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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 27 May 2017
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 27 MAY 2017 25 OPINION tan, I will not leave my people. I will either die here or live on as the XI Constantine of this great city, re-founded by Constantine in 330 and founded by Byzas in 667 BCE. If anything, the Sultan needs to retreat. Emperor, I wish you well and hope we meet again! Postscript: A few hours later, a fierce and final battle took place. Wave after wave of Ottoman troops attempted to breach the walls. The few thousand defenders beat off numerous attacks. The Sultan was close to quitting. In an act of fate, a light was seen hovering above Agia Sophia and then vanishing into the sky. The Ottomans interpreted that as the city ready to be taken, giving them extra reasoning to continue. Guistiani was injured and taken to his ship. Had he stayed in post, his men would have had a leader, instead they panicked and fled. A small door that opened one of the walls (Kerkoporta) was also unwittingly found unlocked, allowing some Ottoman troops to sneak in. By 5.00 am, the Ottomans had gained the advantage and began breaching the walls. Statue of the last Byzantine emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos (1404-1453 AD) mans, a battalion of Serbians who are fighting with the Sultan, and people seeking their fortunes including some rogue Hellenes. I take pity and forgive them all, as they do not know any better. On our side, we have a population of 50 thousand in the city, including children. Our forces number 7,000 - 8,000, with the majority being Hellenes. We have 400 archers sent by the Pope, Cretans - they are our fiercest warriors, Catalans, Ukrainians, 700 men from Giovanni Giustianini Longo. Here is an Italian who leads as a natural leader. I am proud to fight alongside him and his Genoese troops. We are also joined by . . . And one Scottish engineer! Yes we do have Johannes Grant the Scot fighting with us. His heroic deeds in locating enemy mines and launch- ing counter-mines beneath the City walls saved Constantinople four weeks ago. Grant is a Scottish adventurer and engineer who made his name in Germany. As Scotland is not widely known in Constantinople, he fascinated the city. There is a rumour that the Latins will be sending a large fleet. We sent a small vessel to the Aegean to scout any friendly vessels. These brave men evaded the Ottoman navy and returned with the sad news that no-one is sailing to help us. If the Sultan offers you the chance to go into exile, will you take it? He has already through his Hellenic-born Grand Vizier, a man who has a level head. Unfortunately, despite the promises of goodwill from the Sul- The Emperor threw off his purple regalia and flung himself into the enemy, killing dozens. His fighting skills were superior, arguably one of the best that Byzantium ever produced. No-one actually verified his death. This has created the myth, that one day, the Immortal Emperor will return to Constantinople. The myth is heightened by the following episode. A final sermon took place as the Ottomans entered Agia Sophia. The priests told the frightened congregation that they will return one day to finish the sermon and promptly disappeared into the walls of the Church. They were never found. Constantinople was pillaged and innocent people killed or rounded up. The ferocious Cretans held out, and they were allowed free passage to leave on the strength of their valour. The Sultan, upon entering the city, soon put an end to any further misery. He quickly appointed Gennadius Scholarius as Patriarch to oversee Christian affairs and set about enticing Hellenes back to their city. The date of 29 May, there- fore, marks the end of the Byzantine Empire. Had the Latins provided real support, the empire would have been saved and Constantinople would have remained Elliniko. Ironically, the Pope had convinced the Venetians to send a fleet. Had this occurred earlier, Constantinople would not have fallen on that date. There are statues of Constantine Paliologos in Athens where he is deemed a Saint. *Billy Cotsis is the author of ‘From Pyrrhus to Cyprus: Forgotten and Remembered Hellenic Kingdoms, Territories, Entities and a Fiefdom’. The killing of the sacred director My Big Fat Greek Week NIKOS FOTAKIS • So, apparently, Alexis Tsipras is not going to wear a tie any time soon. • The Greek PM had promised to proceed with a sartorial celebration of his government's successful policies, which should result in the country exiting its current financial status and becoming eligible to borrow from the markets once again. • "The news is so good that I may have to put on a tie," he said. • And why wouldn't he? After all, this is the last concession he has to make. • Refusing to wear a tie has been a symbolic gesture to show that he's not a 'suit', but a rebel, a fighter of the left. Since he has conceded to everything else, he might as well put on a tie. • But for now, this will have to wait. • Because for now, the Greek economy still has a long way to go - especially after this week's Eurogroup meeting which, once again, failed to reach a conclusion on the bailout program. • Surprisingly, this time, it was not the Greek side that stalled talks. • No, Greece has agreed to implement pretty much any austerity measure requested AND committed to a primary surplus target of 3.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) from 2018 onwards. • By the way, the European Stability Mechanism, for its part, estimates that if Greece meets a goal of a primary surplus above three per cent of GDP for the next 20 years, it won't need debt relief. • Yes, in twenty years' time, it will be great to live in Greece. • For the moment, we're just waiting for others to decide our fate. • On Monday's meeting, the Greeks were sidelined, watching the International Monetary Fund and Germany fighting over the notion of debt relief for the country, with everybody involved blaming the German Finance Minis- ter, Wolfgang Schauble, for blocking the deal. • Everybody? • No, not everybody. Back in Greece, the Opposition still thinks that Schauble is right and Greece is in the wrong to even ask for debt relief. • It doesn't make much sense, does it? • But then again, what does? • It's Greece that we're talking about. The country where public opinion is divided over whether Yiorgos Lanthimos deserves the international success he gets. • His new film The Killing of a Sacred Deer opened this week as part of the official competitive section of the Cannes Film Festival (the world's most important film event). • The film is another fine example of the Greek 'weird-wave' movement he all but spearheaded; an undecipherable horror-comedy-drama starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell, and influenced by Greek tragedy and Stanley Kubrick. • Most reviews are overwhelmingly positive, with The Guardian awarding the film four out of five stars. Yet, when the film was screened, some people booed. Which is a very common reaction in Cannes, a festival that welcomes challenging works of art. • Now, try to guess what Greek social media focused on: the positive reviews or the booing? • You guessed right. It appears that there are many people in the country who can't wait to see Lanthimos losing his status as an internationally acclaimed director. • Who never forgave him his success. And who never got his 'sick' movies, either way. • To be fair, they are not as many. But they are certainly loud. • Pretty much the way that anti-vaxxers are loud. Despite only three per cent of parents in Greece refusing to vaccinate their children, they are gradually leaving their 'flying-below-theradar' mode and starting to organise a grassroots movement, spreading fears and lies. • Vaccination in Greece is mandatory, in the sense that no child can start school without a certificate of vaccination. However, the law is not updated - and there are no provisions for the - few - doctors who provide parents with false certificates. • The Greek Ministry of Health avoided taking a firm stance on the issue; instead it issued a new directive saying that parents who do not vaccinate their children should have this stated in the new electronic health records. • Yes, that will show them. • Meanwhile, in Italy, the government passed a law that says that antivaxxers will risk losing custody of their children and many in Greece believe that this is an example to be followed. • What about the Medical Association? Well, for the moment, they have other problems to deal with. • Such as anaesthetists on the island of Samos refusing to deliver anesthesia to abortion procedures. • Which proved to be another excellent opportunity for another round of social media wars, between people angrily punching their keyboards, hidden behind their avatar anonymity. • One thing they seemed to agree upon: support for people working in food delivery, who were on strike, demanding better working conditions. • That was a wise choice; you don't mess with the person bringing you pizza. • However, division was also created regarding how best to support them: by not ordering food, thus depriving restaurants from money, or by ordering, thus exasperating restaurant owners who will struggle to deliver? • So, to sum it up, this week the Greeks were divided on: cinema; politics; public health; and pizza. • Not a bad week, Greece, well done.
20 May 2017
3 June 2017