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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

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09 November 2007



great quote. axactly the way i think as a student in a foreign country. i miss greece


Something special becomes of Greeks when the live abroad. They become non-Greeks.

On more important matters, charming article by the Soros US State Department sponsored Euro Council:



Does that include you or does that apply only to the rest of us?


It includes everyone. I get tired of hearing Diaspora Greeks believing they are more Greek than Greeks. That is a load of rubbish. If one cannot pick up a Greek daily newspaper and understand the article then they have foregone the most, but not only, important aspect of Hellenism: the language. Most Diaspora Greeks; particularly, from the United States, can barely utter simple greetings. However, they think because they tirelessly work 20 hours a day like good little decent capitalists, occasionally eat a pita and may spend a summer playing baseball on a Greek beach that they are the true heirs of Diomedes and Ajax. It makes them feel somehow connected to something, part of something old and grand, part of a culture. In other words, it allows them to find compensation for the fragmented, dehistoricised, deculturaised and atomized beings they have become. It allows for one brief moment of reflection to become human again before they trot off to the mall to stuff their faces with donuts or to go to work and be whipped to an inch of their lives by their boss in a life of absolutely no meaning other than that given to them by Marks and Spencer, Norman Podoretz and the New York Times. However, ask them about contemporary Greek national interests and the screen goes blank. The challenge for all overseas Greeks is to partake in living and breathing Hellenism informed by the works and deeds of the past. The Greek government should conduct language and culture tests of Diasporan Greeks, and if they do not satisfy the criteria, they should be tried in absentia and be sentenced to a Bolivian silver mine for five years.



At the risk of going over the same territory you and I, in particular, have traveled before, I must respectfully disagree, once again.

I don't see the Diaspora in the same way as you. You give them no credit for their substantial accomplishments, accomplishments which I might add they and they alone are responsible for. I agree with you that maintaining a sense of Greekness is difficult living abroad. As I read your litany of complaints about those poor excuses for Greeks, stuffing their faces with donuts, I long for those pure-hearted, hard-bodied, polished and enlightened Greeks living in Greece.

Their Greek is pure and untainted by foreign words and phrases. Unlike their illiterate diasporan kin, their Greek phrases flow effortlessly together, connected by the liberal use of that most Greek of Greek words, "malaka."

They work as little as possible or hardly at all and spend their remaining free time pouring over their Greek history books and refining the arts their ancient ancestors perfected. On any night, you can find them holding Socratic dialogues in any number of cabarets and nightclubs all over Athens.

They are good little socialists and they believe that what is theirs is theirs and what is someone else's is theirs also. Despite the fact that they revile their government they are utterly dependent upon it.

The "real" Greeks have run up the white flag on every important Greek national interest, but the blame rightfully belongs to others, as usual, for not being sufficiently "supportive." Cyprus and Northern Epirus are all but forgotten in Greece. A basket case like FYROM is running diplomatic rings around a country that they are dependent on for their very survival, so why don't you fragmented, dehistoricised, deculturaised and atomized beings on the other side of the ocean do something??

The challenge for the real Greeks is to give us pseudo-Greeks something to be proud of again. They should start by not waiting for the Greek government to educate their children about what it means and how to be Greek, and they should do it themselves. Before they can do that however, they need to stop aborting their children, otherwise they won't have anyone to educate. If they don't satisfy my criteria, they should be sent to those Bolivian silver mines to work alongside those of us who failed the other tests. Mind you now, we expect those who join us in the mines, to work. Unfortunately, that means that they will have to do a great deal more than drink coffee and play backgammon while we capitalists work 20 hours a day in order to expiate our very substantial sins.

I would write more, however, the hour is late and sadly I ran out of things to say until I read my next installment of Podoretz.


All Greeks Americans should learn to bow and do errands for proper Greek speakers. They are part of the occupying force which has colonised our hearts and minds. However, everywhere American power is waning and we may gradually see some more humility on their part. Going forward, as Greeks we should now start shifting our attention to the East again towards China and India. We can slowly dispense with the Americans. We do not need them that much anymore.


Americans, regardless of origin, don't bow and scrape. That's one of the first things you learn when you become an American, and thanks to America's sons and daughters, millions of others no longer have to bow and scrape as well.


Go Stavros!


I think I have entered a time machine again. Americans bow and scrape to one power - and you know who they are. You should travel a little bit more. Read a bit more widely.


With all due need a woman! Afto tha sou alaxi ta fota!! Did I say that correctly in my Diasporan Greek?
Cheers, pal!


Gee, I wonder what our Zionist masters in Tel Aviv want us to do now?


Ola kala me ths gunaikes Antigone mou. Otan o andras exei gunaika (oi gunaikes) hazevoume;

Old Bald Helen

As a third-generation half-Greek American who has spoken, read, and written Greek since early childhood (i.e., for over 55 years), who also reads Koine and Classical Greek, and who has lived and worked among Greeks in America, Greeks in Australia, and Greeks in Greece, I'd say that there are very, very few Hellenists remaining anywhere in the world today -- and certainly none who are under the age of 50.

Greece is gone, my friends, and Kazantzakis would be the first to acknowledge this, if he could speak now.



Perhaps you are right, although your comments seem overly pessimistic to me. As a third generation Greek American who seems quite in tune with her heritage you are a living example of someone who has beaten the odds. Greece and Greeks have gone through difficult times before and emerged intact.

Gerassimos Antzoulatos

To Hermes.
The jewish diaspora with their traditions and faith has fostered a sense of oneness wherby they have acted in support of each other in every aspect of society. There is no need to gauge the "jewishness" of a jew. Now apply the above propositions to the "greek"... this my friend is our calamity. Americans have declared cultural imperialism aginst the world, what do you expect they are a superpower it comes with the territory. The greeks in greece are intoxicated by this "americanization" even in the villages. The diaspora greeks are crystallized by the traditions passed on by their parents and will always be in tune with their culture, unlike what is transpiring in greece. The worst enemy to greeks is the greeks themselves history proves me right.


Stavros Americans bow and scrape everday to Chinese bankers...:) Time to wake up from the illusion of freedom its the dawn of a new age...


You're right K we have been doing a great deal of bowing, to Saudi royalty, Egyptian Islamists, the President of Afghanistan, thanks to our Apologist in Chief.

I agree we are slowly losing our freedoms, gobbled up by an ever growing state apparatus and political elite that controls every aspect of our lives. Come to think of it you sound rather all knowing, kind of like an old friend named Hermes. :)


I try to be that Owl of Minerva. I dont really think it has anything to do with the administration in place thats just part of the confusion.


Its really the drive for profits and resources that spurs this beast.


And it blesses everything with money. We dont realize sometimes the barbarians are homegrown.


Stavros you are wrong there has never been freedom in the modern world we just live in a world of shades of slavery some prisons more real and apparent then others. But maybe you are just trying to pick and shelter the best in the permeating bad. Nevertheless I see all kinds of odd phenomenon in our future solar system.

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Searching for Ithaka

  • Keep Ithaka always in your mind. Arriving there is what you're destined for. But don't hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years, so you're old by the time you reach the island, wealthy with all you've gained on the way, not expecting Ithaka to make you rich. Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey. Without her you wouldn't have set out. She has nothing left to give you now. And if you find her poor, Ithaka won't have fooled you. Wise as you will have become, so full of experience, you'll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean. C. P. Cavafy


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