“The Modern Greek Enlightenment and Revolution” – An original history research paper by rootsnwingz

Historical Background

On the 29th of May 1453, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople, was conquered after a long siege by the Ottoman armed forces, led by the twenty-one-year-old Fatih Sultan Mehmed II. The siege of Constantinople by the Ottomans signified the fall of Byzantium and the end an era, that is its millennium-long reign in the Mediterranean region. In addition, it meant that most of the geographical area that is today known as Greece, fell under Turkish rule.   The Ottoman occupation of Greece lasted for the following four hundred years, a period commonly referred to as Tourkokratia (Τουρκοκρατία) (Cogg C 1992, 3). The Tourkokratia is usually considered an oppressive time, mainly due to the imposition of religious restrictions, heavy, unjust taxation and the practice of Paidomazoma (Παιδομάζωμα) or Janissary levy, which translates from Greek as the gathering of children. This practice refers to the enforced obligation of each and every Christian family to surrender their best looking and most intelligent children to be raised as Muslim; the corps of the Janissaries would then conscript these Greek-in-origin youths and train them to be elite soldiers (Clogg C 1992, 14). Significantly, because of the Paidomazoma, Greeks were forced to fight alongside Turks and, most often, against fellow Christian populations.

However, the outbreak of the Greek Revolution, also known as the Greek War of Independence, did not begin until March 1821, after nearly four hundred year of atrocities, economic decline and oppression. The outbreak is celebrated on March 25th every year by tradition not because the revolution actually began that day. In the 18th and 19th century, we observe in Europe the growth of certain liberal movements, including revolutionary nationalism, Philhellenism and the Diafotismos (Διαφωτισμός), i.e. the modern Greek Enlightenment. Furthermore, in 1814, a secret organization, Philiki Etairia (Φιλική Εταιρεία), is founded. Driven by the ideas of the Enlightenment, the goal of these Greek revolutionaries was to overthrow Turkish rule.

In 1828, following seven years of violent revolts and battles, both on land and at sea, the Ottomans surrendered and were forced out of the Peloponnese and Central Greece. In May 1832, the Convention of London takes place, where Greece is finally recognized by the Great Powers (Russia, France, U.K.) as a free, independent, but monarchical, nation. The Greek Kingdom’s initial territory after the end of the revolution solely included the limited territorial gains of the war. Interestingly, Greece did not have jurisdiction over the entire geographical region it controls today until as late as 1947, that is after World War II.

Introduction of Topic & Methodology

            In a nutshell, my project consists of using primary sources in order: a) to assess to what extent the Diafotismos was an anti-imperial and anti-colonial ideology and b) to gain an in-depth understanding of how the transmission of its radical ideas contributed to the successful Greek uprising and revolution in 1821 against the Ottoman rule. These were my central initial research questions. Therefore, my intention is to take advantage of my knowledge of modern Greek and use the writings of the key intellectuals of the movement, i.e. Adamantios Korais and Rigas Pheraios, with the goal of forwarding my central argument, mainly that the Diafotismos was vital to the Greek uprising. Since there is notable overlap between the Greek Enlightenment and the Philhellenism in Western Europe, I also intend to use the writings of second-generation English Romantic poets, especially Lord Byron. The aim here is to better comprehend the Western powers’ attitude towards Greek nationalists as well as the Turkish rulers. In effect, the literary work of these intellectuals, both the philhellenes and the proponents of the Diafotismos, prepared the grounds for an uprising and influenced the outcome of the revolution. Finally, I will attempt to determine whether one can rightfully speak, in general, of a subaltern, anti-colonial Enlightenment. Secondary sources on the Philiki Etairia and its role are also implemented. Moreover, some secondary sources are used on the humanitarian intervention at the battle of Navarino to better comprehend the Western powers’ a) sympathetic attitude towards Greek nationalists and b) their problems with the Turkish rulers.

Thesis & Original Contribution

Essentially, Greece’s successful revolution was not an isolated event but more of a seven year long process. It can be attributed to numerous anti-imperial factors, both internal (e.g. Philiki Etairia, Diafotismos) and external (e.g. philhellenism, the decline of the Ottoman Empire, military and navy assistance, other European intellectual movements, complex diplomatic relations, etc.). So how important was the Diafotismos really? Would Greece have gained independence regardless? In this essay, I will argue that, as a matter of fact, the Modern Greek Enlightenment’s most important accomplishment and contribution to the War of Independence is that it served as the awakening instrument, which laid down the intellectual foundations for the Greek struggle of independence by exacerbating nationalism and by planting the seed of freedom. Beyond that, other factors led up to the ultimate success of the revolution and Greece’s recognition as an independent nation. In this light, my essay’s original contribution to the subject of Empire is the challenge to the notion of a general anti-imperial European Enlightenment movement, whereas its chief goal is to delineate the roles of philhellenism, Diafotismos and intervention within the framework of the Greek revolution. Continue reading

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Fi Di Youth Dem

Two all new motivational roots reggae tunes caught my attention today: “Get It In Your Head” by Jamaican singers Exco Levi and Romain Virgo and “Generation” by UK / Jamaican MC, Gappy Ranks.  Romain Virgo’s and Exco Levi’s track is a reminder of how important knowledge and education are, while Gappy Ranks tells the story of how he grew as an artist and how he never gave up trying to reach his goals.  Both tracks have that oldschool roots reggae feel; “Generation” is in fact off the upcoming “Old Fashion Riddim” by Kemar “Flava” McGregor, which is a tweaked rendition of the classic “Ba Ba Boom Riddim” aka “Shine & Criss Riddim”.  “Get it in Your Head” is off Exco Levi’s new album “Country Man”, produced by Penthouse Records. Get Your Education and remember Knowledge is Power!

OldFashionRiddim

Video of Aldous Huxley discussing female bosoms !!

Watch the genius philosopher and writer of “Brave New World”, Aldous Huxley, briefly discuss female bosoms from a historical and social / cultural perspective during an interview.  In this rare footage, Huxley makes some insightful and witty points on the subject.   Educational and hilarious at the same time; notice how he’s struggling not to laugh.  I loved how he was smiling good-humoredly as he analyzed the issue…

Can’t believe this only has 100 views on YouTube…

Gingerbread: The History

Interesting and unique article on the history of gingerbread. Excerpt / Amazing Fact: “The first known gingerbread recipe is from Greece 2400 BC.”

Mediterranean diet

Christmas season is always about cheer. Each family has their own way of celebrating. However, christmas cookies are always involved. Many people make ginger bread cookies and houses during this time of year. But do you know why?

gingerbread_man_ahero

The first known gingerbread recipe is from Greece 2400 BC. In the 10th century and middle ages, gingerbread recipes could be found around China and some places in Europe. Monasteries were one of the first places to make this tasty treat. In German, English, Dutch, and French Medieval fairs, gingerbread was shaped like kings, queens, and animals. Festivals came to be known as Gingerbread Fairs because gingerbread was always served. The gingerbread cookies at this time were called ’fairings.’ In the 16th century, it was sold at farmers’ markets and pharmacies. Ginger is thought to have healing properties such as curing a sick stomach. Queen Elizabeth I is credited with the first…

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“Getting to Zero” – No-Maddz with EveForLife and the UN Joint Team on AIDS (New Official Music Video December 2014)

aidsJamaican reggae band and dub poetry group “No-Maddz” present their brand new official music video “Getting to Zero”, directed by Kurt Wright.  A groovy riddim and powerful, touching and educational message on AIDS discrimination in Jamaica and the rest of the world.  A great positive video, released today, World Aids Day, to accompany a great song.  Respect to the youths of No-Maddz for contributing to another important cause by effectively raising awareness and by educating on the social seriousness and reality of AIDS and its prevention.  Watch the music video now and share the good vibes now:

Don’t forget sharing is caring!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No-Maddz
https://www.facebook.com/nomaddzja?ref=stream
http://www.eveforlife.org/
http://www.unaids.org/

“Cannabis: Mesopotamia & Egypt”, essay by Conner North

mesopotamia1
Published by the online magazine INITY, this essay explains how ancient hieroglyphics record the medicinal use of cannabis by ancient civilizations. The well written article presents some very informative and important evidence. Here’s an interesting excerpt:

Mesopotamia (3000 BC) & Egypt (2000 BC)

Trickling from ancient China, cannabis made its way to Mesopotamia and Egypt, and only recently, in the 19th and 20th Centuries, has ancient hieroglyphics been deciphered along with cannabis’ medicinal use. As with the ancient Chinese, Mesopotamians and Egyptians overstood and embraced the significance of natural remedies, including cannabis, and were in harmony with their environment and the cosmos.

Our knowledge of ancient medicine is derived almost exclusively from the great library of clay tablets gathered throughout history. Roughly 30,000 fragments of ancient Mesopotamian and Egyptian clay tablets exist, which may have well numbered over 100,000 when complete.


papyrus
Throughout Mesopotamian tablets and Egyptian scrolls, similar references are made to the medicinal use of cannabis as a remedy for:

Acute pain
Fever
Trench foot/gout/sore feet
Inflammation
Gynecological disorders
Colorectal illness
Serosity
Bacteria

It’s interesting to note some of the ancient medicinal uses of cannabis are the same as today’s conditions that enable eligibility to get a red card (in Colorado and some other states) and become a legal MMJ patient, like acute, or chronic, pain.

While medical technology and philosophy has evolved leaps and bounds and epic discoveries have been made, as we technologically advance, it’s hard to ignore the detachment from the environment and nature that comes with these advancements. Granted, we shouldn’t be heading back to the Stone Age anytime soon, medically speaking, but in retrospect and in comparison to ancients, we have lost touch with naturalness. Plants and other natural elements were used by ancients to combat medical issues that we still face today.

For the full article go to: http://inityweekly.com/mmj-mesopotamia-egypt/

To view an original Assyrian tablet with a translation listing cannabis as a natural remedy for treating bruises and swelling click here: http://antiquecannabisbook.com/chap2B/Assyria/K6261.htm

“Drugs World” Visual Venn Diagram

drugsinfoisbeautiful

Accurate Venn diagram showing and categorizing natural and chemical drugs according to their effects and uses. The simple and self-explanatory design by David McCandless successfully depicts each drug in terms of its effects as a depressant, hallucinogen, stimulant and anti-psychotic. Thus emerges a clear image of the nature of drugs and their effects / uses. I won’t say much more, except look at where cannabis lies on the diagram… How much more in our face could the truth be??!! Could it be that nature provided us with a medicine that is superior to pharmaceuticals? Nah, it couldn’t, could it? 😉

*For those who still don’t get it, the diagram conclusively shows cannabis as the only drug with active ingredients that can cause depressive, hallucinogenic, stimulant and anti-psychotic effects (all 4 types of psychoactive effects). Its medicinal benefits and superiority to pills become evident when we consider the range of uses the plant could therefore have. Moreover, this brings to question the necessity for synthetic pharmaceuticals even existing, when there already is a drug found in nature that covers the entire spectrum of psychoactive effects. What a threat to these corporations’ current profits it would be if there was a scientific consensus on cannabis…

Legalize it!

Visualization of the major causes of death in the 20th century

deathwellcome
In November, two years ago, I was lucky enough to visit the Wellcome Collection in London, UK. The unique exhibition was entitled “Death: A self-portrait – The Richard Harris Collection” and focused on the iconography of death and humanity’s complicated attitudes towards it. From rare paintings, medical documents to scientific specimen and ancient skulls. The first exhibition I visited at the Wellcome Collection was about the brain and was a lot more disturbing than this one, yet I loved it and found it amazing. So I was mentally prepared for what awaited me. Albeit macabre, the exhibits were remarkably interesting and the analysis and explanations provided were very insightful and well-researched. Essentially, the exhibition succeeded in depicting humans’ journey in history to come to terms with and comprehend death.

On the wall of the final exhibit room was the most impressive, in my opinion, piece: a massive visual diagram showing and effectively ranking the major causes of death (counted in millions) in the 20th century. Simply and elegantly designed, this artwork was commissioned by the Wellcome Collection to David McCandless of http://www.informationisbeautiful.net, who created an extremely helpful visualization of greatly significant, very well researched facts and data about death. I particularly appreciated the original statistical information on the leading causes of death and risks in life. Note that diarrhea killed 226 million people in the 20th century, while only 6 million were killed by snake bites. Kind of makes you re-prioritize your fears, doesn’t it? Another good one is that illegal drugs caused 6,5 million deaths, whereas tobacco caused a stunning 100 million deaths in the 20th century alone! Click on the image to see for yourself the diagram in full size and zoom to explore the information easily.

Entrance to the Wellcome Collection is free to the public and its exhibitions are always on topics of extraordinary relevance and interest. For instance, the current exhibition, which I really hope I get a chance to go to, is on the history of the human study and perception of sexuality (on till September 2015).

http://www.wellcomecollection.org/
http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/

“When Britain Loved Rastafari”, by Ras Cos Tafari, Sister Stella Headley, Ras Shango Baku, Dr Robbie Shilliam, Ras Rai I and Sister Addishiwot Asfawosen

Insightful essay on RasTafari, taken from http://www.discoversociety.org, July 2014, Focus Issue 10.

What does the British public know about RasTafari? Perhaps they might recognise the colours – red, gold and green – although they might mistake them for the Jamaican flag instead of the royal Ethiopian standard. The word “stoned” might come to mind, implying the use of a “drug” called Marijuana, which to members of the faith is a holy herb and used as part of a sacramental rite. No doubt they would be able to sing a line from Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds”, while probably being less familiar with the singer’s more political Pan-African oriented songs such as “Africa Unite”.

Older members of the public might also think of the iconic cover of The Clash’s Black Market Clash, where a lone “dread” (Don Letts) confronts a line of police. In this respect, they would be referencing a time before the current Muslim scare when young Black men with dreadlocks occupied the position of public enemy number one as muggers, drug dealers, fanatics and rioters.

clash album cover
It would not be unfair to say that in Britain RasTafari has largely been apprehended as either a colourful curiosity or a corrosive cult. Yet it is neither of these. At its root, RasTafari is a movement of Pan-African redemption, confronting the inequities forged in the days of slavery and colonialism that continue to reverberate across physical, mental and spiritual dimensions. RasTafari take their name from the title that the Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I held as crown prince. Ras is a rank, meaning “head”; Tafari can be glossed from the Amharic as “a person who inspires awe”.

As a movement, RasTafari finds its compass and energy store in a faith (some would call it a “livity”) that centres upon the divine nature of Selassie I and his consort, Empress Menen – the Ethiopian Alpha and Omega. Many observers of the RasTafari movement are captivated by its aesthetics and music. Some will sympathise with the RasTafari ethos. Most, though, will be confused by the overwhelming love demonstrated for Selassie I, which they will interpret as evidence of fanaticism, cultism or the result of harmless recreational smoke.

In fact, RasTafari carefully utilise diverse and complex theological and cosmological traditions to “sight up” the nature of Selassie I’s divinity, expertly weaving together Biblical prophesies, doctrines of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and indigenous cosmologies that arrived with those Africans trafficked illegally across the oceans to work as chattel on plantations.

Hence, for RasTafari, the fundamental challenges posed to humanity in the twentieth century and beyond are manifested in the life, experiences and utterances of Selassie I with Empress Menen. But you do not have to rely on our testimony alone. For there was a time when even the British public loved RasTafari. Step back into this history with us, because we want you to know us better.

Rally around the Red, Gold and Green

It is July 1935 and Mussolini has amassed Italian troops on the frontiers of Ethiopia. After manufacturing a border “incident” the previous year, Mussolini wants to reverse the historic defeat suffered by Italy from the armies of Ethiopian emperor Menelik II at Adwa in 1896. Like all reputable European imperialists, he is determined to stake out his own place in the sun – the horn of Africa. And he has already taken Eritrea and Italian Somaliland.

Click here to continue reading.

“How Playing an Instrument Benefits Your Brain” – Anita Collins. A must watch for music & neuroscience enthusiasts.

Excellent animated lesson from TED-Ed.  The animation by Sharon Coman Graham is very cool and the narration by Addison Anderson really makes the lesson easy to follow, even for people who are unfamiliar with neuroscience and music terminology.  Highly recommended.

“Jungle” by Janine “Jah9” Cunningham

Jah9 is one of Jamaica’s top female reggae artists today, characterized by her always conscious and inspiring lyrics and, of course, her beautiful, powerful voice.  This is the official video to the track “Jungle” off her debut album, “New Name”.  The piece, my personal favourite, highlights life’s unfair hardships, corruption, contemporary social conflicts and problems, never giving up, securing the youth’s future and education as the solution.  The message is universal and oh so inspiring.  A big tune to help us move forward in this time. The video, directed by El & Sameel Kush-I, is particularly well made.  Realistic, beautiful, vivid and emotion/thought provoking.  Give thanks to all those involved in this project for delivering such a motivational message.  A lot more greatness can be expected to come by Jah9 in the upcoming years.  Note the quote at the end of the video…