A HISTORY OF BULGARIA–SERBIA–GREECE–RUMANIA–TURKEY
The authors of this volume have not worked in conjunction. Widely separated, engaged on other duties, and
pressed for time, we have had no opportunity for interchange of views. Each must be held responsible, therefore, for his own section alone. If there be any discrepancies in our writings (it is not unlikely in so disputed a field of history) we can only regret an unfortunate result of the circumstances. Owing to rapid change in the relations of our country to the several Balkan peoples, the tone of a section written earlier may differ from that of another written later. It may be well to state that the sections on Serbia and Bulgaria were finished before the decisive Balkan developments of the past two months. Those on Greece and Rumania represent only a little later stage of the evolution. That on Turkey, compiled between one mission abroad and another, was the latest to be finished. Συνέχεια ανάγνωσης «The Balkans – A History Of Bulgaria–Serbia–Greece–Rumania–Turkey»
Chapter XII, section 14
The title of this section is The Greeks, and not Greece, since from the mythical days of the Argonauts to the present, neither the peninsula of Hellas nor Ionia and the Aegean Islands have been large enough to hold the far-wandering Hellenes. Greek is a language and a civilization, the Greeks a people; the Greeks are the descendants of all the peoples who have adopted and retained that language and that civilization from classical times to the present. Some of these converts to Hellenicism were inhabitants of Asia Minor, others of Thrace and Byzantium, others of the lands bordering the Black Sea, especially the Crimea. Συνέχεια ανάγνωσης «The Greeks»
Holy shadows of the dead, I’m not to blame for your cruel and bitter fate, but the accursed rivalry which brought sister nations and brother people, to fight one another. I do not feel happy for this victory of mine. On the contrary, I would be glad, brothers, if I had all of you standing here next to me, since we are united by the same language, the same blood and the same visions. Alexander King of Macedonia
The passage, is the speech of Alexander the Great, after the battle of Chaeronea, and the victory of the Macedonians and their allies against the Thebeans and Athenians during this Greek Civil War. This victory established the Hellenic alliance of all the city-states, except for Sparta, against Persia, and proved that the the Macedonian State was the prevailing one amongst the other Greek states.
YESTERDAY, the whole world was watching Greece as its Parliament voted to pass a divisive package of austerity measures that could have critical ramifications for the global financial system. It may come as a surprise that this tiny tip of the Balkan Peninsula could command such attention. We usually think of Greece as the home of Plato and Pericles, its real importance lying deep in antiquity. But this is hardly the first time that to understand Europe’s future, you need to turn away from the big powers at the center of the continent and look closely at what is happening in Athens. For the past 200 years, Greece has been at the forefront of Europe’s evolution.
In the 1820s, as it waged a war of independence against the Ottoman Empire, Greece became an early symbol of escape from the prison house of empire. For philhellenes, its resurrection represented the noblest of causes. “In the great morning of the world,” Shelley wrote in “Hellas,” his poem about the country’s struggle for independence, “Freedom’s splendor burst and shone!” Victory would mean liberty’s triumph not only over the Turks but also over all those dynasts who had kept so many Europeans enslaved. Germans, Italians, Poles and Americans flocked to fight under the Greek blue and white for the sake of democracy. And within a decade, the country won its freedom. Συνέχεια ανάγνωσης «Democracy’s Cradle, Rocking the World»
του Μάρκ Μαζάουερ*, New York Times 29-6-2011
«Χθες, όλος ο κόσμος παρακολουθούσε την Ελλάδα καθώς το κοινοβούλιό της ψήφισε ένα διχαστικό πακέτο μέτρων λιτότητας το οποίο θα μπορούσε να έχει κρίσιμες επιπτώσεις στο παγκόσμιο οικονομικό σύστημα. Ισως προκαλεί έκπληξη που… αυτή η μικρή άκρη της χερσονήσου των Βαλκανίων συγκεντρώνει τόση προσοχή. Σκεφτόμαστε συνήθως την Ελλάδα ως την πατρίδα του Πλάτωνα και του Περικλή, με την πραγματική της σημασία να βρίσκεται βαθιά στην αρχαιότητα.
Αλλά δεν είναι η πρώτη φορά που για να κατανοήσεις το μέλλον της Ευρώπης χρειάζεται να στραφείς μακριά από τις μεγάλες δυνάμεις στο κέντρο της ηπείρου και να κοιτάξεις προσεκτικά όσα συμβαίνουν στην Αθήνα. Τα τελευταία 200 χρόνια η Ελλάδα ήταν στην πρώτη γραμμή της εξέλιξης της Ευρώπης. Στη δεκαετία του 1820, στη διάρκεια του αγώνα για την ανεξαρτησία από την οθωμανική αυτοκρατορία, η Ελλάδα έγινε ένα πρώιμο σύμβολο δραπέτευσης από… τη φυλακή της αυτοκρατορίας.
Για τους φιλέλληνες, η παλιγγενεσία της αποτελούσε τον πιο ευγενή αγώνα. «Στο μεγάλο πρωινό του κόσμου», έγραψε ο Σέλεϊ στο ποιημά του «Ελλάς», «το μεγαλείο της Ελευθερίας τινάχθηκε και έλαμψε! «
Η νίκη θα σήμαινε τον θρίαμβο της ελευθερίας όχι μόνο επί των Τούρκων αλλά και επί όλων των δυναστών που κρατούσαν υπόδουλους τόσο πολλούς ευρωπαίους. Γερμανοί, Ιταλοί, Πολωνοί και Αμερικανοί έτρεξαν να πολεμήσουν υπό την γαλανόλευκη σημαία της Ελλάδας για χάρη της δημοκρατίας. Και μέσα σε μια δεκαετία, η χώρα κέρδισε την ελευθερία της. Συνέχεια ανάγνωσης «Το λίκνο της δημοκρατίας συγκλονίζει τον κόσμο»
The Greeks could sue for defamation of character. They could demand an apology from the world. Instead they just shrug and order another frappe.
Their Olympics are going beautifully. Just like they expected. After all, they invented this business.
For years, we heard how miserable these Olympics would be, how dangerous, how choked with traffic, how polluted, how unfinished. After just a couple of days, some observers turned in an instant thumbs-down on the Games. No atmosphere. No crowds. The horror – gymnastics wasn’t even sold out!
Such rips are ridiculous. For one thing, you can’t judge the Olympics until they start. And, in reality, the Athens Games didn’t start until Friday, when track and field got under way.
Olympic atmosphere comes from 160,000 people streaming into the park every day. And that can only happen when track starts. Until then, the Olympic park seems deserted even with 30,000 people inside it.
Saturday night, the upper bowl of Olympic Stadium was filled with rippling blue and white Greek flags and fans cheering for runners and discus throwers. The roar of the crowd rose into the Athens night. You couldn’t convince anyone there that these Games have no atmosphere.
So far these Games get a huge thumbs-up from this corner. And not just because I set my personal bar so low – my goal was to come home alive. I swore I wouldn’t whine about slow buses or hot weather.
I’m still alive and feeling sheepish about all my worries. The heightened security is evident but not oppressive. The fear-mongering has dissolved into a happy Olympic atmosphere where Canadian fans wander around in togas and olive wreaths drinking Mythos beer. The Games aren’t over, but so far, Athens feels very safe.
And there hasn’t been much to whine about. The buses run on time. The taxis are cheap. The phones work. Even the weather has cooperated, with temperature mostly in the 90s during the days, but not the 100-plus heat that had been advertised.
Are they as great as the Sydney Summer Olympics, which drew rave reviews? So far, they’re not far behind (and gymnastics wasn’t sold out there either – not everyone loves the little pixies as much as Americans).
The scene at Darling Harbor was terrific – but the crowded cafes of the Plaka, in the shadow of the Acropolis, are almost as lively.
Are these Games as great as Barcelona, which I didn’t attend but many veteran Olympic writers say is their favorite? They’re not far behind – and they’re beating Barcelona in ticket sales.
And how do they compare to Atlanta? There is no comparison. The United States hosted the worst Summer Olympics of the modern mega-Games era.
Everything people feared would happen here actually did happen in Atlanta: There was a bombing, the buses didn’t run on time, the computer system didn’t function, the crowds were suffocating and the weather was oppressive. Greece, the smallest country to host an Olympics in 52 years and one of the poorest countries in the European Union, is outperforming the world’s super power.
On Saturday, Athens was abuzz. The efficient new metro system was packed with fans heading to every venue. Inside the Olympic park every event except trampoline was sold out (and you’re not going to hold it against the Athenians if they don’t support trampoline, are you?).
On Friday, 244,144 fans went to 47 events. Ticket sales have reached 3.2 million – close to the target of 3.4 million – and they’re not done yet. The fact that most Athenians were on vacation until last week is part of the Games’ new energy.
Not only were the Greeks underestimated, their capital city has been mistreated. For those of us who haven’t been here before, Athens is a surprising delight.
Yes, it’s crowded and poorly laid out. But it has dazzling historic sites around almost every corner, restaurants and bars that stay open until almost dawn, and wonderful, gracious hosts.
It also has a terrific coastline along the Saronic Gulf. A new tram runs along the water, and Saturday it carried both Olympic spectators and sunbathers. The beaches were packed and Athenians bobbed in the sparkling water.
The first eight days have been a success. I told my cabdriver how impressed I was.
«Of course,» he said and shrugged. What did you expect from the folks who came up with idea in the first place?
By ANN KILLION, San Jose Mercury News