Παρασκευή, 28 Οκτωβρίου 2016

AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT ERDOGAN





Friday, October 28th 2016



Mr President,

Today our People celebrates (even though we are deep within a most painful economic crisis) and I would like to wish the best to your People, too. I know well that this may estrange you, but my maternal grandfather fought against your Army during the Asia Minor Expedition / Kurtuluş Savaşı of 1919-1922, was wounded after the Ali Veran / Aloren battle, was captured and suffered, yet he taught us not to hate your People!

My amicable sentiments, though, do not extend in any way towards your Government! I have watched you in surprise, Mr President, speaking lately in a demoting fashion about the Lozanne Treaty, I have listed to unknown arrivistic MPs ‘accusing’ you of surrendering to us (I assume: by not claiming them) 16 islands in the Aegean Sea, I have seen maps of your ‘gray zone’ theories and then your comments about Thessaloniki (and Erbil and Mosul and Central Asia and …) ‘pop up’! And on top, after some threats on your part about war in case of not shared exploitation of the Aegean or of extending to 12 miles our territorial waters etc., you launch the melodramatic statement about the ‘borders of your heart’ … Setting aside the ludicrous tear-stained element, imagine what would happen if we, too, strove to ‘attain the borders of our heart’ and the Italians as heirs of the Romans, and the Saudis as descendants of the Arabs and the Iranians as off-springs of the Persians and let us best not delve into the case where your Mongolian cousins would start such claims ...

I do not understand, Mr President, ‘dear’ Neighbor, what you are trying to achieve through these moves of yours – it might be that you are doing it for local consumption or because you truly believe in the expansion of Turkey, but I can reassure you of the following: Yes, are poorer than you and our ‘saviors’ are passionately ‘devouring’ our Greece; yes, we are fewer than you; yes, you have the advantage in armament; yes, ...; yes, ...; yes, ...; ... Nothing of the above discourages us! Instead, I will propose to you something: before embarking in whichever needless ‘adventure’ that will cost in blood to both our People, do turn towards us, your western neighbors, and set us calmly a simple question: ‘Do you surrender Greek islands to us;’ (I implore you, Mr President, do not address this to deserting politicians of the type that pull down the Flag and then say ‘It was an old tatter blown away by the wind!’ or turn chicken at the first pressure of a negotiation; but ask the common people ...). You will receive one of the following answers (and I have filtered out the vulgar ones ...)

In 1 word: Ὄχι! - No! (Army and People on the 28th of October 1940)

In 2 words: Μολών λαβέ! – Come and take them! (King Leonidas I of Sparta, Thermopylae, 480 BC)

In 5 words: Alors, c’est la guerre! – So, this is war! (Ioannis Metaxas on the 28th of October 1940)

In 6 words: Εἰς οἰωνὸς ἄριστος, ἀμύνεσθαι περὶ πάτρης! – There is one best omen, to fight for your country! (Hector, plain of Troy, date unknown)

In 7 words: Ἐγὼ Γραικὸς γεννήθηκα, Γραικὸς θὲ νὰ πεθάνω ... – I was born a Greek and Greek will I die … (Athanassios Diakos on the 23rd of April 1821)
In 9 words: Ἴτε, παῖδες Ἑλλήνων, ἐλευθεροῦτε πατρίδα! Νῦν ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀγών! – Onwards, children of Greeks, free the Fatherland! Now is the struggle in defense of all! (Aeschylus on the 28th of September 480 BC)

In 11 words: Καλύτερα μιᾶς ὥρας ἐλεύθερη ζωὴ παρὰ σαράντα χρόνια σκλαβιὰ καὶ φυλακὴ! – Better is only one hour of freedom than forty years of slavery and imprisonment! (Rigas Ferreos, September 1796)

In 27 words: Τὸ δὲ τὰς νήσους σοι δοῦναι, οὔτ’ἐμὸν ἐστὶν οὔτ’ἀλλου τῶν κατοικούντων ἐν ταύτᾳ· κοινῇ γὰρ γνώμῃ πάντες αὐτοπροαιρέτως ἀποθανοῦμεν καὶ οὐ φεισόμεθα τῆς ζωῆς ἡμῶν. – As for giving you the islands, it is not up to me or any other of those that inhabit them; because by common decision we will all day of our own volition and will not spare our lives. (Constantine XI Paleaologous, May 1453)

By 38,000 bullets: (Sergeant Dimitrios Itsios on the 6th of April 1941)

We do not mind, ‘dear’ Neighbor, that most of these people gave their lives for Greece. For us, this may even be a motivation to heed their words! Personally, I would suggest that you listen to the Prince of Troy, whom some ridiculous clueless ‘scientists’ of yours strive to prove he was a … Turk, same as the poet Homer... I listen to Hector; and the day that you ‘will ask us the question’ along with your allies, I will not wait to be called to the arms at the age of 51; I will find the way to go to my native island, to Mytilini (Midili you call it, too), so that, if I am meant to die, to rest on the soil of my ancestors defending it.

In the hope that you will not go beyond the pompous words, I send you once more my wishes.



Αpostolos Vranas
Teacher of English Language /Translator



geopolitics