by Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
For the BBC (16.00 London time) a revolt in Greece threatening directly the expansion of NATO was not any great news. It preferred to speak in length about a train crash in the USA and what is going on in Maldives.
But it is clear that yesterday’s monster meeting in Athens is complicating seriously the project of NATO and EU to incorporate more countries of the region into Euro-Atlantic structures, thus expelling any remaining Russian influence and solidifying the control of the peninsula by Washington and its generals.
Around one million people gathered in the center of Athens to ask their government not to concede to the use of the word Macedonia or its derivatives, by the Former Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), in one of the biggest demonstrations organized ever in Athens, comparable only to the biggest anti-austerity rallies in the Greek capital, between 2010-12. This is at least our empirical calculation. Tomorrow there will be scientific calculation by specialized engineers. Greek Police [controlled by a politician] announced 140.000 demonstrators which is an obvious lie and organizers one and a half million, which is an obvious exaggeration.
An agreement between Greece and FYROM about the name of the latter is a precondition for admission of FYROM into NATO and EU.
The central speaker of the meeting was the Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, a world known symbol of resistance, who asked for a referendum to be held if the government wants to conclude an agreement. Theodorakis defined himself as a patriot and an internationalist, and was firm in refusing the prospect of FYROM adhering to NATO or the EU, if they insist on keeping the word Macedonia in the name of the country.
Professor Kasimatis, one of the top Greek specialists on Constitutional Law spoke also to the crowd, explaining the link between foreign policy concessions, the colonial terms incorporated in the Agreements with Creditors (EU, IMF, ECB) and the betrayal of the 2015 referendum.
The meeting was greeted also by representatives of the hierarchy of the Greek Orthodox Church. The Archbishop had discouraged people from participating in public meetings for Macedonia, before the Salonica meeting, but he was obliged to change his position under the pressure of success and of the public opinion.
As for the Greek government and, in particular, Nikos Kotzias, the Greek Foreign Minister, they seem completely detached from reality, if we judge from their reactions to yesterday’s demonstrations, when, worthy of Marie Antoinette’s example, they dismissed the demonstration as not so much of a success!!! They are also under heavy pressure from the US administration and they have probably taken engagements towards Washington, which they feel it will be difficult to fulfill, without committing political suicide. But if they insist to their nowadays position they will crash frontally with Greek public opinion and they will provoke a very dangerous crisis in the country. It is not only that 70% of the population is against their policy, it is that this opposition is very firm, a part of the public opinion considering the policy of the government as national betrayal. That part was peaceful yesterday, but they seem decided to do everything to stop the parliament from voting an agreement, if Athens and Skopje sign finally such an agreement.
Greeks are… revolting again
By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos *
In the beginning, nobody paid much attention. Two activists, ex-members of the Movement of Independent Citizens, which was created back in 2011 following an appeal by Mikis Theodorakis, took the initiative to call for a protest meeting in Salonica, against the intention of the Greek government to conclude, under pressure from Washington, an agreement with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, better known internationally as “Republic of Macedonia”, terminating the dispute with the latter over its name.
After the capitulation, the defeat and the humiliation of 2015, Greeks seemed unable to mobilize about anything. They were licking their wounds. They were looking more or less passively to the continuing destruction of their country and to its neocolonial plundering, by Germany and other EU countries, under the general direction of the IMF and with the green light of the USA. They did not have even the courage or the will to think their problems. They did not have leaders or ideas or political subjects to lead a new revolt against the colonialist Troika. Many were afraid after Tsipras and SYRIZA frightened them with the cost and the uncertain outcome of a revolt against the Creditors. They tried to forget and survive. An unprecedented depression dominated since 2015 over nearly all the population in the country of Apollo, the God of Sun, as a result of the assassination of the Hope of a historic nation.
So nobody was waiting anything more than five or ten thousand people in the meeting of Salonica. And then something happened in the very depth of the national, collective subconscious. It was the same thing that had happened three days before the referendum of July 5th,, 2015 and conditioned its result.
There were not five or ten thousand in Salonica, they were probably around five hundred thousand, nobody knows exactly. It was not a simple demonstration, it was a revolt, even if peaceful, for the time being. And today, everybody waits a much larger crowd in and around the Constitution Square in the center of Athens, named after the 1843 Revolution which obliged the first King of the Country, imposed to Greece by the Holy Alliance, the Bavarian Otto, to accept constitutional rule.
A demonstration about Macedonia is but a cry about Greece!
It will be a demonstration about Macedonia, against what many Greeks understand as one more usurpation of their history, their national symbols and their cultural heritage. But behind it, one clearly discerns the desperate cry of a historic European nation that has been insulted and offended, destroyed and plundered, by its own supposed Allies and Partners and by the Union it has adhered to. A nation which has contributed as very few to the defeat of Nazism, only to see now “democratic Germany” destroying it, with help from Brussels bureaucracy, the US and Goldman Sachs.
What Greeks will say to their government today will be essentially: Stop conceding the country to foreign powers. Give us back our country.
For ten years, Greeks see their “allies and partners” destroying their country, pretending they are helping it.
They took and they are taking everything, the banks, the airports, the ports, the railways, the communications and the energy infrastructure. They confiscate even homes of ordinary people. Parents cannot inherit their homes to their children because of confiscating taxation, necessary for paying a “highly unsustainable debt” (according to the IMF). They have cut pensions 24 times. They have imposed to a member of the EU neocolonial terms not imposed to any Third World country. Greek mothers are the most overprotective of their sons, in all Europe, they want their children to live next door all their lives if possible. (Probably, because of what they had suffered under Ottoman occupation, when the Turks were collecting the male children of Christians). Now their dream is to see their children migrating to Australia, Africa or the Emirates to find a job. Greek hospitals are crumbling under German-EU draconian cuts to their expenses, but in the same time Greek doctors, for the education of whom Greeks have paid, are stuffing German or British hospitals. 72% of young people in Greece say to the polls they want to leave the country, if they will find a job somewhere.
As a result of a program supposed to help Greece, the country lost 27% of its GDP, something comparable to what happened to US during the Great Depression, or to the Weimar Republic before the rise of Hitler. It is a bigger percentage than the material losses of Germany or France during the 1st World War. This is not a program of neoliberal “reforms”, it is a program designed to destroy a European nation and its democracy and to transform its state into an instrument of International Finance, with the long term prospect of creating a “Greece (and Cyprus) without Greeks”.
No one can understand reality by taking for real what is thinking the actors want or do not want to do. He should begin the analysis of what is happening by what the actors are doing, not what they are pretending to do or the intentions he is attributing to them.
Under the cruel light of the science of Statistics, not beginning from any prefabricated theory or ideological or political or national preference, the program they imposed in Greece is clearly a program of destruction of a nation. If it was a mistake, they would find long ago a way to correct it. If they did not and they don’t do it, it is because the “Greek experiment” is an important experiment in the advent of a new European totalitarian order. European governments and EU bureaucrats may be conscious or not of that. But somebody has enough influence on them to impose it.
If somebody has some other serious explanation or theory about what has happened or is happening to Greece, explaining better than the above description what is going on, let him advance it. By the way, I believe the Empire of Finance was right in choosing Greece as its main target for a variety of reasons. I find very symmetrical and quite justified to organize such a crime against the country in the language of which Humans have, for the first time in history, written the word freedom (Elefhteria), at the 8th century B.C. (Homer’ s Iliade).
German newspapers were right in their comments about modern and also ancient Greece in 2009-10. Greeks are anarchists, since they exist. Not only they wrote the word Freedom in their language, they have dared to discover Logos, a notion and a word which means analogy, reason, motivation, cause, purpose, logic, all in one word and to oppose it to the divine order. In Athens they decided to write off the Debts of the poor people and then, based on that experience, they dared to spell, first in History, the word Democracy.
This is one of the reasons I strongly believe the choice of Greece as the first target of the Financial Totalitarianism was correct. Symbols are always important. They help shape thinking and emotions.
In 2015, Troika was able to bear a devastating moral and psychological blow to the Greek people by transforming its supposed Left into its instrument. A blow which was even more important, as partisans of the Left had shed oceans of blood to defend their country, its democracy and the social rights of its people. They were thus able to bear a terrible blow to the sense of dignity of the Greek nation. No nation, especially no nation living in this geographical location, in the intersection of the Slavic, the Middle Eastern and the Western European world, no nation bearing the tradition of such a History, can exist without its dignity.
This is why the capacity of the Greek people to project any kind of social resistance was near to zero, after 2015.
But this unequal duel between the Empire and the Greek national DNA was not over in 2015 and this from both sides. The Empire is not satisfied by simply transforming Greece into a “debt colony”. It wants more, it wants the geopolitical and cultural survalue of the country, it wants also to get from the hands of the Greek people the legitimate rights to exercise sovereingty over its country, and in particular in the Aegean, in Cyprus, in Crete, in Northern Greece. Because Greece and Cyprus control the access of Russia to the Warm Seas, they are located between the Middle East and Western Europe.
On the other side, the defeated national feeling and pride of the Greek nation was not dead, in spite of the terrible 2015 defeat. This is pushing now to a new revolt, but, unfortunately, it is a revolt without any leadership, any political and social subjects, no many ideas. The Empire was able to “decapitate” the nation, as it has largely achieved with nearly all European nations and to control all its subjects and politics.
Greeks will cry today [Sunday] for Macedonia, because they feel somebody wants to take from them, to usurpate their History, their symbols and their cultural heritage, as they understand them. They will also demonstrate today because they believe all the main political parties of their country are sold to foreign powers and these foreign powers are destroying their country. And they will do it because they have not, for the time being, what is needed to challenge, for a second time, the economic and political Imperialism of Germany and the EU.
But behind their slogans about Macedonia, they will cry essentially “bring us back our country”. And nobody can now really predict where all this will lead. As the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, the father of Dialectics has put it, two and a half thousand years before Ilia Priygozin and his Chaos theories, “Time is a child playing dices. To the child belongs the Kingdom”
The dispute over Macedonia
Since the dissolution of Yugoslavia, Greece has refused to recognize any “Republic of Macedonia”, considering that such a name is reflecting territorial claims on Greece. Most geographers and historians worldwide define Macedonia as a wider multinational region, about half of which is now belonging to Greece, about a third is FYROM and the remaining is the Bulgarian Pirin Macedonia. A tiny part of Macedonia, about 1%, belongs to Albania. Because of Greek opposition to the recognition of this new state as Republic of Macedonia, it was admitted in the UN as Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, until Athens and Skopje agree to a name commonly accepted by both sides.
In Greek national ideology, Macedonia is identified with the geographical region of ancient Macedonia and with what is now Greek Macedonia. This is one reason they cannot easily accept a Republic of Macedonia suddenly appearing in their northern frontiers. The bloody destruction of Yugoslavia, by Western forces using nationalisms, has created a legitimate fear to Greeks that their country may come second, in the context of the “new world order”. Some of the President Clinton declarations about Balkans could be interpreted also as an indirect threat. In the same time, FYROM developed a kind of irredentist ideology, which presents the whole Macedonia as their motherland and Macedonian Slavs as the “indigenous” so to say population of all the Macedonians. Extending their claims geographically, they begun to extend them back to the past, trying to present themselves as heirs of Alexander the Great. The thing is ridiculous, as Slavs came to the Balkans one thousand years after the death of Alexander, still this kind of ideological rewriting of History make people in Greece believe it is not but the expression of territorial claims. FYROM is too tiny to threaten Greece, but it could be a strategic ally of Turkey or any other country threatening Greece.
Greek political parties were cought between their desire to satisfy Western powers, from which they are dependent and their public opinion. As a result, the official position of the country has oscillated from “no Macedonia, no derivatives” (1992) to “composite name with geographical connotation for all uses” (2008). But no Greek nowadays believes his parties are going to defend any position if subjected to western pressure. This is one of the reasons they felt they had to demonstrate.
This dispute continues for 25 years now, without creating any particular problem to the bilateral relations of the two countries. Nobody was really caring very mucj about solving this problem, except one player, the United States of America. A peace loving power, USA is not containing itself to its peace building activities in the Middle East, the Korean peninsula or Latin America. It is also interested very much to promote prosperity in South Eastern Europe!
FYROM is situated in the center of Balkans, between Greece and Serbia, Bulgaria and Albania. Who controls FYROM, controls the Balkans. Who controls the Balkans can wage war against Russia. It is as simple as that.
Hitler was of the same opinion. This is why he spent precious time and his best, elite paratroop divisions in 1941 to smash the formidable resistance of the Greeks to the Fascist Axis, before attacking Soviet Russia, probably losing the war because of that. Germans do not seem to have excused that to Greeks…
This is why US administration asked from the SYRIZA-An.Ell. government in Athens to conclude quickly an agreement over the name, in order for FYROM to become a member of NATO (and in the future of the EU). Berlin and Brussels are also pressing Athens to the same direction.
The Athens government is characterized by some very dangerous traits. They do not understand Greek national feelings, they don’t dispose of any understanding regarding foreign, military and international policy, and even Greek History, and they want to satisfy the US, Germany, NATO, Israel etc., without even understanding what will be the consequences for themselves and the country. Tsipras is a kind of Gorbachev in Athens, who makes any concession possible, without really realizing what he is doing. Of course this is not valid for all his government. Some of its members, like the Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Kotzias, realize too well what they are doing.
Is there a plan B of the Empire?
One can be sure about what is the plan A of the Empire. Solve the dispute between Greece and FYROM, bearing one more blow to the strength of the Greek national feeling, a historically un-parallel anti-imperialist force in the Balkans, along with Serb national feeling. Include FYROM into NATO, encircle and discipline Serbia, making it accept the loss of Kosovo, exclude the last remains of Russian influence in the Balkans and conclude the transformation of all the region from the Mediterranean and the Adriatic to the frontier of the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics into a zone of strictly controlled protectorates, ready to go to war against the Russia.
A secondary aim is the inclusion of this region, or large parts of it to the EU, which will help finish any last potential of a united, independent, democratic united Europe, letting for the EU two main alternatives. Either its transformation into a totalitarian imperial structure, under the control of international Finance and NATO, or its destruction in a catastrophic way.
But Empires have always second and many other plans. Many ideas are circulating around, like creating a kind of controlled nationalism in Greece, dismembering FYROM between Albania and Bulgaria. Two factors which can also play if things do not evolve as plan A provides, can be the antagonism between the two factions inside the Imperial Nucleus (the Huntington party, Trump, Netanyahu, etc. and the Fukuyama one, Obama, Merkel, Macron, Soros etc.).
Balkans is where the First World War has begun and also the region which probably had a defining influence on the outcome of the 2nd World War. Thatcher explained in her Memoirs that what they experimented in Yugoslavia, was what could happen in other areas of the world. And it happened in the Middle East.
This is why in case of a deeper European crisis Balkans can also be used for the development of new imperial strategies. For instance, in case of destruction of the EU we could see the creation of a Mediterranean Union under the visible leadership of France and the invisible of Israel.
But all this is still very premature, we are just drawing the attention of our readers to the probable existence of such plans also.
(*) Journalist and writer. He has served as an advisor in the office of Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, specialized in arms control and East-West relations. He has worked as correspondent of the Athens Press Agency in Moscow. Former Secratary of the Movement of Independent Citizens, Former Member of the Secretariat of the C.C. and of the Committee on Foreign and Defense Policy of SYRIZA