Πέμπτη, 25 Αυγούστου 2016

The Muslims of Thrace (Forum)

Dear members of the Forum,
The following statement has been made:
 Όσον για την Θράκη που την έζησα και εγώ στο τέλος της δεκαετίας του 70, παρατηρώ ότι ήταν και είναι μουσουλμανικός παράδεισος για τους μουσουλμάνους κάτοικους της.
 It takes a peculiar kind of blindness to see the place as a “paradise”.  Unless, of course, one does not want to see at all.  Had the said member lived in Thrace up to the mid ‘60’s, he would have observed that all mosques had minarets; in fact, they had these minarets for hundreds of years, since the settling of Sipahis there in timaria in the 14th century and later.  Thrace was one of the first areas of expansion of the Ottoman state (which had its capital in Hadrianople for almost 100 years until the capture of Constantinople).  As it so happens, the Greek state forced the demolition of these minarets in the late ‘60s.  It is this kind of paradise that this people live in.  In that context, the Rhum millet of the Ottoman Empire lived in a similar “paradise” because the bell towers of churches were demolished and no bells were allowed.  Just to be clear as to what kind of paradise this one is.

 Then one has underperforming schools; the situation was that bad that in 2004 the Greek state had to pass an “equal opportunity” legislation, promoting the inclusion of a number of Muslim students into the Greek Universities and upgrading the schools.  I am not sure how much of this agreement has been implemented.  I would not be surprised if it is mostly a dead letter but I would wait to hear from persons living in Thrace currently.  One thing is certain: there is hardly any Muslim in a position of authority in Greece.  Does anybody know of anyone?  I would love to know.  Thus, if one wants to live as a 2nd class citizen, sure, being a Muslim in Thrace is a good way of fulfilling that desire.  A true paradise.

I would not go into the efforts of the Greek state to stop the formation of “Turkish” associations or the attacks sustained by members of such groups by ultra-nationalists.  Legally, there may be some arguments, but they are weak.  Especially since the Greek state has allowed the unchecked importation of Turkish teachers in the minority schools for decades.  Pointless to say, we are our own worse enemy.

I have to say one thing only to the member who has contributed these statements: Like or not, these Muslims are Greek citizens and should be accorded all the rights of Greek citizens.  Their religion should not, in any way, inhibit their full exercise of their rights.  We are either a modern state or we are a medieval theocracy.  We cannot have it both ways.  It is totally immaterial to a Muslim born today in Greek Thrace if the Greek speaking population of Constantinople was oppressed and evicted in the early 1960’s.  This was indeed a true crime.  But we cannot use this crime to justify any differential treatment of citizens in Greece.  We cannot profess moral superiority while oppressing a minority, can we?

So, let’s stop the talk about “paradises” and let’s see what we can do to integrate this community much better in the Greece of today.  Let’s improve the schools, let’s provide higher education and let’s provide a professional future for these kids within Greece.  Some of the statements by Muslims in Thrace may be disturbing to some, but we must fight to allow them to make these statements.  Otherwise, the Rule of Law does not exist.

Some may think that these arguments are naïve.  No, they are not.  In fact, this is a clever way of moving forward. 

Best regards,

Anastassios D. Retzios, PhD
San Ramon, California

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From: Hellenic Professors and PhDs Electronic Forum [mailto:HELLENIC-PROFESSORS-PHDS@HEC.GREECE.ORG] On Behalf Of EVRIS BILLIS
Sent: Tuesday, August 23, 2016 12:37 PM
To: HELLENIC-PROFESSORS-PHDS@HEC.GREECE.ORG
Subject: Re: The supposed "Islamization" of Greece

Αγαπητές συναδέλφισσες και αγαπητοί συνάδελφοι,

Πρώτα θα ήθελα  να θυμίσω  ότι υπάρχει πλέον πλήρης πληροφόρηση με απόλυτα στοιχεία τόσον για τον αριθμό των οικονομικών μουσουλμάνων μεταναστών που μας στέλλει συστηματικά, εδώ και 20 χρόνια η Τουρκία. Όσον και για τα ανοικτά σύνορα (Δήλωση-σοκ από Ζ.Κ.Γιούνκερ: «Τα σύνορα είναι η χειρότερη εφεύρεση!») και το που θα οδηγήσουν τον Ελληνισμό. Σε αφανισμό και σε εξισλαμισμό την Ελλάδα.

Όμως ομολογώ ότι η συζήτηση για το θέμα μου θύμισε έναν συμφοιτητή μου, που ότι και να του αποδείκνυες, έλεγε δεν συμφωνώ και ξοφλούσε.

Όσον για την Θράκη που την έζησα και εγώ στο τέλος της δεκαετίας του 70, παρατηρώ ότι ήταν και είναι μουσουλμανικός παράδεισος για τους μουσουλμάνους κάτοικους της.

Επιπλέον αν συγκριθεί  με την τους Έλληνες (Ρωμαίους με το ζόρι ως γνωστόν) της Κωνσταντινούπολης του 1964.
Και με τους Έλληνες της Ίμβρου και της Τενέδου επίσης τότε. Τουρκιστί για να αντιληφθούν όλοι, Gokceada και Bozcaado.

Που είχα την «τύχη» να τα γνωρίζω από πρώτο χέρι μια και αδελφικός μου φίλος ήταν ο αείμνηστος Νίκος Αρχοντώνης, πρώτος εξάδελφος του Οικουμενικού Πατριάρχη. Ψάξτε τα όμως στο google, για να δείτε τι σημαίνει τούρκικη γενοκτονία.

Και προκαλεί θλίψη να ακούγονται όσα λέγονται για τους μουσουλμάνους της Θράκης, και να υπάρχουν παρωπίδες για τα όσα υπέστη πρόσφατα ο ανωτέρω Ελληνισμός.

Οι Ρωμαίοι (όπως τους λένε αχαρακτήριστα, συγνώμην για την έκφραση αλλά δεν υπάρχει άλλη),  της Πόλης, της Ίμβρου και της Τενέδου.
Για τους οποίους ακόμα και τούρκοι πολιτισμένοι εκφράζουν την θλίψη τους για τη γενοκτονία τους.
Και να μην θυμίσω τα γεγονότα της Κωνσταντινούπολης (τουρκιστί Ιστανμπουλ) του 1955.

Αίπτιρ θα έλεγα τουρκιστί. ‘
Ήτοι ντροπή.

Ευριπίδης Μπίλλης
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Dear Members of the Forum,
 I really do not want to continue this discussion as it is not really productive.  It is probably not even sane.  So, this would mark the last contribution on this issue.  It is important for members of the forum to understand that such alarmism is totally unsupported by data and that this whole subject is injurious and pernicious to Greece.

Previously, the esteemed member who sounded all kinds of “alarms” regarding the “Islamization of Greece” provided “serious” – but totally bogus – numbers.  The argument as made that the number of the Muslim immigrants to Greece would reach 5 million by 2018!!!  By simple interpolation, we are hosting approximately 4.5 million Muslim immigrants in Greece; I am sure that this is really news to all of you!!  We threw into the bin all census numbers;  this individual believes that the population of the country is now approximately 16 million with 5 million of them being refugees, the vast majority of which are Muslim.  Wow!!!

But the alarmists have not stopped there.  These immigrants are not really fleeing wars and devastation.  They are members of the “Islamic army of colonization of Europe” (sic).  Seriously, folks, this would have been funny if it was not appalling in all its shades.

I really do not know with precision the number of Muslim refugees that have arrived in Greece these last few years.  One thing I know for sure.  The vast majority of them have left moving onwards to central, northern and western Europe.  Those remaining are staying not because they want to Islamisize Greece but because they cannot, at this time, get visas to anywhere else.  These few thousand refugees may have to settle in Greece, but their stay would also be highly temporary.  They will soon try to obtain visas for North America or Western Europe.

Unfortunately, it is such alarmists that create serious problems for Greece at the time when many other problems are much more pressing.  The last thing that we want is hatred directed towards a ragtag assembly of refugees who are fleeing totally disastrous wars that are raging now for more than a decade.  The civil war in Syria with its new flare ups and the non-ending battles around Aleppo and other parts of the country is going on for the best part of six years.  The fighting and sectarian killing in Iraq is going on since 2003  (I have lost count of how many armies have besieged and taken Fallughia or Ticrit!!); the fighting in Afghanistan is going on since 2001 (and the sectarian battles in this country date from the civil wars of the 1980’s including the Soviet occupation).  The killing goes on and on.  No wonder thousands are fleeing these disastrous and never-ending wars.  The desire to give their children a chance for a normal life is really understandable.

It is, of course, true, that Muslim communities in Western Europe have been a place of radicalization; it is also true that these minorities contain persons that are hostile to their host countries.  I am not here to defend such persons, quite the contrary.  But it would be wrong to absolve the hosting countries for responsibility in this case.  If a French or Belgian or British Muslim born and educated in these countries has become an “enemy of the state”, one would need to seriously think of the process that creates such persons.

I have talked previously extensively about the problems of the Muslim community in Thrace.  As you may know, I have lived there.  What you may not know is that living as a Muslim in Greek Thrace gives one amble reasons to dislike Greece.  And I am saying this as a Greek.  I know that some have difficulty digesting this; a great difficulty.  Some would say “well, the Turks have evicted all the Greeks from Istanbul, so why are these guys not grateful for the Greek “generosity”?  No, they are not and they are not because of the continuous discrimination and oppressive policies of the Greek state.  For example, in the late 1960’s  we have ordered the destruction of all the minarets of the mosques there!!  Beyond the obvious vandalism, can one imagine the trauma to the psyche of a Muslim inhabitant there by such an action of the Greek state?  The Ottomans had demolished or forbidden the building of the bell towers of Orthodox churches.  In the 1960’s, we acted very much in an Ottoman fashion.  Beyond this, not a single Muslim Greek holds any public position in Greece.  Name me just one.  The discrimination if obvious and it is unfettered.  And then we are feigning “surprise”!!

Thus, if one extrapolates from the Greek experience and understands the situation of young Muslims in the poverty traps (or the “projects”) surrounding French cities or Belgian inner city ghettos, the daily taunting that Muslim kids face at school (and kids can be vicious), one can see why Islamic radicalization is occurring.  I am surprised that it is not occurring in a higher rate. 

Thus, it is really up to us to establish a just and tolerant society based on social justice and equality before the law.  These values are paid lip service in most of Western Europe (and in Greece) but the reality falls well below this standard.  I am not saying that the correspondent below represents the majority of the Greek population (he does not) but his oversized fears and resulting intolerance are shared by a good proportion of our citizens.  The result is that we are creating dissention and hatred instead of acculturation and assimilation.

The choice is really up to us.  To give in to hatred is the easy call.  To accept reason is the difficult one.  Your choice

Best regards,

Anastassios D. Retzios, PhD
San Ramon, California

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