Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Obama/Biden Message to Greek-Americans

The following message to Greek-Americans was issued by the Obama/Biden campaign today; unfortunately, no parallel exists from the McCain/Palin ticket.

While it is best interpreted after reading it in its entirety, the following is particularly striking:
- Definite language about Turkish occupation in Cyprus
- Support of UN resolution about FYROM, which as of late supports Greek point of view, but could change
- Defense of Patriarchate not seen from McCain in past efforts
- Recognition that economics are Greek-American topics too


Barack Obama and Joe Biden have been true friends of the Greek American community throughout their careers in public service. Obama has worked closely with this community, especially the large constituency in Chicago, Illinois, and always supported the Greek community’s participation in the American political process. Obama and Biden greatly respect the major contributions Greek Americans have made to so many aspects of the American experience. They will continue to work closely with Greek Americans at home and reestablish America’s strong partnership with Greece and our other European allies abroad.

A Just and Lasting Political Settlement on Cyprus:

As president, Barack Obama will show U.S. leadership in seeking to negotiate a political settlement on Cyprus. He believes strongly that Cyprus should remain a single, sovereign country in which each of the two communities on the island is able to exercise substantial political authority within a bi-zonal, bicommunal federation. There must be a just and mutually agreed settlement of difficult issues like property, refugees, land, and security. A negotiated political settlement on Cyprus would end the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus and repair the island’s tragic division while paving the way to prosperity and peace throughout the entire region. It would also give Cypriots a firm foundation on which to build their future after many years of division and uncertainty. It would help foster better Greek-Turkish relations, strengthen Turkish democracy, reduce the risk of military conflict, and remove a major obstacle to Turkish membership in the EU.

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:

Barack Obama was one of three original lead co-sponsors of Senate Resolution 300, which urged that the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia work with Greece within the framework of the United Nations process to reach a mutually-acceptable official name for that country and achieve longstanding United States and United Nations policy goals. Obama supports the UN-led negotiations and believes that there can and should be an agreement between Skopje and Athens on a mutually-acceptable name that leads to greater stability in the Balkans.

Ecumenical Patriarchate:

Barack Obama was one of 73 Senators who signed a letter to President Bush in 2006 urging him to press Turkey to restore the full rights of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Orthodox Christian Church in Istanbul. He has sent Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice a personal letter on the same matter. Senator Obama calls on Turkey to respect the Ecumenical Patriarchate’s rights and freedoms, including its property rights. Turkey should allow the reopening of the Patriarchate’s school of theology on Halki Island and guarantee the right to train clergy of all nationalities, not just Turkish nationals.

The U.S. Economy:

Despite their hard work, American families are finding it harder and harder each day to make ends meet. Barack Obama supports an immediate $50 billion emergency stimulus plan that would provide immediate assistance to help struggling local governments, continue needed infrastructure projects and protect jobs. Barack Obama will restore fairness to the tax code and provide 95 percent of American workers with a tax credit of up to $500 per person, or $1,000 per working family. Obama will fight for trade agreements that support American jobs and enforce good labor and environmental standards.

Affordable, Accessible Health Care to All:

There are 45.5 million uninsured Americans today. Obama will sign legislation by the end of his first term in office that will provide affordable, accessible health coverage to all Americans. His plan will save a typical family up to $2,500 every year on medical costs by modernizing our health care system.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Hummus is to Lebanon as Feta is to Greece

Nearly three years ago the EU declared that Feta is Greek, no questions asked. Well, now it is hummus's turn! It turns out that Lebanon is tired of it's tasty spread being claimed by Mediterranean neighbors as their own.

While an argument can be made that all of us in the general vicinity have been building off of each other's culinary traditions over the last 2,000 years, I stand by the Lebanese on this one. Of course, I'd ask the same favor in return for tzatziki and taramosalata, okay?!

I'm particularly irritated at how SABRA, one particularly popular brand of hummus in the States, uses Greek accents to market the product with little actual connection. In fact, the name of the product itself, Sabra, is term used to describe a native-born Israeli Jew.

- Music on the website ... very Greek-sounding
- Images on website ... very Greek-inspired (Mykonos to be specific - thank you windmills!)
- Winning user-generated video ... very Greek-attired Evzone imitator

Frankly, it seems to me like a way to make the product more acceptable. Following the popularity of the Mediterranean diet and Greek yogurt, this is now a way to make the healthy, exotic connection. In my humble opinion, it is also a way to distance the product from the meaning of its name for fear that it might alienate some consumers.

In any case, I don't like it. I agree with Lebanon - hummus is Lebanese.



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