Home' Greymouth Star : November 29th 2014 Contents G
Katerina Peristeri dug in
obscurity for years before
unearthing a marble
tomb from the time of
Alexander the Great — a
find that has brought her instant fame.
In a land with one of the world’s richest
cultural heritages, archaeologists rarely
receive much public notice. Yet Peristeri has
become the face of the Amphipolis crypt, a
2300-year-old sepulchre beneath the sandy
hills of northern Greece. She has received
three Greek awards in the past month
“I’m just a simple archaeologist, doing my
duty,” she beamed at one prize ceremony.
At another, she joined a choir in a rousing
ode to Alexander’s homeland.
The tomb may be the last resting place
of Alexander’s wife Roxane, his mother
Olympias, or one of his generals, according
to competing theories. But the speculation
is not the only thing fuelling Peristeri’s
After six years of economic crisis, political
tumult and a humiliating international
bailout, Greeks are desperate for heroes
and Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s
government is eager for some good news.
“It revives Greeks’ hopes that despite
their big struggle to survive there is a ‘holy
grail’ that will reconnect them to a period
of glory and power,” Christos Kechagias, a
sociologist who teaches at the University of
Athens, said. “In times of crisis, people have
the chance to redefine their identity.”
The popular television programme
Anatropi, normally a political talk-show,
has twice devoted its entire two-hour
segment to the excavation. In a front-page
spread, the Espresso tabloid suggested the
identity of the tomb’s mysterious resident
could be divined with methods taken from
the novels of Dan Brown. The answer,
it said, lay in a painting by Renaissance
master Giovanni Antonio Bazzi depicting
Greek broadcasters have been transfixed
by discoveries from the tomb — a
pebble mosaic showing the abduction of
Persephone; two sculpted Caryatid figures;
skeletal remains in a limestone grave that
are now being analysed for identification.
“It ’s very unusual to have play-by-play
coverage of archaeological work,” David
Rupp, a classical archaeologist and director
of the Canadian Institute in Greece,
said. “It’s almost become like a reality tv
Samaras has frequently highlighted
the tomb in his speeches. With his wife
Georgia, he toured the site in August,
walking along the marble wall that rings
the tomb. He then stood before the tomb’s
entrance guarded by headless sphinxes to
announce a “significant discovery” that
makes “all Greeks proud ”.
Stories on the Amphipolis tomb sell like
hot koulouri, or pretzels, the Kathimerini
newspaper said. “It has unfolded in
a thrilling way, never before has an
archaeological excavation been unveiled
this way,” Culture Minister Constantinos
Tassoulas told Greek television.
The opposition has criticised Samaras —
whose government gives all announcements
related to the tomb — for trying to make
political capital from the discovery.
“Amphipolis is not the place for political
games,” Panos Skourletis, spokesman for
the opposition Syriza party, said.
Despina Koutsoumba, an archaeologist
who belongs to the small, anti-
capitalist Antarsya party, says Samaras
is using Amphipolis to hide cutbacks
at archaeological and other sites: “ They
highlight Amphipolis to cover up the
A legion of tomb-related cartoons have
emerged — one shows Samaras urging
archaeologists to identify the deceased in
order to make him pay a new property
tax; another shows economists digging
at Amphipolis in an effort to find elusive
growth. And some say that an excavation is
not going to lift the fortunes of a country
where over one in four is unemployed and
household income has fallen by a third
since the crisis began.
“The truth is we would all like this to
be something big,” Garifallia Dedes, 40,
a psychologist, said. “But ultimately it ’s
nothing more than an important discovery
that brightens our grey days.”
At Amphipolis, there are hopes the
discovery will help the region prosper. The
museum that attracted about five visitors
each weekend now gets up to 2000, says
Anna Panagiotarea, spokeswoman for the
excavations. Buses packed with tourists and
school groups arrive at the site even though
it is not open to visitors.
Thessaloniki channel TV 100’s audience
jumps from 3% to about 24% of viewers
when a regular half-hour bulletin on
Amphipolis is broadcast, she adds.
“Readers feel uplifted as a nation — this
news boosts their confidence,” Michalis
Alexandridis, director of popular northern
papers Makedonia and Thessaloniki, said.
Peristeri, the archaeologist, is glad the
tomb “reminds the world of Greece’s
cultural contribution”, but she plays down
the fuss. “ The excavation has not changed
my life,” she said through a spokeswoman,
declining to be interviewed.
“This is scientific work I’ve been doing for
35 years.” — Reuters
“ We will not be cowed by these sick
terrorists,” British Prime Minister David
Cameron said after Islamic State (IS)
produced a grisly video of the mass
beheading of Syrian captives by foreign
jihadis who allegedly included British
“ We will not be intimidated,” Canadian
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said
after the recent attacks in Montreal and
Ottawa. As if the purpose of terrorist
attacks in western countries was to cow
and intimidate them.
You hear this sort of rhetoric from
western leaders all the time, but Harper
went further, and demonstrated exactly
how they get it wrong.
“(This) will lead us to ... redouble our
efforts to work with our allies around
the world and fight against the terrorist
organisations who brutalise those in
other countries with the hope of bringing
their savagery to our shores. They will
have no safe haven.” Sound familiar?
Sure enough, there are now half a
dozen Canadian planes bombing IS
jihadis in Iraq (although it is unlikely
that either of the Canadian attackers,
both converts to radical Islam, had
any contact with foreign terrorist
organisations). But Harper has got the
logic completely backwards.
The purpose of major terrorist activities
directed at the west, from the 9-11
attacks to IS videos, is not to “cow ” or
“intimidate” western countries. It is to
get those countries to bomb Muslim
countries or, better yet, invade them.
The terrorists want to come to power
in Muslim countries, not in Canada or
Britain or the US. And the best way to
establish your revolutionary credentials
and recruit local supporters is to get the
west to attack you.
That is what Osama bin Laden wanted
in 2001 (he hoped for an American
invasion of Afghanistan, but he got an
unexpected bonus in the US invasion of
The IS videos of western hostages being
beheaded are intended to get western
countries involved in the fight against
them, because that is how you build local
support. So far, the strategy is working
The “Global Terrorism Index”,
published annually by the Institute for
Economics and Peace, reported last
week that fatalities due to terrorism have
risen fivefold in the 13 years since the
9-11 attacks, despite the US-led “war on
terror” that has spent $US4.4 trillion on
the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and
anti-terrorist operations elsewhere. But
it is not really “despite” those wars. It is
largely because of them.
The invasions, the drone strikes in
Pakistan, Yemen and Africa, the whole
lumbering apparatus of the “global war
on terrorism” have not killed the terrorist
beast. They have fed it, and the beast has
grown very large — 3361 people were
killed by terrorism in 2000; 17,958 were
killed by it last year.
At least 80% of these people were
Muslims, and the vast majority of those
who killed them were also Muslims:
the terrorists of IS in Iraq and Syria,
Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Taliban in
Afghanistan and Pakistan, and al Qaeda
and its offspring in other parts of the
world (like al-Shebab in north-east
That is not to say that terrorism is
a particularly Muslim technique. Its
historical roots lie in European struggles
against oppressive regimes in the late
19th and early 20th centuries, and it
gained huge currency in liberation
struggles against the European colonial
empires after World War Two. Even
the Stern Gang in Israel and the Irish
Republican Army can be seen as part of
Later waves of fashion in terrorism
included the European, Latin American
and Japanese “urban terrorist ”
movements of the 1970s and 1980s —
Baader-Meinhof Gang in Germany,
Red Brigades in Italy, Montoneros in
Argentina, Japanese Red Army and so
on — none of which has any political
success at all. Specifically “Islamic”
terrorism really begins only in the 1990s,
with the rise of radical, anachronistic
forms of Sunni Islam.
Only about 5% of the victims of
this latest wave of terrorism lived in
developed countries, but it was their
deaths, and their governments’ ignorant
responses to them, that provided the
fuel for the spectacular growth of jihadi
extremism. So what can be done about it?
The Global Terrorism Index has some
useful observations to offer about that,
too. It points out that a great many
terrorist organisations have actually gone
out of business in the past 45 years. Only
10% of them actually won, took power,
and disbanded their terrorist wings. And
only 7% were eliminated by the direct
application of military force.
A total of 80% of them were ended
by a combination of better policing and
the creation of a political process that
addressed the grievances of those who
supported the terrorism. You do not
fix the problem by fighting poverty or
raising educational levels; that kind of
thing has almost nothing to do with the
rise of terrorism. You have to deal with
the particular grievances that obsess
specific ethnic, religious or political
And above all, keep foreigners out of
the process. Their interventions always
make matters worse. Which is why the
terrorists love them so much.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
4 - Saturday, November 29, 2014
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and — except for e-mails — your signature. Noms
de plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
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reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are offensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
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uLetters to the editor
1580 - Sir Francis Drake returns to England
from circumnavigating the globe.
1922 - Archaeologists announce they have
found fabulous treasures in the tomb of
Tutankhamen in Egypt.
1945 - Communist state is proclaimed in
Yugoslavia, and monarchy is abolished.
1961 - Enos the chimp is launched
from Cape Canaveral aboard the
Mercury-Atlas 5 spacecraft, which
orbits Earth twice before returning.
1973 - More than 100 people
perish in a department store fire in
1981 - US actress Natalie Wood
drowns after a yacht party.
1987 - A Korean Air jet with 115 people on
board disappears over Burma. A North Korean
agent is arrested in Bahrain and confesses to
planting a bomb on her government ’s orders to
disrupt the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
2000 - The general manager of a Greek
shipping company leaps to his death two
months after a ferry he owned smashed into
rocks in the Aegean Sea, killing 80 passengers.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Giovanni Bellini, Italian artist (1426-1516);
Gaetano Donizetti, Italian opera composer
(1797-1848); Christian Doppler, Austrian
physicist (1803-1853); Louisa May
Alcott, US author (1832-1888);
Jacques Chirac, French politician
(1932-); Janet Holmes a Court,
Australian businesswoman (1943-);
Brian Cadd, Australian composer
(1946-); Jackie French, Australian
children’s author (1953-); Steve
Rogers, Australian rugby league
player (1954-2006); Kim Delaney, US actress
(1961-); Tom Sizemore, US actor (1961-); Don
Cheadle, US actor (1964-); Ryan Giggs, Welsh
“A conference is a meeting to decide where the
next meeting will take place.” — Anonymous.
“ Whoever does not love does not know God,
because God is love.” — 1 John 4:8.
himself, a 37-year-old
miner dragged his
from certain death in the depths of Dobson
State mine yeaterday afternoon. Resting and
recovered now between the white sheets of a
hospital bed, the man very lucky to still be alive
today is Bob D umelow.
The 35-year-old Sinnott Road resident owes
his life to three things: luck, the reaction of
Taylorville’s Walter Campbell — and the
toughness of a miner’s safety helmet.
Wood and water combined to give Mr
Dumelow his brush with death in the colliery
yesterday. With a sudden rush which caught the
two back shift workers completely unawares,
a huge prop plunged through the darkness. It
toppled a distance of 14ft, striking both men on
their helmeted heads.
Mr Dumelow was hit harder. The blow split
his helmet and he collapsed face first into a pool
of dirty water. But Mr Campbell came to after a
short period to hear his mate making a gurgling
noise. He staggered over to drag him clear of the
water before lapsing back into unconsciousness.
Mr Dumelow recovered and shouted for
help. Others were quickly on the scene to give
A 29-year-old Kowhitirangi man told a
Greymouth Supreme Court jury this morning
that he had had his hand caught in a stone-
crushing machine for up to 15 minutes before it
was finally pulled out.
Martin Peter Nolan is claiming general
damages amounting to £6500 against David
Henry Pearson, of Hokitika, for operating
an unsafe machine. The accident occurred at
Whataroa on August 6, 1963.
uFood for thought
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Sunday marks the beginning of Advent in
the Christian calendar.
This is the period in which Christians
are to prepare for celebrating the coming
of Jesus by looking back to His birth in
Bethlehem and also by looking forward
in anticipation to His coming again in the
Yet this season, as we are all too aware, is
extremely busy as we prepare for Christmas
and all that happens at this time of the year.
With this business many will find it
difficult to have enough time to look back
and effectively reflect on the first coming
of Jesus. Even with all the images of that
first Christmas on cards, wrapping paper,
advertising and seemingly everywhere
we look, we are easily distracted from the
importance of what we celebrate. But how
much more do we lose sight of what is still
Advent recognises the anticipation of
both comings. Just as Israel awaited the
Messiah, we now await with anticipation
the return of Jesus. I encourage you over
the weeks leading up to Christmas to find
time to look in both directions recognising
the hope found in Jesus through His birth,
life and death, but also recognising the
great hope before us — that He will come
Blessings to you all over this season.
Rev Joe Keighley
Cobden-Runanga Anglican Church
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
War on terrorism
An explosion rocks the town of Kobani during Syrian airstrikes against Islamic State militants in October.
The entrance to the Amphipolis crypt in northern Greece.
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