Saturday, 19 January 2008

Έξω οι Τούρκοι από την Κύπρο

Well done to Lleyton Hewitt who showed guts in deservedly beating Marcos Baghdatis in the third round of the Australian Open today in a five-set thriller.

I've always thought Australian Hewitt was a bit of a pipsqueak, but I was wrong. He won the match through mental strength alone; mental strength for me is the most compelling aspect of sport; the test of self-control it offers the opportunity to display. Self-control is one of the fundamental aspirations of Western ethical behaviour – facilitating what it is to be a virtuous and wise person – refusing the temptation to be ruled by our passions, desires, fears and superstitions.

Self-control is tested, Plato says, in extreme situations. Such situations are rare in the safe and secure societies we live in nowadays; so sport is often the only (inadequate) opportunity we get to see someone – or be that someone – battling with themselves, with their demons as the sporting cliché goes. (The word demon comes from the Greek δαίμων [daemon], and is most famously referred to by Socrates who claimed to have a small daemon, an inner voice that 'when it comes, always signals me to turn away from what I’m about to do, but never prescribes anything.')

Self-control is particularly important in sport because a lot of sport is played in a fit of anger, and of course if you can't control your anger – in any situation – then you are doomed.

In fact, the first word in Western literature is Menis (Rage); as in:

'Rage – Goddess, sing the rage of Peleus' son Achilles,
murderous, doomed, that cost the Achaeans countless losses,
hurling down to the House of Death so many sturdy souls,
great fighters' souls, but made their bodies carrion,
feasts for the dogs and birds.' (Homer, The Iliad).

I recommend Baghdatis read The Iliad, and see how Achilles, the supreme warrior, the ultimate competitor, cold-bloodedly uses his emotions and does what he has to do to secure his glory; while others, notably Ajax the Great, are consumed by their feelings, driven to despair and, ultimately, kill themselves.

As for the phony storm kicked up by the Australian media regarding Marcos' patriotic sing-song with his Greek Australian supporters – see video above – and the ludicrous assertion that the chant ‘Έξω οι Τούρκοι από την Κύπρο’ (Turks out of Cyprus) amounts to an anti-Turkish rant, or refers to anything other than the 40,000 Turkish occupation troops and 120,000 Turkish settlers dumped on the island since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, let’s be generous and not accuse the Australians of ignorance or bigotry, but put their sudden interest in the Cyprus problem down to typical Aussie sledging – testing your opponent’s mental resolve through verbal abuse.

If the affair revealed anything, it wasn’t Marcos’ Greek Cypriot chauvinism but the bitterness, jealousy and resentment of Turkish Cypriots, whose representatives in Australia jumped on the media bandwagon and called for Baghdatis not only to be thrown out of the Australian Open but also to be deported. At no point, it should be stressed, did Marcos or anybody else sing: ‘Τουρκος καλος, Τουρκος νεκρος’ (The only good Turk is a dead Turk). Now that would have been controversial.


Hermes said...

Turks and Turkish Cypriots obviously have something to hide and the Australian media must be short of news stories. A non-issue if ever there was one.

Anastasia said...

You know something, a lot of people have made excuses about Baghdatis's behavior, even the Anglos have made excuses for it, but I'm Greek and what I saw was pathetic.

Firstly, if he wasn't mucking around, and being so unprofessional hanging out and partying (when he should have been training) his game could have been better.

More importantly, even to me, the chants are chants. I'm Greek, and I understand them, and I don't see Marcos removing himself from that situation. No other tennis player is seen in such a predicament. Every other tennis player at the Australian Open was here on a professional level. You didn't see the William's sisters chanting anything about George Bush, or American minorities at BBQ's, and you didn't see any Serbs behave badly, but these Greek louts here use Baghdatis to advertise their pseudo patriotism, and he falls for it. That YouTube video wasn't exactly something that anyone would be proud of. Just because the Anglos can't understand it, means nothing. Greeks understand it, and it's inexcusable for an apparently 'neutral' sportsman to be in the presence of such 'malakes'.

john akritas said...

You have an interesting website, Anastasia. I don't quite know what to make of it. I'll take some time to read it more closely later on.

My understanding is that the barbecue party took place after Markos was eliminated from the tournament last year; while the chants – and the singing of the national anthem – were just high-spiritedness, though of course Markos being from Cyprus – and Cyprus being under Turkish occupation – does make him slightly more than just a tennis player.

Regarding the Hellas Fan Club and these overt demonstrations of orchestrated patriotism and chanting, I agree with you: they're unnecessary and a little embarrassing. Greece has need for Greek patriotism; Australia does not.

Generally, I think all you Greek Aussies are wasting your time and talents down under and I urge you all to return to the patrida before it's too late, before you all become Anglos.

Hermes said...

John A, just by reading Anastasia's comment, I think somone has already become an Anglo. When a Greek wins some important game is he suppose to go quietly to his hotel room, lock the door, close the blinds and read? This is despite all the players in the world, including loathsome American ones, prancing around with their silly flags after a victory. Let Marcos celebrate as he sees fit and to hell with what "Anglos" think.

Anastasia said...

All I know is that the action, or presence of those others, wasn't good for Marcos's image. And it just goes to show you, that there will always be one idiot, who'll sell footage to the media, or show the media, because this video wasn't only seen by people on YouTube, a lot of Australian journalists saw it as well.

If you compare the time Marcos was here a couple of years ago, to this year, there's a stark difference, and it's disappointing to see because of his talent. A part of me thinks that he should have a manager on hand, or not to permit video footage at those BBQ's being taken. I realise that may sound insane or whatever, but there are many sectors that use that to create crap.

As for you Hermes, you can think what you want to think, regarding me being 'Anglo' or whatever, but the thing is, and this is what really gets me is that many 'young' Greek patriots haven't really experienced the hard times that people before them experienced, and they find it easy to sit there chanting, when their parents or grandparents don't do that today, because they know that it's not going to do anything. And that's not me being 'Anglo'.

As far as I know, there are two sectors of Turks in Cyprus. Turkish Cypriots who have lived there, and lived alongside Greek Cypriots, before the war, and Turks who came after the war, via Turkey. Now sitting there chanting 'All Turks out of Cyprus' is wrong, because there were many people who didn't want to see that war happen from both sides, whatever the testosterone filled HFC upstarts think.

Hermes, me being Anglo? But it's quite all right for people enjoying the things their parents gave them, in Melbourne or in London, to go on about this subject isn't it? Most of those young guys in the video probably haven't worked three jobs for years, to buy on house, and many of you have everything 'ready made'. I'm betting, that if you were transplanted to a country whose language you didn't know, you'd drown in a glass of water. 2nd and 3rd gen Greeks in Australia and other Anglo parts, don't stop to think half the time.

Hermes said...

Marcos does what he wants. Why should he care about Australian hillbillies?

Young Greeks parents and grandparents do not sit around and chant because maybe they are too old. However, when those parents and grandparents were younger they fought wars, sang and danced for Greece. Generally, the older generation was more patriotic than the younger despite some would be suburban Melbourne hooligans.

Marcos did not chant �all� Turks out of Cyprus he shouted Turks out of Cyprus. The UN also agrees with him and so does most of the civilised world. There is an occupying army in Cyprus and it should go. I do not see the problem. When Australians suffer an injustice like the one the Greeks have in Cyprus then maybe we will see Leyton Hewitt dancing around with the ghost of Heath Ledger calling for Indonesia out. Also, Hollywood celebrities are always going on about some political injustice. Namely, George Clooney, Sean Connery and Angelina Jolie. Why should we Greeks withhold? And all these so called actors were brought up in a cloistered households as well. Should we become politically mute to satisfy the small minded needs of the Anglo world? The world that has been the biggest impediment to Hellenism in the last 50 years.

Hermes said...

And Dean, your fellow Greek Australian, sums it up very well:

john akritas said...

Dean's consistent message seems to be that the dominant culture in Australia places severe limits on how minority cultures can express themselves, what is and what is not acceptable for you to think, say and do in order for you to become a 'proper' Australian and that in the long run the end result will be the elimination of the minority culture, its swallowing up by the majority culture, as has happened in America.

Funnily enough, I think we did a better job of preserving our culture and identity under the Ottomans than we are doing under the Anglo-Saxons.

Hermes said...

John, you make a very good point which has not gone unnoticed. Despite relative freedom and material wealth we are being de-Hellenised quicker than when the Ottomans oppressed the Greeks. This both shows the weakness of modern Hellenism and the outstanding success of Anglo-American culture to dominate other cultures through means that seem benign and inevitable. Unfortunately, our young Greeks do their utmost to fall into line with their new Ottoman oppressors.

Ardent said...

John, seems like you are so critical that only certain people can meet your official standard. Not only are you critical of Turks but also critical of Greeks. Is not Anastasia allowed her opinion, but unfortunately she is dropped from your culture if she dare state an opinion that is different to yours.

WHO appointed you and Hermes as Hellenic police??????

Hermes said...

Ardent, reading comments like yours take me back to high school arguments. Who did not allow Anastasia her opinion? Nobody. She can state whatever she likes. And I can refute her argument. I have that right too don't I?

AntigoneSis said...

In the midst of all the political discussion, don’t forget that it was a great match! I recorded it and was watching it again last night. Just when Baghdatis’ back was against the wall, and he was down 5-1 in the 4th set, he came back and won in a fantastic tie-break denying Hewitt the match and making everyone stick around an extra hour! A lesser athlete and someone with less heart and courage would have just bagged it (pardon the pun) and let Hewitt have the match in the 4th. Despite his nationality, despite the guys he hangs around with, Baghdatis is a great player to watch and good for the sport. And let’s not forget either about Lleyton Hewitt’s unfortunate tirade against the black linesman at the 2001 US Open when he was playing James Blake.

john akritas said...

You're right, Antigone – up to a point. Markos did do well to win the fourth, but he should have won the match in three and definitely, having won the fourth, gone on to win the fifth.

The fact that he didn't shows not that Markos' game is flawed, but that Markos himself is flawed. He's a choker, mentally weak, one minute he's laughing, the next he's crying. Markos lacks the killer instinct, the cold-hearted, clear-headed, merciless self-control of a Pete Sampras; which was my point about Markos – he needs to read Homer, study Achilles, a brutal killer, or go see a good sports psychologist to get his head straightened out.

Anonymous said...

Greeks first of all are Greeks and then something else!! The reason he is competing is because of his country!! Supporting the human rights and wanting FREEDOM for your country is all but bad!! We should all be proud that an athlete has values cause I don't think there are many athletes out there who would even care about the ideals with such a fame and so much money!! Go MArcos we love you soooo much! Peace uppon you!