Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Greeks of Egypt: the other homeland



Impressive documentary above from Al Jazeera on the long history of the Greek community in Egypt, from the Minoans to Nasser; but concentrating on the modern community, which began to form in the late 1700s and at its height amounted to 200,000 people. Lots of fascinating characters and detail, including the fact that Greek Egyptians felt so committed to Egypt that they joined up to fight against the Anglo-French invasion of the country in 1956. 

One can only hope that Greece can take advantage of these ties to countries like Egypt to promote its geostrategic interests in the Eastern Mediterranean. Turkey aspires to yoke Egypt to its neo-Ottoman project and, in this way, achieve its aim of driving out Hellenism – particularly in the form of the Republic of Cyprus – from the Eastern Mediterranean. What Turkey is conniving at is an agreement with Egypt that links their Exclusive Economic Zones, as if Cyprus (and Kastellorizo) simply did not exist. Greece’s goal, of course, should be to cultivate Egypt and thwart Turkish expansionism. This shouldn’t be beyond Greece, especially since there is no evidence to suggest that Egypt – which has aspirations of its own to be a leading power in North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean – wants to be part of Turkey’s grandiose plans or shares Turkish nostalgia for the Ottoman empire. Turkey might believe its own propaganda about how tolerant and enlightened the Ottoman empire was – and they may have found enough apologists and stooges from Western Europe and the USA to encourage them in their delusions – but so far Turkey has made little real headway in its efforts to establish regional hegemony.

4 comments:

Hermes said...

A good doco, which once again, shows that wherever we go we bring life to a place, without exploiting it or leading it into ruin (like other old races). However, our small numbers and position between East and West means that when the big powers fight against each other, we suffer. O kaimos ths Romiossynis.

John Akritas said...

It's true what you say about wherever Greeks go, they bring life to a place, etc; but this, of course, begs the question of how Greeks managed to kill their own country. Maybe Greeks should give up on politics and just stick to poetry and business.

Hermes said...

Although we are the most political of creatures, we are politically immature. I have recently been reading Polybius's Histories. Surprisingly, it is a cracking read with very interesting digressions. However, the machinations between the Achaeans, Macedonians, Epirotes, Messenians, Acarnians, Thessalians and the Aetolians, Spartans, Cretans and Eleans, and between the Byzantines and Rhodians and between the Ptolemies and Seleucids, demonstrates that our inability to unite for a common purpose has been the bane of Hellenism. This is despite developing early and sophisticated forms of federation and democracy between constituent states. Ultimately, the better organised Romans were asked to enter mainland Greece, after subjugating the Greeks of southern Italy and Sicilian Greeks, by one of the members of the leagues.

John Akritas said...

Yes, we invented politics, and it has cursed us ever since. We created a Frankenstein's monster.