Great Hellas

17.9.04

Fiction with Footnotes: "Greece a Modern Sequel"

A new anthropologic species has planted its roots on the soil of Hellas, that of the Graeco-Saxon liberal historian. Its main traits are neutrality, a tremendous effort to accommodate everyone's needs and wants, by massaging events, distorting the truth, and cutting and pasting facts. Enamored by globalization, they never miss an opportunity to denigrate the Hellenes. How does one tactfully review this book? I'm sure the authors thought they were doing important and benevolent work and honestly believed everything they wrote; however the body of the work is a neat essay, with an a priori thesis and all loose ends tied together. It is hardly possible to summarize the author's treatment of the subject, but a précis of some points will hopefully clarify the possibilities available to the reader.

It is an admirable effort on the part of the authors to selectively mention the role played by the "great powers" in the unfolding of history. It is a book full of elegant lies, half truths, but not the brutal truth. One example appears on page 285: "by summer of 1917 Constantine [they avoid to use the word King] was forced to abdicate..." by what forces we will never figure out. However, we are allowed to speculate that it was most probably by divine providence! Or inclement weather! These disconnected historians do not have the guts to tell the readers that a French armada bombarded Athens and British and French forces landed in Piraeus and Athens. Shooting broke out and the allies were forced into an ignominious retreat (Richard Clogg: “A Concise History of Modern Greece”) Maybe, they do not want to alienate Venizelos apologists. But it is a historical fact that Venizelos became prime minister riding on foreign bayonets and using firing squads (George Kousoulas: “Modern Greece”) Decimate: one out of ten. In the Roman Army it was the standard punishment to take one out of every ten soldiers and put them to death. This punishment was reserved for the Hellenic soldiers by Venizelist thugs. (E. Driault: “King Constantine”).

On page 234 we read that Ion Dragoumis "met a violent death". The authors want the casual reader to conclude that he was run over by car or kicked to death by a mule. In fact, Ion Dragoumis was picked up by members of Venizelos' Security Battalions and was shot in the street.

"Ioannis Metaxas, appointed dictator by the King" (p. 290), this is spurious scholarship. Ioannis Metaxas was appointed prime minister by the King, presented himself to a moribund parliament and won an overwhelming vote of confidence. The king exercised his constitutional privilege to nominate Metaxas Prime Minister, the same privilege used by his brother King Paul to nominate prime minister the obscure politician Konstantinos Karamanlis in the 50s.
Erased are all references to leftist terror. A minimization of it occurs in a variety of subtle and implicit ways including the choice of a skewed vocabulary. For example the murder of colonel Psaros is dubbed "death at the hands of ELAS." (p.71). Maybe, the authors are thinking he suffered from a heart attack! Colonel Psaros did not just "die" as they so elegantly put it. The communists murdered Psaros after surrendering himself to them (C.M. Woodhouse, “Something Ventured”).

Dekemvriana is just the December uprising/rebellion/revolt (sic). Not one word is uttered about the killing fields were thousands of Athenians, among them the great actress Eleni Papadaki, the Rector of Athens Polytechnic Institute Koronis together with twelve of his students, and colonel Chamodrakas with his three sons (ages ranging from 14 to 20) were murdered by the "heroic" communists. On page 82 we read that from both sides, left or right "too may had been injured in some way". Thus, the horrendous atrocities committed by the communists are just called injuries! The indiscriminate massacre of 600 civilians at Pyrgos and of 1600 in Meligalas, ages ranging from14 to 80 year old (Davis H. Close: “The Origins of the Greek Civil War) are absent from the pages of these contemporary storytellers. They are motivated by a need to have the Communists perceived as victims and thus minimizing the sufferings of the Hellenic people in the hands of the British mercenary and communist controlled ELAS by creating a moral equivalent.
The famine of 1941-42, the most tragic event of the period that reached genocidal proportion, an estimated 7% of the prewar 7.5 millions of the Hellenic population died because of the famine, is dealt in such a way to blame the Germans, and whitewash the British. In reality the British blockade of the Mediterranean was the major cause of starving the Hellenic people to death. (Robin Waterfield: “Athens”). The blockade that was enforced selectively to target the Hellenic people, while the Vichy in France had all the Mediterranean supply routes open. It has been commented that the "only direct blockade advantage that the Allies could have hoped to draw from the starvation of Hellas was the embarrassment of German transport arrangements, rather than any appreciable diminution of Axis supplies". This was obviously hardly worth the tens of thousand of deaths by famine in Hellas. (Prokopis Papastratis: “British Policy Towards Greece During the WWII)

What is interesting in this book of anthropology (as opposed to history) is what is omitted. The politicians and the diplomats as a class or group or institution are absent. We will never learn who these hypertrophied and corrupted Babbits are. Their attributes, connections, and by what tide of times are washed out to mortgage the future of Hellas are not considered.
The chapter on ideology is so fraught with self-hate, and reflects so a desperate attempt to please Francis Fukuyama or Samuel Huntington that we leave the review of this chapter to the experience of a psychiatrist.

The sorry, arrogant, egomaniacs, and pseudo-historians still remain a formidable a force in rewriting Hellenic history; as the Corleones are in the Mob politics of “The Godfather”. It appears that what is going on in their realm of consciousness is determined by the material conditions of existence, and this existence is more than enough to unleash the banality of Mob historicism and thus become a mouthpiece of the Orwellian Neo-History in the era of globalization.