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17 February 2008

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Hermes

"Not only was the Serbian minority a target, but some seventy thousand Roma (the so-called Gypsies) were driven out, as were thousands of Montinegrins, Bulgarians, Jews, and Macedonians."

I did not know that Greeks from Macedonia lived in Kosovo. Are you right about this?

Apart from that a superb article.

Stavros

Greek Macedonia does not entail the entire region known historically as Macedonia. I think we can all agree on this. If a country wants to give itself a name in order to lay claim to territory owned by another country we should rightfully oppose it. If some of the inhabitants of FYROM want to call themselves Macedonians or Bulgarians or Albanians or Slavo-Macedonians. So what.

Greeks have more pressing issues to contend with, as I have tried to point out, than what they should call the residents of the entity to the north.

Hermes

Your position is unfortunate but not unexpected. Slowly everyone chips away until there is only emptiness and shopping malls. Pax Americana.

kossyphidios

Did you guys see the results of the Presidential election in Cyprus? What are your thoughts and comments about it?

I find it unfortunate that the Cypriots have turned their back on Papadopoulos and endorse the other pro-unification candidates. Reading through much of the international press, Cypriots "have voted for change". Is this really the case?

Stavros
Theophilos

Stavros,

Congrats on a lucid, well researched, and cogently presented post that should be read by all who are concerned with the creation of this "kosova" narco-traffickers' entity. In Greece, politicians, as always, are busy with more "important" things. They seem oblivious to a huge Albanian presence inside our borders and the persistent intelligence speaking of various suspect moves on the part of organized Albanian criminals and "Great Albania" agents. Unfortunately, there is no rigorous pursuit of such leads, neither do we make clear to Tirana that any threat originating in Albanian soil will be dealt with accordingly. Instead, we occupy ourselves with promoting "friendship" and "cooperation" and consistently ignoring challenges like the one emerging from the "Tsamerians" who are busy preparing the next case for claiming Greek territory as their own. "Kosova" should be a red flag for this country. Instead, Karamanlis and Bakoyannis are quietly debating when (not if) Greece will recognize the organized crime rump.

Hermes

Panagiotis Kondylis rightly pointed out in his Theory of War that the population of a greater Albania will be close to 6m whilst the Greek population was 10m. This was in the 1990’s. The relative difference would have narrowed since then due to high Albanian birthrates. He also pointed out that the relative difference between Greece and Turkey following the Asia minor campaign was 6m and 13m respectively. Today, it is 11m and 70m. It is no surprise that Hellenism has had to take a backward step every time it has come into confrontation with the Turks since the difference in populations widened so much. Even worse for Greece, a meaningful proportion of Albanians are living in Greece. Greece is in mighty danger in the long term. The Russians have just recorded for 2007 their highest birthrate since 1991 and expect the birth rate to increase by 25% over the next 5 years. What is the answer for Greece? Dare I say less liberalism. Less trying to ape the West.

Stavros

Theo,

The breadth of naivete among Americans regarding the consequences of what the US government has done is really appalling. The distorted myths propagated by the mainstream media have created a perception of Serbs that is inaccurate and worse, those distortions are responsible for keeping inept policies hidden from public view. What we need more than ever in our country is an informed citizenry capable of curbing their government's foreign policy excesses. Unfortunately, those citizens do not exist thanks to our educational system.

On the one hand we fight Al Qaeda in Iraq, rightly so I believe, then turn around and create a haven for them on Europe's front doorstep. How misguided and shortsighted.

As for the Greek government, it seems to be part of the problem not part of the solution.Their response can only be described as "muted."

Hermes,

It's all about the demography. Greek women are perpetrating a silent genocide thanks to the thousands of abortions performed there. The silence is deafening. Who is speaking out about this problem?

I'm confused. How does the Russian birth rate impact Greeks? The Russians will not save Greece, only the Greeks can do that.

Hermes

Stavros, Greece should look to how Russia (and even Australia which is recording highest birthrates since the early 1970's) is beginning to turn around their birthrate and demographic problems.

Stavros

Hermes,

One good year does not make a trend. The abortion rate is still one of the highest in the world. The problem is complex. The following article written in 2006, gives some of the reasons why Russian women of child bearing ages don't raise larger families:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0519/p01s04-woeu.html

Governments cannot make women have more babies, only societal norms and attitudes do that.

Hermes

Stavros, there has been an upward trend for several years.

adifferentvoice

The OECD believes that governments can make women have more babies or, more accurately, women already want to have more babies, and will do so if the proper policies are in place:

"Research for 16 OECD countries over a twenty-year period shows that birth rates are high in OECD countries where cash transfers to families are high, replacement wages during parental leave are high, female employment rates are high and more women are working part-time. Conversely, birth rates are low where unemployment is high, the ratio of the female-to-male wages is high and periods of parental leave are long – as longer periods of detachment from the labour market increase the difficulties of re-entering the labour market, especially for the women who are better educated and in better-paid jobs. An analysis based on cross-section data also suggests that birth rates are higher in OECD countries with a higher enrolment in formal childcare."

http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/6/57/39970765.pdf

Difficult to escape the conclusion that women do not want to be alone at home with their children. A return to communal living in nice little units of 150 people would probably make us all happier.

Hermes

Notice how the statistics do not conform to the unsubstantiated rubbish spouted by the American Evangelical lunatics and the Brussels Journal that higher Church attendance will lift birthrates? It is great when the cool hand of deliberation sheds light on muddled thinking.

Stavros

Dostoyevsky penned the famous warning that “if God does not exist, then everything is permissible." Including killing your unwanted or inconvenient babies. Not only does Greece have the highest abortion rate in Europe with approximately a quarter of a million Greeks killed every year, 40,000 of those abortions were performed on girls under the age of 16. 150,000 Greeks couples cannot conceive due to complications from a previous abortion.

Children are needy, expensive, and dependent. People who are committed to personal autonomy will invariably see children as an imposition, not a blessing. I imagine that Sweden, fulfills all the criteria the OECD study recommends. It's fertility rate (1.6) is still way below that required to maintain its population.

What's missing?

adifferentvoice

"People who are committed to personal autonomy will invariably see children as an imposition, not a blessing."

Yes, but. Ever tried bringing up children on your own, day after day, on a meagre income of state benefits? Despite some pretty draconian statutory financial penalties imposed on men who try to avoid their obligations to their children here, it is still women who carry the burden of bringing up children. It is a very, very heavy burden even though I see my children as the greatest blessing I've been fortunate enough to receive. I'm sure that the financial burden on responsible men to provide for their families is extremely onerous too, but having children has changed my life more than it has changed my husband's.

Most women can choose not to become pregnant, thanks to contraception over which they have control.
Yet most women want nothing more than to have at least one child at some point in their lives: things may be changing, but I do not have a single childless friend who would not have preferred to have been a mother. At the same time, women need to feel secure if they are to have children especially several children AND they have to live in a world where - to a greater or lesser extent - success is defined by how much you earn, how much you have, where you go on holiday, what car you drive and men are driven to succeed in their careers before they turn to their responsibilities as fathers (testosterone, competition with other men). The availability of divorce cuts both ways. On the one hand women do not have to stay in abusive or even unsatisfactory relationships: on the other hand the spectre of abandonment is ever present.

To raise birth rates you may either have to intoduce expensive government support which even Sweden can barely afford and which still only mitigates a downward trend, or ban contraception, abortion and divorce. Take away women's choice so they become "breeders" rather than autonomous beings - which would seem to any woman to be a backward step that she will resist.

I agree that a meaningful religious faith makes one think differently about those three things - contraception, abortion and divorce. But it seems to me that the current crisis is one that both men and women need to address. Men need to think more about what women want and less about what other men are doing. If you want women to have more than two children on average, they need to have more help - from husbands and from families for about twenty years.

I can see why, from a man's perspective, many of the "freedoms" women have gained are very much not a good thing. I often wonder why states bother educating women and what hopes I should encourage in my daughters.

http://www.oecdobserver.org/news/fullstory.php/aid/563/Can_governments_influence_population_growth_.html

http://www.oecdobserver.org/images//631.photo.jpg

Hermes

I believe states should ban abortions after a certain number of times. They should also make divorce more difficult. If this means women are less autonomous then so be it. Psychologically, they are not capable of the same autonomy as men. Women should consider the last 50 years an aberation.

Stavros

Margaret,

First, well done on your responses at DG (not that you need any pats on the head from me).

Reading your comments here I don't disagree with any of them. You are spot on in describing the dilemmas that women face. I am not trying to simplify a complex matter by trying to frame it by saying its all about one issue: abortion. That said, I feel strongly that aborting children as a form of birth control is ludicrous as well as morally abhorent.

I think legalized abortion does speak volumes about a society's ability to do what's morally right. When that moral compass is lacking societies create human beings who are unable to think about anyone other than themselves. Such societies are doomed to extinction.

The number of children a couple decides to have is based on a number of factors and government can only influence some of those factors. I believe that attitudes to child bearing and rearing are influenced much more by the society at large than by what the government tells us we should be doing. Is there an emphasis on family, is the role of mother and father accorded respect, is there an inordinate emphasis on careers, appearance and individual happiness, is there a respect for the sanctity of life, is there a belief in the future. These elements are infinitely more important and they are not legislated by government.

For many countries, the issue of demographics is a matter of survival. If we have no stake in the country or what it represents then we need not worry about the future. If we don't care about living under sharia for example, then birthrates don't matter at all. Once you become a minority in your own country, then anyone can take over and impose their particular brand of society on your own. Greeks and Serbs have the unenviable legacy of having lived in dhimmitude. Islamic "multi-culturalism" is not what it's cracked up to be:

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=AF8E3199-D40F-4187-A5BC-13BAC1521097

Hermes,

Autonomy is neither a good thing for women nor for men. The ideal is men and women achieving a mutually beneficial relationship in which they work together for the common good of their children and each other. Try as we may, men cannot be mothers and women cannot be fathers. Both sexes bring different things to the table. As for me I absolutely refuse to wash dishes.....unless I'm wearing an apron.

adifferentvoice

I am a sucker for pats on the back, but am less keen on pats on the head :).

I've read your link. You are more frightened by the possibility of Islamic fundamentalism taking over the world than I am. Perhaps I should be more worried (because if it was actually a likelihood, I would be very worried indeed). Or perhaps I've just got other things to worry about that take up all my capacity to worry. Like whether Russia is going to bomb us if the EU agree a common position in relation to Kosovo. I'm beginning to hope that Greece might make a joint position impossible...

Anubis

The muslims of Kosovo are not the same as the muslims of Arab countries. Their movitations appear to be quite different. I do not forsee a problem for Greece from Kosovo or Macedonia, but rather from internal pressure from the Turkish muslims already in place in Northern Greece. This should be the fear of modern Greeks, not Kosovo.

Stavros

Margaret,

I would've said: "you go girl" but I think that would have been a faux paux, too :)

I simply take the Islamic fundamentalists at their own word and actions.

As for bombing others, I believe we are the one's who resorted to that tactic in the Balkans. I am not a Putin fan in the slightest, however, on this issue Russia happens to be on the right side of history.

Anubis,

Muslims, irregardless of where they live can be divided into two groups: moderates and extremists. The moderates in Kosovo were pushed aside long ago by the KLA whose links to Arab terrorists is well documented.

I will post additional links to give you a better appreciation of the emerging problem since we cannot rely on the mainstream media to do so.

adifferentvoice

So, Stravros, what DO you think should have happened (to Kosovo)?

["Go girl" would have been OK, but you need a French lesson or two ... besides I now feel sorry for Anonymous and Martin. It feels a bit like "happy slapping" blog-style, and I don't like it.]

And, seriously, I really don't want to be bombed (and two wrongs hardly ever make a right - back to Martin again). It's all about who's got the biggest gun in his sock, isn't it? Realism writ large.

Margaret/adifferentvoice

I thought you might like to read this:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/feb/21/kosovo

I don't expect you to agree with his conclusion, but Timothy Garton Ash is one of my favourite commentators and someone who tries to see both sides. I think that comes through.

Stavros

M,

I guess I should leave the French phrases to those that speak the language. What is the correct spelling?

As you know these debates can take on a personal aspect. If a commenter makes offensive remarks then he should be surprised when others follow suit. Maybe if he was a little less strident you and others would not react the way you did.

There is a dictum in medicine that says: "First do no harm." Perhaps the US and EU should have applied it in this case. I think we made two huge mistakes: allowing the moderates among the Kosovars to be pushed aside and making negotiations impossible by considering independence as an option. Some sort of autonomy within Serbia would have been ideal. Now we have opened up a Pandora's box which will have ramifications elsewhere throughout Europe.

Yes, it is who has the biggest gun in his sock, that's why the Albanians have allied themselves with the US to achieve their goals.

I read the article you linked to and you're right I disagree with its premise: that independence is a solution. Ash is very pragmatic though his pragmatism seems to be very one sided. Despite what I or you think, things are moving quickly to a head. The die is cast. We will have to live with the decisions made by our respective countries. Unfortunately, in this case I fear we have done much more harm than good.

Nald

Well, one question still hold. Why the great powers had to divide the albanians in 6 different states. They even gave to that tiny montenegro an albanian city. This is why albanians saw the Italians as a good thing for them. To reunite the lands.

Stavros

Nald,

The Albanians owe their existence to the "great powers." When the Ottoman Empire broke up they were in no position to fight for and achieve an independent state. It was handed to them on a silver platter.

The problem in the Balkans is that most Balkan countries have a mixture of minorities. If ownership is based on which majority is currently living on the land then
Albania is going to lose Northern Epirus. There are areas of Kosovo where Serbs constitute the majority, shouldn't those areas remain Serbian? Be careful what you ask for, you may just get it.

Kosta

Hermes,

Mothers currently get $4000 for each newborn currently. Driving through the western of suburbs of Sydney, I don't think this is such a great idea.

Spirro Xhalluka Paramythi

It is realls sad to see how Greeks interpret the History of minorities in Greece during the WW II.
Like in every other nation Greece was devided between Right Wing And Left Wing,For instance Loayalists and sessionist,the same was with other communitties for instance in Chameria,Vlachs of Thessaly and slav-Macedonians.Some joined the right wing some left wings and most of the peolpe stayed neutral.
The Treaty of Greece with World Powers in 1 of January 1913 rewarded the Kingdom of Greece with added territories.
Greece had to treat those nationas as Greek nationasl art 3.
Also Greece has to comply with principle of Justice,liberty and equality.
Ethnic Albanians of Chameria were always treated as second class citizens.
The had no allowed to open schools in their own language,to govern in local administartion,no rights to serve in the Greek army,Their property rights (
movable and immovable properties)were de facto confiscated.Even though Greece had singed a Treaty in Athens 1913 with Turkey recognizing all registred agrarian Land of Ottoman empire.

The Greek Church incited other groups in Chameria to take posssesion of such lands in order to devide Albanians of Chameria in religiuos lines.
Movable and immovable property were defacto confiscated .
With the arrival of Germans in Greece,the Right Wing Powers in Greece ,like the Railis Government and General Zerva convinced Germans with their support in Greece and with reprisals inside the Albanian Territories.
Therefore Germans opposed the partition of Greece,so Chameria region remained under Greek State.
However,Germans allowed minimal Rights for such Minorities to localy governace and opening of albanian schools.In some cases during that period Chams claimed back their own properties.
These infuriated Criminal
circals in Greece,so Genocide was ordered.
Other very sofosticated European countries have abadoned the Idea of Imperial ideology,that Greece is still holding on,not in its own interst in the long run.
The World has Changed and European integration can not be taken forward with such handycap.

Stavros

Spiro,

Your last name is very appropriate. "Paramythi" means fairy tale or myth in Greek. You are the purveyor of more than a few in your comments.

Greece, unlike Albania, happens to be one of the few countries in the Balkans that is not actively pursuing changes to its borders although it certainly has strong and justifiable claims to Northern Epirus. The only genocide against Albanians was perpetrated by one of its own leaders, Enver Hoxha. I suggest you read more and stop wasting my time with your error filled tirade. I am including an excerpt from a factual article written by someone who uses scholarly sources and not the organs of Albanian propaganda that you obviously get all your information from.

From the Holocaust in Greece by Carl Savich:

"Mark Mazower documented in Inside Hitler’s Greece that Cham or Chameria Albanians, Albanian Muslims who lived in the Epirus region of Greece, had collobarated with Nazi occupation forces and had taken an active role in the Holocaust in Greece. The Cham Albanians were predominantly Muslim, although a minority was Orthodox Christian. The Chameria Albanians collaborated with both Italian and German occupation forces. Several hundred Albanians from Epirus had collaborated with the Axis occupation forces. These Albanians were part of the Balli Kombetar (National Front) ultra-nationalist movement and the XILIA or Albanian National Committee which sought to create a Greater Albania by including Albanian-populated areas of Greece in a unified Greater Albania. In April, 1944, Albanian Cham Muslims participated in the round-up and expulsions of 2,000 Greek Romaniot Jews from Ioannina to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp complex. Chamerian Albanians had also burned down Greek Orthodox villages, had committed atrocities against and murders of Orthodox Greek Christians around Paramythia, and had expelled Orthodox Greeks. The Epirus region was subdivided into four prefectures: Thesprotia, Preveza, Arta and Ioannina The Balli Kombetar demanded that all of Epirus up to Preveza should be incorporated into Albania.

Members of the Balli Kombetar (BK, National Front). The Chameria BK rounded up Greek Jews who were transported to Auschwitz.

Mark Mazower described the role of Albanian Muslim Chams during the Axis occupation in After the War Was Over

“[W]hen the Italians finally took control of mainland Greece in 1941, they found Cham activists willing to call for unification of the region with Albania. Several hundred were conscripted into the anti-communist Bal Komitare [Balli Kombetar] to act as local gendarmes. From the autumn of 1943, these armed bands took part alongside the Wehrmacht in burning Greek villages.”

The Italian fascist government placed Chameria under de facto Albanian control and under Albanian administration from 1941 to 1943. Albanian Zhemil Bey Dino was appointed the High Commissioner of Thesprotia by the Italian government. Dino had been an ambassador in the Italian fascist regime. Albanian militias were also created and recruited by the Italian forces as a proxy force to maintain the occupation. The Albanian militias were organized by the fascist and Nazi Balli Kombetar and worked for the Italian and German occupation forces. The Italian government sought to annex Chameria to Albania and to recognize the annexation de jure, as it had done with Kosovo, which was annexed outright to Albania in 1941. German opposition, however, prevented Mussolini from annexing Chameria to Albania outright, but Italy was able to maintain Chameria as a de facto part of Albania, with an Albanian administration and under the control of Albanian militias. These Albanian forces participated in the German round-up and expulsion of Greek Jews, who subsequently died in concentration camps.

Members of the Balli Kombetar (BK, National Front). The Chameria BK rounded up Greek Jews who were transported to Auschwitz.

Albanian Muslims in the Epirus region of Greece, known as Chameria in the Greater Albania lexikon, played a role in the Holocaust in Greece during World War II."

Read the whole thing here:

http://www.serbianna.com/columns/savich/107.shtml

Merkur

All of you are a bunch greek megalomaniacs. The sources cited above comes from a staunch serb nationalist. None of the information above will not stand the facts. Chameria will never be part of Albania, no matter how much Albanians would want it to be. And Northen Epirus policy is a very unrealistic dream that is costing the greek government millions of dollars a year to run as it pays pensions to a bunch of greek speaking albanian retirees. Does anyone think that with these people the greek government would push the idea of seccesion. Come on , let's be real for crying out loud. The Albanian government actually would like the Greek government to run those social security programs because it is money it does not have to spend, and the greek government knows this but its under political pressure from morons like you who have nothing else to do but sit around and gossip about other people's wives and "world politics" and the "threat from Albanian Expansionsionism". Wake up to the new world order you morons!!

Stavros

Merkur,

Every so often I get a comment like yours. I am tempted to erase it, but since it is so breath-taking in its lack of coherence and says so little about the subject at hand while so much about the individual who wrote it, I like to leave it up as a lesson to other readers. Please don't embarass yourselves by posting a comment like this, thus wasting your time and mine.

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