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A World of Shadows

The allegory of the Cave
Some 2,500 years ago, Plato warned us of the invisible chains tying us to a distorted world of deception, ignorance and powerlessness. 
In the beginning of book 7 of The Republic, Plato explains how people chained to the dark floor of a Cave can only look ahead of them. They cannot turn around. There is a lighted fire, a narrow path, and a stone wall behind them. The chained Cave dwellers see shadows of what is going on behind them. Those broken and disorienting images become the truth and reality of their world. 
Some outsiders entered the Cave. They cut the chains of a prisoner in order to enable him to see who manipulated the images behind him. The liberators  then dragged him out of the Cave to the Sun-bathed surface of the land. The exciting challenge, Plato said, was for the enlightened and free Cave dweller to return to the Cave to convince his colleagues to  abandon their dark, imaginary, and distorted world. There was a new world out there. This world wa…
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The Road to Hellas

Tourist Greece
For a tourist, Greece is a dream destination. Here’s a country in the heart of Europe with long history and a civilization second to none. Hellas, the name Greeks-Hellenes know their country, shaped the West and, to some degree, the world. 
Evidence of antiquity is all over Greece, with museums full of beautiful marble and fewer bronze sculpture of mostly naked men, women, heroes, and gods; ceramic pots painted with scenes from everyday life, athletic competition, mythology, and war; and jewelry of gold and silver. 
In Athens, there are two ancient temples still standing: the bombed, looted, gutted and restored Parthenon on the Acropolis, and the temple of Athena and Hephaistos below the Acropolis in the agora-market of ancient Athens.
In other archaeological sites like Olympia in Peloponnesos, there are vast unearthed ruins of a gigantic athletic and religious establishment. Among the excavated buildings, one sees the ruined columns of the Palaistra School. This is where y…

Superstition

A beneficial consequence of studying ancient, medieval, and modern Greek history was my rethinking of Christianity, which ancient Greeks and Romans basically ignored for nearly 400 years.
Fear of the gods, deisidaimonia
The Greeks accused the Christians of deisidaimonia, superstition, because of their fear of the gods. Yet, in the fourth century, the Roman Emperor Constantine made Christianity the state religion. 
Once in power, Christianity revealed its true colors. It set aside its public relations message of “love” and went straight for the jugular. It declared war against all non-Christian “pagans” and, especially, Greeks. With the support of the Roman government, it made the worship of the gods a crime punishable by death.
Destabilizing and destroying millennial traditions was the most revolutionary project in human history. It lasted for several centuries. 
The first genocide in Europe
What the Christians did to the Greeks was the first genocide in European history. Their war against …

My Father's Hidden Weapon

It must have been late 1943 and I was about ten months old. A woman who hated my father told the Germans in the village that my father was hiding a pistol at his house. In the German-occupied Greece of World War II, this was an accusation that could lead to death, indeed the murder of my entire family. 
The Germans surrounded our home. They ordered my mother, two of my sisters, and an aunt to stand against the wall. A couple of soldiers started searching the home for the banned weapon. 
My family lived in the village Valsamata of the island of Cephalonia in the Ionian Sea between Greece and Italy. My peasant father had hidden a gun in the house. 
My oldest sister, Reggina, who was holding me, knew where the gun was located in the second floor of the house. She passed me to my aunt and, unnoticed, she disappeared into the house where, despite the searching Germans, she went straight to the secret place, hid the gun in her clothes, and jumped through the window to freedom with the forbidde…