A Greek paradox: leveraging Sharia to promote religious freedom

I will cop to being a relative newcomer to the world of Greek international relations. It is something that interests me, and seeing as how I reside in Washington, DC I do try to be in the loop regarding the activities of the Greek-American community. However, I will readily acknowledge I am still learning some of the ins and outs.

I think it’s fair to say that one of the key issues of interest to the Greek-American community is that of the rights of the Christian minority in Turkey. The re-opening of the Orthodox Halki seminary in Turkey in particular is of great importance. The framing of this issue as one of international religious freedom is something I absolutely agree with Endy Zemenides on-though this position is apparently widely held within the Greek-American community. Turkey ought to allow Halki to re-open, in accordance with international norms as well as its own secular constitution. Not doing so amounts to effective interference in the right to religious freedom of the local Orthodox minority. This minority is largely comprised of ethnic Greeks, and it makes perfect sense that the Greek government would seek to protect their interests. However, I will agree with the Greek side that this should not be a part of any Greek/Turkish Quid pro quo as Turkish PM Erdogan has apparently recently suggested when he said “While we return something, we have the right to expect the return of other things”. Continue reading

Inaccurate AP story about NBA draft pick favors Greek PM

AP Antetokounmpo story

Yesterday, I wrote about Greek Golden Dawn leader Nikos Mihaloliakos’ statement comparing Milwaukee Bucks no. 15 draft pick Giannis Antetokounmpo to a chimpanzee.

Today, the Associated Press (AP) reported on this story from Athens, Greece as well in a piece with no author listed and with the headline “Greek federation condemns slur of NBA draft pick”. The AP correctly reports on today’s press release (in Greek) where they refer to the Mihaloliakos statements as “unacceptable and racist”.

However, the AP makes what -based on my research- is an inaccurate statement about Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras: Continue reading

Golden Dawn leader compares Bucks Greek NBA draft pick Giannis Antetokounmpo to chimpanzee

Milwaukee Bucks no. 15 NBA draft pick Giannis Antetokounmpo

Milwaukee Bucks no. 15 NBA draft pick Giannis Antetokounmpo

In an appearance on Greek television yesterday, Golden Dawn leader MP Nikos Mihaloliakos compared Milwaukee Bucks Greek 18 year old no. 15 NBA draft pick Giannis Antetokounmpo to a chimpanzee. When asked to comment on Antetokounmpo becoming an exemplar for Greeks abroad, he remarked: “in the zoo if you give a chimpanzee a banana and a flag he’ll be ‘Greek’ too”.  Continue reading

Orthodox church interference with book event on historicity of Jesus

Minas Papageorgiou

Minas Papageorgiou

The content of this article is adapted from a facebook post by Sasha Chaitow. A Greek version is also available at Minas Papageorgiou’s blog here.

Sadly there is a curious but pernicious variety of ecclesiastic censorship that persists in Greece, which is one of the primary reasons for which, despite the wealth of material of interest to esoteric scholars, folklorists and religious studies scholars, there is little to no knowledge of this beyond Greek borders. My friend and colleague, investigative journalist Minas Papageorgiou recently published his new book with Εκδόσεις Δαιδάλεος (Daidaleos Publications), an independent publishing house that specializes in quality research publications on a variety of topics including philosophy, religion, folklore, history, psychology, and culture.
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Samaras adviser’s epic homophobic rant

Antonis Samaras (left) with Failos Kranidiotis

Antonis Samaras (left) with Failos Kranidiotis (right)

What follows is a translation of an article in Greek written by lawyer Failos Kranidiotis, a long time close adviser to Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras that was published on June 9 to coincide with the Athens Gay Pride parade. To my knowledge, no one from the Samaras administration has made any statements in objection.

h/t @Vlattas_C

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Greece Grapples with Blasphemy

Elder pastitsios facebook page

This is my op-ed that appears in the print edition of the April/May 2013 issue of Free Inquiry magazine.

Nowhere is the European crisis that followed the Wall Street crash of 2008—and especially the subsequent effort to combat it—felt more sharply than in Greece. The country is suffering an economic depression after five years of rapidly declining output with no end in sight as it fails to meet the demands of the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who are since a 2010 bailout its largest creditors. Greece is also one of the largest entry points for immigrants into the EU—many of them asylum seekers—with the result that an estimated 10 percent of the population are not citizens and are widely portrayed in the local media as dangerous criminals.

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Greek artist acquitted of blasphemy charges

While the Corpus Christi and “Elder Pastitsios” pending blasphemy cases have grabbed most of the headlines, this is a case I was not aware of. Given the timing with Greek Orthodox Easter this weekend, this is a very timely and interesting case, which thankfully ended in an acquittal.

On the way to Ithaca

On March 14th, 2013, Greek artist Dionysis Kavalieratos was tried in court on blasphemy charges brought on him by members of the ultra-conservative “Genuine Orthodox Christians” Church (the Greek Old Calendarists, that also starred in the “Corpus Christi” charade). The charges were due to the following three sketches exhibited by the artist in a private art gallery (the owner of the venue was a co-defendant).

(Click to enlarge)

Happy Easter
Starring: Jesus as the lamb of god, Virgin Mary as Medea, God as the Devil, Devil as God, Sir Winston Churchill as himself.
Seven Dicks Jesus
offering a multi blowjob to the Lernea Hydra,the nine headed monster. The two remaining heads eat manna bread falling from the sky.

Hidden in Napoleon’s Boudoir
are the Virgin Mary with baby Jesus and Satan;
they’re being flashed by Napoleon.

The trial was more or less a farce. Most of the hostile…

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