GREEK ISLANDS FOREVER
By Nikos P. Andrianos*
Before there was America, before there was England, before there was France, before there was Germany, before there was even the Roman Empire, there was Athens and Greece.
One misty, early September morning, in 480 B.C., in a narrow body of water between The Island of SALAMIS and the land across from it, the trumpet sounded and the battle cry of the Greeks resounded:
“Forward, sons of the Greeks,
Liberate the fatherland,
Liberate your children, your women,
The temples of your ancestral gods,
The graves of your forebears,
ΝΥΝ ΥΠΕΡ ΠΑΝΤΩΝ Ο ΑΓΩΝ’’
Now is the time to fight for everything and everybody
And that was, indeed, the battle for everything. It was the battle for everything sacred for the Greeks, but in a more significant way, it was also the battle for the future of Europe, the battle that made Europe possible. The victory at the Sea Battle of Salamis.
For more than three thousand years, the Greek people have defended their lands and their sacred temples, but at the same time they were accomplishing something majestic and enormous: They were creating a complex and profound civilization that would live far into the future and would form the foundation of the modern world.
Greek-speaking people have populated the islands of the Aegean for over three thousand years. The Nobel Prize winning poet, Odysseus Elytis, who has celebrated The Greek Sun, Sea and the islands, himself a child of the island of Lesbos, has written Very eloquently about the solid connection between the people of the islands and their Greek Language in his majestic poem “Axion Esti” (an excerpt):
“Greek the language they gave me,
Poor the house on the shores of Homer,
My only care my language on the shores of Homer...”
And his unforgettable description of Greece, the Aegean and the islands (from Axion Esti):
This small world so great!”
The following map shows, in a spectacular way, the multitude of world-renowned Greek personalities from the eastern Aegean islands whose contributions to civilization continue to shape the modern world.
When the young girl, Greta Thunberg, stood in front of the Swedish Parliament building one freezing morning, she was holding a simple but revolutionary sign.
Yet, perhaps unbeknownst to her, she was holding a piece of the legacy of Greece: two of the words on that sign were Greek: ‘Skol’, the Swedish word for school, coming from the Greek word scholeion, school. The other word “Klimat”, climate, from the Greek word klima. The concept of organized education, of schooling, was a pioneering institution among the Greeks. And the word klima, which means “latitude” came from the astronomical and geographical studies of the Greeks.
Such gifts of the Greeks can be multiplied a millionfold.
Today, Turkey, completely ignoring the three-thousand-year-old heritage of the Aegean Sea and its Greek islands, large or small, or rather trying to deceive the ignorant, pretends to lay claim on some of them.
On what basis? Simply on the ground of their vicinity to their territory. Let us not forget that what is today the western coast of Turkey was the large ancient Greek territory of IONIA. So, the concept of vicinity goes the other way.
Nations cannot expand their territory by absorbing neighboring lands simply by “diffusion”. There must be solid, longstanding demographic, historical and cultural reasons. And Turkey has absolutely none of the above.
We appeal to all the institutions and governmental bodies of the world to raise their voice and condemn such arrogance as an insult to civilized people, indeed an affront to civilization itself.
The islands in the Aegean have always been and will forever be Greek.
(*) Physicist, Research Engineer, member of IHA
The articles published on the IHA website express exclusively the authors – members of the IHA. The IHA website does not censor, nor does it interfere with articles – texts of the members of the IHA.