By Dr. Aris Michopoulos, Hellenic College
This month all the Greeks around the world celebrate the amazing epic of Hellas in 1940. It was one of those cases of unity and Greek passion that not only defended the country, but also brought the first victory of the allies against the “axis” forces. Metaxas’ resounding “OXI” expressed the wishes of all Greeks, inside and outside the country, who pooled together their resources and created another miracle in the Greek and world history. The tremendous efforts of the Greek army that delayed by three months the German invasion to Russia caused ultimately the failure of that invasion and led to the final collapse of the Third Reich. All the major “players” of that were, i.e. Hitler, Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin, acknowledged the pivotal role that Greece played in this titanic struggle. The Greek-Americans take special pride in their participation in this amazing epic. They felt a special pride for the successes of their fellow-Greeks that were fighting under extremely harsh circumstances: poor material resources, outgunned and outnumbered, and a brutal winter making things worse. And their response was quick and effective. Combining all their resources, under the aegis of their Church and their Archbishop Athenagoras they performed miracles. Within five months the joint efforts of AHEPA, GAPA, Greek Communities, and individual Greek Americans raised the significant amount of $5 million that was sent to Greece in the form of food, medicine, clothing and other needed stuff to support the people and the war effort. That tremendous effort was not in vain. It helped the people, it helped the wounded, clothed the needy, helped widows and orphans. And it brought great pride to all the Greek-Americans, but also to the mainstream Americans, who were so impressed that placed a Greek “tsolias” at the front cover of “LIFE” magazine. And that proud feeling lasted for quite some time and was transformed a few years later into the Truman Doctrine that helped Greece recover from its wounds of WWII and its Civil War. TODAY Greece is in the midst of another war. It is an equally brutal war as that of 1940. Then Greeks had to deal with a physical invasion, destroying everything in its path. The recent war is a “Stealth War”. The Greeks are fighting an “invisible enemy.” It is fought in the Bonds, in the Banks and in Washington, D.C., where IMF is headquartered. All three major players, i.e. IMF, ECB and EU, have put the Greek people under tremendous stress that equals or exceeds the sufferings of the WWII period. And it seems to me that Greek-Americans can solve this problem with the “Greek Secret!” For those who do not know, “the Greek Secret” is a brand new DVD created in Washington, D.C. that shows the many rewards flowing down from the concept of the Greek Philotimo. An ancient Greek concept that is so strong that has survived and thrived for over two thousand years! Seeing this short DVD (14 min.) is an eye-opener. It shows what “filotimo” can achieve. In short, it can achieve miracles, if people are united and focused on their task. Watching the Greek-American elite –over a dozen titans of wealth, power, intellect and the Greek lobby– one comes to the conclusion that a joint effort of those titans, under the leadership of their spiritual leader Archbishop Demetrios, can replicate the Legendary Success of 1940. Let me clarify: Among the untold sufferings of the Greek people in 1940 was also the looting of the gold of the Bank of Greece by the Germans. There was also the destruction of over 800 villages, thousands of executions, etc., etc. Let us concentrate on the looting of the Bank of Greece. The German Government that took hold of the gold as a loan, promised to repay that loan over a period of time. It even paid two installments of the loan during the first year. Then it stopped, claiming that it faced unexpected financial problems and would repay it after the end of the war. That loan alone would amount today to approximately $170 billion, using the U.S. Treasury’s average rate of 6% for the period of 1940-2000. IF the “heavyweights” appearing in the “Greek Secret”, along with many others who are not there, e.g. Senator Olympia Snow, Senator Paul Sarbanes, and other politicians and financiers, would create a new “Philike Etaireia” and put some gentle pressure on the Germans to VOLUNTARILY pay that bill, they could offer the greatest service to the Greek people and all the Greeks of the Diaspora. And since they lack the expertise in this type of endeavor, they could turn to their friends in the Jewish Lobby and U.S. politicians that have tremendous experience in this area. We should not forget that a couple of dedicated Jews were able to “push” major German firms, like Mercedes Benz and others, to pay restitution to the victims of the Jewish Holocaust. Our case is equally clear and straightforward: We should appeal to the “filotimo” of our German supporters and other allies within Germany and the European Union. Already the German party Linke and one of its Deputies has proposed a voluntary payment of this loan. Moreover, similar views have been expressed by other noted Germans and Europeans. Let us ask Germany to repay over a ten-year period that Bank of Greece loan, by paying down the outstanding Greek Debt to the Troika. If such an arrangement is reached, then Greece would recover in no time and the noose would be off her neck, allowing her to move to a new path of progress and glory. Here is the “Great Challenge” to the “Greek Secret!” «Ιδού η Ρόδος, ιδού και το πήδημα» as the Ancient Greek saying, goes.