It has come to the attention of the Hellenic League of America that our most recent press release, an Op-Ed written by HLA activist and President of Panthracian Union, Ioannis Fidanakis, titled, ‘More than just Indifference’, has caused quite a stir within the Hellenic American community.
The Op-Ed written by President Fidanakis, was a response to a recently published Op-Ed by AHI President Aleco Haralambides, in which President Fidanakis offered AHI constructive criticism on the need for more aggressive lobbying on our National Issues. In response, AHI released a statement on September 28, 2009 attempting to strike at the legitimacy of the Hellenic League of America as an organization. For the record, the Hellenic League of America, HLA is a non-profit tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) organization.
AHI’s press release claims that ‘valuable time and resources’ had been spent in issuing a statement to address ‘blatant falsehoods’. The Hellenic League of America wonders, how much valuable time and resources did the “American Hellenic Institute” use to write a simple 146 word press release? Such a statement makes those of us, HLA volunteers wonder, if so much ‘valuable time and resources’ were needed to write a 2 minute press release, how else has AHI mismanaged its time and resources instead of aggressively carrying out a productive legislative agenda in the name of Hellenism.
The Greek Lobby collectively has failed to introduce any legislation with teeth into this year’s US Congress, unlike the previous thirty years there is no legislation regarding Cyprus this year, NONE, and the legislation introduced on Macedonia is anti-Macedonian in calling for a so-called “geographical qualifier” as an answer to the Macedonia Name issue. It itself is at odds with historical truth and Hellenic-American community opinion. The largest Macedonian group is the world is unequivocally AGAINST a “geographical qualifier”.
AHI EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NICK LARIGAKIS: THE SIX FIGURE SALARY “COMPANY MAN”
AHI Executive Director Nick Larigakis has remained at the same post for twenty-three years. At this point in American history, when even Fortune 500 CEO’s cannot hold down the same job for twenty years, Mr. Larigakis has defied all odds , and despite his own President’s claim that Greek-Americans are “indifferent” has managed to (or so he claims) raise funds from the Greek American community for all these years to hire paid staff, pay all those maintenance costs for a building (owned by AHI) in Washington DC and even cover the electricity bill all by donations from the “indifferent” Greek American donors. Mr. Larigakis must also have a bridge for sale for us in Brooklyn if he expects us to believe that! Numerous sources have documented a history of funding by Hellenic governments for years, hence explaining the close relationship Mr. Larigakis has with the Greek and Cyprus Embassy and his haughty disregard and ignorance of Greek Americans. At least one AHI donor for the past twenty years has told us that Mr. Larigakis has never come clean with how AHI is run and how decisions are made at AHI. The time has come for AHI to open the books on how much exactly its Executive Director is paid, how much all its staffers are paid, and how it pays for what it does, such as it is. We are aware of many other Hellenic-American community associations that openly declare how they pay the bills, who pays the bills, and how decisions are made. What the six figure salary man doesn’t want us (us “indifferent” Hellenic-Americans) to know is that decisions regarding what AHI does and how AHI works on Hellenic National Issues is ultimately dependent on the bosses (i.e. the Greek Ambassador , the Cyprus Ambassador in DC etc) in consultation with their corrupt home office in Athens, now and then.
AHI and (ELIAMEP)
(ELIAMEP) spells out in translation from Greek “the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy“and is a producer of Skopjan friendly propaganda. Mr. Veremis appears to be a founding member and former President of the semi governmental think tank Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), which is also funded by the open societies of George Soros, and is the Chairman of the National Council of Education (ESYP), Council President of Higher Education and University
Professor at the National University of Athens.
(Horizons-magazine of CDRSEE), http://www.cdsee.org/jhp/news_
(Please note that Mr.Veremis has publicly denied the genocide of Greeks in Asia Minor.)
The researchers Triandafyllidou, (member of ELIAMEP), Kalloni and Mikraki on their article on this website http://www.socresonline.org.
titled: “Modern Greek Nationalism” include the following: “More specifically, in the Balkans, where nations are perceived in ethnic terms, the states which succeeded the Ottoman Empire set the foundation for great illusions, namely that they represented ethnically homogeneous societies ... Minority groups experienced a variety of exclusionary measures varying from suppression of rights to extreme situations such as collective expulsion and ethnic cleansing.”
In other words, these researchers not only reproduce hostile positions towards Greece but also go a step further and denounce Greece for genocide! How could it be possible for an institution which supposedly defends the Greek national interests to aid expediencies which are harmful to Greece?
AHI has not only included (ELIAMEP) speakers at AHI functions and events, AHI and its Executive Director Nick Larigakis make it a point to visit (ELIAMEP) when in Greece and encourage Greek-American scholarship students on the annual trip to Greece to meet with (ELIAMEP)
The Fallacy of the so-called “Greek-American Policy Statements”
A prolific Genocide Awareness advocate and leader of a major Hellenic-American association in New York told us that when AHI requested his Association’s policy statement they gave him something like a two-day deadline to submit the statement, and then AHI after close to six months consultation with the Greek government issues a watered down Policy Statement . At least one major Hellenic-American leader, namely the leader of the Thracians and his association has been consistently ignored by AHI despite numerous attempts by phone, email and postal mail to express his community’s opinions to AHI. The current AHI so-called “Greek-American Policy Statement” on Macedonia is in dispute with the very solid position on the Macedonian Name Issue by the Pan-Macedonians the biggest Macedonian Association in America and the world. Hence, raising the question of where AHI gets its directions on its so-called “Greek-American Policy Statements”? From Greek-Americans or from corrupt Anti-Hellenic, Anti-Nationalist, and Pro-Skopean groups that deny the Hellenic Genocide like (ELIAMEP) in Greece?
AFTER DISCORD COMES CONCORD
Despite our disagreements with Aleco Haralambides on Greek-American “indifference” and the questions raised of how Mr. Larigakis spends his and AHI’s time and resources while running real estate and construction businesses in the DC-Virginia area and in Greece. We still reach out our hand as Hellenic brothers as always and we hope that Mr. Haralambides fires Mr. Larigakis and joins us next April 6 for our annual Hellenic Genocide commemoration outside the UN in New York.
It’s high time that AHI cut off its relationship with Skopean friendly groups like (ELIAMEP) and join its Hellenic brothers in the struggle AGAINST Skopean and Turkish false historical revisionism. We hope AHI comes out against the “geographical qualifier” and helps create an autonomous Hellenic-American Lobby free of the corrupt governments in Athens who SOLD OUT CYPRUS and SOLD OUT MACEDONIA, now and then.