Barbarians in Greece; barbarians in America


I’m at PIT airport waiting to board a flight and there’s a woman next to me reading a newspaper… The headline is about Greek farmers who opened fire on two dozen Bangladeshi strawberry pickers who were protesting poor conditions and six months without pay.

“The barbarians…” She said, pointing to the story and showing it to her husband who sat next to her.

My heart dropped. My stomach turned to knots.

Greeks. Barbarians. I couldn’t believe my ears.

But I don’t blame her.

What happened on that strawberry farm in Manolada is despicable. And yes, these farmers are indeed barbarians.

But let’s recall for a moment, the life and legacy of an immigrant from Crete named Ilias Spantidakis– aka Louis Tikas– who faced his own barbarians a century ago– and lost his life.

Tikas is perhaps one of– if not THE most important person to have impacted the American mining industry and one of the most significant labor union organizers in history.

Born in Loutra, Crete, Tikas arrived in Colorado in the early 1900s where he was the main labor union organizer at the Ludlow camp during a 14-month coal strike in southern Colorado from 1913-1914.

He was shot and killed during the Ludlow Massacre, the bloodiest event of the strike and one of the darkest chapters in American history. Ironically, the massacre in Colorado happened on April 20, 1914– almost 99 years to the day from the strawberry farm incidents in Greece.

It was the day after Greek Easter. Nineteen people were killed during the massacre by American mine foremen and national guardsmen who had been brought in by the company management to protect against the poor and destitute Greek immigrant mine workers and their families who occupied the labor camp.

My oh my how history repeats itself.

Too bad we don’t learn from it.

A century ago Ludlow… Americans on Greek immigrant workers. Yesterday Manolada… Greeks on Bangladeshi immigrant workers…

*The photo is from the funerals of the Ludlow Massacres in 1914



  1. frank kakouros on

    A rather shameful display of ignorance and xenophobia. That this is 2013 and not 1914 or even 1814 speaks volumes on how desperate times lead individuals and groups to irrational behaviour. The accused deserve the full letter of the law and the community needs exorcising of the demons of hatred and fear. Greeks, heralded the world over as purveyors of philoxenia (hospitality) should shake their collective heads and be proud of their heritage especially under duress. This too shall pass as long as Greeks remember they are Greeks and what that stands for.

    • You are absolutely correct! Unfortunately some people exaggerate the situation, only to fool and take advantage of the innocent Greeks abroad, so they can live rich on their donations and fundraisers. Has anyone ever questioned how much money has been raised and where has this money been used? All this is shameful for the Greeks in Greece and something has to be done. Real Greeks never beg because they have dignity and pride. They are fighters and they will come out winners, once again!

  2. Simple but POWERFUL , Mr. Pappas.
    So simple. So true.
    Keep it up!!!
    I am really blessed that I have discovered the site.
    Knowledge is power.
    Such a pity victory is written only for the ‘victors’.

  3. Unfortunately, it’s a sad fact that history continues to repeat itself. The 21st Century is still reverberating from the mistakes and aftermath of WW I from the opening events of the 20th Century…

Leave A Reply