Monday, November 30, 2009

Μολὼν λαβέ - Then and Now


Molon Lave was a phrase that was once used to mean something along the line of “over my dead body”. Literally it means “come and get them”. It is a phrase first used by the Spartans when called upon to surrender their arms by the invading Persians. Since then it has continued to be a phrase of defiance. The reason I wrote “was once used” is due to a very disturbing piece of news found on Strategy-Geopolitics which quotes a small newspaper article from Realnews of the 29th of November. If this news is true then “Molon Lave” literally means come and get it, as in “come and get it because we’ll give it to you”.

The small article reports on frustration caused in the ranks of the Hellenic Air Force last week due to a verbal order. Supposedly according to this order all training flights over the Aegean between Friday and Tuesday were cancelled due to the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha. The only exception made was for aircraft on Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) in forward bases which intercept Turkish Air Force aircraft violating Greek airspace.

Such news really does not come as any surprise anymore. Greece and Turkey have signed Confidence Building Measures agreements in the past which contained such provisions. Unfortunately the areas over which these provisions rule were either international areas of the Aegean or Greek areas, not Turkish. Also, it will be interesting to see what restraint the Turkish Air Force will show during Greek religious festivals. Mark the 6th of January in your calendar and we will see.

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