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ITHAKA ON THE HORIZON: A Greek-American Journey

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    Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church, Saco, Maine, USA 10-12 July 2009

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    The Patriarchal Theological Seminary of Halki is located on the Turkish island known as Heyelbiada in the Bosporus straits. It was closed in 1971 by the Turkish government and is the subject of much controversy since it is the only seminary in Turkey and the position of Ecumenical Patriarch can only be filled by a Turkish citizen. Sign the petition to reopen it at www.greece.org

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07 December 2006

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Comments

demonax

Another fascinating post – and link.
It’s interesting that, having endured such bigotry and hostility – at all levels of society – Greeks were still prepared to offer their undivided loyalty to America, as a country and a state. I know you’ve explained to me before the process by which immigrants in America were willing and able to do this, but I still think it took a great leap of faith on their behalf to trust and believe in America.
In England, all immigrants know that the English don’t really want us here, don’t regard us as part of the fabric of society and would prefer it – even if we were born here – if we all cleared off back to our own countries, which, of course, is why so many immigrants regard the British state – its symbols and practices – as an enemy state and wouldn’t lift a finger to help it. Some, like the Pakistanis, take their alienation and hostility to an extreme and actively seek to destroy the country they were born and grew up in.

This is a nice article on St Nicholas Orthodox Church destroyed in 9/11.
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/12/06/america/NA_GEN_US_St_Nicholas_Ground_Zero.php

By the way, I’ve got and am reading The Mountain of Silence. I have some problems with it. (It looks like I’m headed to hell). I’ll write a review over at Phylax when I’m done.

Stavros

Adelphe mou,

Thanks for the link, I think that will be a good subject for a future post.

The immigrant experience is unique for every immigrant. Many Greeks who came to America yearned to return some day. Many did. Other Greeks especially those from outside of Greece had nothing to return to. For them America represented a new life, a new chance. In America, America, Elia Kazan's protagonist, Stavros, reflecting upon the sins and tribulations of his past life, says: "In America I will be washed cleaned." The streets in America were not covered in gold but America for many represented an enormous improvement in the quality of their life.

BTW, there are some excerpts from one of Kazan's books available on the internet which I found to be fascinating reading. The guy was very complex. Go to:

http://www.oswego.edu/~baloglou/anatolia/kazan.html

Also a superb bibliography @

http://www.oswego.edu/~baloglou/anatolia/anat-bibl.html

Now regarding your evaluation of "Mountain of Silence" I look forward to your review, good or bad. Don't be in a hurry to go to hell, who knows I may get there before you. God does not hold grudges against anyone. He has already forgiven us. Our sins are not God's problem, they are our problem. Once you take ownership then you can start on the road of true "metanoia" which is the radical transformation of one's heart and mind.

Stavros Stavridis

AHEPA has down a marvellous job over the years in keeping the Hellenic spirit and traditions alive in the United States. The racism and bigotry experienced by the Ellines in the USA also happened in far away Australia.
Greeks have proved to be good citizens where ever they have settled in the diaspora. We are a progressive people and we have a lot to be proud of.

Joe C.

This article isn't really rational when looking at the bigger picture. You may as well write about the Italian Fascists invading Greece for no good reason, or my Venetian ancestors shooting cannon balls at the Acropolis, damaging the ruins. A fact of which I am not proud. If Turkey joins the EU, that is the END of Greece! You can candy coat it all you want to, but there will be no more border, and as many of the 70 million Turks will be able to just walk in at will. 20 million Turks have already swarmed into Europe, and that's with borders. There are hundreds of Turkish villages which are ghost towns! Half of the school children in Holland are Muslim now, so do you really think that Greece will be spared? I personally know KKK members, and White Separatists (like me) who are Greek-Americans. A Greek-American could god damn join the KKK if they wanted to. I live in California, and you can't tell me that third world immigration HELPS anything! There are forty million illegal aliens now, and they have killed more Americans than have been killed in the war since 2003!!

28% of Black males are part of the criminal justice system, they commit 20,000 rapes of White women per year (hundreds of thousands when the figures from the last four decades are tallied up), over a quarter of a million murders of White people during the last four decades, and over 40 MILLION White victims of VIOLENT Black crime during this same time period!

Perhaps it's time to start being PC, and actually start defending the civilization which basically started in Greece. Perhaps it's time to start confronting the fact that Bolshevik Jews mass murdered 65 MILLION innocent Russian and Ukrainian Orthodox Christian men, women, and children between 1919 and 1940, and that's a FACT. The term "racism" was coined by non other than Leon Trotsky (Bronstein) who organized the murder of tens of millions of people of a DIFFERENT race and religion than he was. My family has no complaints of bigotry in America, as they experienced ABSOLUTELY ZERO language bigotry, and that's all it could be... "language" prejudice. You can't fool me. I know Greeks, and they don't like Blacks and Mexicans. Are you kidding me!??

If you have any plans of just trotting back to Greece when it hits of fan over here, you can forget it. Greece is everything that the Globalists hate: Nationalist, uni-cultural, uni-racial, uni-ethnic, uni-religious, etc. You cannot hide anymore, because your head is scheduled next for the chopping block. And when I say "you," I am referring to those who subscribe to this nonsensical piece of "politically correct" cowardice.


Stavros

Joe,

If you and some of your so called "Greek" friends are members of the KKK then they must have lowered their standards over the years. The KKK was, among other things, anti-immigration. They were anti-Catholic, but they gained most of their support from people who were convinced that hordes of starving southern Europeans were going to invade the nation and take their jobs. As a matter of fact, Italians and Greeks were not considered WHITE.

I am not going to waste my time trying to talk sense to a true believer, since I have found that true believers are rarely able to conduct a rational conversation nor shut up long enough to listen to what anyone else has to say.

Joe C.

"If you and some of your so called "Greek" friends are members of the KKK" >>> They're not in the KKK... they, as me, are "White Separatists"

"then they must have lowered their standards over the years. The KKK was, among other things, anti-immigration. They were anti-Catholic, but they gained most of their support from people who were convinced that hordes of starving southern Europeans were going to invade the nation and take their jobs." >>> First of all, what you're saying is both incomplete and entirely out of proportion. Much of it was religious bigotry, so therefore there were predominantly Southern Protestants of Scottish and Scotch-Irish decent who opposed Irish Catholics. Southern and Eastern European immigration DID change America, from basically an Anglo-Celtic-Germanic nation to a European nation. Economic interests always dumped people on top of people in the big cities, generation after generation, mainly to drive down wages.

"As a matter of fact, Italians and Greeks were not considered WHITE." >>> First of all, being of Lombard-Venetian decent, we're probably somewhat different in appearance and character than anything that you have ever known. More often than not, there isn't much difference in basic appearance between various European peoples. There can be, it depends, as there can also be darkish Anglo, Irish, or Germans, and very fair Slavs, Spaniards, or Sicilians. Sometimes in individual clusters, various European or regional American people could exhibit certain negative pathologies, but overall, probably all are good people as a general rule. And how would focusing on the past change the current demographic disaster?

"I am not going to waste my time trying to talk sense to a true believer, since I have found that true believers are rarely able to conduct a rational conversation nor shut up long enough to listen to what anyone else has to say." >>> I don't really see where you have responded with much of an argument.

patrick

Joe's ancestors may not have experienced much bigotry, but Lombards and Venetians were a tiny minority among Italian immigrants in this country.
Most Italian immigrants were from the South of Italy, particularly Sicily and Calabria (the former Magna Graecia). These people were looked down upon not only by Americans, but also by the northerners who ruled Italy and the minority of northern Italian immigrants in the US.
As descendants of Greek colonists, Calabrians and eastern Sicilians are in some ways ethnically closer to Greeks than to Lombards and Venetians. This is despite the fact that Sicilians and Calabrians adopted the Italian language and the Catholic religion (the latter often involuntarily) in some cases as late as the 1500s or 1600s. Sicilian dialect still contains many Greek words.

Stavros

Pat,

Very true. There are still areas of southern Italy ot Magna Graecia where the Greek language survives albeit in altered form. The language is called Griko:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griko_language

mike raysses

My grandfather, george gavrilos, wanted to open up another hat shop in Indiana back in the forties and was told by the klan that he could not do it, so that night he went to chicago, hired some "headbusters" and when the Klan came back they were met by these gentlemen, who told them "your walking out now, next time you'll be carried out". papou never had another problem again with the klan, oh by the way my grandfather made some of the best hats in the world, and also cleaned and pressed Al capone's hats in hammond, Indiana. Pretty cool, eh?

Stavros

Mike,

Your papou is a quintessential Greek of his generation. They were used to dealing with these type of people back where they came from. They were consummate survivors. From now on I will think about your papou's story when I see a picture of Al Capone wearing his signature hat.

Jim

For the person who said they're Greek and him and his friends are in the KKK... lol

Very hilarious, I doubt the person who wrote the blog is even Greek. Anyone who has any common sense and is familiar with the Greek culture knows that Greeks can look like anyone. Many of them not appearing to be white. I can post a dozen pictures of Greeks who look far from european. That shouldn't come as a shock as Greece is a Eastern Meditteranean culture. I'm Greek and I'm usally mistaken for Arab or Hispanic.

Most KKK or White power groups try to take credit that their ancestory were the original Greeks. Any Greek person to embrace the KKK are sell outs. Our ancestors were persecuted by these hate groups and I would be persecuted by them today.

WE are one people and proud of our heritage that incorporates diversity in our looks and culture.

Sabrina

While looking up information on the Greek Orthodox church, I found this blog. So this is just a note to let you know that I thought this article was very interesting and educational.

Far too often those of us who are of African African descent tend to forget we were not the only victims of the Klan and other hate groups. It is also true that there were Greeks, Italians and other Southern and Eastern Europeans who also were subject to discrimination and attacks in some communities. Only difference is that despite the discrimination and attempts to burn down homes, schools and churches... most of the immigrants seemed to be more able and capable of moving forward and becoming part of the mainstream, and while yes there are a great number of Black people who have succeeded (such as Pres. Obama) there are still far too many who have not. They are still angry, still have a victim mentality, are still stuck in the past, and for lack of a better term, still feeling sorry for ourselves....and they definitely see Greeks (Italians, Slavs etc) as part of the "white folks" trying to keep them down.

At any rate, I think more immigrant stories like this should be told more widely, so that everyone knows that there is not one ethnic group or race in the world that has escaped being persecuted simply for being who they are. We've all had our ups and downs in life.
Way I see it, the more we learn of each others ethnicities, races, religions, cultures and traditions, the more understanding will come, and the less attractive 'hate' groups will seem ... or at least that's what I hope. As for Joe C's comments...well, those are simply not worth responding to because they're just so much rabble rousing ignorance. He needs to go back to school...and Jim is right. Throughout my life, I've known Greeks (and Italians) who were darker than some of my family members.

Stavros

Sabrina,

I agree wholeheartedly. Even Greeks are not averse to playing the victim card as is evident in the ongoing Greek debt crisis. Personally I hate it when I hear someone say: "They owe us." It's one thing when we remember our history and honor those who came before us. It's an entirely different story when we use our history as a convenient excuse for our own failures.

demetrius

this is the dark history of the greeks in america. It s miracle how these people stay in these conditions of war. This is the most tragic. And they became american citizens after all these atacks, humiliations, murders and ingustice. This is icredible for a native greek. Is tragic. Our mentality can not accept this. These people was not heroes, was martires, samthing like religion figurs. Realy tragic.

Stavros

Demetri,

The history of Greeks in America is full of struggle but it is also full of pride and success. Greeks did not consider themselves victims nor did they wait for someone else to help them. Qualities native Greeks would do well to emulate.

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