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

Open Thread 10

Time for an Open Thread I think….

There has been a lot of heated discussions about Greek identity. It would be interesting (to me at least) to have a discussion about it. So here are some questions to get started:

What does it mean to be Greek ?
Can someone become Greek and if not, why not ?
If you have aquired Greek citizenship, do you feel Greek?
Are you a child of immigrants? Do you feel Greek ?

Answer any of those questions. Ask your own questions. Write about the issue in any way you like.

BUT

No insults
No personal attacks
No racist/sexist/homophobic/anti-semitic/etc comments

My strict comment/banning policy is in effect for EVERYONE. Please show each other respect, even if you disagree with what they say. It is possible.
Thank you.

28 Comments

  1. PD
    February 26, 2010    

    What does it mean to be Greek ?

    Its about being a member of a loosely related tribe of people that share many similar features and heritage.

    I can predict it now…the bs about no pure races or ethnicities..thats not what I am saying and you knwo it…

    My point is that for the most part we are one tribe and admixtures may have a occurred but in slow doses and from neighboring or similar tribes and yes of course mostly caucausians..DNA studies bear this out.

    and yes for obvious reasons an Italian could probably meld in to being Greek for several reasons…cultural, genetic, phenotypes…but a chinese or african can not..if they do its only because they are a product of a marriage with a Greek.

    You know exactly what it means to be a Greek, a Russian, a Japanese, a Korean and in all those groups their maybe admixture from similar neighboring peoples. If you go to Japan my dear would they mistake you for a Japanese?? a Korean would have a better chance then you or me. If I go to Nigeria would I ever be mistaken for a member of a Yoruba tribe.

    This is such a misleading and truthfully dishonest question…
    it has an agenda behind it…maybe not directly by you..your just brainwashed to believe in this agenda…to knock down , redefine nation, ethnicity etc.

    This is a NWO question..to try to undermine any group cohesion amongst ethnic Europeans…and notice only European populaces.

    My personal belief is that their is a globalist plot by the banksters international banking gangsters to undermine ethnicity/nation states and religion to consolidate power…have a one world centrally controlled government.
    and Europeans stand in the way because the middle class is too big here for them and too educated.

    Can someone become Greek and if not, why not ?

    Absolutely not, they may become a citizen of Greece but they will never ever be ethnically Greek. Just like I will never ever be Japanese or Yoruba.

    why not can you become East Asian? Can I become a Negro?

    more foolishness.

    with one rare exception I could see..if somebody who is not ethnically Greek loves the GREEK people (that most certainly does not include most people who comment on this board) and Greek culture and…. the people embrace them because of their embrace of the culture and people…i.e. Lord Byron… foreigners who fought for Greece’s independence….love our history and people…not take sides with slavic usurpers of our heritage…like you do… but its not some silly-ness about liking gyros and just being born here and being a likeable person…and because they look cute in a music video..i.e. Athina Bontigao holding here sign up in ENGLISH..but demanding to be Greek …people do not notice the irony of that.

    If you have acquired Greek citizenship, do you feel Greek?

    Most who say they do are lying they just want to be here rather than in their own nations for economic reasons.

    in summary yes mostly its a tribal thing and most Greeks think this way…and by the way most other peoples on earth do to..
    i.e 99% of Japanese would never accept me as a Japanese.
    99% of Zulus would never be confused whether I was a Zulu.

    Now if I am embraced Italian cultures and moved to Southern Italy I could pass for an Italian possibly but even their at least some if not many might not embrace me as a fellow Italian.

    i.e. neighboring countries usually have similar genetic and cultural attributes.

    Could I Turk be Greek…gentically and ethnically although they might not know it many Turks are..but for all practical purposes their is no need to change their consciousness of who they perceive themselves to be….

    Failing or purposely denying the reality of differences is the height of being against diversity.

    instead of denying human diversity in culture, tribe etc. and saying anybody is interchangeable into anybody else..respect every person and people as themselves and as humans.

    i.e I do not see anything wrong or lower or inferior about being a NON-Greek. but perhaps you do? its so horrible to be a phillipino or arab or pakistani we have to make you and the Greeks think you are a Greek?

  2. The Verve
    February 26, 2010    

    Any person of another ethnic group can never become a Greek in the ethnic sense. Yes one can become a Greek citizen if he/she moves to Greece and becomes naturalized. And yes I believe that all people regardless of where they come from should be treated with respect & dignity. If a person of another ethnicity feels greek or has an affinity to Greece and it’s people well that’s completely up to them. I am not about to tell others how they should feel.

    The closest ‘relatives’ that the Greek people have are the southern Italians. I am a Greek of the diaspora and have met many from the Italian diaspora, especially those from the south and the similarities are striking. Not surprising that inter-marriage between these two groups are very common. I have also had the fortune to meet folks from the Turkish diaspora and there seems to be absolutely no animosity, every Turk I have met has been incredibly friendly and warm towards me when they find out that I am a Greek.

    Other groups we seem to get along well with are the Portuguese, Spanish, Serbs, Jews, Hungarians & French. Like the Greeks all these folks are also fiercely proud of their heritage, culture & customs and I guess we have a common understanding about this hence a certain degree of kinship.

  3. Gurmit
    February 27, 2010    

    Yeia sas people,

    (Hope you are not thinking the strange one from Canada strikes again). I am not sure if I can answer any of those questions in any complete sense because I am not Greek nor do I live in Greece.I am, however, kind of obsessed with Greece. I am learning Greek and even have this dream to come to Greece, and my reasons are not financial as I can make more money in Canada than I could in Greece. I make between $40-50/hour and could make even more if I had more ambition (I sorely lack it actually).I don’t know anybody in Greece either though I do once in a while get help through e-mail from a person in a language assistance program when having trouble with the pronunciation of words in my on-line Greek courses.

    PD, I am curious about what you think of a country like Canada which is basically a country of immigrants, the oldest being the First Nations or Aboriginal peoples. I consider myself a Sikh- Canadian because the Sikh ethnicity is important to me in many senses even though I am not that religious and don’t go to a Sikhtemple but once a year or so (or less). Sikhs consider themselves to be a people and we even celebrate our birthday as a people every April and are currently 310 years old. The Sikh faith was born in the Punjab, but there are thousands of Sikh converts from other places, mostly Americans of European descent. They consider themselves to be the same as Sikhs with ancestors from India because a part of our ethnic identity stems from taking one of our founders, Gobind Singh, as a father and his wife, Sahib Kaur, as our mother. Those who convert give up their last names and take Singh and Kaur as their surnames (though sometimes Khalsa too, for Gobind Singh created us as the Khalsa or the pure (in beliefs not blood)). A Sikh woman is not supposed to take her husband’s surname but Kaur or Princess as her surname. My sister-in-law hasn’t and my nephew hasn’t been given our surname either (I am thinking of getting rid of mine too to make a point to my father about patriarchy. Punjabis have surnames but the religious people get rid of them after getting baptized. Last names in India tell people about caste. Gobind Singh didn’t believe in caste or that women were inferior. Those who get baptized drink water with sugar that has been stirred with a double edged sword while Sikh prayers are said. The sword is for the spirit of war to enter us and the sugar for the spirit of love (it was put in by his wife). Both men and women are supposed to be soldiers.

    Growing up in Canada, I had to struggle to understand the difference between the ideology of the Sikh religion and the actual beliefs of my parents (many totally against Sikhism but quite in tune with Hinduism, which dominates the cultures of India). As well,my parents were quite racist too, and still are. I remember my dad telling me when I was 7 that if I ever married a white man he would kill me. He meant it too. One girl in my dad get killed by her family. She didn’t even marry a white man but just took off with a white couple after not getting along with her dad. She was naive enough to come visit her family and then refuse to not stay there. Because they killed her, the family became respectable. Had they not, they would have punished by the entire community -ignored, insulted, nobody wanting to marry their other children. That was 33 years ago. Just a few years ago, a Punjabi man in another small town was sentenced for stabbing his daughter to death because she was caught living with a white boyfriend in a town she went to for university. Mostly though, these racist killings have stopped -I believe because so many more inter-racial marriages are happening and the big city Punjabi people aren’t as extreme as the small town people for various reasons. Two of my dad’s nieces and one nephew married white people. One niece just did it a few months ago – and I couldn’t believe my dad actually said nobody had the right to be racist and look down on her husband just because he was white and he did not believe his niece should be killed or even disowned (as her father, his brother has done- of course if I were to do it, my dad would probably believe in the disowning at least). Some still disown their kids,sons or daughters, but usually just until the first grandchild. Right now I have an aunt whose son wants to marry a Chinese girl. She harasses my sister and mom to talk him out of it and will want me to too once I pick up her phone calls. I think she is being foolish and plan to tell the boy (he’s a lot younger than me) I support him if she says anything to me.

    Anyway, I don’t think I answered any of the questions but I hope I said something that might be related.

  4. PD
    February 27, 2010    

    true Canadians..are of British or French heritage all others are immigrant communities planting themselves in a British or French derived society.

  5. The Nerve
    February 27, 2010    

    What about the indigenous peoples of Canada?

    We Brits have got a nerve.
    I think you’ll find that our country (Britain) totally annihilated the culture of the “indigenous Canadians” or used them as slave labour for the fur trade.

    Our British ancestors committed cultural genocide and totally obliterated the culture of the aboriginal peoples of Canada. We introduced religious bodies to suppress the native culture in an effort to control them more easily. In Canada, thanks to us, violence, abuse and oppression enabled a subserviant culture for us to rule over them more efficiently. Children were collected by force from their parents and suffered in residential “religious” schools.

    I don’t know what it means to be Greek, but this is what it means to be a Brit. We have spread violence, genocide, theft and misery in all corners of the globe and now have the gall to denounce religion in schools of other countries. What a bunch of hypocrites. And we still have hundreds of Catholic schools in Britain where there are crucixes in every room with nuns as headmistresses and teachers (my son goes to one) so we are being hypocrites (again). This rape, violence theft and cultural genocide is our unfortunate legacy and is still happening now through our government’s foreign policy in the Middle East and the African continent.

  6. February 27, 2010    

    true Canadians..are of British or French heritage all others are immigrant communities planting themselves in a British or French derived society.

    “True Canadians”? What about the indigenous peoples of Canada?

  7. PD
    February 27, 2010    

    Most Indigenous people consider themselves members of their tribe..which is what they are..and there is nothing wrong with that…i think thats a good thing…being proud and affirming your own identity.

    Canada is a political construct of British and French Colonialism..
    The indigenous people had their own structures….the Brits and French did NOT immigrate and adopt or assimilate with the natives..rather they supplanted them and brough their own culture, languages religions and political systems

    So I hope that answers your question.

    Citizenship and ethnicity are two different things.

    Question to you Diva::

    Why try to confuse things…? meaning specifically citizenship and ethnicity? There are Greeks or are not Greek nationals and Greek nationals that are not ethnically Greek.

    Whats the problem?

    Even most Blacks in Britain know and understand they are not Welsh or Irish or Scottish or ENglish..they know they are British citizens of either of African or Afro Carribbean heritage..unless of course they are of multiple heritages (meaning one parent or grandparent is from another ethnicity..then one can accurately say they are Black and Irish for example).

    Again in Japan both you and I would never stand a chance to be considered a Japanese person…and on the citizenship issue we would likely be Sh*t out of luck.

    No one would ever mistake me for a Korean or a Zulu or a Yoruba etc.

    Lets not lie to ourselves about the world. why not embrace the fact that people are different. its not a bad thing.

  8. gurmit
    February 27, 2010    

    Yeia Sas anthropoi,

    I beg to differ about French and British-Canadians not being immigrants and everybody else being so. Even if this country may have been derived from some of their political systems, French and British-Canadians are immigrants too if everyone else is as you seem to have said, PD. The natives have been here for over ten thousand years. Are they immigrants too if the French and British aren’t in spite of having just come some four hundred years ago? The Ottomans ruled over Greece for four centuries I believe. Would you have said that near the end of their rule the Greeks were immigrants?

    You know people, if you take any human from anywhere on this planet and any other from anywhere else (including Greece) and compare their DNA, 99.99% on average is identical. The difference, quoting British geneticist and Nobel laureate John Sulston is “roughly one nucleotide base in every one thousand”. To make such a big deal about that .1% (or even less sometimes), even to the point of killing one’s children as people from India have done in Canada because their children want to marry people from a different race, is absolutely ludicrous. India actually is the home of the original Nazi philosophy (Adolph Hitler was a Neo-nazi I believe). Even the word swastika is an Indian term. The caste system was designed to keep the Aryans or Arya from mixing with the Dravidians or natives of India. Originally the four castes were not set in stone,the Aryans could switch between the various occupations denoted by them if their personalities were in conflict. The Dravidians were the out-castes. I remember one time some Indian guy, some former professor in Toronto, came on tv with some neo-nazis. They brought him on to say other people also agreed with them that Aryans are superior (not that they should have cared what he thought). Caste is very much alive today in India, only there are now thousands of castes, and works to keep people from mixing blood through intermarriage. According to some, the Indo-Greeks were shunted off into castes of their own too. It is all very ridiculous, this worry about blood purity. Maybe in the end even those who worry about it, won’t have to (I hear we are long overdue ice age wise and failing that there is global warming that might kill off most humans and other species as well).

    I want to come to Greece, maybe even for a long time. Would you welcome me PD or think I would just steal some job from a Greek person (I will have to win the lottery in Canada first if I come to stay or get a job such as illustrating children’s books for North-American publishers, an ambition I am working on) . You also mentioned someone named Athina B. I think I have seen a clip about her on the internet and also read an article in some Christian publication, a young person born in Greece who wants Greek citizenship? Maybe she uses English to put political pressure on Greece from other places for the citizenship issue. A lot of people use that strategy. I met one Native lady at a rally against police brutality who told me she wrote letters all the time to people in other countries to highlight some issues in Canada involving Natives. A Pope, probably John Paul (bless him, I thought that man was so great), described the conditions on native reserves as third world conditions. If that is how it is(it is actually), why should it be hidden?

    Yeia sas.

  9. gurmit
    February 27, 2010    

    Yeai sas again,

    “The Brits and French did NOT immigrate and adopt and assimilate with the natives…”

    Well, sometimes they did. Ever hear of the Metis? If you read about the colonization of British Columbia (which happened after other parts due to the trouble of getting there), you will see that the British empire was quite frustrated with its young men mixing with the natives ladies and having children who carried on the native ways. The problem was finally solved by sending British women to British Columbia. The institution of the family is important for empire building.

    And Nerve, you are right about a lot of the stuff you said. You know just some months ago, the Ministry of Indian Affairs sent body bags to an Indian reserve as a part of a package to deal with the swine flu (and I think they didn’t want to send hand sanitizers out of worry that the people on the reserve would drink the alcohol from them.) I can’t imagine them doing that to any other Canadians. The chiefs were so mad and went and dumped the body bags and one,maybe from another reserve, bought lots of hand sanitizer too. It is not like they are prisoners and can’t go and buy stuff elsewhere. Prices on the reserves for ordinary items are quite high sometimes. I had a friend,Sue, who used to stack up her van with toilet paper and go sell it at a reserve. You can buy a big pack for like six dollars and sell it for at least twenty on the reserve. I hope I won’t have to do something like that after I the vet is done with my credit card (my cat has blood in his urine.) One time I mailed a friend at a reserve Rasin Bran cereal because she found things so expensive. She moved there after marrying a native.

    Anyway, have a good day all.

    Gurmit

  10. PD
    February 28, 2010    

    Gurmit, i would welcome all people to come as tourists or if you had some skills we needed here then yes why not.

    My point is not about whether people besides Greeks are human beings. this is not abouit superior and inferior.. this is about noticing nature.. we are part of the fauna of our areas.

    Mass migration is un-desireable..just ask the native americans.

    I did not say the indigenous people who lived in whats today Canada are not human beings, or they are not Canadian citizens..
    they do NOT define Canadian culture.. in Quebec its the French in the rest of Canada its the Anglo Saxons.

    Mass migration they could not control overwhelmed them and made them a marginal group on their land…

    I am not interested in the same for Greece specifically and Europe in General.

    ……………..

    The difference, quoting British geneticist and Nobel laureate John Sulston is “roughly one nucleotide base in every one thousand”.
    ………..

    vive a la diference i say..its the difference that makes the difference.

    this is all good not a bad thing.

    to me its okay to be Philippino, Pakistani, Greek, Russian, Korean, Yoruba, Ethiopian, English…its all fine..

    What bothers me is when people are trying to say a black zulu could possibly be Japanese ethnically, a Phillipino can be a Greek (again meaning ethnically not citizenship)..etc..

    WHY lie..we look different and thats okay…its Diva and Xenos who have a problem with people being different and wanting everybody to be the same ( and I do not mean politically, I mean wanting to erase the meaning of ethnicity and identity and nullify the indigenous peoples “genetic interest”).

  11. The Nerve of us Brits
    February 28, 2010    

    That’s not true PD. I know many people of other heritages who are English, Welsh, Scottish or Irish. Are you confusing being English with being Anglo-saxon/white? This is a very old concept now in Britain.

    You are living in a dream world DD. Do you really think that the majority of Anglo-Saxon English whites consider you or any person of colour as “English”. In your politically correct image of Great Britain, everyone lives in a multi-cultural world but in reality, British society is still deeply divided along racial lines. The blacks in Brixton are persecuted constantly by white police leading to resentement, the Indians of Southall are victimised to the point of having to live in SEGREGATED communities where they feel much safer away from the white population, the Pakistanis of Bolton do not integrate into “English society” because there is a rising far-right threat and BNP political success.

    Deep down, people of colour will never be accepted as “English/Welsh/Scots” they may be “British citizens” but they don’t feel accepted by mainstrean English society otherwise they would be able to integrate into this society and not feel the need to stick to their own kind for protection and assurance.

    I think you’ve been in Greece too long. With all due respect, you don’t really know what has happened to the multi-cultural utopia you left in the UK.
    Perhaps you saw the signs of the multi-cultural dream falling apart at the seams and that’s why you left Britain to live in Greece. You said it yourself, the mess that has become UK is not the best environment to bring up children – Greece is much more child friendly and far more suited to live and bring up children, despite it’s problems which you keep mentioning almost everyday, you chose to leave multi-cultural Britain to live in a much more aggreeable society in Greece.

  12. February 28, 2010    

    At no point have I asked what it means to be ethnically Greek. I asked what it means to be Greek. By birth or naturalisation.

    Even most Blacks in Britain know and understand they are not Welsh or Irish or Scottish or ENglish..they know they are British citizens of either of African or Afro Carribbean heritage

    That’s not true PD. I know many people of other heritages who are English, Welsh, Scottish or Irish. Are you confusing being English with being Anglo-saxon/white? This is a very old concept now in Britain. We are a multi-cultural society.

    I have also never said people should be ashamed of their heritage. Most people in Britain are proud of their roots whether they are African, Afro-Carribean, Indian, Chinese etc and that is a good thing.

    Let me ask you a question… if someone was born and educated here, has no other nationality, has Greek citizenship but is not ethnically Greek, what are they? Greek or hyphen Greek or something else. I’m not sure how they are supposed to describe themselves if they are not “allowed” to be Greek.

  13. HOMELAND SECURITY
    February 28, 2010    

    Allthough i don’t have any national identity (also most of the Greeks i know!) i like Greece a lot: It gives hope to all antagonistic movements in the world. Slogans like “The Aegaen belong to the fish!” say it all. The fascist wanted to demonstrate with “You do not become a Greek – You are born a Greek” and the antifascists answer was simply “You are not born a malaka, you become a malaka!”
    But i’m concerned about the police state: serving 22 years for drinking a raki with the helicopter jailbreaker, police shooting with army-amunition, also the nazi-shit: 20 rascistic attacks only in Chania the last three months. Nazis very often seem to be connected with the police just like the KKK but what’s behind NATO-marines arsoning a synagogue? What come out of the fisher-strike on Chalkidiki? regarding canaduh:
    First they stole the land, then they stole the hockey and now they steal the arts! How can one write about the illegal state of canada without mentioning the illegal olympics on stolen land?
    Half of the 10000 homeless in Eastside Vancouver are Indians and lots of them had to make room from cheap pensions within a time window of 24hrs! means: Eviction! And what for? To have space for journalists! Ever heard of that cherokee “blood” runs through that many veins that the Cherokee Nation should be in the UN? What a joke that therefore they have to “ask” in New Yerk City, a city on stolen land. How can it be that the UN-Buildings are on stolen land and talk about human rights?
    FREE LEONARD PELTIER victim of euro-american racism or allamerican racism
    fighting terrorism since 1492
    HOMELAND SECURITY
    is a nice native-made t-shirt

  14. February 28, 2010    

    @The Nerve of us Brits

    You are right on several points…
    Although, I said that I know many English people of different ethnic backgrounds, I did not say that they were accepted as such. Britain is deeply divided but I was commenting on what we are, not how we are seen or accepted. There’s a difference. I am not living in a dream world. I am saying that I am English whether I am accepted as English or not. I do know many people of colour who refuse to say they are English for that very reason.

    I have been in Greece a long time but I didn’t leave for the reasons you state. I’ll leave it at that. Yes, Greece is a far safer, more peaceful and child-friendly country. I have never said otherwise. I have chosen to bring a child up here, despite the problems.

    I have tried to explain in the past that this is a human rights blog. Therefore, the focus is on the human rights issues which affect people living here. It is not a “Greece Sucks” blog. I love Greece more than you could ever imagine. I want Greece to succeed and be better than other European countries when it comes to racism etc. I really sincerely do. I am passionate about it and it keeps me writing here and keeps me discussing these issues with you all.

  15. The Verve
    February 28, 2010    

    The situation for most immigrants in Greece is dire. Even if every single migrant was granted Greek citizenship tomorrow, how many would be able to find employment? Right now Greece is hemorrhaging jobs and the austerity plan which will be put into effect will halt any growth for several years to come. The austerity plan is also meant to clamp down on Greece’s large black market economy, it’s going to hit the Greeks hard but immigrants even harder.

    If the economists are to be believed Greece is facing a decade of excruciating pain ahead. Granted, this is necessary to make right all the wrongs the past Greek governments did. While Greece is trying to get it’s house in order, jobs will be destroyed, unemployment and it’s even uglier bedfellow crime will rise. The fact of the matter is that it’s next to impossible for immigrants to integrate into the host society without jobs. With increasing illegal immigration this problem is further compounded.

    This is not going to end well. The outcome could be a number of grim scenarios, the probability of regular & violent civil unrest is high. Which will cause the international community to lose further faith in Greece and wave bye-bye to any foreign investment. It will result in many multinational and even local companies leaving for greener pastures. It will also hurt the country’s already shrinking tourism industry as tourists will now feel it’s too unsafe to visit. Wealthier citizens will move far away from troubled areas in Athens and elsewhere, while the migrants live in ghettos causing a further and very visible rift between rich & poor.

  16. PD
    February 28, 2010    

    Let me ask you a question… if someone was born and educated here, has no other nationality, has Greek citizenship but is not ethnically Greek, what are they? Greek or hyphen Greek or something else. I’m not sure how they are supposed to describe themselves if they are not “allowed” to be Greek.

    Presumably they did not fall from the sky…so I would say they are a Phillipino, Pakistani or whatever their parents are.

    Most Greeks abroad even if they are American, Canadian etc..
    citizens.. say they are Greek-Americans.

    I guess if somebody is asking you what are they, presumably they do not pass for being a Greek and are being asked about their heritage …so they should answer they are Pakistani, Ethiopian, Russian or whatever they are ethnically speaking.

    If they are asked about citizenship they should say they are Greek citizens.

    if they prefer they can say they are fill_in_the_blank_with ethnicity-hyphen-Greek.
    \
    to answer your other question..

    I think the English are an ethnicity..but thats my understanding. I do not think most English White people..say to themselves I am White English..they simply think of themselves as English and the non-Whites as British or hypenated English.
    but I have not taken a poll.

  17. PD
    February 28, 2010    

    The situation for most immigrants in Greece is dire. Even if every single migrant was granted Greek citizenship tomorrow, how many would be able to find employment?

    Probably none unless they are already employed.

    This is why any granting of citizenship to anyone would be like throwing gasoline on a fire right now.

  18. Gurmit
    March 1, 2010    

    Hello,

    Just watching some of the closing ceremonies for the Olympics. Saw the Greek flag being raised and the Greek anthem sung. I actually felt something that I wouldn’t have before I kind of became obsessed with Greece.It was a good feeling.

    I agree with what Verve says about the economic situation in Greece giving rise to a higher rate of crime and a tougher time for immigrants. Let’s hope it doesn’t get too ugly, and I hope the economy of Greece somehow gets a boost (if I could, I would come and wave a wand to and give rise to trees whose fruits would be diamonds and rubies, but alas I have no such powers). I always wish I had photographed this scene back in 1993. I was at my parents taking a year off from school in Vancouver. One restful thing I used to do was feed the birds on the front lawn. Eventually, I started doing little experiments. One day, I dumped a box of cereal into little piles here and there. There were a lot of fights between birds (there were a few different kinds of birds, crows and pigeons fought, pigeons fought with each other, smaller kinds too). The next day I dumped a really big box of cereal in continuous lines. You should have seen the birds, side by side eating peacefully without bothering any other bird. Of course one can’t just start using such analogies for the human situation, but I do have the belief that in times of plenty peace is also more plentiful. In times of scarcity or catastrophe governments also tend to deflect their own failings by casting attention on some scapegoat(s) or other. The citizenship thing I don’t know about. Why is it being brought up at this time? Your Prime Minister I understand has an American mother and has lived in other countries. Maybe he understands what it is like to be an immigrant. Undoubtedly, Greece at some point will start granting citizenships to immigrants. There are a lot of outside pressures on every country it seems and Greece is no exception.

    I know this is pathetic but I have come to think of you guys on this blog as my only friends in Ontario (even though I know you are not from here, or at least not all) because you people are the only ones I voluntarily communicate with. Even at work, at lunch time I shut the door and hide out from colleagues. I am sort of a hermit most times, even used to be called Gurmit the Hermit Crab and Miss Antisocial. Never have written on any blog until this one either. Anyway, I tell you this because I am going to ask you to wish good wishes for my poor cat. He had stones in his bladder and got surgery last night. That would have been fine but he had an unusual reaction to the anesthesia and went blind. I spent much of the day in grief. Some of his vision is starting to come back. For a lot of cats it does come back.He is only 3. His kitrina matia are so beautiful. Every morning when I wake up he is on my window seat looking outside. I just can’t stand the thought that he might not regain his vision or not fully.

    Yeia Sas anthropoi.

  19. gurmit
    March 1, 2010    

    Yeia sas PD,

    I agree that the .01 % difference (sorry, I made an error by saying .1%)in human genotype is a good thing. Genetic diversity is nature’s way of allowing a species to survive. Species other than humans seem to have more than us homo sapiens, even other primates. I have read this is because we all stem from a very small gene pool , maybe ten thousand people, in the hundred thousand years of the modern human being (not that it is clear to me how they get these figures but in general I do believe scientists over other people, many Sikhs do actually for Sikhism does not have a story of creation but leaves creation as a mystery only God knows about and something outside the realm of religion).

    I do not agree with you about the Canadian thing and probably never will, but who says we have to agree. I guess I am fortunate most people in Canada do believe me to be a Canadian. I remember one time, I was taking an industrial first aid course in my home town. I was the only female. The others were mainly men my father’s age from the sawmills and there was one young Polish guy my age (he actually worked in Greece picking grapes at one time. He also used to tell me stories about two rich old ladies he worked for in Greece, who’d throw him chocolate bars out of the windows and tell him to swim in their pool when they felt he needed a break. He married a friend of mine who fell in love with him when backpacking through Europe. Later, he dumped her and and went back to Poland after trying to get her to, the nasty boy! My friend cried for a whole year). For several days these men bugged this Polish guy, accusing him of stealing Canadian jobs and swore when he read a Polish newspaper (they stopped bugging him when they found he could draw really well). Me, they accepted, saying I was just like their kid because my dad had worked with some of them and some of them had had kids who went to school with me.

    PD, I really want to come to Greece badly sometime (my mom actually told me she will get my dad to pay for me to come for a few months so I can get it out of my system, but I want to come without such charity and more than a few months). What skills could I acquire that would make me useful? I don’t think what I have would be all that useful in Greece, a B.A. in two areas (and almost another in a third) and a B.Ed. Also in the current economic situation, I would feel bad taking a job from some one in Greece when I really don’t even need to be there. One nice thing about technology is that you can live in one country and work for another. I passed these tests to be an online tutor for an American company and could probably work from Greece keeping some strange hours. I also passed all these tests, including an IQ one, to be hired by the Canadian government. I am on a wait list for an opening, and they told me that if they hire me, they will pay for me to do an accounting degree after work hours. Doing that for a Canadian company in Greece could also work for the year or so I want to stay, but in the current situation I would still feel guilty about taking a job away from someone in a country in economic trouble. I always feel guilty about things. I would spend a lot of my spare time trying to make collage images of the beautiful landscapes and old architectural things in your country and just soaking up the culture. I really like your country.

    Yeia sas

    Anyway

  20. PD
    March 1, 2010    

    chances are probably IT work

  21. Manos
    March 1, 2010    

    I nominate Gurmit to be a honorary Greek. It’s sad that some could think of someone like her as not able to be Greek, and then allow some yahoo Greek-Americans who never set foot in Greece and all of a sudden because of their great Grandfather, they are Greeks. This is the inequity I think. Gurmit, I hope your kitty gets better soon.

  22. The Verve
    March 1, 2010    

    Manos, I like Gurmit too and I think she should visit Greece and see how things really are for herself. However I do feel that you are shortchanging Greek-Americans, many have achieved phenomenal things and have set the bar high for all greeks worldwide. Greece has benefited tremendously especially from the efforts of the Greek-American diaspora, let’s not kick them in the teeth.

    Incidentally greeks of the diaspora are most always treated as a unique minority group in their host countries. Greeks are often reminded of their immigrant origins whenever a statesman or politician refer to us. We are never seen as part of the dominant indigenous or founding ethnic group of that country, no matter how multicultural it may be. In other words a clear distinction is made of our relation to the ethnic hierarchy, which predates us. This is fair and sensible as it protects the unique history & culture of the host country.

  23. Gurmit
    March 2, 2010    

    Yeia sas everyone,

    I am happy to say that my cat is better and his vision is coming back. It is not fully back yet but there has already been a big improvement. Thanks Manos for wishing well for him. I also thank anyone else who wished him well or felt sympathy. PD thank you for answering my question. I like how you don’t get into everything (like I do sometimes) and answer questions people have of you.

    Thanks Manos also for your generosity in wanting to make me an honorary Greek person. I am very fond of Greece and things Greek, even as a child (when I was six I used to stare out of the window for hours pretending this government building I could see across the river was an ancient Greek temple). However, I wouldn’t car if people in Greece didn’t think I was Greek though I would care if they didn’t think I was a friend and if my neighbours didn’t miss me after I left. I wouldn’t care about getting Greek citizenship either unless I was going to live there for good (I still wouldn’t give up my Canadian citizenship and would have to visit Canada too just because its earth has a pull on me. I would have to go back and wander around by the rivers, etc.) or I married someone Greek and had a child with him and wanted to raise it in Greece for part of the time ( I would not rob the child of Canada or its rivers and rocks and skies by just staying in Greece). I still thank you for your generosity though and was flattered.

    Yeia sas

  24. Ntopios
    March 6, 2010    

    If your parents are Greek, then you’re Greek.
    If your parents aren’t Greek, then you can’t become Greek.
    Simply put, you are born Greek, not made.
    It’s common sense, but having common sense is racistic nowadays.

  25. Oath Taken
    March 8, 2010    

    DD it all depends on what you mean by “Greek”:

    1) Ethnically?
    2) Linguistically? (which is not necessarily the same as the one above)
    3) Nationally? (as in national consciousness – or “Greek by genus”)
    4) Citizenship-wise?

    The only one that has a clear answer is the last one because it is a matter of paperwork. For the rest there is
    a) A personal answer (self-identification)
    b) A group acceptance (do other people with the same identification consider you one of their own?)
    c) In the case of (1,2) an “objective” 3rd party scientific answer (given by an cultural anthropologist or a linguist).

    And yes it is very possible for a kid that grows up in Greece, a Greek citizen by the latest law, in an Greek-language immersed environment, surrounded by Greek culture to still grow up to be an Albanian nationalist hating Greece and Greeks. The very fact that people like yourself CHOOSE to ignore such a possibility (and the fact that by this latest law we have given such enemies of the Greek people the key to our house) is beyond infuriating and frankly you may rave on and on about how you love Greece but given that it sounds like hollow words.

    At the same time, another kid can be far more Greek (in the only category that counts for me (3) even though it hardly speaks any Greek and has “no Greek ancestors” (whatever that means). “Blood” has no voice and no conscience. Family upbringing and societal interaction are what counts.

  26. Oath Taken
    March 8, 2010    

    I think it’s a remote one but possible.

    “Remote” as in squares full of Albanians (a great many of them kids) waving Albanian flags when Kossovo declared independence? Especially with the latest law giving them automatic citizenship after 6 years of schooling, do you seriously see any disincentive for an Albanian nationalist parent not to transfer his/her generation’s hate of Greeks to the next generation?

    As for finding my words hollow… you will never know the truth of how I feel because you refuse to see the possibility that someone can criticize a country they love.

    Really – Greeks both inside and outside Greece do that all the time, including myself.

    I think what galls you is that I am not Greek and critisise this country.

    Actually I’m far more annoyed by dedicated ideologues like your pal GHM who is Greek linguistically, ethnically and citizenship-wise – thought quite obviously not nationally. I’ve read Clogg’s and Woodhouse’s criticisms of Greece (Brits like yourself) but they’ve displayed with their actions their feelings and I take their complaints far more seriously. Meanwhile you parrot everything that MINA (an outlandishly nationalist “news-agency”) comes up with.

    If I was Greek, I think you would be more respectful and perhaps even see that the issues I write about here are real problems that affect the lives of Greeks

    Really? You displayed it quite nicely by questioning the motives of the Greeks of Votanikos that organized themselves to do something about the toxic fumes from the copper that the Roma were melting in frying pans. As if only the Roma have the right to complain about living conditions. As if the only people worth worrying about are the Roma and the non-Roma residents of the communities affected have no problems other than their racism. You rightly blast them for not wanting the Roma kids in their kids schools but you don’t raise your voice when the Roma parents don’t provide immunization records for their kids (because lo-and-behold that would mean criticizing the Roma). It’s not your kid whose health would be endangered after all. You admit in another thread that violence (even against aid workers) exists within Roma settlements but you never raise your voice to speak against the communities’ toleration of criminal behavior – while you speak against their neighbors for their racist behavior towards the Roma you do not a utter a word for the actions on the Roma part that help perpetuate prejudice against them. It’s OK to paint a whole local society as racist because it very regrettably tolerates to some (more or less depending on the locality) degree racism but apparently when a whole Roma settlement tolerates becoming a haven for drug traffickers and thieves it’s something you cannot say a single thing about. Don’t you think that a Roma community that did not have such problems would have far higher chances of being accepted? I had to point out to you that the sad stories of the illegal migrants trying to hitch a ride on trucks going to Italy has another set of victims, those of the drivers that end up carrying them without their knowledge across borders – the very idea of the Greek victims of this story (at best having their cargo destroyed and truck defaced, at worst facing criminal charges) had not even entered your mind. You were outraged by the destruction of the Patras “camp” but never did you get outraged at the detrimental effect the camp had on the parts of Patras next to it.

    (I have also written about gay rights, women’s rights, environmental issues, Greek Roma, etc etc)and non-Greeks living here.

    And I have even informed you at least in one case on one of these issues where I was as outraged as you by the actions of the police. I have no problem with issues coming to surface – that’s the only way they can be dealt with unfortunately. What I disagree with is the one-sidedness and lack of even the will to see things in a more well-rounded manner.

    I did not mean this to evolve into yet-another-critique of DD – but for what it’s worth I actually have not lost hope that you might one day understand that not all that disagree with you are people infatuated with some sort of Greek superiority or purity. I wouldn’t have even bothered with someone I consider a committed ideologue.

  27. March 8, 2010    

    And yes it is very possible for a kid that grows up in Greece, a Greek citizen by the latest law, in an Greek-language immersed environment, surrounded by Greek culture to still grow up to be an Albanian nationalist hating Greece and Greeks. The very fact that people like yourself CHOOSE to ignore such a possibility…

    I have never, ever denied the possibility. I think it’s a remote one but possible.

    As for finding my words hollow… you will never know the truth of how I feel because you refuse to see the possibility that someone can critisise a country they love. I think what galls you is that I am not Greek and critisise this country. If I was Greek, I think you would be more respectful and perhaps even see that the issues I write about here are real problems that affect the lives of Greeks (I have also written about gay rights, women’s rights, environmental issues, Greek Roma, etc etc)and non-Greeks living here.

  28. Jodeci
    March 9, 2010    

    Excellent post, Oath Taken. Well-balanced and thought-provoking.
    I didn’t know that Roma attacked aid workers. I wouldn’t have thought it is wise to bite the hand that feeds, so to speak…

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