident of history. They more often prefer me illegal than legal. The only thing I ask of my country of birth is a passport, and this they refuse me. It's 2003 and I'm on the verge of neurosis, I'm illegal, and I'm waiting on line. The guy behind me whispers in my ear, If we don't learn to get angry for real, the next generation will still be waiting their turn.

Gentlemen,
Again, please excuse me for disturbing you. Merry Christmas, Happy 2003. May God keep us all well, foreigners and half-foreigners alike.

Respectfully,
Kujtim Durimi*
Christmas 2002
Athens

* Kujtim is Albanian for Memory
Durimi is Albanian for Patience

Copyright: Gazi Kapllani
shqip@ath.forthnet.gr

NATIONALISTIC DEFEAT

ANTIFONITI (The Extreme-Right Newspaper of Komotini)


On 9 January 2003 the Three-Member Misdemeanor Court of the northern Greek city of Komotini sentenced to five (5) months in prison Mr. Konstantinos Pafis, the publisher of Antifoniti, and Mr. Konstantinos Karaiskos, a journalist for the same.

The court decided against the defendants for promoting the libel of Mr. Abdulhalim Dente, a minority journalist.

The political tale of the Komotini journalists is as follows:

On 14 January 2000 Mr. Dente's Turkish-language radio station played a musical request from one of its listeners, by the name of Boskurt (Grey Wolf), dedicated to his girlfriend. A tape of the program proved this.

Mr. Karaiskos denounced the event to the police and the Komotini Prosecutor as treason, claiming that the dedication pertained to the extreme rightist Grey Wolves of Turkey. Neither the police nor the Prosecutor would accept the charges.

a) Mr. Karaiskos' complaint on this matter was heard on 6 September 2001. At this time Mr. Dente was sentenced in absentia to 4 months in prison for having offended Mr. Karaiskos in a reply in his newspaper Trakianin Sesi. Mr. Dente wrote that [the plaintiff] combined the job of journalist with that of rat. The common term for denouncing a colleague to the police is ratting or snitching.

b) The decision was appealed on 12 February 2002. At this time the Three-Member Misdemeanor Court of Komotini upheld the previously imposed sentence on Mr. Dente, despite the recommendation of acquittal by the Prosecutor and the Court's President.

c) Mr. Karaiskos then filed a libel suit against Mr. Dente demanding several million drachmas in damages. The plaintiff's objective was to financially destroy the newspaper and radio station owned by the minority journalist. The court rejected Mr. Karaiskos' suit.

d) Next came Mr. Dente's counter suit against Mr. Karaiskos and Mr. Pafis for libel pertaining to the same matter. On 9 February 2003 the Three-Member Misdemeanor Court of Komotini sentenced the two defendants to five months in prison for the defamation of Mr. Dente.

e) The Court of Cassation is scheduled on 21 February 2003 to hear Mr. Dente's appeal to reverse the decision of 12 February 2002 made by the Three-Member Appeals Court of Komotini.

According to verified sources, the parliamentarians of the European Free Alliance (EFA) respect the decision of the Three-Member Misdemeanor Court of Komotini, and do not intend to take action against the Greek government.

In my opinion, this is because the MPs believe that the Court of Cassation most likely will reverse the sentence previously imposed on the minority journalist, Mr. Dente.

Dr. George Nazratzas
EFA Political Advisor on Minority Issues in Greece

The following text is the publisher's prologue to the book, The History of the Morea Peninsula in the Middle Ages, by Jakob Philipp Falmerayer, Megali Poreia Ed. The text was published on 11 December 2002 in Nea Anatoli newspaper (Halkokondyli 32, Athens, Tel/Fax +3210 5232553) Article no. 385.

We believe that Mr. Ilias Zafeiropoulos' historical analysis of Greek nationalism is of utmost significance.

DESCENDENTS OF PERICLES AND SOCRATES
GREEK ETHNOCENTRISM


The book you hold in your hands is the first of a two-volume edition. It is a work that portrays the most insightful picture yet published of how the modern Greek nation views itself.

What makes the work so valuable is that Greece has engraved this picture only as a negative, that is to say, the entire Greek nation perceives itself at total odds with this book. Virtually all the thinking of the 170 years since this book was written feels obliged to refute it; everyone has a bad word to say and a stone to throw. Any realistic hope for a university chair in history and letters or any decent government position in the cultural field has as a prerequisite some contribution, albeit small, albeit discreet, albeit for one moment in a career to this perennial civic duty.

If this book is not condemned by the right as anti-Hellenic, it must be condemned by the left for racist deviation and subjectivity. But it could also be condemned more broadly, more neutrally, as void, for pertaining solely to the author's own research and his times, rather than to era he describes.

The perpetual trial and conviction of this work might be productive if it were honorable. And it would be honorable if it did not take place in camera, with the defendant in eternal absentia. The argument built against this book, which could be synopsized in the phrase diachronic cultural continuity of Hellenism has no legitimate intellectual basis.

By this we mean that this work has remained unknown not only to the general public but also to most specialists in the field for 170 years, essentially because it has never been properly translated. Two decades ago a heroic attempt was made to translate a synopsis of Falmerayer's argument in response to the attacks made against the book when it was originally published. The piece we refer to is On the Origin of Today's Greeks. We use the term heroic because the translator was met with contempt in official academic circles and,worst of all/ was suspected of being a Falmerayer supporter. In other words, he was accused of anti-Hellenism. This discouraged any further attempt to translate the essential work. Thus, the few existing copies, written in gothic script, remain buried in the stacks of a several university libraries in Germany. The few Greek critics who have read it have refused to share its contents with the Greek public. They act as the spokespersons for the unenlightened masses, which must be kept in the dark so that their opinions are not swayed. Therefore, only those experts vaccinated by public funds against the virus of scientific doubt have the right to approach the dragon, to examine it, and then to return to the hordes waiting at the foot of the mountain to pronounce, Falmerayer is dead. You can be proud of your roots and culture. This mystical rite, which has been repeated every so often for the past one and a half centuries, artificially preserves the confidence of a people. But it also means the end of any real scientific study of history in Greece since science, and particularly the science of history, is first and foremost democratic. It requires transparency and unrestrained communication. But above all, it needs the broader participation of all those concerned with the social and historical issues of humanity and every scholar embroiled in this otherwise relentless scientific battle. This battle has only one condition: equal weapon capability. If historical dissimulation, cowardice and anti-democratic perspectives dictate the approach to such a fundamental theoretical and practical issue, not to mention to the history of the birth of the Greek nation, how can the atmosphere surrounding the humanities not be poisoned? How is it possible, if there is no ideological conflict on the central issue, for any argument to take place on any other peripheral or individual issues?

Nevertheless, intellectual circles and the science of history are not the only culprits in the scandal of silencing Falmerayer in Greece for over a century. For the most part, in fact, these parties are not involved because it is not their doing. In Greece the scandal quite simply is manifested in the most extreme and characteristic way. Its source, however, lies in the hegemonic domestic and international political powers, which put their brand on the formation and subsequent evolution of the modern Greek state. The science of history in Greece, as far as it could exist as such, has been either a slave to state policy, as it occurred in its academic branch, or subjugated by the chains of prejudice forged by official historiography for the entire nation. These chains have made it virtually impossible in the end for even the most enlightened to escape from its hard core.

So the issue is: where is this hard core located? Or, in other words, at what point did official historiography feel too weak and vulnerable to confront it? What collective guilt burdens it so much that it would keep its opponent underground for nearly two centuries? Such a collective conspiracy could never exist nor could it last so long. This has to do with something profoundly ideological, with something extremely concrete and specific, with the perpetually renewable materialist interests of those classes holding the official power in this country.

Indeed, Falmerayer's work allows no leeway, not only for the most direct, most sentimental and ideologically biased version of historical continuity, that of race, i.e. through blood, but also for the most abstract, least ideologically stigmatized version of continuity, that of culture.

Falmerayer's two-volume work deals with proving that the ancient Greek races had totally vanished from the lands where they had once achieved great things. Falmerayer writes that these peoples underwent a natural extermination by consecutive waves of nomadic peoples and that, at the end of 10-century period, what has come to be present-day Greece was inhabited by Slavs, Albanians, and Greek-speaking Byzantine populations that had moved there from Asia Minor. This substantive racial repudiation has always been difficult to doubt and is becoming more and more so. Falmerayer's fundamental adversaries, Zinkeisen, Kopitar and Paparrigopoloulos, attempt to refute him mainly by interpreting the scant historical documents available from that dark period of the Greek Middle Ages. However, they have never been capable of making a convincing response to his most crucial, most concrete argument - the almost exclusively Slavic and Albanian toponymy or place-names, especially the microtoponymy or names of uninhabited places such as fields and small in the geographic region of Greece. To solve this problem, the Greek state developed a science of para-etymology. That is, it corrupted linguistic history and, to make it more effective, recruited ethnologists to change the entire main toponymy of the country. But these devices assuage only the average, parochial conscience, not that of the scholar. So official Greek ideology had to seek its last hideout in the continuity of culture, at the core of which stands the argument of the continuity of the Greek language.

According to Falmerayer, the modern Greek language is what the Byzantine administration taught its new populations through the Orthodox Church and through the transferred Greek-speaking Byzantine populations. The Orthodox Church also continued to play a hegemonic role in matters of culture during the years of Ottoman rule. However, Falmerayer has demonstrated that, in each period, Byzantine culture and the Byzantine Orthodox Church was not the continuation of ancient Greek culture, but its complete negation. In fact, this rejection was its most energetic enterprise for it meant the use of flame and sword and untold violence and coercion to uproot any surviving vestiges of ancient Greek culture on the peninsula. It was Byzantium, in fact, that deliberately chose to use Christianized barbarians to carry out their pious work. In addition, it is obvious that a kindred language has very little to do with identity or kinship in overall culture. This is clearly demonstrated by the enormous cultural differences among individual peoples who speak the same language (such as the English or French spoken as a first language by a series of formerly colonized African peoples). However, Falmerayer's true superiority over his opponents is not found on the individual fronts in his dispute with them. Rather it is in the cogency of his unique, superb synthesis of the complex historical, ethnological and cultural evidence he provides in his scientific research. This synthesis exists in its entirety only in this book and its force is revealed only to the person who reads it. This book thoroughly shatters the myth on which all contemporary Greeks have been raised, something that explains the psychological (at least) pressures on those dissenting translators and publishers who would dare give Falmerayer a voice.

Still, the force of the text does not in and of itself explain why almost no dissenters have yet appeared. Why such submission? Why has there been more than a century of reluctance to translate and publish such a characteristic work? Could it be that there were not thousands of people in this country to courageously advocate their own minority position in the face of the dominant official ideology and political line? Could it be that there were not enough people to face the ultimate consequences of the firing squad because they condemned Greek chauvinism and expansionism in word and deed, especially as it relates to the rights of the Macedonian Minority? Hasn't Greece always contained highly righteous people who are dedicated to upholding the truth? After all, didn't the generations between the wars carry out a series of rebellions? One political party in particular, the then-proletarian KKE (Communist Party), gained momentum then, and vigorously maintained that the source for the formation of the modern Greek nation was not ancient Greece, but Byzantium, thus striking the first blow to the theory of Continuity.

Some may feel that the Continuity myth is useful, like all identifications with some superior model. It is also true that people everywhere have always maintained exalting myths and that every modern nation has behaved in this way. In childhood and adolescence, one must see some greatness in one's parents, whether they possess it or not. This proudly discovered illusion of heroic origin assists personal growth. But people, like nations, can never fully mature if they do not exercise some criticism against their predecessors. At some point we must all be capable of seeing our predecessors for what they really are and eventually destroy all these false claims and illusions they are carrying around in order to borrow some of their value. So, the real question is why has Greece still not reached maturity, 170 years after its modern state was founded? Or in terms of class structure why has its now geriatric bourgeoisie become senile? Or to probe even deeper: why has the national proletariat still not managed since its appearance a century ago to demolish the delusions of the bourgeoisie in order to become its mature heir? What defects has it inherited from the bourgeoisie?

The reason for this deficient aging process must be ascribed to a dysfunctional youth or, better, to the bungled birth of the Greek middle class, a birth irrevocably bound to the specific delusion of Continuity. As for Falmerayer, he was present immediately after the birth and was mature enough to observe and document the complications of the delivery. His crime was that he spoke aloud of what he saw.

We are referring to the birth of the modern Greek state.

The Greek state that emerged after the 1821 War of Independence was not the state of the Greek bourgeoisie, nor was it the state of any domestic or indigenous ruling class. It was, in short, what Marx called a phantom state. It was not a national state or even an autocratic state at the end of feudalism. Rather, it was a protectorate of the great foreign powers, led by one of them, and the worst at that, Czarist Russia. The subsequent Greek state of Kapodistrias and Otho I, like the state of 1821 that gave birth to it, was the product of Russian feudal diplomacy, rather than European urban democracy. In other words, it was the product of what was at that time the center of international anti-revolutionary spirit. The Greek War of Independence (1821) proved itself to be totally incapable as an internal process of independently bringing any form of state into being. The historical reason for this lies in the fact that prior to that time no strong indigenous middle class had developed that was capable of leading the nation into any real struggle for independence. The independent existence of this state required the sultan and, consequently, its even more intolerable dependence on the Czar. The Czar in turn marched his army into Adrianopole and sailed with the British and French against the Egyptian-Turkish fleet in the Battle of Navarino. He initially turned the fledgling state over his agents, Count Ioannis A. Kapodistrias and the revolutionary leader Theodoros Kolokotronis, under the supervision of his Russian admiral. Then, after strong protests from within and without, he turned a portion of his power over to his friends in the reactionary Court of Bavaria. This meant that soon after its formation, the new state of Greece was confronted with a European revolution of the bourgeoisie as well as an international revolutionary proletariat that was just taking its first steps. In other words, it was confronted with Falmerayer as well as Marx, who held the same political view on the Eastern Issue as well as on the Kapodostrian-Othonian state. This viewpoint was synopsized in the recognition of Czarist Russia as the primary foe of the European democratic revolution and everything progressive in Europe.

Thus the founding of the modern Greek state was bolstered by the delusion of Continuity. Continuity was not an inherent, concrete condition for its existence. That is, it was not an ideological demand of some fledgling Greek middle class for confidence in its first steps. It was not even the demand of some internal opposition faction. It was the propaganda tool that Czarism used to entice bourgeois Europe into establishing a beachhead in southern Europe. In essence, it was utilized in the spirit of the Enlightenment and on behalf of the Middle Ages that took the following form: Ancient Greece wants to be liberated from barbarian Turkey. Help her. Continuity was not initially an illusion constructed for domestic Greek use. It was primarily from the West that the Greek people learned that it was the great progeny of great forebears. This explains why Falmerayer was more incensed with the West for this delusion, than with the Greek ruling class. His main complaint was with the reactionary classicists of the Bavarian Court, whom he, being the conscientious advocate of democracy that he was, fought to the end. And they, in turn, fought him with an even greater zeal. However, all the people and the subsequent fragile middle class were corrupted when they realized that this Continuity could be converted into hot lucre through foreign (especially British) government loans, into marvelous new territories though foreign weapons (particularly after 1850) and into sweet state power through foreign political protection.

The problem is that from then on every official body in Greece had to be founded on Continuity. Moreover, when an insignificant, weak phantom state could use Continuity to stand up to the sultan, it could also use it to expand itself. Thus was born the Great Idea, which inevitably took root as an indirect concrete implementation of the idea of Continuity. Through this, the supposed heir to ancient Greece, and primarily to ancient Greek culture, asserted governmental supremacy over every territory once inhabited by either Greeks or by peoples who had learned their Greek from the ancient Macedonians. The ultimate agenda of this Greek affliction extended, ludicrously, to the Euphrates. The minor scheme was realized in the conquest of the territories of ancient Macedonia, where for this very reason lies the soul of today's senile Greek middle class. Hence, later, when the Greek mercantile/industrial middle class began gaining a social and political voice inside the shell of this state and sharing in the spoils, it subjugated itself to the fact that no power in that state, which was never its own but remained primarily a state of the great international powers and the wheeling and dealing partisan, bureaucratic and plutocratic bourgeoisie, could exist with the approval, protection and intervention of one or another of the great powers. For the middle class, national independence continued to mean the independent choice of the ideal protector. The question was, with which protector should the nation align itself for a new expansion or to safeguard its vested interests, whose mercenary will it be and at what price? The civil wars of the bourgeoisie, the rifts within the middle class, and the military coop [1967-74] in Greece have settled this issue first and foremost. For the great powers, particularly the most aggressive of them, the question was with what territorial exchange could they respectively aggressively exploit or appease the mercenary Greek pit-bull state.

It's usually said that the Great Idea died in 1922. But it died only as an official political agenda of the Greek state, and not as the ideology and policy of Continuity. The Great Idea has simply been adapted to the new conditions established by the neighboring states, which have made any new large-scale expansion practically impossible. Under these conditions, the entire nation now rallies around the idea of expansion with the same thirst for conquest of a new, much smaller territory, such as Cyprus. And if Cyprus is lost as a territory, the suggestion once again of Enosis, or annexation, is enough to maintain it as an issue of utmost national importance, thereby charting the country's international course and, ultimately, its domestic policy for more than half a century. And if Cyprus is not the national dream, then a few square meters of rocky islets, or some square miles of sea can take its place. The Great Idea can even be reincarnated in the sudden demand that a neighboring country change its name, or that another recognize the rights of Greek minorities, or that every museum on the planet return its ancient Greek marbles. And as its territorial and practical weight diminishes, so every new metamorphosis becomes more impassioned and hysterical.

In every one of these cases Continuity is the flag raised on every new territorial claim. But Continuity is not only expansion, it is also money; it is international recognition and economic relations with the mighty; it is the Olympic Games and other revenues of this kind.

One way or the other, Continuity is an eternal profiteer in power and money for the entire nation. It profits through history; and like every national profiteer, this one is also corrupt. But because the profit it draws is always inextricably bound to the most odious submission to and facilitation of the international powers (and those on record as the worst) whose aim is always the oppression of a third party, this corruption is absolute. It is the source of that thoroughly reactionary modern Greek trait, which combines national bragging about our superior historical origin and fawning over those whose recognitio we demand.

This is the source of that terrifying self-entrapment that went as far as to nationally mutilate itself through language. In order to become convincingly ancient, the new nation, particularly in reaction to the terrible Falmerayer, did not only erase the Slavic names from its maps, but also intended to destroy its living language to make it as ancient as possible. However, for reasons noted above, the most fanatic proponents of language restoration were always more chauvinistic than patriotic. As for the lesser true love of the marvelous, free aspect of Greek antiquity, the chauvinists demonstrated it by clothing it to conceal their Byzantine nakedness and subservience.

But to return to the last, most critical question we posed: Why, even in their most defiant, most heroic, bloody insurrections, have the oppressed classes, those historically outside the state and possession of expansionist spoils, never sided with Falmerayer? Why have they never raised his voice against the expansionists and hypocritical despots and tormentors? Why, in the final analysis, have they sided against him? Why, when the radical intellectuals, Greece's best and brightest during the years between the wars, can be accused of anything but ignorance?

Here again, the reason lies in 1821, and even more in the Soviet power after 1930.

It is impossible to simultaneously side with Falmerayer and with 1821. Just as no one can simultaneously side with Marx and with 1821. But the latter is covered by the fact that Marx's enormous significance far exceeds the events of 1821 and the Eastern Issue. However, as for Marx on 1821 and the Eastern Issue, the radical Marxists in Greece brushed him aside, too, as though he never existed.

For the democratic, proletarian left, which gained momentum in the years between the two world wars, Marxist criticism of the 1821 outcome had two problems. One was domestic. This had to do with fact that the most reactionary faction of 1821 - the Russian royalists led by Kolokotronis - appeared to every Greek historiographer as the most populist in comparison to those others expressing the interests of the elders on continental Greece and the then embryonic bourgeoisie in the islands. In truth, Russian diplomacy did not want nor was it able to tread on the leadership powers of local society if it wished to have any real hegemony in the future independent Greek state. It therefore had to complete two requirements. The first was the complete physical annihilation of every Ottoman and Turkish element, and the second was to support the most marginal, most lumpen domestic social forces, which naturally had the worst relations with all manner of previous political power and all manner of economic and social development. The celebrated Klephtic movement [=robbers, armed brigands who resisted all aspects of Ottoman authority], especially the Peloponnesian branch, was the worst group ever to lead a social revolution. After undertaking the genocide of all the unarmed, downtrodden Turks, it spent years tyrannizing the impoverished Peloponnesian peasants and crushed, thanks to the brutal Ottoman reprisals, any seed of bourgeois life on an economic, social and political level, thus ensuring for Greece an unprecedented internal retrogression. If one does not perceive the Klephts (and later, the Philiki Etaireia [= Friendly Brotherhood, a secret Greek revolutionary society founded in Odessa in 1814 to overthrow the Ottoman Empire], which directed the Klephtic movement and the entire rebellion process) as a tool of the czar, then there is the danger of wanting to see it as an anti-urban, anti-feudal and finally anarchic force. Of course, this perception requires a large dose of subjectivity, an ignorance of historical materialism and, chiefly, an ignorance of the specific domestic and international workings that led to the 1821 rebellion and the formation of the new Greek state. The second and larger problem lies in a catalytic external factor. It is a fact that the radical Greek proletariat of 1920s and 1930s got its political fire from its Russian counterparts. In addition, in 1930, as the former was becoming a mass political movement, the latter as a Soviet power had begun to form alliances and to erode ideologically, only to finally have its historical culture become dominated by the chauvinistic idea that the Russian Revolution was the leading factor in global revolution. Starting in the 1930s, following the departure of the Marxist historian and government official, Mikhail N. Pokrovsky, Soviet historiography gradually abandoned its Leninist internationalism and adopted the old czarist anti-western line on the Eastern Issue. It fused, unconsciously as well as consciously, the anti-capitalism of the proletariat with the feudal anti-capitalism of the czars and the petit-bourgeois anti-capitalism of the peasants and urban working class. Contemporaneously, the young Greek proletariat was becoming more vulnerable especially to the anti-Turkish nationalism brought from Asia Minor by the majority of the Greek refugee masses.

Thus, this new soviet line on the Eastern Issue decisively facilitated the acceptance of a totally revolutionary, guilt-free pro-Russian 1821. For the Greek proletariat, conforming to this line meant a definitive theoretical submission to Greek chauvinism. This submission was impelled by the fact that both revolutionary Greece and soviet Russia were jointly confronted with nazism on the global democratic front and had to form common alliances against it with their own nationalists and in particular the Orthodox Church. This submission was more strategically concealed from the struggle that the Greek proletariat had to make in concert with soviet Russia against the anti-Slavic line of the Greek opposition in the years 1920-50. The anti-Slavic line during this period was essentially the response of the Greek opposition to the fact that this was the only time in which proletariat Russia ceased to be the great protector of Greek expansionism. Indeed, the trauma caused by Asia Minor is linked to the fact that Leninist Russia, which was an obvious, aggressive opponent of Venizelan expansionism, sided unwaveringly with the Turkish fight for ethnic cleansing.

Falmerayer was unable to find supporters at a time when, despite strong Russian expansionist repercussions, we had the most internationalist Russia ever and the most internationalist Greek proletariat. So, he certainly could not do so afterwards when both these elements were defeated (the former to again become openly imperialistic/neo-Czarist, the latter to disintegrate or partially convert to an accessory of the former).

At any rate, it is not by chance that support for Falmerayer first manifested itself, albeit cautiously, and the first time his words could speak to the Greek people, was after the fall of the dictatorship. The dictatorship fell primarily as a result of the great defeat of Greek chauvinism in Cyprus, and it was in the climate of democracy following this defeat, in 1976, that the first translation of Falmerayer appeared. But then it became apparent how difficult it was to undertake the translation of Falmerayer's major work if one was not also in a position to properly defend both the work and its author.

Now, 22 years later, Falmerayer's major work has been translated, and under even more difficult conditions. Unlike in 1980, we are not presently emerging from an era of chauvinist military-political domination. But we have entered an era in which the most primitive of these ideas to date increasingly rules the masses. The hysteria over the name and existence of the Former Yugoslav Republic of] Macedonia, the ultra-nationalism of Archbishop Christodoulos, an anti-Western Greece, and a political ideology of the Orthodox umbrella are leading us on alternate routes to the higher quality of Falmerayer's era.

Today, we have an Eastern Issue once again. But this time it is on a global rather than just European scale. A militarist, imperialist Russia has replaced its feudal predecessor, a nationalist Turkey has replaced the Ottoman Empire, and the United States has replaced England.

Greece is once again essentially part of the new Eastern Issue with the new Czars, but in the form of a new Britain. Now as then, Turkey remains the main enemy of the nation, perpetually blocking the Russian fleet's passage through the Straits into the Mediterranean. Now as then, all of Russian diplomacy is centered on one issue: the use of Greece to influence Europe against Turkey, and its treatment of Turkey itself with either a glove or a fist. In former days, the most active pro-Russian forces of 1821 invoked the methods of the bourgeois revolution to organize their feudal counterrevolution by paralyzing and shattering the rudimentary bourgeois forces. Now, too, they are pretending to support the anti-capitalistic revolution to construct a fascist force against the permanently impaired liberal Greek middle class. In 1821 it was the Russian and Byzantine Orthodox cross that accompanied Voltaire; now it is the cross again, but alongside the hammer and sickle.

The similarities are startling. And the most startling of all is the pan-national and pan-populist enlistment in support of every Orthodox umbrella and every militant anti-Western element, even the most reactionary and genocidal, everywhere in the world. With profound contempt for each other, the religious zealot, the nationalist, the old-leftist, and the anarchist are now marching united in a shared racial destiny. Each hates the West and contemporary technological civilization for his own reasons, but all of them, whether they know it or not, are the offspring of Byzantium, the Philiki Etairia, and the Czar. And whether they sense it or not, their minds and hearts beat in time with the cruel law, whose nature Falmerayer revealed and expressed with genius and daring in his introduction of volume two. This life source for the Greek people was given substance in the cities of Istanbul and Moscow. It is there that the Greek thinks and breathes. This is the site of his altar and praetorium, the place that all the faithful of the Eastern Church look to from Morea to the Nile, Jordan, the Orontes, the Palmyra desert, Cyprus, and Karamania. There, the hearts of all modern Greeks beat as one; this is the wellspring of the modern Greek spirit.

Is this a curse that will eternally burden the Greek people? No. But this is how the metaphysical pseudo-progressives who accuse Falmerayer of racism perceive his dialectical spirit. This law, like any other social law, is historically determined and constitutes but one trend. The Greece of the Byzantine Middle Ages, which continued in Ottoman feudalism and had the misfortune of entering modern world history from the gates of the Kremlin, has constantly wrestled with its burdensome, still sovereign eastern legacy. The Greece of commerce and industry, the Greece of the sea, the bourgeois and subsequent proletarian Greece, the Greece of urban western and Marxist enlightenment - in short, the Democratic Greece - has always fought the eastern Greece of corrupt partisan political bureaucracy, of Balkan backwardness and parochialism, the Greece that was forever the servant of some center of world opposition - in short, the expansionist, militaristic and fascist Greece. And it has been fighting it since the civil war of 1821, both gradually and in leaps, both peacefully and with the blood of its finest sons.

And in this war, the materialist life of the people and the entire materialist movement of the modern world are gaining strength with time and are relentlessly battling a progressive Greece. What makes the period we are living so monstrous lies simply in that reactionary Greece is enlisting its entire past and all its deep-seated eastern instincts. It is glorifying all its crimes and prejudices, picking at all its people's scabs, and attempting an historical and everlasting return to the chariot of the most brutal imperialism humanity has ever known. On one hand this war is very cruel and painful. But on the other, precisely because it is more advanced than ever and because it is facing such a loathsome, thoroughly regressive adversary, this is the moment, the first since its birth, that the new, progressive Greece can and must reconcile with itself in a profound, decisive and all-embracing way. And the first phase of this denouement must be at the theoretical level.

Falmerayer is the primogenitor of every denouement with the eastern Greek past. The Greece of self-deception and reaction may have been constructed in opposition to him. But the politically aware, progressive Greece can surely find itself by elevating Falmerayer alongside the Marx of the Eastern Issue at the peak of the country's enlightenment. And while it will have to wage a tough battle on the field of history, this progressive Greece will emerge mainly on the political front. Falmerayer wrote this book in the interests of democratic policy. He was persecuted in the interests of reactionary policy, and it was in these interests that he was libeled and banned in this country. On the other hand, however, just as the earlier Eastern Issue first brought Falmerayer to this land, it is the new Eastern Issue, now more timely than ever, that will bring him back. Thus, it is only natural that those who initially give him a voice to address the Greek public with his fundamental work are also those who offer the entire literary effort to the struggle for political democracy under the conditions of the new Eastern Issue. Pantelis Softzoglou is one of these persons. He undertook the difficult job of translating this work with an awareness of both its historical dimension and its contemporary political implications and, ipso facto, the negative reactions it would sooner or later provoke. And that is not all. Because the specialists and scholars of German were either unwilling or unable to translate the work, it took a politician with historical and literary capabilities to study the language in order to rescue the book from oblivion.

Despite this, the translation is in no way amateur. It is the product of hard work, executed with precision and care in a devoted and talented effort to convey the subtlety and eloquence of the original text.

For all the reasons described above, this first edition has an even more vital role to play today, now that a young national self-deception has transformed into an elderly neurosis filled with hidden intent.

Thus it is with great pride and pleasure that we present this work to the Greek people. It is our sincere hope that by doing so we will contribute to confirming at last the predictions and passions of this admirable, courageous man. We hope that the Greek people themselves are the ones who first give Falmerayer the endorsement and acknowledgment deprived to him by his country and his time. It is for the Greek people that he wrote in his celebrated introduction to volume two. Neither the rigorous criticism nor the harsh words one will encounter from time to time over the course of these pages will hinder the intelligent reader from recognizing in this writer a true, well-intentioned friend of the Greek people. Indeed, the writer is convinced that by bluntly describing the turns of fate, the actions and the character of Byzantium in Morea in the recent past, he is contributing more to the support of the Greek cause than if he sang its praises and uttered insincere endearments, which the present doesn't justify and the past contradicts. In saying this, the writer does not lay blame on anyone, but rather wishes to protect himself against the faulty interpretations of insufficiently versed proponents. At the same time, by saying this he has said the final word on the issue. From this point on, time, the ever expanding study of the Byzantine Middle Ages, but above all the Greeks themselves through a closer, longer contact with Europeans, will undertake to advocate his views and shed light their accuracy more transparently than even the author's own impressive arguments could have done.

ARTICLE
The hour of underbidding

By ANTIPAS S. KARIPOGLOU*


As anticipated, the Annan Plan to settle the Cyprus problem is extremely complex and undoubtedly needs to be systematically studied before any stand can be taken on it. Still, it is impossible to accurately predict all its consequences. After all, plans on paper are one thing, how they are transformed by the reality of their implementation is another.

However, as far as its basic provisions go, we are able to critique the plan simply because the directions are already well known. There would either be an acceptance of the Turkish side's demand for two independent states, or there would finally be one unified state. The plan indeed proposes the latter and, as expected, this would entail a co-presidency and a direct or indirect veto right by the Turkish Cypriote minority on the instruments of the one (federal, confederate, or other type of) state.

The Turkish Cypriots already had a co-presidency and veto right with the founding of the Republic of Cyprus. During the twenty-eight years that have passed since the Turkish intervention, there has never been any doubt that they would continue to have this with any settlement plan. We are also aware of the fact that the passing of time has exacerbated existing problems and created new ones.

In 1975 there was no problem of settlers. Today there are children whose grandfathers were settlers, and there is no simple or just solution to this. The refugee issue is now entirely different. Is there such a thing as a third-generation refugee? Many may not like this, but nobody can feign surprise, and if someone's surprise is indeed genuine then his or her stand on the Cyprus problem cannot be taken seriously.

Today, all those who oppose the Annan Plan, those eternal over-bidders, are revealing the inadequacy and vacuity of their views and their inability to deal with reality. The conservative PASOK deputy, Mr. Papathemelis, for example, asks inter alia that the democratic principle (i.e. the principle of the majority in the workings of the unified state) be a condition for the plan's acceptance, while it is totally obvious that neither side is discussing this issue. Before the plan was even announced, Mr. Pavlopoulos [opposition New Democracy spokesperson] stated the five profound conditions required for us to accept it. These five conditions constitute the whole of our demands, on which we will not yield. On which sixth point we would yield Mr. Pavlopoulos did not indicate.

Never mind the so-called flexible formulation. One of the conditions for the plan's acceptance is the just solution to the settler problem, i.e. the principle of the majority in the workings of the unified state, that is, an acceptable solution. Wonderful! A condition for us to accept the solution is that the solution be acceptable! This phrase should be recorded among the achievements of the human intellect, alongside the realization that, to have good weather it's important to not have bad weather.

Mr. Kritikos [PASOK deputy] is asking for a referendum in Greece. But we must confess that he seems aware of the seriousness of the situation since he did not accompany his proposal with any of his usual wisecracks. Of course, he doesn't explain what would happen if the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots accept the plan, and the proud Greek people don't. Another expert has counseled patience, invoking the example of the reunification of Germany! His comprehension of the Cyprus problems was that it had similarities and parallels with the division of Germany. The over-bidders are avoiding saying directly that they prefer a non-settlement because they realize that the bill has arrived and that it's time for them to put their money where their mouth is.

Admittedly, the sore spots, the thorns in the Greek side are the refugee and settler issues and, chiefly, the functionality and viability of the new state, which is threatened by a Turkish-Cypriot overbalance of power. However, the problems of functionality are intertwined with Greece's demand for a unified federal state and the categorical rejection of more relaxed bonds between the two communities, a more confederate form of the state. The remaining problems are an indirect result of Greece's own politics. These problems have become exacerbated over time, which has been allowed to pass precisely because of our rigid insistence on a certain form of state. The confederation plan is closer to the current partition situation, and in the legitimized form that patriotism has taken in Greece, this partition is high treason.

Still, another trend is discreetly taking shape. The obvious is beginning to be seen. The diminished degree of independence of the Turkish-Cypriot community does not mean the increased degree of independence of the Greek-Cypriot community, but its diminishment as well and, in the end, the increase of Turkish-Cypriot power through their over-representation in the central state.

More and more people are realizing that it would be in our interests to have as much rule as possible by the separate constituent states and the least possible by the unified state. In other words, the more we move towards confederate settlements (=more partitioned ) the better. Characteristic of this change in climate is that conservative independent MP Stephanos Manos dared to utter the detested and feared word partitioning and no one has yet, at least, called him a traitor.

We all know that we cannot reject the Annan Plan. In the negotiations that will follow, our professed aim is to secure the functionality and viability of the settlement, and this requires the rationalization of the powers of the minority. If we attempt to achieve this by diminishing the over-representation and the veto right of the Turkish-Cypriots in the unified state, we will be fighting a battle that has already been lost. And in the process we will also consume precious diplomatic capital to the detriment of our other pursuits in matters of territory, refugees, and settlers.

The only way to transcend the problem is to diminish the overbalance of power of the minority through the overall lessening of powers of the unified state and the increase in rule by the constituent states. The only route is the under-bidding proposal of the partitioned solution.

I believe that the time for under-bidding has come for two reasons.

First, because it is gradually becoming clear that, in the end, there are not as many under-bidders as it seems.

And second, because, in any case, we have tried all the over-bidding solutions and this is where they have gotten us.

*Mr. Antipas S. Karipoglou is a member of the Committee of Liberals.

ELEFTHEROTYPIA, 26/11/2002
Copyright 2001 X. K. Tegopoulos Editions A.E.

     
Join Us Videos Follow Us

ACT NOW and SHARE

MHRMI needs your support

Can you spare a dollar a day for Macedonian human rights?
The Macedonian human rights movement in all parts of Macedonia is stronger and showing more potential than ever, but we need your help to continue our progress. Get involved. Volunteer. Donate. Join the MHRMI Dollar a Day fund and make a difference.

You can make a difference for Macedonians struggling to achieve their human rights. Please do it today. Thank you for your support.


Click here for more info
June 2016




Sign On & Show Your Support

Search the Web
Search the MHRMI Archives
 
1997-2015 Macedonian Human Rights Movement International - All Rights Reserved.
This website is hosted and under development by: TJ-Hosting