Saturday, 21 August 2010

Mouzelis the magnificent

Below is an article I’ve translated by Professor Nikos Mouzelis on the Greece-Israel rapprochement. Mouzelis is a well-known and influential sociologist who’s taught at the prestigious London School of Economics and writes regularly for the left-wing Greek newspaper To Vima. He gives four reasons why Greece should not develop strategic relations with Israel, each reason as stupid as the other, revealing a complete lack of seriousness among a dominant strand of Greek thinkers, stuck with a vision of Greece as a country more Third World than First World, a Greece which, apparently, is in the forefront of a fight against Nato, Zionism, America, capitalism, imperialism and God knows what else. (Read Mouzelis’ appalling article in Greek here).

Greece’s military co-operation with Israel is unacceptable
I think at this moment in time co-operation with Israel in the field of military exercises is unacceptable for four reasons:

First, from a moral point of view, close co-operation will strengthen a government which through the imposition of an embargo has degraded and impoverished a large section of the Palestinian population.

Second, with the encouragement of the continuing oppression and the settling of Palestinian territories, the Netanyahu government is making it increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for an agreement between Israel and Palestine.

Third, co-operation at a military level between Greece and Israel does not advance the national interests of our country. Our national interest is to have good relations with Turkey and the Arab world rather than with a country that is trying to impose an apartheid, colonial system on Palestine.

Fourth, if Israel tries to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities, it will need free passage through Greece’s airspace. Perhaps this is the reason why the Israeli prime minister wants to have close military co-operation with our country?

It’s hard to believe intelligent Greeks could make such absurd arguments, and here’s a quick repudiation.

What has the depredations being suffered by the Palestinians got to do with Greece? The plight of the Palestinians might be sad, tragic and all the rest; but since when has a country’s foreign relations been conducted on the basis of sentiment? If Greece were to base its foreign relations using human rights criteria, then Greece would have relations with very few countries, and certainly not with any of the Arab countries – Libya, Egypt, Syria and so on – Mouzelis wants Greece to cosy up to, and certainly not with Turkey, another country Mouzelis thinks Greece should befriend, which is trying to impose an apartheid and colonial system on the Greek island of Cyprus – but this doesn’t seem to bother Mouzelis, doesn't seem to arouse his sensitivities for human rights or his concerns for Greek national interests.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Will Turks have to go back to bows and arrows?

As well as politically and morally supporting the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, America also supplied the weaponry for the assault and continues to provide Turkey with the tanks, aircraft and so on that maintain the occupation. The fact that Turkey’s use of American weapons in Cyprus can be interpreted as breaking US law – which prohibits the use of US weapons in circumstances that violate international law or in acts of aggression – does not seem to matter to US decision makers, even though Greek Americans are now pursuing the matter through the Washington courts.

Anyway, I mention this now because there is a report in the Financial Times today (see below) that suggests that President Barack Obama has threatened Turkey that if it continues with its hostile attitude to Israel, then it is unlikely that America will be in a position to supply the Turkish armed with much-sought-after US military equipment.

See, Americans can face down the Turks if they want to, and I guess they want to when it comes to Israel but not when it comes to Greece/Cyprus.

US issues arms deal ultimatum to Turkey
President Barack Obama has personally warned Turkey’s prime minister that unless Ankara shifts its position on Israel and Iran it stands little chance of obtaining the US weapons it wants to buy.

Mr Obama’s warning to Recep Tayyip Erdogan is particularly significant as Ankara wants to buy American drone aircraft – such as the missile-bearing Reaper – to attack the Kurdish separatist PKK after the US military pulls out of Iraq at the end of 2011.

The PKK has traditionally maintained bases in the remote mountains in the north of Iraq, near the Turkish border.

One senior administration official said: “The president has said to Erdogan that some of the actions that Turkey has taken have caused questions to be raised on the Hill [Congress]… about whether we can have confidence in Turkey as an ally. That means that some of the requests Turkey has made of us, for example in providing some of the weaponry that it would like to fight the PKK, will be harder for us to move through Congress.”

Read the rest of the story here:

Treacherous, idiot dictator is dead

There is an irony, I suppose, that the death of the idiot traitor Brigadier Dimitris (Mimis) Ioannides was announced today in Athens. Mimis Ioannides was, of course, the leader of the Greek junta from November 1973 to July 1974, his overwhelming legacy being the overthrow of President Makarios, which precipitated the Turkish invasion of Cyprus; the second and most devastating phase of which we commemorate at this time of year – 14-16 August – when Famagusta, the Mesaoria, Karpasia and Morphou were seized by the Turkish invader.

Last month, in an interview with the Greek daily Αδεσμευτος Τυπος  the idiot traitor tried to make out that his intentions in overthrowing Makarios were patriotic and aimed at bringing about the union of Cyprus and Greece, and he blamed American duplicity and the reticence of his senior colleagues for thwarting his great plan.

Thus, Ioannides says that the Americans assured him that, after deposing Makarios, the Turks would not invade. Even when on 20 July the Turks were landing troops on and bombing the island, Ioannides says he accepted American reassurances that the Turks were only planning to stay on the island for 24 hours and would only leave 1,500 men around Kyrenia as reinforcements for the Turkish Regiment on Cyprus (KTKA) to assuage the fears of the Turkish Cypriots.

(Yes, Mimis: you were going to declare the union of Cyprus and Greece and you expected Turkey to shrug its shoulders and let you get on with it – or was your sense of betrayal and bewilderment felt  because the Americans had told you that if you overthrew Makarios the Turkish response would be muted given that your intention was to partition the island with them as soon as possible?)

And, later, when it became clear to Mimis that what was going on in Cyprus was not a limited Turkish landing but a full-scale invasion, Ioannides wants us to believe that when he tried to convince the heads of the armed forces and the other junta members to mobilise the Greek military to repel the Turkish invasion, he was betrayed by the loss of nerve of his colleagues, anxious to avoid conflict with Turkey and urging a return to civilian rule, which meant that apart from the 300 Greek commandos sent to Cyprus as part of the ill-fated Operation ‘Niki’, Greece ended up totally abandoning Cyprus to the Turks, something that Cypriots have never forgotten or forgiven, as much as they’d like to, so that those feelings of adulation and awe that Cypriots once had towards Greece are now mixed with negative feelings associated with humiliation, cynicism and contempt. Bravo, Mimis Ioannides. You couldn’t have done a finer job for Cypriot Hellenism if you had been a Turk.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Murder of Greek in Albania threatens ‘hate and conflict’

Greek media has been reporting this evening that a member of the Greek minority in Albania has been murdered by Albanian nationalists after an incident in the Northern Epirot town of Chimara. Reports said that Aristotelis Goumas was initially assaulted by three Albanians who objected to Goumas speaking Greek and that the Albanian thugs then later drove their car into the 35-year-old and repeatedly ran over him. 

Kathimerini reports that the Greeks of Chimara proceeded to close the road linking Ayioi Saranta and Avlona to protest the murder and called for measures to stop the activities of extreme Albanian nationalists in the region. 

The mayor of Chimara, Vasillis Bolano, said that the killing ‘was premeditated, since the perpetrators had been stalking the victim for days’, while Archbishop Anastassios of Albania said that ‘such unjustified, violent acts… threaten to destroy the climate of peaceful co-existence, which all wise citizens of Albania have fought for, and could trigger conflict and hate in the region’. 

Greece’s foreign ministry spokesman Grigoris Delavekouras said that: ‘Unacceptable criminal acts like this will undermine relations between Greece and Albania and have the aim of stoking ethnic tensions with unpredictable consequences.’

Read the whole story in Greek here. Above is the story as reported on tonight’s Mega News.

Greece and Israel: relationship set to deepen

This evolving relationship between Greece and Israel (and by extension Cyprus and Israel) continues to take interesting twists. On Monday, Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu is due in Athens to meet with Greece’s political leadership – the first such visit to Greece by an Israeli PM – while there is evidence on an almost daily basis that the rupture in relations between Israel and Turkey – which precipitated this Greco-Israeli rapprochement – will not be mended any time soon. Recently, I’ve seen reports in the Israeli press accusing Turkey of using chemical weapons against its Kurdish population; and that Turkey has made a secret agreement with Iran to filter weapons to Israel’s deadly Lebanese enemy, Hezbollah; while it’s also been widely reported that Turkey has snubbed the Israeli ambassador to Ankara by not inviting him to the dinner celebrating the breaking of the Ramadan fast.

The other interesting factor that may have long-term repercussions for Greco-Isreali relations is the discovery of vast hydrocarbon deposits between Israel and Cyprus and the seemingly smooth negotiations between the two countries as to how these can be exploited to mutual advantage – and to the exclusion of Turkey, which believes that the Republic of Cyprus is an illegitimate government and has no right to delineate Exclusive Economic Zones around its territorial waters.

Finally, although the resurgence of interest in Greek Jewry has been around for about a decade now, with Greece and Israel forging a new relationship, we can expect this interest to gather momentum. Indeed, yesterday, I read this fascinating account of the fate of the Greek Jews in the Nazi extermination camps – No other Jews like them.

The article notes that Greek Jews – Sephardim from Thessaloniki and Romaniots from elsewhere in Greece – were admired by other Jews and by the Germans for their indomitable spirit and national solidarity and pride, and  goes on to give  an extraordinarily moving account of the remarkable Sonderkommando uprising in Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944  ‘planned and executed completely by Greeks, waving improvised Greek flags, and accompanied by the strains of the Greek national anthem’; an episode that is to be turned into a film.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Turkey’s colonisation of Cyprus continues

As we all know, part of the Turkish plan for the partition of Cyprus – which the Turks came up with in 1956 and have been following consistently ever since – involved not only expelling the Greek population from northern Cyprus, but replacing it with a massive influx of Turks from Turkey, i.e. a process of colonisation. The intention was to create a sufficiently large Turkish population to make northern Cyprus economically viable; to create a population unwaveringly loyal to Turkey and to the policy of partition, which the newcomers had a vested interest in supporting; and to overwhelm any residual Turkish Cypriot feeling that leaned towards a united Cyprus, and which might pose a threat to Turkey’s plan for a permanent presence on the island.

Anyway, after 1974, the process of bringing Turks to occupied Cyprus was begun almost immediately and has continued ever since – boosted even by Bulgarian Turks in the 1980s, brought to the island by the occupation regime following ethnic unrest in Bulgaria. Today, there are some 200,000 Turkish settlers in occupied Cyprus – which amounts to twice the population of Turkish Cypriots – all of whom are entitled to ‘citizenship’ of the pseudo-state and participation in ‘elections’ and so on. Indeed, there appears to be no let up in the policy of colonisation of occupied Cyprus, with reports suggesting that Turkey’s plan is to eventually create a population of 2m Turks in northern Cyprus. On the right are photos published in yesterday’s edition of the Turkish Cypriot daily Yeni Duzen of recently arrived Turkish settlers in occupied Cyprus.

Friday, 6 August 2010

‘We are like one family, Turks and Greeks…’

Listen to the sly Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davoutoglu arriving in Rhodes today for an informal meeting with Greece’s deputy foreign minister Dimitris Droutsas (news story in Greek here):

‘It’s a great pleasure for me to be in Rhodes today. I’m meeting with Dimitris and the tourism minister [Giorgos Nikitiadis], both of whom are my good friends. We meet like family. In reality, the Aegean Sea is our common home and when I was in Bodrum (Halicarnassus) I phoned Dimitris to see if it was possible for us to meet in Rhodes. He courteously accepted and I’m grateful for this. We are like one family, Turks and Greeks, since we share the same geography, cultural inheritance and tourist environment.’

The Aegean is our common home, indeed – and presumably like any common home you want your fair share of it, just like you want your fair share of Cyprus and your fair share of Thrace. And as for common cultural inheritance, I hear this often, but it is complete nonsense. To put it at its starkest, and following Kazantzakis, Greece represents freedom, Turkey death. End of story.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Kynodontas (Dogtooth)

I watched Kynodontas (Dogtooth) a couple of days ago, a surreal and disturbing Greek film about a husband and wife who have made prisoners of their three children in order to protect them from what the parents regard as the evil influences of society. Unusually for a Greek movie, Kynodontas received an international release and, in fact, was on here in London for five or six weeks. Watching the film, I found it shocking and hilarious at times but didn’t really like it – figuring the attention and acclaim it received was part of this trend that favours ‘extreme cinema’; however, watching again the scene above in which the children perform a dance to celebrate their parents’ wedding anniversary and thinking about the film a bit more it has definitely grown on me, although I’m still confused by it, not sure what it’s trying to get at and what’s supposed to be going on. Not necessarily a bad thing, I guess.

You can download the film from Pirate Bay here.