Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Orthodox-Islamic Cooperation

In today’s modern society, of so called Religious freedoms and tolerance, have we truly come to an age of understanding and mutual respect for each others religious beliefs and practices? If so, why has such a wonderful society past over the Christian community of Turkey? Turkey’s present-day Greek Orthodox community has missed out on the universal rights that other Religious communities around the world hold. Why, is the current situation allowed to continue with no reaction from the international community? Why has the voice of the Greek Orthodox Community in Turkey gone unheard?

Some would call the current situation in Turkey a clear reaction to the current Middle Eastern Conflict and attempt to include it into some ongoing Christian-Muslim feud. However, it is my belief that this is not the case, but rather it is the Turkish state and Kemalist ideology, which are to blame rather then the Islamic faith. Would a Muslim like to see his or her holiest places tampered with? I believer the answer would be the same as it would be for a Christian. So then why haven’t the Greek Orthodox sites and community of Turkey been given the same respect?

An example of the ongoing hypocrisy lies with the former Greek Orthodox Church of Hagia Sophia. The Church of the Holy Wisdom of God was the most important religious structure and center focal point of Orthodoxy for over 1,000 years. Built on the Holy grounds of an ancient Greek pagan temple site, the church was first erected as the Megali Ecclesia or Great Church, being commissioned by Constantine the Great. Destroyed twice, the Church was reconstructed by Emperor Justinian I, expanding the Church’s size and importance. Being the seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople and the setting for Imperial ceremonies, Hagia Sophia was a sight to be seen. With the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire, however, the Great Church was converted into a Mosque until 1935. When it was turned into a Museum, which it remains till this very day.

The importance of this religious structure to the Orthodox World can only compared to the Islamic worlds own Dome of the Rock. Today’s oldest standing Islamic building; this Mosque stands on the site once the praying direction for all Muslims before Mecca. The holy site is reported to be the location where Muhammad ascended to Heaven to receive the Islamic prayers before returning to Earth. Like Hagia Sophia, the location itself has been the scene of other religious buildings of different faiths as well, finding it in the past also as a Holy place for Pagans, Jews, and Christians alike.

Today the Dome of the Rock finds itself surrounded by controversy. It was Ariel Sharon’s visit here that sparked a return to Middle Eastern violence. It is the focal point of many theories about Christianity’s Second Coming and the Jewish Messianic Era. It is even the subject of political wishes to relocate the structure to Mecca so that the Third Jewish Temple came be built. Much like its Orthodox Christian counterpoint, Hagia Sophia, which finds itself the center of controversy in Turkey. Both buildings are the center focus of their religious communities, both receiving political calls for their removal and relocation, and both being seen as a religious place of worship by other communities. It is because of this that both of these Holy places must be protected and allowed to be used for their single most important purpose as the center of their religious communities’ lives. With this in mind, that I believe it is up to the Orthodox World to call out to the Islamic world for a sense of mutual understanding concerning Hagia Sophia based on empathy from the Islamic world because of a mutual understanding based on their Dome of the Rock situation.

It is because of this that a call must go forth to the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Calling for a mutual understanding and joint cause to help both the Orthodox and Islamic World in protecting and securing their religious independence in today’s modern World. Using each others political and religious power to aid each other in their common search for religious tolerance. Having the Orthodox Church’s voice joining the international cause to protect the Dome of the Rock from Zionist dreams and having the Islamic Conferences influence to put pressure on the state of Turkey in protecting its Orthodox citizens.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Game called Life

Whether you follow an ideology like National Socialism or Communism, there is a view of society, better yet, of history. Some believe that history itself to the present day is nothing but a racial struggle, while others believe it is economic and a class struggle. Yet what if both these theories were right? What if history was a mix of both? A Hybrid theory of history and human society, which could be seen as nothing more then one big cosmic game, a game, which like all others have rules and guidelines that no matter how much you disagree with, are unbreakable.

The Bonds between Humanity and Nature have its foundation in the blood and soil of life. Today’s man seems to forget that man itself is nothing more then a mammal, and hence subject to the same natural laws as the rest of earth’s many other creatures. Mankind may sometimes disagree with the many unwritten laws of nature, believe them to be unfair and at times even ‘inhuman’, however, these many truths of nature are facts of life, like it or not. For man to try and deny them, to turn a blind eye to reality, only works against our own personal happiness and group evolutionary process.

Even in our modern times, one can see the similarities between humanity and the animal kingdom. The basic structures of both these worlds mirror each other, one is grouped by races and ethnicities, while the latter into species and breeds. One world grouping its creatures into packs and prides, while we divide into gangs and clans. And yet we all form a similar side, brothers in a common struggle, against the natural elements. The mind set and urges of both worlds’ creatures are the same. The needs to eat, breathe, reproduce, and fight for the right to exist. So why does modern society attempt to think humans are not involved in the same type of struggles that accrue in the animal world?

Humanity’s self built creation, ‘society’, mirrors the wild in different ways. The same natural truths known in the wild are the same in society. Whether it is sexual urges and needs or a self made hierarchy of individuals, our worlds are the same. They are both run by the same animal instincts and hence accountable to the same natural laws. The only thing that sets us apart from the rest of God’s creatures is the fact that man has created another game of competition, which only we take part in. This is a game of economics and class struggle, a game within a game.

It makes sense then, that if we wish to secede in life, one must learn the rules and excel at them, in order to master both of these games. If any race is to survive and evolve, then they as a people must stop whining and complaining about the present system of things, and learn how to turn the tables to their advantage. The one people who have mastered both of these games, is none other then the Jew. Take it anyway you wish to, but the Jew has mastered the game of life. He has survived generations against the odds to still be a thriving people in the current day. The Jew has dominated the economic part of society and has remained racially united and religiously independent, something that not many other people can also claim. Whether you are for or against them, to study and learn from their examples is a must for any group of people.

If we Hellenes are to reclaim our former glory, we must start playing the game right, instead of bickering between ourselves. We must put away our jealously and work together in a common cause for the betterment of Hellenism. We must look at each and ever Hellene as our brother or sister. To aid them in their journey so that they may secede, and in return you as their brother also secede. Only when this is accomplished will we as a people start to mirror the greatness we are capable of. So I leave you with a quote from a good friend of mine. Which comes from the punch line of a joke, ‘There are no devils in the Greek Hell, for the Greeks themselves ripe each other down’.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Orthodox Christian Holocaust Memorial

Over 84 years have past since the ending of World War I and yet still the suffering endured by Eastern Orthodox Christians during this time and the persecutions which followed have yet to be officially recognized and properly memorialized for future generations. Why has such a memorial and museum to commemorated our suffering never been created? Why is it that such buildings exist for others, such as for the Jewish Holocaust, and yet we Orthodox Christian have not come together to created such a Holy place of remembrance for our fallen martyrs? Orthodox Christians of Greek, Serbian, Armenian, Assyrian, Ukrainian, and Serbian descent to name but a few have all suffered under policies of forced marches, exiles, famine, labor/death camps and straight out massacres enforced by such political ideologies as Pan-Turkism, Communism, Ustashism and Kemalism, numbering over 50 million victims.

Today we Orthodox are continuing to feel the pressure of persecution, whether is may be inside the borders of Bosnia and Kosovo, in between the crossfire’s of feuding Middle Eastern politics, or inside the Neo-Ottoman state of Turkey and Occupied Northern Cyprus. Are we, the victims of such genocidal tactics, not worthy enough for our own place of remembrance? Our own place to teach future generations of the trials and tribulations we have suffered because of our faith? I myself think we are entitled such a place, a place where Orthodox Christian may come together to learn and remember about the brutal moments in our faiths history.

The crimes committed against our people have found little recognition inside the international community. For example the Greek Genocide, which took place during the First World War under Turkish persecution, has yet to find itself mentioned by neither the United Nations nor the European Parliament. The Greek Genocide finds itself in a tough position, as it is mostly overshadowed by the events of the Armenian Genocide, which is also part of the Orthodox Holocaust of World War I. Thanks to the Treaty of Lausanne and other minor treaties between Greece and Turkey, our government officials have all but forfeited our rights towards pushing for internationally recognized, for fears of upsetting the fragile balance of peace with our neighbor, Turkey.

And yet such heroes as Michalis Charalambidis, former PASOK Central Committee member, have pushed for our Genocides recognition. Only finding victory when in 1994, our motherland finally recognized our Genocide, over 71 years after its tragic events. If we are to wait for our government to take charge and start such a project on a facility as I speak of, we are truly lost. The Greek Government, whether PASOK or New Democracy controlled, has never stood as defenders of Hellenism. Today, our only monuments dedicated to those martyrs can be found in Thessaloniki and Canada, only for those Pontians who were massacred in the closing years of the Ottoman Empire. It is up to the collective voice of Hellenism to stand on our own two feet and scream to the world, that such a place can and must be created.

There are numerous of examples, in which, other nations around the world have built memorials and museums to pay their respects to their fallen martyrs, in different Genocides. The victims of the Armenian Genocide and the Jewish Holocaust both have such places. Such as Tsitsernakaberd in Armenia, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC and Yad Vashem in Israel. These places are used as memorials and research centers to help document and study the events of such crimes. Shining examples of what not only we Greeks are missing, but what the whole Orthodox world is lacking.

It’s with this in mind that such a place must be built not only for the victims of the Greek Genocide, but for all Orthodox Christians who have been victims of Genocide. Such a memorial and museum would best be located in a symbolic place that would best represent and aid the Orthodox World. Such a place exists in the Thracian port city of Alexandroupoli. Alexandroupoli serves as an ideal spot as it sits at the crossroads between east and west, with access to an international airport, and is one of the last places of Greek Orthodox land liberated from Ottoman tyranny. Most of its modern settlements are made up of survivors of the Greek Genocide coming from Eastern Thrace and Pontos. A building of such historic importance being located in the heart of Evros would go to show not only the native Hellenic people, but the whole world that Greece is not just the city of Athens. Showing that all of Hellenism, whether it be Pontian, Macedonian, Thracian or Athenian share a common bond. The region of Evros would also benefit greatly from such a project, bring much needed jobs and attention to one of the poorest place inside the small Hellenic nation. In short, I ask not the Hellenic government, but the Hellenic people, is it not time for our own place of remembrance? Is it not time that all Orthodox people came together to share a common memorial for our fallen brothers and sisters?