I belong to a forum of Greek professors from all over the world, especially from Greece. The acute economic crisis threatening Greece has been a chief preoccupation of my academic colleagues.
Many academics are confused about the remedy for debt. They deny kleptocracy and corruption had much to do with the foreign occupation of Greece. By occupation I don't mean foreign armies are holding Greece. But I do mean that foreign interests, in partnership with the Greek political class, are responsible for the current humiliation of the country.
Some of my forum colleagues report news they see on television or read in the press. Some propose minor reforms and say Greece has to stay the course of "austerity" to satisfy her lenders.
Others argue Greece has to abandon the euro and the European Union and return to her national currency, the drachma.
Greek history explains both positions.
Greece is surrounded by an increasingly hostile Europe and America. It's the consortium of America's International Monetary Fund and Europe's Central Bank and the European Union that are squeezing Greece to dangerous levels of political weakness, impoverishment, and dire poverty.
Observing these hard times for Greece light up my historical memory of the fifteenth century. Then, as now, hostile Turks and angry Europeans encircled Greece.
In 1204, the Europeans dismembered and occupied Greece. With that violent act, they sowed perpetual mistrust and hostility between Greeks and Europeans. They also prepared the ground for the Turks.
In the fifteenth century, the Europeans failed to convert the Orthodox Greeks to Catholicism. Nevertheless, Pope Nicholas V tried to bring aid to the vulnerable Greek empire, wrongly labeled Byzantium, but it was too late.
Divisive politics between the Greeks who supported union with the Catholic Church and those who opposed it paralyzed a state in near collapse.
By mid-fifteenth century, the worst hard times had arrived for the Greeks. They were fighting over Christian theology while the Turks were coming in waves against them until, on May 29, 1453, they captured the Greek capital, Constantinople.
The Greeks paid dearly for their theological disputes: some 400 years of alien military occupation drained the country of most of her civilization. In a perverse sense, the Turkish occupation was a capstone of violence to the awesome destruction the Christians had caused to ancient Greece. Nearly nothing was left standing of the thousands of altars, temples, stadia, theaters, schools, libraries, public buildings and statues that made up ancient Greece. The Christian and Islamic monotheisms tortured and bulldozed ancient Greece to death.
Now, in 2015, the Western Europeans and their siblings, the North Americans, are no longer Christian crusaders, but bankers. Money has become their sole virtue. They have written off ancient Greece like a bad dream; they look at the citizens of Greece as irresponsible borrowers. So they apply their medicine of austerity in order to steal the country from them. After all, Americans and Europeans who cannot pay back their house loans are made homeless.
However, like in the fifteenth century, Turks, in 2015, are surrounding Greece. They probably want to recapture Greece. They already have followers in Greek Thrace where there are thousands of Greek Moslems. Turkish money and corrupt Greek politics have led many of these Greek Moslems to believe they are Turks.
But even worse than this internal erosion of Greek sovereignty, including the denial of Greek sovereignty by the IMF-EU debt, there's a steady and increasing danger from a stream of illegal migrants to Greece.
Most of the illegal refugees that have been making it to Greece are Moslems. They come from Afghanistan, Pakistan and the war-torn Middle East.
Two factors make these illegal Moslem immigrants in Greece potentially dangerous. Turkey has been responsible for facilitating their tortuous journey to Greece. Turkey probably sees these Moslems no differently than the Greek Moslems of Thrace: perhaps as its front line troops.
Second, the government of Alexis Tsipras is embarking on the fall of Greece to Turkey. I speak in metaphors, of course. But how does one interpret his open borders policy? His administration abolished the centers for illegal migrants and called them centers of hospitality. What kind of message such policy conveys to the millions of refugees and destitute all over the world? In a sense, the Tsipras administration is doing the bidding of Turkey.
I say this with the terror I detect in the exchanges in the forum of Greek professors.
In a March 2015 letter to Alexis Tsipras and the Greek politicians, the forum said the Greek government's policy of open borders is self-destructive. "The unchecked entrance of Moslems into Greece and the inability of the country to assimilate them constitutes fatal dangers to Greeks," the professors wrote.
Some professors point out the possible criminal connections of illegal immigration to Greece. The refugees pay thousands of dollars to criminals to bring them all the way to the Greek borders, usually through Turkey. How is it that Turkey does not arrest the criminals? And what about the passports of the immigrants? They show up in Greece without passports. How do these immigrants travel through Turkey without passports?
These are legitimate concerns about the purposes of illegal Moslem immigration to Greece. Why is Turkey behind the illegal immigrants to Greece? Is Turkey in collusion with America and its EU friends to slowly invade Greece? After all, America and the United Kingdom blessed the Turkish invasion and conquest of half of the Greek island or Cyprus in 1974.
Add these grave suspicions to the failure of several Greek governments to protect the integrity of Greek borders and you have a case for anxiety, fear and resistance.
I would hope civilized people everywhere rise in support of Greece. This is, after all, the mother of science and civilization. Europe and America need to abandon their narrow dollar vision. Help Greece to recover. And, above all, tell the Turks to end their offensive behavior towards Greece.
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