Evaggelos Vallianatos , PhD
Alexandros Hahalis is a distinguished musician, music composer, and poet. He read some of my articles and, immediately, invited me to participate in a celebration he organized for honoring the 2,500 anniversary of the battle of Salamis of 480 BCE. The virus plague, however, wrecked the celebration.
Alexandros and I spent several hours talking to each other through the computer. He talked about himself and about Greece. This is a man thoroughly immersed in Greek mythology, history, and politics. I listened to him patiently because of his wisdom and thirst for knowledge.
He studied music at New York University and classical composition at the Aaron Copland School of Music. He has been excelling in composing and directing music all over the world.
After living in New York for nineteen years, he returned to Greece in 2003, on the eve of the Athens Olympics of 2004. He was full of hope Greece would learn from its glorious past while breaking its cycle of dependency on others, especially the United States.
The new crusaders
Yet Greece (the ruling elite) has been ignoring its history. Its politicians and intellectuals filled their heads with foreign ideas and practiced policies detrimental to the existence of local industries and self-reliance. The result has been perpetual borrowing and inevitable collapse: sinking into the abominable humiliation of the debt crisis in the second decade of the twenty-first century.
Like the crusaders of 1204 who shredded medieval Greece and opened the road of conquest to Moslem Turks in 1453, the politicians of the European Union and those of the International Monetary Fund of the United States cannibalized the Greek state. They abolished Greek sovereignty-freedom and sold off state assets like railroads, harbors, telephone, airports, and exclusive and beautiful real estate properties.
This unforgivable behavior in front of the world did more than punish Greece. It brought out in the light the hidden dishonesty of the West: on the one hand crediting itself for the civilization it borrowed from Greece, and on the other, showing its real character by humiliating Greece because it failed to repay its debts to Western banks.
This failure to stand up for civilization is harming freedom everywhere. Yes, Greece should pay its debts, but help the country to do that, not crush it. What happened to the virtues of cooperation and generosity?
Moreover, the crusading ferocity of the West has re-awaked the aggressive lust of the Moslem Turks who would like to return to Greece.
Chaos in occupied Greece
In the midst of this second humiliation, in ignorance and desperation, the Greeks elected a faked communist government that was subservient to the “democratic” Western occupiers even more than right-wing governments.
Those protesting the EE-IMF looting and imposed hunger, politely described as austerity, were treated with barrages of chemical sprays, exactly like farmers employing deleterious pesticides for attacking swarms of locusts invading and devouring corn fields on the day before harvest.
On January 20, 2019, Alexandros Hahalis attended a massive protest in front of the Greek Parliament on Constitution Square, the center of Athens. Greeks were denouncing the Prespa Agreement in which the Greek government agreed that Slavs (Bulgarians and Albanians) could call themselves Macedonians and their country Northern Republic of Macedonia.
Alexandros likens Greek Macedonia to the soul and backbone of Greek and world civilization.
However, the Greek government under prime minister Alexis Tsipras and pseudo communist politicians with little if any self-respect and affection for Greece had no trouble in doing the bidding of America and EE. They did the unthinkable and recognized a Slavic Macedonia.
So the countless thousands of protesting Greeks during that rainy day in January 2019 in Constitution Square did not convince Tsipras to withdraw his signature or support for the Slavic state north of Greek Macedonia. Instead, he ordered a punitive response with chemical sprays and sound bombs exploding at the feet of people with thunder and lightning. Alexandros says that the result was a chaos of danger: little children crying and running to find their parents and parents holding their children running to avoid the terrible tear gases and bombs.
The new prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, assumed power on July 8, 2019. He has followed in the footsteps of Tsipras and the EE-IMF.
Without freedom, you diminish man
Alexandros, looking at me through the computer, says, “We are losing Greece, Evaggelos. The Greek government is doing the work of ethnomedeniston [by which he means those who equal Greek nationalism to zero and feel ashamed for being Greek]. The government appointed a committee of Greek and international experts to prepare the ground for the celebration of the 200-year anniversary of the Greek Revolution. But, these people are rewriting Greek history and are ridiculing the heroes of the Greek Revolution.”
This deplorable behavior is a symptom of loss of freedom and decline. EE and IMF have turned Greece into a colony. Homer said the day you lose your freedom, the all-seeing Zeus takes away half of your virtues: you become half a man (Odyssey 17.322-323).
EE and America in Greece are like the Romans who looted the country systematically for centuries. They beautified Rome with Greek architecture and stolen Greek statues. Wealthy Romans filled their classical Greek houses with masterpieces of Greek art.
Today’s robbers, EE and IMF, are the decision-makers behind the scenes, reminding Greeks daily they have become half men. The Greek elite under Roman occupation and now under NATO control are desperately trying to please their bosses. They ignore Homer.
NATO intellectuals have rewritten Greek history that downgrades the genius of Hellenic civilization, including the heroic status of the Greek Revolution against Turkey, a member of NATO since the 1950s.
These foreigners (and their Greek followers) raise uncomfortable questions about Greek identity, some of them even disputing the connection between ancient and modern Greeks. They ridicule medieval Greek history as sterile, forgetting that medieval Greeks saved the classical texts we have today. They ignore the destructive policies of crusading West against medieval Greece. Then to add insult to injury, they write that Greeks and Turks lived together and in peace. The Turks did not murder a million Greeks in the early twentieth century. This pleases the Turks who also refuse to admit they murdered about 1.5 million Armenians as well.
These and other lies smooth the historical narrative of the EE-IMF intellectuals trying to please Turkey. After all, there are many more Turks than Greeks who can buy more from EE and American industries.
These NATO scholars are members of the committee preparing the Greek government’s celebration of the bicentennial of the Greek Revolution of 1821.
Freedom or death
They and their Greek colleagues did not read Theodore Kolokotrones’ Memoirs. Kolokotrones was a hero of the Greek Revolution. Alexandros Hahalis and I reminded ourselves of those immortal Memoirs, especially where the “old man of Morea-Peloponnesos” speaks of the Greek Revolution. He says:
“Our Revolution has nothing to do with European revolutions, which were civil wars. Our revolutionary war was the most just war between two nations. With the Turks in Greece, the Greeks only did what violence demanded. They never swore obedience. Besides, the Sultan never recognized the Greeks as a people with dignity. He only thought of the Greeks as slaves…. There was no ground for compromise with the Turks, none whatsoever.
“Freedom or death was our purpose and policy.
“The Turks killed some Greeks, others they enslaved. But others like me lived free for several generations.
“The Turks killed our king [Constantine Palaiologos during the defense of Constantinople in 1453]. He made no agreement with the enemy. His guards became the fighters we know as “klephtes.” They never ceased fighting the Turks. Two military posts, Souli and Mani, remained free.”
Kolokotrones unites the struggle for freedom of ancient and modern Greece. His commitment to freedom or death was also the decision of Athenians and Spartans facing and fighting the Persians in 480 BCE.
These Greeks, including Kolokotrones, took Homer seriously. Any infringement of freedom diminishes man and civilization.