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'Let there be -holy- light

My Big Fat Greek Week

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19 May 2017

● “The problem is that Greece didn’t go through Enlightenment, like the rest of Europe”.
● This is one of the most common new tenets going around in certain parts of the Greek opinion-making machine.
● Despite being wrong - these people have obviously never heard of the Greek Enlightenment which led to the 1821 National Revolution - the theory offers a quick and easy explanation of everything, from the leftist-nationalist coalition government, to bureaucracy, to populism, to bouzoukia.
● Mostly to the impossibility of the chance to ever have a proper separation of church and state.
● Everytime a politician makes such a promise, it is to appeal to a progressive audience, only to then surrender to the Archbishop.
● Alexis Tsipras didn’t even make such a promise.
● Sure, he is the first Greek PM to ever take office under a political oath, instead of taking a religious one, but he did not hesitate to sacrifice his Education Minister, Nikos Filis, when he suggested leaving religious catechism out of the curriculum, enraging the church.
● No, in the leftist-led 2017 Greece, the Church is safe. Priests are still one of the largest civil servant groups paid for by the taxpayers, and issues such as taxation of the church assets are still taboo.
● So, yes, it’s natural to have the State pay for the transportation of the ‘Holy flame’ for jerusalem on Easter with a private jet, and an official ceremony of its arrival, the same that the protocol sees to be applied when State leaders visit Greece.
● The same protocol was applied last week, when the country welcomed the arrival of the mummified body parts of St. Helen, first Christian Empress of the Byzantine Empire and mother of Emperor Constantine (who made Christianity the official religion of the Empire).
● Devout Christians flock by the thousands to pay their respect to the morbid exhibits, believing that some kind of holiness comes off the mummy.
● If they had studied a bit of History, they would probably know that the late Helen was far from the benevolent philanthropist that school catechism wants her to be; she was as cruel and scheming and conniving as any empress in the Empire’s history.
● But if Greeks had studied history they would never had sent Nazis to the parliament either.
● Which would have led to the avoidance of yet another embarrassing incident, when Golden Dawn MP Ilias Kasidiaris assaulted a fellow parliamentarian, former Minister of Justice Nikos Dendias, because he distracted him, when he was addressing the assembly.
● The incident led to the House Speaker expelling the Golden Dawn MPs from the Parliament, during the discussion of the new agreement for the Greek economy bailout - i.e. the fourth memorandum.
● Which incidentally, easily passed by the Parliament, as expected, with 153 votes in favour and 128 against.
● Those against were of the opposition, mostly of ND which, if comes to power, has already guaranteed to the EU lenders to apply the austerity measures which are part of the memorandum.
● So, the Golden Dawn incident did not affect the vote.
● However, it did allow for Nea Dimokratia to accuse Syriza and GD for ‘staging’ the assault, in order to deflect attention from the memorandum discussion.
● They should know. After all, it was the Samaras cabinet secretary, Takis Baltakos, who had admitted keeping an open line of communication between ND and GD, practically telling dictating the votes of Golden Dawn MPs.
● Could it be that Syriza follows the same MO?
● Does it matter?
● What really matters is that this kind of thinking - this inclination to believe any kind of conspiracy theory - is normalised.
● And this is what happens when a country misses Enlightenment.
● God - and St. Helen’s mummified body parts - help us all.

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