The only thing necessary for the persistence of evil is for enough good people to do nothing

More Anti-Semitism from Greek Press

I know I shouldn’t be by now, but I am actually shocked by this headline from the Greek newspaper Avriani. On the election of Barack Obama as the next President of the US, the front page of the paper reads


Please go to Abravanel to read the full article.

Let’s set something clear: Avriani is not considered a “serious” newspaper and is not highly considered, even though it enjoyed a wide popularity in the 80’s and is currently among the top-10 newspapers in Greece. Also it is not indicative of the totality of greek Press, which despite the frequent innuendos, does not endorse such extremist words. Many shall argue that what a trash newspaper like Avriani says should not be a major concern and to an extent they are correct. What really troubles me was the whole string of innuendos during this campaign in greek TV and Press that only Avriani was brave or stupid enough to say in clear voice. Maybe other newspapers like top-selling Eleftherotypia would never say it outright, but they have had no problem in the past implying that G.W.Bush was playing ball according the calls of the israeli lobby and that Jews are behind him

UPDATE: The American Jewish Committee appalled by Greek newspaper’s Unabashed anti-Semitism

This vile and scurrilous headline draws on classic anti-Semitic canards of Jewish conspiracy and domination. How could any responsible media outlet peddle such outright nonsense?

The Anti-Defamation League condemns the newspaper saying

While hailing a new era for the United States, the editors of Avriani have themselves taken a backward leap to a time in the not-so-distant past when Europeans shamelessly wore anti-Semitism on their sleeves, and when public expressions of hate for Jews were the norm.

If anything, the headline should serve as a wake-up call that anti-Semitism remains alive in Greece today, even among those in the media who should know better than to exhume hateful canards about Jewish political manipulation. Conspiracy theories of Jewish control have a long and sordid history, and have no place in a newspaper that serves as a source for news and analysis.

It is imperative that elected officials and civil society leaders in Greece speak out forcefully against anti-Semitism. They must make clear that these dangerous canards have no place in society and that there can be no tolerance for hatred in Greece

Also, there is an advertisement right next to this front page article from OPAP which is Greece’s state-run betting company. As noted by the Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM):

The state is therefore at least obligated to issue a strong condemnation and perhaps also stop putting advertisements in that newspaper, as otherwise it is an indirect sponsor of racism

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  1. Michael Scowcroft
    November 6, 2008    

    That is shocking. Is this a popular newspaper?

    November 6, 2008    

    no its not a popular newspaper , it trash =z=

  3. Xenos
    November 6, 2008    

    In the top 10, according to Abravanel…

  4. November 7, 2008    

    Avriani may be indeed considered widely a trash tabloid but it consistently ranks among the top-10. In particular that day was in 9th place among the newspapers with more papers sold.

    As I said Avriani is simply a big flashing, tacky sign pointing to the widespread use of stereotypes in the Press – Elftherotypia which is considered a mainstream, moderate newspaper wrote much worse in a column recently.

    abravanels last blog post..Vile antisemitism by Avriani newspaper/ ??????? ?????????????? ??? ??? “???????”

  5. George
    November 7, 2008    

    I think the reason that things like this happen in Greece is because no one is held accountable for this.

    By contrast, if an American newspaper did this, the uproar would be such that people would be fired.

    There have been numerous instances where commentators have made racist, or even “presumed racist” comments against African Americans, Jewish people, and other minorities, and they have been removed from their job.

    Ironically, one of the most famous one was “Jimmy The Greek” who made a disparaging remark against African Americans, and was removed from his job as a sports commentator.

    Maybe if the European Union can encourage Greece to join the norms of acceptable journalism, then people in Greece will think before they speak or write.

  6. November 7, 2008    

    speaking of acceptable journalism, this headline is as much lacking in any analytical vigor as it is anti-semitic. why would obama’s presidency mean the end of ‘jewish domination’?? whatever that is?? because he has a muslim name? so do i! so do many african american children whose parents were young in the 60’s. do they realize that obama’s american or despite it all are black americans still not seen as really american? crazy . . .

    ieishahs last blog post..the view from there

  7. Michael Scowcroft
    November 7, 2008    

    George, I think America is much like my own country: beneath the veneer of racial tolerance, racist attitudes, or prejudice, are still prevalent in the majority population, mainstream society and it’s institutions.

    The only way to defeat institutional racism within the racist American press is to start employing racial minorities which truly reflects society (i.e. 28%). But minorities are being employed at a such a slow rate, that some estimates project that racism will prevail in the US media well into the 22nd century.

    Britain and America’s press is institutionally racist. (And islamophobic to boot. For example, Hollywood uses a disproportionate number of Arabs as villains and depicts Arabs negatively and stereotypically).

    I remember watching CNN’s popular call-in show on Sky last year. I was disgusted and appalled to see the topic of the day flash across the screen in big bold letters, emphasised with dramatic music. IS ISLAM EVIL?? it asked. No actual Muslim was present on the show to defend the Islamic position that was under attack. It is more worrisome that CNN and the American public saw it perfectly acceptable to debate this blatantly racist attack on the religion. Had CNN been asking ‘Is Christianity Evil?’ or ‘Is Judaism Evil?’, the reaction from both Jewish and Christian groups, but also from the public at large would have been swift and vocal. But of course, Americans find it impossible to imagine a show debating the ‘evilness’ of Christianity or Judaism but Islam is fair game to such racist rhetoric.

    And this was a headline in The Globe and Mail, January 16, “Muslims march in Cape Town after High Court Overturns Ban”. This was the sub-headline:

    “About 300 militant South African Muslims marched through Cape Town yesterday chanting slogans against the United States, Britain and Israel after the High Court overturned a ban on their protest”

    Notice how the group, which happens to be Muslim, is depicted as ‘militant’ simply for carrying out a protest. There is an inherent difference in the manner in which the American media characterises Muslim and non-Muslim extremist groups. Your media is more likely to describe non-Muslim groups as ‘dissidents’, while Muslim factions are almost always ‘militant’ or some variation thereof.

    The press in the US is also less likely to cover a story unless it is high interest to the white majority. Interest in black America is focused upon situations in which imagined fear becomes a real problem. Events like boycotts, pickets, civil rights demonstrations, and particularly racial violence mark the point at which black activity impinges on white concerns.

    Research has disclosed that serious crimes (murder, rape, robbery, and assault) in inner cities are committed by a very small proportion of African-American youth.
    Yet the tendency to characterise all African-American males as criminals continues in the media.

    (I can provide numerous ‘specific’ links to substantiate my opinion that the American press continues to be unashamedly racist and Islamophobic. I notice that you still haven’t given any links to back-up your opinions. But you continue to downplay America’s racism on the basis that 51% of economy-frightened Americans voted for Obama.


    “How the media downplayed Jesse Helms’ racism:
    David Broder attacked reporters for ignoring Helms’ racist career in covering his retirement last week.”

    There are literally thousands of articles, op-eds, research and studies regarding the racism in American media. Let me know if you would like me to post some more.

    As for anti-semitism in America:
    “Poll: 68% of American Christians would refuse to live in same building as an American Jew”

  8. George
    November 7, 2008    

    Michael, what your saying is fine, but it doesn’t take away from the validity of what I said.

    What you are doing is what we call a “red herring”, or logical fallacy.

    here’s a link for you:

    I do apologize I don’t have the time to write as lengthy a reply as yours.

  9. Vernon Malcolm
    November 7, 2008    

    Excellent! Now you Greeks have to stop being so cynical about your muslim brothers and let Albania and Turkey join Europe so you can all party together and racism between you will end! Stop oppressing your Cyrpus brothers! We Know your Benaki Lousiana Shipping brought over most Black Slaves together with Lehman Alabama FInance. Religion is just superstition that oppresses people as we will make global progress now that the anti-science people are out of office.

  10. Michael Scowcroft
    November 7, 2008    

    Michael, what your saying is fine, but it doesn’t take away from the validity of what I said.

    Who said it did? I’m not trying to take away the validity of your point George, i’m just expressing my opinion regarding Obama and US racial attitudes in the media. Forgive me if i question your rather naive opinion that the election of Obama signifies that everything is hunky-dory in America.

    What you are doing is what we call a “red herring”, or logical fallacy.

    Racial discrimination in the US media is a ‘red herring’? I thought this blog was about racism and this thread is about the media. My points couldn’t have been more relevant. Especially since you mentioned Obama in this thread.

    A question for you George, do you consider that Obama is a black man, or would you consider him to be equally white because of his white mother?

  11. Xenos
    November 7, 2008    

    The real issue in this thread is why newspapers in Greece (as opposed to other EU countries or the USA) get away with printing hate speech and engage in open racial slurs. The answer is exactly as George has stated: because they can get away with it, and also sell more newspapers to that part of the population of Greece which is inherently racist. (I will not speculate here on what proportion of the Greek population is in that category).

    It does not help to mix this up with different problems in other countries. The point of comparison with current Islamophobia in the USA is difficult, since it relates to “9/11” and the security obsession that arose from that. The Greek anti-semitism is at least several centuries old and is not much more than traditional uneducated beliefs — an obsession with race and a belief in the superiority of the Greek culture. Therefore, there is no obvious point of comparison.

  12. November 7, 2008    

    On 1 November 2008, the much larger in circulation and in state advertisements Eleftherotypia had an article with the title “The Jewish lobby feels the hot breath of Arabs and Palestinians” The opening sentence read: “It seems that as we approach polling day flares on the war that the McCarthyist hawks of the Jewish lobby in the U.S. and Israel decided several months ago to wage against the Democratic candidate Senator, Barack Hussein Obama.” Further on it was claimed: “Four years ago the same logic led the largest proportion of Jewish voters in Florida to vote for Bush to continue the wars launched the first in Afghanistan and then Iraq.” (,dt=01.11.2008,id=20104096). That was deliberately false: as one can easily find in several articles on the web “In 2000, George Bush received only 12 percent of Florida’s Jewish vote. Four years later, Bush improved his total, taking 20 percent.” ( At no point does the article mention which Jewish organization(s) may have been doing what it is argued therein. Everything is attributed to the whole Jewish lobby.

  13. Michael Scowcroft
    November 8, 2008    

    The answer is exactly as George has stated: because they can get away with it, and also sell more newspapers to that part of the population of Greece which is inherently racist. (I will not speculate here on what proportion of the Greek population is in that category).

    I can tell you that the institutions in the UK are 100% racist. And it’s 100% racism in the US media too. When the institutions themselves admit to being ‘institutionally racist’ it means they are 100% racist. (They are forced to admit their racism through overwhelming evidence like the Macpherson Report, not because of their ‘integrity’). There can be no doubt about the ‘proportions’ when you say ‘institutionally racist’. It means racist from root to branch.
    As for the proportions of racists in the population, in my experience, the overwehelming majority of white Brits are racist. And i’m not the only one who believes this (see my links in the other thread). You’ll find that most of white Brits are clambering to claim that Obama will be a failure as a President. These are the same people who cannot bring themselves to celebrate Lewis hamilton’s Formula 1 victory because he is black (although they should support him because he’s British). They would be celebrating in the streets for days if white Brits like David Coulthard or Jenson Button won the Championship. They also insist that Obama is ‘half white’, as if they cannot fully accept that a black man is in the White House (Denial is not just a river in Egypt).
    I’m sure the same opinions hold true for black sportsmen in America too. The Williams sisters are considered as ‘freaks of nature’ and ARROGANT by white America including the media, when similar white sportsmen are seen as ‘superb athletes’ and CONFIDENT. The same goes for Tiger woods. He is seen a aloof and arrogant by the American media.
    White America is predominantly Islamophobic too. 25% of Texans think Obama is a Muslim. The majority of white America did not vote for Obama. This can only mean that the overwhelming majority of white Anmerica is racist and Islamophobic. i will resist the temptation to provide links for all the above because George has an allergy against articles which support the view that white America is essentially racist. (But if you want links, let me know).

    Anyway, back to the topic, the Greek newspapers will have a field day when they find out that Obama has selected Rahm Emanuel as his Chief-of-Staff. Emanuel’s father was a ‘terrorist/freedom fighter’ in Israel.

  14. pj
    November 8, 2008    

    The majority of white America did not vote for Obama. This can only mean that the overwhelming majority of white Anmerica is racist and Islamophobic.

    Actually, the majority of white America always votes Republican but opinion polls before November 5 suggested that Obama would receive a higher share of the white vote than Bill Clinton.

  15. pj
    November 8, 2008    
  16. Michael Scowcroft
    November 8, 2008    

    “The two were essentially tied during the primary election season, from March through May. Obama moved slightly ahead of McCain once he clinched the Democratic nomination in early June. McCain then succeeded in overtaking Obama after the Republican National Convention in September. But the economic events that followed helped shift voters back into Obama’s column, and appear to have been a turning point in the campaign.”

    In the end, it was the economic crisis that attracted white voters, not the sea change in racial attitudes in America which is alluded to by some people on this blog.

    Several commentators said the election result will do nothing to challenge racial inequity in America.

    Electing a qualified African American to the highest office to deal with an economic crisis does not magically make racism go away for the average person of colour in America. Nothing has changed and for many, the negative stereotypes are still very much there.

  17. George
    November 9, 2008    

    Michael, I don’t have an allergy for links, just for ones that are not vetted.

    Showe me a link from the economist, Ny Times, Wall Street journal etc. Links from random internet sites don’t equate to facts in my book.

    Or will you tell me that the Economist is racist too?

  18. November 10, 2008    

    To get back to the issue of the thread… responsibility and accountability in the media.

    I was channel-hopping the other evening and saw something else that made me cringe. It was a trailer for a Greek “comedy” show (sorry, I don’t know the name of the “comedian”) on Alpha channel. The segment showed the guy in “blackface” sending up Barack Obama, characterising him as a rapper. Badly, I might add !

    Now, I am NOT saying that Obama is off-limits as a comedy target just because he is black (see John Stewart, Bill Maher and countless others who manage to attack their targets without being offensive) but if you don’t understand how offensive “blackface” is and how stereotyping black people as rappers and second-rate entertainers has played out historically, then don’t go there.

    On Greek television (which I avoid as much as I can because of this) “blackface” is still seen as acceptable. The “silly foreigner” or dumb immigrant is still seen as a legitimate target of fun JUST because they are foreign.

    At the same time, there is an ongoing public service announcement on television and full page ads with the tagline ” For Greeks, there are no immigrants. There are people…” from IMEPO (Hellenic Migration Policy Institute).

    Where is the Greek media watchdog on these issues ? Does anyone know if there even is one? Are there any pending cases brought by the watchdog (if there is one)?

    My twelve year old kid can see the difference between legitimate comedy and racism but then he has been sensitized to these issues. What about the “general population” who are not aware that there is a problem with these examples? What are they gleaning from this?

  19. Michael Scowcroft
    November 10, 2008    

    Michael, I don’t have an allergy for links, just for ones that are not vetted.

    George, I’ve given links from the Economist in my previous posts. In any case, I’m not going to be prevented from providing links from other respectable sources (such as ‘Gallup’ in my post above) just because you have not personally ‘vetted’ and approved them. I think you’re just throwing your toys out the pram on this point. Frankly, you just don’t want to believe that we whites are not only inherently racist by conditioning, but also we are often racists but we don’t know we are. This is predominantly true of white America and among my own people, white Brits.

    “For decades, experiments have shown that even many whites who earnestly believe in equal rights will recommend hiring a white job candidate more often than a person with identical credentials who is black.”

    “the prevailing presumption in white America was that African-Americans, although athletically “gifted,” were inferior intellectually. We as African-Americans were “good enough” to follow instructions but not to be trusted to give them.”

    DD, I too am uncomfortable watching contemporary British comedy where whites with blackened faces often mock and ridicule black people.

    Ainsley Harriott in his famous British cookery show;

    and here’s Rory Bremner sending up Ainsley Harriott with some totally offensive racial stereotypes:

    It disgusts me when whites blacken their faces and mock and characterize black people and reinforce racial stereotypes.

    Contemporary American film reinforces unfortunate racial stereotypes. White actor (Ben Stiller) plays Hero, white actor (Downey Junior) plays angry black guy:

    Racism is alive and kicking in white comedy.

  20. November 10, 2008    
  21. George
    November 11, 2008    

    No one is telling you not to post, but you obviously have an agenda. I won’t be replying to your comments anymore.

    You just wanted to say: When X equals Greece has racism, Y equals UK/USA even worse.

    This, ironically, is a view we’ve commonly seen by Greek nationalists on this blog. Of course, this is just a coincidence, but I won’t be wasting energy to reply to you because I’m not convinced you’re sincere.

  22. Michael Scowcroft
    November 11, 2008    

    George, I don’t know what i’ve done to elicit such a negative response from you but i think you need to relax.

    I won’t be replying to your comments anymore.

    This is the third time you said that you won’t be replying to me anymore.
    If you don’t want to discuss racism issues with me, that’s fine, no-one is forcing you. Why are you freaking out?

    I won’t be wasting energy to reply to you because I’m not convinced you’re sincere.

    I’ve shared many of my childhood and adult experiences of racism in the UK and Portugal (much of it was very personal to me, like my school memories). I can’t remember you giving one sincere account of your experiences of racism in the US. Yet you accuse me of being insincere?

    What did i say to make you so angry?
    To be honest, I feel that you started to attack ME for no reason ever since i posted on this blog (you were angry with my links, angry with my topics of discussion, angry with my questions etc), and i’m not sure why you did that.

    This is a forum about racism where we can share our experiences of racism. So far, all you’ve done is attack me for God-knows-what reasons.

  23. Xenos
    November 11, 2008    

    I remember as a child finding the Black and White Minstrel show on tv (where white guys painted their faces black and pranced around singing) to be an abomination. It was not that I was so racially sensitive at the age of 9 or so: it just seemed offensively stupid.

  24. November 11, 2008    

    I didn’t even realise that blackface was still “acceptable” on British TV! I find it quite shocking that comedians have to sink so low to try and be funny. There is an intelligence factor that’s missing here. Make fun of the whoever you like, but please be smart about it.

    I haven’t seen the movie “Tropic Thunder” but I think that was the point wasn’t it ? That an actor would fake it to progress his/her career. I’m not sure because there was a huge outcry about the movie on many different levels ? Especially about the use of “retard” ?

    [I am not going to address the issue of the hurt feelings because there are more pressing issues here. If you don’t want to comment here, don’t. If you do, please do. Back to the issue…]

  25. November 11, 2008    

    @ Xenos. You took me back to my childhood too! Horrible. I can’t even describe how I felt then. I guess other people felt it too… lol

  26. Michael Scowcroft
    November 12, 2008    

    I can’t believe that people found the Black and White Minstrels Show enertaining. This was family entertainment only 25 years or so ago:

    Remember the “Gollywog” logo on Robertson’s Jam? There are a great many Brits who still think there is nothing wrong with this offensive caricature of black people:

    Save Our Golliwoggs!

  27. November 12, 2008    

    I’m trying to work here. Stop making me cringe ! lol.

    Golliwogs ! I even remember collecting the tokens to get a little china (?) figure of the damn things. I must have been about four or five and my next younger sis collected more than me. I guess she got to the jam first ! We hang our heads in shame!

    I really can’t believe the campaign you pointed to! They think the golliwog was a victim of the PC culture of the 80’s and 90’s and that it’s not a racist stereotype ? Please feel free to put it in a museum so that we can remember our “glorious” past but not on my breakfast table ever again. And no. The golliwog was not banned because he bullied Noddy ! He was “named and shamed” because he (they) were horrible stereotypes of a black people.

    Must get on with work now even though I could say a whole lot more !

    deviousdivas last blog post..Migrants on Hunger Strike

  28. November 17, 2008    


    1100 New Hampshire Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037

    (202) 393-7790 [fax] (202) 628-0225




    WASHINGTON, D.C., November 12, 2008 — “The headline in the Greek newspaper Avriani regarding President-elect Barack Obama’s coming Administration and the Jewish community expresses, as the American Jewish Committee (AJC) pointed out, `the views of Avriani…not the [Greek] nation’s,’” said the leaders of the Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH). “The Greek people distinguished themselves as heroes during the Nazi occupation with their protection of their Jewish community. As the Raul Wallenberg Foundation said, ‘during the Holocaust, 10,000 [Greek Jews] survived, largely due to the Greek people’s refusal to cooperate with German plans for deportation.’”

    The November 4, 2008 issue of Avriani ran a headline on the front page that read “The anticipated victory of Obama in the U.S. elections signals the end of Jewish domination. Everything changes in the USA and we hope that it will be more democratic and humane.”

    “Hellenes value so highly the role that the Jewish community plays in matters relating to Hellenism and Orthodoxy that CEH created an award, 15 years ago, to honor them. It is awarded each year to the person from the Jewish community who is most helpful to Hellenic and Orthodox issues. This Mordohai Frizis Award is named after the first high-ranking Greek soldier to give his life fighting the Axis forces.”

    “One former recipient is Richard Holbrooke who during the Clinton Administration got: (1) the Omonia five released from jail in Albania; (2) FYROM to remove from its constitution language that was threatening Greece; (3) Turkey to withdraw from Imia; (4) France and Germany to switch their EU position so that Cyprus could accede to the EU in the early group and without a settlement; and (5) played a major role in arranging the only visit by a sitting U.S. President (Bill Clinton) to the Ecumenical Patriarchate.”

    Other prominent members of the Jewish community who have been helpful to Hellenic and Orthodox issues and honored with the Frizis Award include: then-National Security Advisor to the President of the United States Sandy Berger; then-Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman; then-Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA); then-Chairman of the House International Relations Committee, Congressman Ben Gilman (R-NY); Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and candidate for Secretary of Defense in an Obama Administration, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI); Chairwoman of the crucial House Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY);

    Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT); Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-NV); then-U.S. Ambassador to Greece Thomas Miller; then-Presidential Emissary for Cyprus and former advisor to President Jimmy Carter, Al Moses; then-Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State and former Assistant Secretary of State, Dick Schifter; President of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation Rabbi Arthur Schneier (who was also honored last month by the Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate with the prestigious Athenagoras Human Rights Award), and Honorary President of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Maynard Wishner – the first recipient in 1993.

    “As well, 34 of the then-36 Jewish members of the House of Representatives signed a letter to the then-Prime Minister of Israel Ariel Sharon urging action on Israel’s stalled approval of the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem.”

    “Many Greek-Americans were pleased that President-elect Obama appointed to the powerful White House Chief of Staff position the first Jewish person to ever hold that position, Rahm Emanuel.”


    Andrew A. Athens, Chairman, National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH); National Chairman, United Hellenic American Congress (UHAC), Honorary President, World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE)

    Philip Christopher, Vice Chair, National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH); President, International Coordinating Committee–Justice for Cyprus (PSEKA); President, Pancyprian Association of America

    Andrew E. Manatos, President, National Coordinated Effort of Hellenes (CEH); Executive Board Member, UHAC and PSEKA

    Panikos Papanicolaou, Supreme President, Cyprus Federation of America

    Nikos Mouyiaris, Executive Vice President, Pancyprian Association of America

    George Tsunis, Chairman/CEO Chartwell Hotels

    Tasos Zambas, Alternate President, PSEKA

    Endy Zemenides, President, Hellenic American Leadership Council

    Dr. Nicolaos Alexopoulos, President, American Hellenic Council of California

    Zenon Christodoulou, President. Greek-American Chamber of Commerce

    George Dovellos, Board of Directors, United Hellenic American Congress (UHAC)

  29. November 17, 2008    

    10 November 2008
    ???????? 31
    ???: 210 3489013

    “Dear Editor,

    We at Democrats Abroad Greece were saddened by your election day headline “?? ????? ??? ???????? ??????????.” Barack Obama won by articulating policies and values that transcend race and religion. American Jews voted for him in large numbers. Let us put blame for the failures of the Bush Administration on the individuals who deserve it.”



    Beth Hondros, Chair
    Democrats Abroad Greece
    Tel: 6941684442

  30. November 17, 2008    

    8-10 East 79th St. New York, NY 10075-0106
    Tel: (212) 570-3556 Fax: (212) 774-0230

    Contact: Father Mark Arey
    Phone 212-570-3593

    Statement of Office of InterFaith Relations

    November 11, 2008

    NEW YORK – The Office of Interfaith Relations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America released a statement in response to a recent headline in the Press which read “The anticipated victory of Obama in the U.S. elections signals the end of Jewish domination. Everything changes in the USA and we hope that it will be more democratic and humane.”

    The statement reads: “For decades, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese has been a leader in inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue. This ministry of the Archdiocese is part of the wider witness of the Ecumenical Patriarchate around the world which works for reconciliation and mutual understanding among all peoples. We are opposed to the language of bigotry, hatred and anti-Semitism in any form by any media. Furthermore, an association of this kind of language with an election in the United States that clearly witnesses to how far prejudice has been abolished is deplorable and rejectable.”

  31. Nikos
    November 20, 2008    

    About the blackface thing.

    You have to understand that it’s just a cultural difference. Here in Greece, where there wasn’t much of an oppression of black people, just because there weren’t many around here, blackface doesn’t mean anything. Blackface if I remember correctly originates from the 19th century, when wandering groups of entertainers would paint their faces black, and started using negative stereotypes. We never had that thing here, hence, blackface isn’t shunted.

    It’s the same with what happened with the Spanish basketball team in the summer, when they photographed doing the slanted eyes gesture. It isn’t considered offensive in Spain, mostly because they don’t have a very big asian population.

    What I’m trying to say, your ethics aren’t mine. Just because you oppressed some certain cultures, and now you’re feeling guilty for it, it doesn’t mean that we should share said guilts. We have our own ones. As you don’t want to share the guilt the spaniards have over the indian extermination, don’t tell them that they have to share your guilt (talking about the americans) over the exploitation of the asian migrants.

  32. November 20, 2008    

    …BUT there is such a thing as knowledge… learning from the experience of others and not falling into the same unfortunate traps. In my opinion, blackface is offensive because it is a stereotype (a simple and ignorant one) that has nothing to do with “experience”. YOU (if I understand correctly you mean Greeks ?) have a chance to converse on a higher level. Blackface isn’t shunned here because “you” haven’t thought about it. If “you” did, perhaps “you” wouldn’t do it ?

    If it’s a question of experience, I would rather listen and learn than say “This is not my experience so it doesn’t mean anything…”

    Just saying…

    deviousdivas last blog post..Update on Prison Hunger Strike

  33. Xenos
    November 20, 2008    

    Im trying to remember where I read the aphorism (was it here?): “A wise man learns from his own mistakes; a genius learns from others’ mistakes”. Unfortunately, Greeks are determined to fall into neither category.

  34. November 20, 2008    

    @ Xenos

    I think it WAS here that someone said the same thing (maybe paraphrased). I don’t think that Greeks “are determined to fall into neither category”. What I think is no-one has decided. On the one hand, there is learning from others mistakes. On the other, there is this “we know everything and created everything” point of view that does not allow for other points of view. Especially from those of us who have experienced different realities?

    deviousdivas last blog post..Update on Prison Hunger Strike

  35. Michael Scowcroft
    November 21, 2008    

    Let’s not beat around the bush, “Blackface” is offensive and totally unnacceptable.

    When the Spanish basketball team apologised for doing the ‘slant eyes’ before departing for Beijing, i gave them the benefit of the doubt. I sort of excused them after their apology because as Nikos says, they don’t have a large Asian population and i took their apology at face value. But then, i saw how Spaniards dressed up as “blackface” at the Grand Prix and how they disrespected black racing driver Lewis Hamilton and his family.

    My whole opinion changed. I can’t excuse racism on the basis that it is ‘more innocent’ than any other form. Racism cannot be excused. All racism is absolutely unnacceptable. No ifs buts or maybes.

    But i agree that countries such a Britain and America should know better because they have a history of racism going back centuries. It is somehow more disappointing to see countries such as my own, which has a history of racism and slavery, continue to have the most racist people among it’s multi-racial communities. At least in countries like Spain and Greece, there are racists against blacks through ignorance. Britain continues to be racist in spite of education and experience. “Ignorance” cannot be an excuse with the majority of Brits (and Americans). They are just plain nasty people with a feeling of superiority over the black man. (In fact, it’s more of an ‘inferiority complex’ but that’s a different topic altogether).

    I don’t know too much about racism in modern Greece but i have found this about ancient Greece:

    “Greek civilization derived its religion, its philosophy, its mathematics, and much else from the Ancient civilization of Africa above all else from the Nile Valley in Egypt. To the founding forefathers in classical Greece, the notion that the Africans were inferior, morally or intellectually would have been seen as absurd.” – Basil Davidson, Africa in History 1991.

    If only my country Britain had as honourable a history as Greece regarding it’s opinions and treatment of blacks and Africans.

  36. Nikos
    November 24, 2008    

    Soooo, you mean that I should be insulted by a black man wearing a whiteface?

    The problem is, and you can’t understand it because your a part of a community that has this problem, that you associate the colour of the skin with certain attributes. Or, since you aren’t racists, you’re used to other people that associate the colour of the skin with certain attributes.

    On the example about the comedian impersonating Obama.

    I’m sure he did just that by the act of painting himself black. He impersonated Obama. The one stupid thing he did, is he said that he was a rapper. That’s a stereotype. Obama’s colour is just that, the colour of his skin.

    Do you think I should get insulted if someone impersonates a greek by wearing a big nose, glueing some hair in his body and start eating souvlakia? Or that hasn’t happened before? (not exactly like that of course, that wouldn’t be that much funny).

  37. Michael Scowcroft
    November 25, 2008    

    Do you think I should get insulted if someone impersonates a greek by wearing a big nose, glueing some hair in his body and start eating souvlakia? Or that hasn’t happened before? (not exactly like that of course, that wouldn’t be that much funny).

    Do you mean like this?

  38. Xenos
    November 25, 2008    

    Michael: modern Greeks go ballistic about the claim of African cultural origins of ancient Greeks, as expressed for example in the book “Black Athena” by Martin Bernal. This is because modern Greek nationalism claims cultural superiority of Greek things over others, and a refusal to acknoweldge the intellectual and cultural debt that every civilisation has to its antecedents.

    Skin colour racism dates to roughly the 14th century, originating in Portugal by some accounts, and spread rapidly. Prior to that, black skin was treated as nothing more than a difference of appearance, like red hair or green eyes. It would be nice to go back to the colour-blind days of old…

  39. Michael Scowcroft
    November 25, 2008    

    modern Greek nationalism claims cultural superiority of Greek things over others

    All nationalists claim ‘cultural superiority’ over other nations, so i’m not at all surprised this happens among Greek nationalists.
    From the things you say, it seems that the Greeks are ‘up front’ about their feelings of ‘superiority’. At least they’re not frightened to express how they feel in their own country. We can identify nationalists easier if they’re blatant about it…

    The problem with us Brits (and English in particular) is that we feel superior to other nations but we are too cowardly to express it in our own country. We are frightened of being exposed as the racists we are. We don’t fly our flag in our own country because we feel that we will finally be exposed as racists.
    We should have no problem with proudly flying our flag but we are scared that we will be exposed as the racist we are if we do fly our flag. We feel safer in going to other countries and displaying the Saint George cross. Only abroad can we proudly express our notions of superiority over other nations. We feel safer abroad because there is no ‘comeback’, nobody knows us, we’re not going to lose our jobs for being racist abroad, there are no repercussions. We are cowards.
    We also need a good drink to say how we really feel -cowards in every sense.
    We are the only nation in the world that feels guilty about flying our nation’s flag. In all honesty, it has nothing to do with political correctness…We don’t fly our flag because most of us are ‘secretly’ racist and we fear being exposed. It’s a fear buried inside most of us.

    I remember witnessing ‘normal’ British people transform into the most fervent, ugly nationalists when i went to Germany for the World Cup in ’06.
    I sat next to a seemingly ‘normal’ English couple on the plane, i chatted to others in the cafes and bars, we were all ‘normal’ English people having fun and supporting our country in the World Cup. Suddenly, as the England match grew nearer, most of these ‘normal’ English people felt the need to tell the world how ‘superior’ we are.

    These ‘normal’ Brits suddenly started congregating in the main square to face bemused Germans eating their Bratwurst in the open-air cafes, these ‘normal’ English fans started singing a rendition of “There were three German bombers in the air, there were three German bombers in the air, there were three German bombers, three German bombers, three German bombers in the air. AND THE RAF FROM ENGLAND SHOT ONE DOWN, THE RAF FROM ENGLAND SHOT ONE DOWN, THE RAF FROM ENGLAND, THE RAF FROM ENGLAND, THE RAF FROM ENGLAND SHOT ONE DOWM. There were TWO german bombers in the air……”

    The same ‘normal’ English people that i was chatting to moments earlier joined-in with this nationalistic stupidity with smiles plastered on their faces and fingers pointing in the air. That wasn’t the only incident in which ‘normal’ English people decided to express their ‘superiority’ over another nation and embarassed us as a nation in the process….The whole world was watching us act like a bunch of jingoistic, nationalistic, racist fools. I’m afraid that’s our real face…

  40. Xenos
    November 25, 2008    

    DD: I found the “Stavros” character very shameful and rather embarrassing to see, precisely because it was a caricature or stereotype, designed to mock. Michael: As far as Greeks being “upfront” about their self-perceived cultural superiority is concerned — you’re dead right, but it doesn’t make it any more tolerable than the concealed British superiority.

    Really, this is all about a philosophy of life. Personally, I dislike both visible and concealed nationalist-based racism. I also find it very revealing that Greeks accuse me of this all the time, as if I would not think of criticising something in the UK. This reveals the mindset of most people, perhaps…

  41. November 25, 2008    

    Do you think I should get insulted if someone impersonates a greek by wearing a big nose, glueing some hair in his body and start eating souvlakia? Or that hasn’t happened before? (not exactly like that of course, that wouldn’t be that much funny).

    I found Harry Enfield doing “Stavros” insulting when I saw him and I was quite young at the time and obviously not Greek. I’d like to hear what you thought of his shallow and pathetic rendition of the Greek stereotype (according to the English)

    Offended or not ?

  42. November 28, 2008    

    is this about “More Anti-Semitism from Greek Press”?

  43. Michael Scowcroft
    November 29, 2008    

    is this about “More Anti-Semitism from Greek Press”?

    I think the subject has evolved …DD mentioned a Greek “comedian” doing “blackface” and it took a different path…it evolved just like a good conversation but please post your thoughts on anti-Semitism in the Greek Press…

    Does anyone remember this film?:

    I was very uncomfortable watching that.

  44. November 29, 2008    

    if you follow this blog I have more than anyone

    I just notice that others easily deviate from that

  45. Post Disagreement
    December 29, 2008    

    Do you ( DD, Xenos, Panayote) make a distinction between people who are proud of their heritage and people who hate others.

    You know it is possible to like oneself and one’s heritage without it meaning hatred to anyone else.

    I am not against immigrants per se but against mass uncontrolled migration not because I hate immgirants but because I would like to see Greece remain majority Greek linguistically, Culturally etc.
    Of course after several generations small numbers of people can be assimilated into a society in a small country like Greece but this 1 million some estimate 2.5 million migrants in Greece is a little excessive esp.considering our below replacement fertility of natives.

    ALso, keep in mind many Greeks are descendants from the GReeks of Asia mInor and Constantinople and perhaps the experience of being uprooted from their historic, by becoming a minority in their homeland makes them so much more desire to keep the remaining Greek homelands majority Greek. Even without that experience it does not seem that any nation that wants to retain its own people as its majority is being evil against anyone else.

    I do however sympathize with the illegal aliens because they are being exploited and under paid and off the books.

    As far as this newspaper is concerned it is not one of the top newspapers in Greece from my understanding.

    I disagree with their statements but I still think they have the right to say what they wish in a free society. However, if facts are incorrect people have the right to pursue a correction.

  46. Michael Scowcroft
    January 5, 2009    

    Unfortunately, the same newspaper has made more anti-semitic comments:

    Greek Newspaper Attacks Jews

    Aren’t there laws in Greece to prohibit this outrageous anti-semitism from the press?

  47. January 5, 2009    

    @Michael Scowcroft
    Yes, there are laws covering journalism but hardly anyone seems to bother either following them or holding people accountable when they break them. There have been countless cases of racism and anti-semitism (and who knows what else) that have passed without so much as a mention. It’s a serious problem here. The paper itself is a “rag” but it is widely read but even if it wasn’t, these articles are offensive and disgusting.