Sometimes a photo can bring tears to your eyes. Reading today's online edition of Kathimerini I happened upon this photo of Yiannis Antetokounmpo. It was taken when this 6 foot nine inch 18 year old who was born and grew up in Athens (his parents are Nigerian immigrants) was picked up by the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA draft. Nicknamed the "Greek Freak," he is an engaging youngster who got started in Greek basketball and finally came to the attention of the NBA.
I cannot speak to Yianni and his family's experience of life in Greece, however I believe that this photo speaks volumes. We should always welcome those who want to be Greek whether they happen to live in Greece or not. I say that as someone who was not born in Greece and whose parents and grandparents were not born in Greece. Greeks are a hospitable people but even their ingrained hospitality cannot survive the mass influx of unwanted guests who arrive in Greece illegally. Even here in the United States, a country idealized for its ability to take in people from all over the world, we are grappling with millions of illegals who thumb their nose at our laws. No country can survive very long when it loses control of its borders and fails its own citizens in this manner.
There is a great deal being written about the backlash against undocumented immigrants in Greece. To be sure Greece has been inundated with one million illegal immigrants while in the midst of a economic depression. Many are Muslims from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh and thus it is imposssible to absorb let alone assimilate so many people in what has been since its inception, a largely homogeneous and Christian country. Now Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey has offered to pay for a mosque in Athens and the Greek government is falling all over itself to accommodate him in a all too familiar "European" spirit of dhimmitude and deference even when it is self-defeating.
Largely forgotten is the current condition of the dwindling Christian and past Greek populations in Muslim territories and now the latest affront aimed at transforming one of Christendom's greatest cathedrals, Hagia Sophia, into a mosque. More here and here.