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.
Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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…

View original post 380 more words

Πρεσβεία ΗΠΑ 1974: “αυστηρός και κάπως πατερναλιστικός” ο Καραμανλής


Διπλωματικό τηλεγράφημα της συλλογής Kissinger Cables από το Wikileaks δίνει σαφή εικόνα της χαμηλής εκτίμησης της Αμερικάνικης διπλωματικής αποστολής για τον Κωνσταντίνο Καραμανλή αλλά και για την Ελληνική κοινωνία γενικότερα. Το παρακάτω είναι μεταφρασμένο απόσπασμα από τηλεγράφημα της πρεσβείας στην Αθήνα με ημερομηνία 4 Οκτωβρίου 1974. Περιγράφει τις εντυπώσεις από τηλεοπτικό διάγγελμα του Καραμανλή την προηγούμενη μέρα:

Ο Καραμανλής φάνηκε να έχει χαλαρότητα και αυτοπεποίθηση όσο παρέδιδε την μαγνητοσκοπημένη του ομιλία με τον συνήθη αυστηρό και κάπως πατερναλιστικό τρόπο του. Στην εθνοτικά ομοιογενή και σφιχτά δομημένη Ελληνική κοινωνία, η προσέγγιση του φαίνεται να είναι καλή ψυχολόγηση και πιθανό να λάβει υποστήριξη.

Ολόκληρο το τηλεγράφημα στα Αγγλικά με επισήμανση στο αντίστοιχο απόσπασμα εδώ.

Greek journalist Kostas Vaxevanis details alleged plot to murder him


Greek journalist Kostas Vaxevanis has published a detailed account of an alleged criminal ring’s plans murder him. In addition, the ring was allegedly responsible for defamatory anonymous blog posts and blackmailing of journalists as well as a candidate for political office in the last elections, among a slew of illegal activities. His report is published in full in the April 18 issue of Vaxevanis’ magazine HOT DOC.

According to Vaxevanis, the criminal ring is composed of current and former members of the Greek National Intelligence Service (NIS), journalists, and some of their spouses. In the article, the members are almost all identified only by their initials and some redacted photos of members are also included. Funding for the team is provided by a banker who is also not named, and they were employing the services of a spy from neighboring fYROM. Vaxevanis alleges that the group is behind both a failed attempt on his life in September 2012 as well as a defamatory blog post on the site Fimotro in an apparent effort to discredit him. A similar defamatory post on the same site succeeded in causing the electoral defeat of Vasilis Hitos, a candidate in last year’s elections with the Independent Greeks political party. Journalist Tasos Telloglou was also threatened by the banker. Also uncovered was an apparent plot to falsely incriminate a former female bank manager by planting drugs in a restaurant she owned. The bank manager had been fired ostensibly for embezzlement but allegedly it is actually because she possesses damning evidence about the banker’s family’s activities. By orchestrating a very public arrest of her on charges of distributing drugs, her credibility as a witness was to be damaged in case her allegations against the bank came to light. *

Continue reading

NTUA shuts down Athens Indymedia, cites government pressure

athens.indymedia.org screenshot

The Athens Indymedia website previously located at https://athens.indymedia.org has been shut down by the Greek government according to tweets by ruling party MP Adonis Georgiadis, seen here congratulating minister of Public Order Nikos Dendias. Update 4/14/2013 It appears that the action was actually initiated by the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA)-where Athens Indymedia was being hosted. However, details are still unclear. See last two updates at the bottom of the post after the jump for more information.

Continue reading