1. What is Operation Antioch’s opinion on Pan-Arabism (Arab Nationalism)?
Operation Antioch views Arabism, in general, as a foreign and Imperialistic creation. The ‘Arab’ identity is one that has been forced upon the indigenous peoples of the Levant for over a 100 years. Fostered inside a naïve Christian intelligentsia by Protestant Missionaries, Arabism, is a secular attempt at appeasing Islamic Fundamentalists. Originally, supported by the West during the First World War, as a way to destabilize the Ottoman Caliphate. Today, it is championed by strong-arm dictators, in order to centralize power and control, over their multi-ethnic countries.
2. What is Operation Antioch’s opinion on Pan-Syrianism (Syrian Nationalism)?
Operation Antioch agrees with much of the original essence of Syrianism, but ultimately rejects several key philosophical positions, as well as what its modern adherents have turned the ideology into. Syrianism, like Arabism is a modern creation that was fostered within the same naïve Christian intelligentsia by the same Protestant thought process. The original difference between Syrianism and Arabism was that Syrianists rejected Arabic as the bases of a common secular identity. For the Syrianist, the foundation of Syrian identity was not language, but a common history created within set geographical boundaries.
Although we agree with Syrianists that the Levant or Fertile Syrian Crescent is a unique cultural entity, which has been divided by artificial and illegitimate imperial borders imposed on our people by the Anglo-French Sykes-Picot Agreement. We reject Syrianism’s shared Arabist use of Islamic heritage as the single greatest historical force for unity in the Greater Syrian region. Today, adherents of Syrianism no longer openly proclaim a non-Arab identity for the Syrian people, but rather promote the idea that Greater Syria plays a vanguard role among the ‘Arab’ peoples. For this, we view modern Syrianism as a corruption of its original intention that is no different than Arabism in its modern form.
3. Does Operation Antioch support Ba’athism?
No, we reject Ba’athism to its very core. Ba’athism is a left-wing Arab-centric ideology, which although promotes the idea of a secular society, also views Islam as proof of ‘Arab genius’ and a testament of Arab culture, values, and thought. Therefore, true equality and secularism is forever doomed to fail within a Ba’athist system. We are philosophically incapable of supporting an ideology, which hopes to not only bring a rebirth of a foreign culture and identity on our people, but also subscribes to do so through authoritarianism. In the end, Ba’athism rejects Hellenism and Hellenic principles, such as political pluralism and Democratic thought.
4. Is Operation Antioch some type of proxy group from Greece?
No, Operation Antioch is in no way supported, funded, or organized by the Greek State. We are a Global grassroots movement led by a coalition of Antiochian Greeks whose roots can be traced back to the Levant. In fact, OA doesn’t have a single founder, which resides in Greece nor an active Chapter active in Greece.
5. What is Operation Antioch’s position on the use of the term “Arab Christian”?
Like other Christian communities, such as the Maronites, Copts, and the Syriacs/Arameans/Assyrians, we reject the label ‘Arab Christian”. This term, and ‘Arab Orthodox’ were coined by Arabists in order to detach us from our true identity and heritage.
6. What are Operation Antioch’s thoughts on the ongoing Syrian Civil War?
We, view the ongoing Syrian Civil War as a Crime against Humanity. Whether or not the original uprising was a genuine call for Democratic reform or a foreign attempt at regime change is irrelevant. In its current manifestation the ‘Civil War’ is nothing more than a proxy war being fought between the legitimate government of Syria and foreign radicals who are supported by foreign powers inspired by geopolitical interests, which in the end only cause the innocent to suffer.
7. Is Operation Antioch promoting Sectarianism in the Levant?
As Supporters of Levantine Hellenism, Operation Antioch, does not support ‘Sectarianism’ in any form. We are philosophically opposed to bigotry, discrimination, or hatred of any religious sect or social class. Nor is OA an attempt to further divide the region on religious lines, but rather we dream of unity and harmony centered on our common Hellenic heritage. The Antiochian Greek identity is not solely alive inside just the Greek Orthodox population of the Levant. It is an identity the crosses religious lines and embraces many people like the Greek Catholics, Alawites, and even Sunni refugees from Crete. All are welcomed within the Antiochian Greek Ethnos.
8. What exactly does Operation Antioch mean by “Roum”?
The term ‘Roum’ is the Arabic transliteration of the Greek word ‘Rhomaioi’ or ‘Romioi’, which was the autonym, used by Greeks during the Middle Ages and under the Ottoman Caliphate. The Romioi, throughout the Byzantine Empire and in the Levant as well, perceived themselves as, the descendants of classical Greece, the heirs of Imperial Rome, and the followers of the Apostles. Their language was called Romaic (vulgar Greek), a tradition that is still held today in the Black Sea region of Turkey, where Muslim Greek-speaking refer to their Greek dialect as ‘Rumca’.
Today, in the Levant the term ‘Roum’ is still used, but only as a way to refer to one’s religious affiliation. Operation Antioch, disagrees with its current use as only a religious designation and instead uses it also as an autonym or ethnic designation, as was its original purpose. The Arab invaders of the Levant never came in contact with the Latin-speaking Romans, whom they called Latin’yun, but rather the Greek-speaking Eastern Romans. It is from the Romioi that the term ‘Roum’ descends and thus, the argument that ‘Roum’ simply means ‘Roman’ is unfounded.
9. What is Operation Antioch’s stance towards a union of the Greek Orthodox and Greek Catholic Churches of Antioch?
Operation Antioch views the union of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch and the Greek Catholic Church of Antioch as a positive first step in healing the spiritual divisions within the Antiochian Greek ethnos. As such, we stand in support of union of the Churches, however, as a Secular movement we leave such a decision to the spiritual leaders of each respective Church.
10. Why does Operation Antioch mean by the use of ‘Antiochian Greek’? Are you claiming to be from Greece?
The term, ‘Antiochian Greek’ does not refer to nor does it imply that we are claiming to be from Greece or of Greek nationality. Its usage is purely as an ethnic designation or regional identity within the larger Greek ethnicity. Although Greece is considered the Nation-State of all ethnic Greeks, it does not nor never has included all ethnic Greeks within its borders. The Greek ethnicity, which is native to the Eastern Mediterranean can be found in many different countries throughout the region.
Much in the same way that other ethnic Greeks, regardless of the nationality, identify as Epirotes (Albanian Greeks), Mikrasiates (Turkish Greeks), Pontians (Turkish Greeks), or Cypriots (ethnic Greeks of Cyprus). So too does the phrase ‘Antiochian Greek” refer to a subgroup within the larger Greek ethnicity, rather than any particular connection to the Greek Nationality.
11. Isn’t the Arab identity the indigenous identity of the Levant? To be ‘Greek’ would mean you are foreign or an invader.
This is a compete fabrication of the Arabist agenda. The Arab identity is actually NOT the indigenous identity of the Levant, but a foreign one imposed upon the indigenous inhabitants of the region. Prior to the Islamic invasion, natives of the Levant spoke either Greek or Aramaic. The ethnic Greek identity is in fact more indigenous than either the Arab or Jewish identity. Hellenism and the Greek ethnicity has been an intricate part of the Levantine culture and society since the arrival of the Sea Peoples. Whom established the first Greek City-States of Southern Canaan (the Philistine Pentapolis) and mixed with the Northern Canaanites to found the Phoenician Civilization.
12. Do you have to be Greek Orthodox to join Operation Antioch?
The Antiochian Greek identity is not solely alive inside just the Greek Orthodox population of the Levant. It is an identity the crosses religious lines and embraces many people like the Greek Catholics, Alawites, and even Sunni refugees from Crete. All are welcomed within the Antiochian Greek Ethnos.