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Thursday, December 11, 2008

"Spoiling for a fight"

The smouldering centre of Athens yesterday provided the latest evidence of a propensity to political violence that has characterised the Greeks since Homeric times.

Watching the hooded hordes setting light to public buildings, it was hard not to agree with Friedrich Nietzsche, the German philosopher, who wrote famously that "the Greeks, the most humane men of ancient times, have a trait of cruelty, a tigerish lust to annihilate... that must strike fear into our hearts throughout their whole history and mythology."

Ironically, it is this consciousness of having been once a great civilisation that lingers in the public mind and erupts in paroxysms of frustration. The fatal shooting of a teenager merely provided the spark for this latest outbreak. Ever since independence in 1829, the Greeks have been torn between trying to recreate the glories of classical Athens and having to accept a minor position in a Western-dominated world. They have a love-hate relationship with the West; a slavish adherence to Western music, films and fashions, offset by a hatred of Western policies.

The trait of tsambouka - a hoolihanish readiness to fight - has been valued in the Greek male world for 3,000 years. Perhaps it was no accident that last month, when a newspaper offered free copies of the film 300, about the bloody battle of Thermopylae, the issue was sold out in less than two hours.

Analysis: John Carr
Source: The Times, Wednesday December 10, 2008

posted by mindstripper @ 12/11/2008 01:18:00 am

3 Comments:

OpenID agrypnia said...

Slavish adherence to Western music in Greece?

Yeah, if you consider Arab-Turkish music as "Western".

Proof that this man has no fucking clue what goes on in Greece.

12/11/2008 01:48:00 am  
Blogger eryx-t said...

Εμ βέβαια, αυτός ως βρετανός μπορεί να μας λέει ότι θέλει. Γιατί οι τελευταίοι κατακτητές που κατέλαβαν την Ελλάδα -με στρατιωτική εισβολή- ήταν οι βρετανοί. Και η αντίσταση που συνάντησαν ήταν ελάχιστη. Κι εμείς μπορεί να το έχουμε ξεχάσει, αλλά αυτοί παρόλο που κανουν ότι δεν το ξέρουν δεν το έχουν ξεχάσει καθόλου.

12/11/2008 02:18:00 am  
Blogger mindstripper said...

Agrypnia, as a British citizen he knows what he is talking about, judging from his own country's disassembled culture. However, as far as Greece is concerned, I don't know if there is anyone who does have a clue what's going on any more.

Εμείς πολλά ξεχνάμε Eryx. Αυτό είναι το πρόβλημά μας.

12/11/2008 08:12:00 pm  

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