Through history ordinary people in all cultures realized that among the “tools” the powerful used to subjugate them was the one expressed by the phrase: “Divide and rule”. The Romans were proud of this “ingenious” tool which they expressed in their language as:
“Divide et impera”. Notice that the word “impera” derives from the same root as imperialism, empire, etc. Of the empires that followed the Roman Empire one of the most important ones was the British Empire. A minor example of the application of the “divide and rule” canon by the British is that of Greece. For the first half of the twentieth century the British kept the Greeks divided by splitting them into “royalists” and “anti-royalists”. Even up to 1975 about 35% of the Greeks were royalists.
The divisive task of empires is made relatively easy through the generous help of religion. The latest empire, the US, has repeatedly used religious fanatics to divide a population and neutralize any secular socially progressive movements, e.g., Hamas in Palestine, Kosovo in Yugoslavia, etc. Even inside the US does not the religious fundamentalist part of the population rule? Having the God-given mandate to save the nation from the “Liberals”?
Let us examine some more cases of the application of the “divide and rule” canon.
A few weeks ago (on March 17, ’04) the Albanians of Kosovo (Muslims) attacked the Serbs of Kosovo (Orthodox Christians). The violence started after two Albanian children drowned in a river allegedly chased into the water by local Serbs. After killing some Serbs the Albanians attacked the “important” Serbian targets: their Orthodox churches.
Now the Orthodox Churches in Kosovo are under the protection of the (Christian Orthodox) Greek “peacekeepers” who are part of the international NATO peacekeeping force (KFOR). KFOR, as expected, is under the command of the US military. So, about 1,000 Albanians attacked an Orthodox church guarded by 15 Greek (professional) soldiers. The Greeks retreated into the church, while the Albanians were threatening to attack them.
Then, lo and behold, out of heaven arrive the American saviors, in helicopters, to rescue their Greek (proxy) “peacekeepers”. The Albanians on sight of their American “patrons” retreat and let the Greeks escape. However, the Albanians had a sacred task to complete: they went on and burned about 30 Orthodox Christian churches and 286 Serbian houses. The Serbs retaliated by burning a few mosques in Serbia.
For several days the Greek media (especially the state and the private TV channels) saturated their public with news about the “heroic” Greek soldiers guarding the sacred Orthodox Christian churches, etc, etc. This reporting reached its nauseating peak with the continuous broadcasting of the news that a Greek lieutenant was “injured” when his left cheek was singed by the spill of a Molotov cocktail, thrown by the Albanians.. The photo of the lieutenant, a rather “austere” young man, was shown repeatedly, followed by interviews with his relatives in his home village.
The story is repeated again and again: The US taxpayers finance the US President to play “emperor”. The Greek ( The British, the Spanish, the Italian, etc) taxpayers are financing their military to play “proxy” to the emperor and so on. Is it not rational for the ordinary Americans to ask: For what purpose does the American President use the canon of “divide and rule” in Kosovo? What is the moral, economic, political, or other benefit from arming and empowering the UCK murderous thugs in Kosovo (as the US Presidents did with Nazi collaborators, Osama bin Laden, Hamas, etc for the last 60 years), that kill people, burn their houses and their churches, and also are in the drug-trafficking business?
The conventional wisdom wants the empires to rise and fall. But that is not a law of nature. Why should America “fall”? Why should there be an American Empire which is destined to fall? Why should not the American population live in peace with the other peoples of the world? The outcome is in the hands of these same ordinary Americans. The events in Iraq present an apt chance for the ordinary Americans to stand up and be counted.
The Greek parliamentary elections took place on March 7, 2004. In these national elections the Greeks vote to elect 300 deputies to the Parliament. The party with the majority of the votes forms a government and the leader of the party becomes the Prime Minister of the country.
There are essentially four political parties in Greece: 1. The rightist New Democracy (ND), 2.The socialist PASOK, 3. The orthodox Communist Party of Greece (KKE), and 4. The eurocommunist Coalition of the Radical Left.
For about 36 years (1945-1981) the rightist party under various names (New Democracy being its latest one) had been the US-approved governing party in Greece. (From 1967 to 1974 the Right was allowed by the Emperor to rule as a dictatorship). Then, in 1981 the Emperor decided that a new set of elites were needed in Greece so as to split the population in two, while both parts of the divided population would be US-controlled through the respective parties.
The man that initiated the process of the creation of the new elite was Andreas Papandreou, a US-bred politician, who had formed the “socialist” party of PASOK. Papandreou recruited mostly young “progressive” people to form the core of party leaders. PASOK ruled Greece for almost 20 years up to March 7, 2004. The primary tool used by PASOK to divide the people was the granting of benefits (economic, etc) to the PASOK supporters, excluding the rest of the people. The leaders of PASOK became the new elite (mostly economically). And, as expected, they became more servile to the US Emperor than even the rightists of yore.
To grasp the magnitude of corruption and arrogance of the PASOK people one has only to note how some anarchists voted in this election. Normally, anarchists do not give a damn about elections. However, this time some of them voted for the rightist New Democracy, the party whose predecessors tortured and imprisoned leftists for decades, in order to drive away the PASOK gang. It was not voting for Kerry to drive out Bush, it was infinitely more hard for an anarchist to vote for the (specific) Greek Right. Finally, the corrupt PASOK was driven out. The election results: ND 45.37 %, PASOK 40.55 %, KKE 5.89 %, and Coalition 3.26 %.
Of course, punishing the obnoxious PASOK gang was a momentary relief for the Greeks. The Emperor is still there. As a matter of fact, the US Ambassador has been working overtime visiting (to oversee) the members of the new government.
As it often happens in the politics of the Christian West, religion is a significant factor in elections, especially in the cases where the “divisive canon” is applicable. In the ZNet Commentary “The Archbishop”, of March 16, 2001, I wrote about the political ambitions of the then newly elected Archbishop Christodoulos of Greece.
The Archbishop (who chose as his “professional” name that of Christodoulos, i.e. “Slave of Christ” in Greek) since 2001 has declared a “holy war” in order to retain the designation of the religious belief of the bearer on the ID cards of the Greeks, in violation of a European Union directive. He called for a “referendum” and claims that more than 2.5 million Greeks agree with him.
During the election Christodoulos instructed his 2.5 million Christian followers to vote for New Democracy. Therefore, the conclusion is that ND won the elections because of Christodoulos help. So it is only natural that he considers himself the “winner” of the elections and expects to share the power of governing the Greeks.
All these would be simply ridiculous. But Christodoulos is an extreme rightist who is a product of the 1967 dictatorship. When asked why he did not react when the Greeks were tortured by the dictators he answered that he did not know about the tortured as he was absorbed in his theological studies. The fact he is not that bright does not mean that he is not dangerous, especially under the guidance of the Emperor.
In 2000 I was asked to write an article on the case of Cyprus. This is the final paragraph of that article:
“If the Greek and Turkish proxies of the U.S. leave the island of Cyprus and the Cypriots to themselves, they will be able to live together in an undivided and independent country. All that is needed is a phone call from Clinton.” (Covert Action Quarterly, Spring-Summer 2000, p.46).
It seems that the phone call was made by Bush the Second. Of course, the phone call dictates terms that are consistent with the US interests. The Cypriots, Greeks and Turks, are forced to decide in an April 24, 2004 referendum whether they accept the terms of the Emperor. My estimate is that the result of the referendum will be to accept the terms. A rather similar case was that of the Nicaraguan elections: either you vote for the US candidate and against the Sandinistas or…else. The Cypriots (Greeks and Turks) know that non-acceptance of the terms means more pain in the future.
What is infuriating in this recent mobility around the Cyprus case is the complete lack of discussion of the facts that brought about the Cyprus problem. There is no mention of the three Greeks that were used by the US to create the problem that lasted for 30 years or of the Turkish military that were (and are?) an arm of the US Pentagon.
There is no mention of the murderous Nazi collaborator, the Greek George Grivas, who was assigned by the Americans the task of provoking the Turkish invasion by spilling the blood of Turkish Cypriots.
There is no mention of the semi-literate, sadistic and fervent Greek “patriot”, Nikos Sampson, Grivas’ hatchet man, who enjoyed killing Turks, or any other form of life, whom the Americans appointed as President (!!!) of Cyprus, before the Turkish invasion.
There is little mention of Ioannidis, the Greek dictator and master torturer, who followed Henry Kissinger’s instructions to hand over part of Cyprus to the Turks, thus creating the Cyprus problem.
There is little mention of the role of the Turkish military who have been doing the (very) dirty work for their US patrons for more than half a century after WW II. Cyprus being a minor case compared to the genocidal acts against the Kurds.
As bad as all the above are, it seems that the outcome in Iraq, the most “promising” recent case for the application by the US of the “Divide and rule” canon, will be infinitely more bloody and more immoral. Which means one more Nuremberg for the perpetrators of the atrocity.