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Guest Viewpoints

200th Anniversary of the Hellenic Revolution – Arcadia at the Epicenter

February 21, 2021
By Panagiotis I. Karafotias

In light of the great significance of the 200th Anniversary of the Hellenic Revolution and the relevant activities already planned or in the near future, and as a contribution towards their success, some observations may help in the prospect that they will be enriched by experts of Hellenism in the Diaspora, and be placed under the scrutiny of the National Committee responsible for the celebration, as well as other competent authorities.

First, I must note that it is obvious that Arcadia should be at the epicenter of the planned activities for the following reasons:

1. For its most important contribution to the National Liberation.

2. Especially given the significance of the liberation of Tripolis, as well as with the unprecedented human sacrifice of dozens of the Kolokotronis family in the holy struggle for liberation.

3. For the most significant victories in Dervenakia and Valtetsi whose sites deserve to be included among the UNESCO protected historical monuments.  

4. The contribution of General Kefalas to the adoption of the first Hellenic Flag in cooperation with Grigorios Papaflessas.

However, beyond the aforesaid cardinal historical landmarks, the following comprise a rare ecumenical picture which demonstrates the distinctiveness of Arcadia, and are metaphorically linked to the Anniversary. Therefore, it is fitting that these be projected in the context of the celebration:

1. The particular place of Arcadia in Greek Mythology. The ancient gods that were born and/or acted in Arcadia, e.g. Zeus and Kallisto and their son Arcas, Panas, Likaion Mountain, Pallantion, the Expedition of Argonauts etc.

2. The proverb of Aristotle that the “Arcadians are the guardians of justice.”

3. The universally and eternally famous dictum “Et ub Arcadaia ego”!

4. The International Arcadian Academy of Rome, which was founded in 1690 by Queen Christina of Sweden, members of which were world renowned personalities like Goethe etc., but, which, however, was never utilized and enhanced by the Greek state.

5. The Arcadians, the first settlers of Cyprus.

6. The ‘Arcadian Conference’ in Washington, from December 22, 1941 to January 14, 1942, in which Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill discussed measures to confront the Axis.

7. The projection of Arcadians who honored Arcadia and Greece with their crucial inventions like ‘ARGUS’ by Nikos Christofilos, on which the anti-nuclear umbrella of the USA was based. Also, the famous Conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos, as well as other Arcadians who were distinguished in politics, science, and art. The Arcadian NGOs can contribute in gathering related information.

However, we must pay special attention not to exhaust these activities in the formal-ceremonial part, but to ensure their essential and diachronic continuation, so that the Anniversary becomes an inspiring tank of ideas towards the materialization of substantial works and achievements for the development and welfare of Arcadia and the Arcadians all over the world.

It is high time to put an end to narcissism and introversion and make the best of all the political energy resources worldwide.

Starting with the Anniversary, we should cultivate and promote an ethno-centric education (without disregarding the universal ideals of world peace, democracy, social justice, and transparency, which are undermined by war mongering circles), as well as a pan-ethnic strategy, inspired by the invaluable legacies of Kapodistrias, Kolokotronis etc., for the confrontation of the serious problems of our country, primarily the national ones like the neo-Ottoman imperialism, the settlement of the Cyprus problem, Skopje, Northern Epirus, the return of the Parthenon Marbles, etc. Of course, it is self-evident under the present circumstances, particularly of the Turkish provocations, threats etc., that we need a most powerful diplomacy, as well as powerful military forces, because, as ancient Latin diplomats taught, “diplomacy without weapons is like an orchestra without instruments,” and “when diplomacy falls silent, weapons speak.” I also note the wise example-moral of Kolokotronis: “to preserve the physiognomy of the battle,” which should become our Pan-Ethnic Flag!    

Moreover, I offer a radical proposal: The United Nations should declare Greece a war-free and conflict-free area, and a Universal Center of Democracy and Culture, a proposal that has already been approved by the International Organizations Watch and the Hellenic Writers Association.

In parallel, other serious problems should be addressed like the demographic decline and the general decline of Arcadia, the strengthening of regional development, the creation of agricultural towns (agrotopoleon), the invigoration of the primary sector, the transfer of technology and know-how, the promotion of agricultural and religious tourism, the development of agricultural cooperatives, agricultural roads, a healthy environment (a no-trash regime), and infrastructure projects.

I also call for strict supervision in order not to have unacceptable phenomena such as the collapse of roads or their dangerous shortening, arbitrary and suspicious characterizations of agricultural lands as “forest” areas, etc. for profit-making reasons, and to combat corruption and the lack of transparency. There must also be a resolute plan to confront partisan and para-partisan complexes and syndicates, as well as para-educational groups. The aim is to prevent and deter brain drain and to create incentives for the return of our youth, all for the benefit of Arcadia and Greece as a whole.

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