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Τετάρτη, 4 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

THE ONLY WAY - Speech given by Mikis Theodorakis at the Academy of Athens honorary member acceptance ceremony (Tuesday, December 3, 2013)


THE ONLY WAY

Speech given by Mikis Theodorakis at the Academy of Athens honorary member acceptance ceremony (Tuesday, December 3, 2013)

Mr. President of the Academy of Athens,
Mr. Secretary General of the Academy of Athens,
Ladies and Gentlemen Members of the Academy,
Ladies and gentlemen,

First of all I would like to thank Mr. President and Mr. Secretary General from the bottom of my heart for their words, as well as all members of the Academy for the great honor of giving me the opportunity to speak from the podium of the Supreme Intellectual Foundation of Greece, the Academy of Athens.
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Mr. President, when -years ago- we cooperated for the “Libation Bearers”, trying to interpret Aeschylus’ grim verses speaking of "trouble inbred in the race", "sorrows lamentable and grievous", "bleeding wound", "endless pain", "one ruin brought upon another", we could not have imagined that today, after so many years, these lines would be so tragically appropriate.
It is perhaps for this precise reason that we must not mourn for the situation in which we find ourselves; on the contrary, as heirs of a unique Civilization, we are morally obligated to constantly seek for the perspective, the Vision.
Many people will surely wonder about my presence here today at the Academy of Athens, mainly due to my advanced age. For exceptional events we usually use an easy word, the word "coincidence".
But, deep inside, I am aware that celestial and chthonic powers have conspired in order to give me the opportunity to speak out a single word that you will hear later on, a keyword leading from Chaos to Harmony .
To capture the magnitude and importance of Greece, I think one must try to look at it timelessly, in cosmogonic dimensions under a historical perspective.

With our country shattered into pieces, especially nowadays beyond all limits, we are steadily led to becoming a nation without a Homeland. Just like a leaf cut from the trunk of a tree, at the mercy of the winds’ wrath.
For this reason, for it to assume the weight and form of INTEGRAL Greece within us, the word that will be spoken requires a gigantic effort on the part of all our fellow citizens to become worthy of this Integral Greece, before it's too late. Before we cross the red line of no return.
Allow me, instead of a typical speech, to submit a proposal, which I believe lies within the framework of an Intellectual Guide, as is the Academy of Athens, exponent of our national conscience and protector of our people and our country’s interests.
My proposal sums up in a single word: NEUTRALITY. And one Vision: for Greece to become the Switzerland of Civilization and Peace. Using as symbols the Acropolis of Athens, a universal symbol of Civilization, Olympia and Delphi, universal symbols of brotherhood between Peoples and Peace.
I believe that the time has come for the international community to actively recognize the historic role of Greece in the formation of the World and more specifically the Western Civilization, as well as the contribution and sacrifices of our people on the altar of Freedom.
Apart from everything else, the international status of neutrality will complete the vision of the 1821 Revolution, a fight for the conquest of Freedom, without however achieving the conquest of full National Independence. Freedom is to overthrow the foreign yoke. Independence is getting rid of the catalytic involvement of foreigners in the country’s internal affairs.
Just like every individual, a nation can only be complete by becoming a group of citizens who act responsibly on every major issue concerning the people and the country.
Responsible means Free to decide and co-decide with fellow citizens for all problems that make up life and free pace of the country.
Especially as regards intellectual creation, the sense of freedom and responsibility is a prerequisite for people of intellect to face current challenges. Thus, with the free will and responsible attitude of a country's citizens towards those two areas of everyday life and intellectual creativity, free nations move on leaving their particular historical footprint in the cycle of civilized nations. Such an era was the golden age of Pericles, whose intellectual and artistic imprints remain thereafter unique and unmatched.
I believe that the fact that the Freedom delivered to us by the fighters of 1821 failed for almost two centuries to be coupled with the acquisition of full Independence has rendered our people crippled, unable to exploit and illustrate not only our natural wealth but mainly the human one, in the critical areas of Society and the Spirit. For this reason, I agree with the poet Nikos Gatsos, who says that modern Greece was formed out of its exceptions. 
 I can identify two key elements in the formation of the Greeks. The first one is the impact of the landscape with its unique Beauty. The second is the feeling of independence, innate in everyone, since everyone came from races developed for centuries in absolute independence.
It is this Infinite, Divine Beauty that as a magnet attracts conquest or control of this sacred in every respect land. The second magnet is its geopolitical importance, which in a barbarous world as the one created by powerful conquering forces in every era, the position of our country is among the very first vital ones for defense or attack of the forces involved.
In this way, divine Blessing turns into divine curse. And at this point exactly lies my suggestion to gain the right to neutrality, because it constitutes the only way to disengage the country from the rivalries of today's great powers that do not treat us as a free country and a free people but as an area of strategic interest. As a huge military base, friendly to ones and hostile to others.
Unfortunately these rivalries between the great powers never stopped throughout the course of modern history, from 1821 to today. Our strategic position has been leading one or the other great power (who wanted to protect its strategic interests) to have a stranglehold on our national life, hindering substantially our rights of responsibility and decision on vital sectors of our lives, even in periods of parliamentary democracy like today. Sectors such as Defense, Diplomacy, Economics, Politics which were and still are the most important and sensitive affairs by which the orientation of a country is determined.  
Apart from the strategic importance, we must not underestimate the power and magnetic attraction of the Natural Wealth of our country.
A historian, based on these three national magnets, namely geostrategic position, Natural Wealth and Unique Beauty, can properly interpret the causes that have led us to all great disasters and continuous underdevelopment, in which we have been forced to live for centuries, as economic and social development require the citizens to act of their own free will under conditions of full National Independence.
Our historical and cultural tradition is distinguished by the attachment of Greeks to the values ​​of Freedom and Independence, as well as the safeguarding of human rights. Throughout these two centuries of our national independence, all our national struggles have aimed at the protection of our national, social and fundamental rights. Marked with the struggle for Freedom and against Violence. Nowadays, we experience a period of general decline. The great scientific discoveries that initiate the transition to an electronic era that would normally help mankind make giant footsteps towards progress and prosperity, have turned into weapons of oppression and obscurantism in the hands of an insignificant universal minority, that uses them against people and societies, in order to achieve astronomical financial profits, thus resulting in a new type of global power, oppressive, cruel, obscurantist and inhuman. 
 Along with this unprecedented and extremely dangerous to all nations economic power, an informal and unprecedented Club has been created among nations - giants, which base a large part of their economic and social development on their arms industries, making it necessary to conduct wars and all kinds of armed conflict, in order to secure their expansionist aims.
As it turns out, the thirst of the international center of financial accumulation is as insatiable as compelling are the needs of the six financial giants, thus resulting in not distinguishing among their victims; all nations in this case!
The difference between the aggressive tactics of the two centers is that the former is based on the overall financial attack against nations and Societies, resulting in the impoverishment of people and the devastation of the countries, whereas the latter one results in mass death and total destruction of nations and countries.
Ultimately, the quality difference between these two aggressive international centers is the following: the first one is driven by an impersonal and informal multinational financial center. The second one presents a significant and unprecedented particularity concerning the existence, function, character and deeply hidden consequences in forming a new psychology and mentality, not only for capitalist and national authoritarian centers but for entire nations. This fact changes fundamentally the analysis and understanding of totally new factors in shaping international developments. I am referring to the existence and operation of the arms industry and through this, to colossal financial profits obtained by this trade of black death, similar to those obtained by the trade of white death.
We are told that the profits from sales of arms are more direct and substantial.
Has it ever occurred to all these States-Arms Dealers to convert the arms industry to a Peace Industry? Profits may not be so immediate or so great, but don’t they consider that in this way they will save hundreds of millions of our fellow citizens from underdevelopment, hunger and death? 
I wonder why all these rich and civilized nations did not bother to even think about the possibility of a Peace industry and a Peace trade? Is it just an economic calculation or is it something deeper? Does having an arms industry mean, besides the financial profit, that you are in a position to produce violence and, mainly, maintain colossal forces of military destruction? Thus belonging to the club of carnivores, the strong and wild ones? Closer to the wild instincts, those that give greater, it seems, pleasure when satisfied, rather than intellectual radiation and humanity do, which consider man a creator of life and not an instrument of death? I wonder why up to now the international Index of sinner countries, like Colombia, which produce and export white death, doesn’t also include those countries who create and export black death. Especially since the victims of the first category are individuals, while of the second one entire countries and nations...  
There is also another huge and unprecedented difference between the traders of White and Black death. The ones responsible for White death are a few hundred mobsters, while for Black Death the responsible ones are the Heads of States and Governments, given that the arms industry is an important factor to ensure their power. So we have reached absurdity; the wealth of a nation to depend not only on the misery of others, but the impoverishment, the burnout and even the destruction of others...
In short, I believe that we have already entered a whole new international era, much more dangerous, even for the existence of peoples and nations to date. 
So the question that inevitably arises before us is "What do we do?". How will we escape as a People and a Nation from the intensity and fury of these two forces of evil that threaten us? My answer is summed up in a single word: NEUTRALITY.
Above all, we should not have any illusions. Today all peoples are divided into two camps. One is of potential offenders and the other of potential victims. As far as we are concerned, we are certainly aware in which camp we belong. Besides, our victimization by one Evil Demon has already begun and is in full swing.
We must also understand that in this new formation of the international scenery no nation is shielded and nobody can have friends; and we of course are no exception. No friends exist nor are there any alliances such as the "Atlantic" or the "European alliance." Besides, we see today the form of alliances in Europe with peoples of A and B category. Rich and poor. The ones who give orders and the ones who execute orders. The ones repressing and the ones being repressed. And all this, concerning the one claw of Evil. Economy. As for the other one, war, danger wanders, like a hungry wolf, for decades in our neighborhood. Balkans and the Middle East, all countries and peoples should be counted as future victims.
There must, therefore, exist a way out for us, as soon as possible. And the way out is one and only: Neutrality. Naturally, it isn’t easy. But it is very probable. And that, as I said, thanks to our history and the struggles and sacrifices of the Greek people for Freedom, especially during World War II.
To make my proposal more understandable, I set as the ideal goal for our country to become one day the Switzerland of Peace and Culture.    
 I believe that the three greatest Ideas of Humanity, namely Sport, Peace and Civilization remain fresh and relevant and originate from Greece. Nowadays, the only cases of togetherness of People are Sports and Art. Coincidentally, these three Ideas are the only counterweight to the two major diseases of our time: the trade of the black death and social impoverishment. With common denominator the accumulation of wealth from the exploitation and death of innocent people and nations.       
It is no coincidence that in antiquity Delphi was considered as the navel of the Earth. There, as is well known, Apollo and Dionysus were equally worshipped; the rational and transcendental spirit, that is, the elements that if and when balanced result in the production of culture.
Nowadays, rationality dominates; the key element of both capitalism and marxism. That is why the era of supremacy of the former one in the West and the latter one in the East that peaked from the second half of the 20th century onwards, has been the worst era of humanity, in the field of culture. It created one-dimensional people and societies, annihilated intellectual creation and Art and drained peoples’ souls. Nowadays, we experience the culmination of this era, that has gone so far as to unite in the International Club of the forces that produce and export the Black Death. While, as far as economy is concerned, money has become a fetish, a religion, with all the features of ice age primitive barbarism. 
Delphi acquire therefore a new meaning of historical importance as it symbolizes the need for the alignment of people, societies and nations, balancing between the extremes of rationalism and the need to bring back transcendence and magic into people's lives through art and the inspirational lifting of nations and people. With international Peace and national Civilization as pedestals.
The reopening of Delphi as a worldwide Symbol of Peace will thus receive its true dimensions, as it will contribute to the consolidation of Peace the vision of uniting two symbols, Apollo and Dionysus as the underlying reason for the defense and consolidation of world peace; the precondition for building the multidimensional human being.
Armed with material wealth on one hand and intellectual culture on the other, which national Independence in the framework of neutrality will offer to us, we can achieve not only the institutional operation of Delphi, but also, by raising Peace to the level of a new universal religion , to remind people of their debt towards the donation of Life.
Neutral Greece will become at the same time the cradle of world civilization. It is not enough for a nation, a people, to create their own civilization. Especially nowadays, when distances have been eliminated, it is not rational for civilizations to remain closed within national borders or for civilizations of only rich nations to become known. Even the smallest country can contribute to the continuous progress of Civilization and Art, whose role is to express modern man, to trace the future and preserve tradition.        
Neutral Greece will grant each nation, if they so wish, the appropriate place, so that the intellectual and artistic achievements, traditional and contemporary, can be presented.       
The great geological specificity and variety of the country with its islands, mountains, plains and especially the many historic sites - monuments will help different civilizations exist in different places, while constituting at the same time a unique section.
Each state will build in the place granted everything they consider necessary for the promotion of their civilization. Concert Halls. Operas, Theaters, Libraries, Amphitheaters, Restaurants, even Hostels e.t.c. They will have the opportunity to organize large annual Festivals and have a daily presence - activity.
UNESCO, due to its mission, should be based in Greece. If not , it should have a permanent active delegation, which along with local agencies will coordinate all individual programs, so that visitors will have at their disposal a map with the programs of all Member- Nations.
International festivals, consultations, exhibitions and Festivals of Spirit, Science and Arts, will be organized in the ancient theaters of Athens, Epidaurus, Delphi, Dodoni, Dion and Philippi. At the same time, all unique monuments of the ancient Greek, Byzantine and modern era will be promoted.
Lastly, the annual declaration of an island as a global youth meeting point. An international central service, consisting exclusively of young people of all countries, will decide on the planning of each Youth- Island, aiming at entertainment, recreation, sports but also at the deeper understanding between girls and boys around the world.
I believe this is the true historic role of a country like ours, with the wealth it possesses in terms of history, struggles for freedom and Art, in combination with the divine beauty of Greek nature.
The Greek people, without burdens and anxiety, free and independent, will wholeheartedly devote to an ideal, Peace, and an effort, Civilization, both of which I believe are in their blood. They fully express, mobilize and render the Greek people an ideal host.
Freedom, Independence, Peace, International Solidarity, Civilization and Hospitality constitute the key elements of our historic tradition, our national education and our individual character. 
I urge the Academy of Athens and ask of its members to study this proposal. I am certain that if you choose to accept it, the great prestige of the Academy of Athens will surely move, delight and convince the international public opinion, which in turn will affect the UN, who is solely competent for taking such a historically significant decision.
That's all I had to tell you and I thank you for listening.
          Thank you.

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