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Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Sad remains of a bright past

The world with humans in it have witnessed over the centuries the rise and fall of several great civilizations. Greece, Egypt, Rome, China, the Aztec and the Mayas, the US in more modern times. The cultural heritage will never stop insipiring the rest of the world even when the dominance is gone. What is sad is to realize that when there is still modern versions of the glorious past that not only are not glorious but also shameful. I am fundamentaly proud to be Greek - due to the teachings of the great masters. I am ashamed on account of our modern society. But nothing, I repeat nothing, would make me more ashamed to originate from a country that gave the world Luxor and ended up as dark as it is today.
A 17-year old girl at a province outside the delta of Nile, was beaten to death by her 45-year old father because he found out that she had a boyfriend. He could not face his fellow morons at the village cafe and had to kill his daughter to restore his pride. A similar crime occured a year or so ago in a TUrkish village where a father killed by beating to death his 12-year old daughter because she was raped (and of course her tragedy was not important compared to his injured pride). But Turkey has never been a great civilization - only a great empire. And by great I mean its size. Neither crimes are justifiable - both equally appauling. The one in Egypt is a sharper contrast than the one in Turkey due to Egypt's weight in world history and culture
I wonder how the Egyptian elite - and it exists around the world - will come to terms with such a low level of education in the country (that once was the university of the world) and the scary rise of hard core islamism. Sad sad sad


George Georgitsis said...

I have come to the conclusion that, unfortunately, the heritage of a glorious past, not only doesn't add anything to its descendants but more often than not it gives them the illusions of undeserved grandure and do nothing other than sit on past laurels. Egypt and Greece great examples of this

Rositta said...

Germany has it's share of honor killing and there was one in Toronto last year where a father strangled his 16 year old daughter for not wanting to wear a hijab. He was assisted by her brother. They are both facing trial this year. Greece has a lot of work ahead of it if it wishes to regain some of it's previous glory. Not my favourite country at the moment, my MIL is at the mercy of the abysmal health care system...ciao

elwyn said...

given how unhappy many Greeks are with the development of the country, it's interesting that in the current Skai TV poll of the hundred greatest greeks, all but one of the top 10 are either political/military leaders or political philosophers and 5 of the 10 are from the classical period (including the current leader in the poll). And no women at all! I wonder whether many other countries have done similar polls (the Uk did)

Zeta Zizou said...

George, spot on the illusion of grandeur. I live in Greece and I have to suffer this reality.

Rositta, welcome to my blog and many thanks for your post. It is so sad to have incidents like this in modern times. It is really hard to understand why. I can only explain it as a disorder, being a sociopath. No excuse for the terrile crimes in Germany or the one you are describing in Canada. Incomprehensible I feel. The thing is that I dont really think we are doing enough to prevent tragedies like this.

Zeta Zizou said...

Elwyn, that's interesting. I would have thought that at least Bouboulina (the heroine in the revolution during the Ottoman Empire that blew up the Turkish fleet in Salamina/Spetses) and Melina Merkouri would at least be on that list.
I would be curious to see that list. Do you know where I can see it?

elwyn said...

there is a link to it on the skai site If I remember right, Melina was in the top 100, along with Callas, Vougiouklaki and maybe Bouboulina.

Manos Tsatsanis said...

I think we need to realize that comparisons between our glorious forefathers and us, the present-day underachievers, are artificial and based on somewhat skewed interpretations of history. The guy who killed his daughter is not really a degenerate version of a glorious ancient Egyptian version of himself (whether by ancient Egyptian we refer to Tutankhamen or one of the slaves who were carrying stones to build the pyramids). He has nothing to do with ancient Egyptians, culturally, ethnically, religiously or genealogically. In the same way, only through the lens of 19th century nationalist historiographies does it make sense to vote for the “Greatest Greeks” and somehow group together Pericles and Kolokotronis or Socrates and Karamanlis...but they have so shaped our understanding of history that it only feels natural to do so.

Zeta Zizou said...

Well spoken professor :-)

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