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Editorial

A Speech That Would Honor the Heroes of 1821 and Ourselves

Ultimately, we are faced with two critical questions regarding the event held at the White House in the name of Greek Independence.

First question:
Is this merely a social gathering, or a national celebration where our American homeland pays tribute to the heroes of our national rebirth from the Ottoman Turks?

Second question: Are the various presidents – from both political parties – doing us a favor by hosting this reception, or do we, as American citizens of Greek heritage, rightfully deserve and claim it? Moreover, does this event also serve as America’s acknowledgment of the liberty of a friend and ally, Greece, which has steadfastly stood by the West, especially the United States, since its liberation?

If the answer to the first question is that it constitutes a national celebration, and to the second, that we rightfully deserve and are entitled to it, just as Greece does, then we must reconsider our approach to organizing and representing ourselves in this event from the ground up.

Otherwise, they might as well give us a tour of the White House, have the Archbishop say a prayer, let the President express his fondness for us, snap a few photos, and call it a day.

Archbishop Elpidophoros, like his predecessors to a certain extent, gave a vague and all-encompassing speech.

A speech that would be more fitting if given in front of Mr. Erdogan rather than President Biden.

Another speaker, such as a Prime Minister of Greece – like what the Prime Minister of Ireland recently did – or a secular leader from the Diaspora who wouldn’t fear Turkish reprisals, might say something like this:

Mr. President,
Thank you for inviting us to this historic venue, the White House, to honor the Greek heroes of 1821. We pay tribute to a small, yet historically significant nation that, with the support of American Philhellenes, fought valiantly against the Ottoman Turks, shedding rivers of blood to reclaim its freedom after 400 years of enslavement.

The quest for freedom by our forebears inspired Europe, inspired America, and the entire human race, becoming a historical beacon for all nations that have fought since then, and continue to fight today, for freedom, dignity, and rights against oppressive regimes, such as Turkey’s.

Mr. President,
As you’re well aware due to your close ties with our Community, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Cyprus by the Ottomans’ successors, the Turks. Yet, in contrast to the rightful condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine by the West, the Turkish invasion and occupation of part of Cyprus is met with a silence that nearly amounts to tacit acceptance. The world should not operate on double standards in international relations, international law, or life in general. This cannot be ignored.
Moreover, Turkey must finally respect the fundamental human right to worship as one sees fit, to maintain places of worship, and to pray within them. It’s time for the Hagia Sophia to be restored to a church. It’s time for the Halki Seminary to finally be reopened. It’s time for the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople to conduct its duties and mission without interference.

Mr. President,
We warmly welcome the exceptional relationship that has blossomed between our country and our ancestral homeland. We proudly acknowledge the deepening cooperation across various sectors, from economic to military.

Mr. President,
As you know, our Community might be small in terms of overall population percentage, but it’s immense in dedication and contribution to our country. And we are proud to serve as the bridge between these two nations.

Long live America and Long Live Greece!

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