by Thea Halo
On this day of giving Thanks, we should ask ourselves who, and perhaps what we are. Or perhaps we should ask ourselves who or what we want to be. Considering this day is often attributed to the meal shared by Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower, and the reception they received from Native tribes, perhaps it’s a good time to reflect on how we treated those Natives, and how we treat each other here and around the world.
Of course, humans are members of the animal kingdom, kin to primates.1 But are we simply destined to behave like primates, or can we rise above our early origins to become a family of humans? It seems we have allowed religion, ethnicity, and rhetoric to divide us, almost into separate species, akin to lions, bears, or squirrels in the animal kingdom?
It’s quite disturbing that humans have allowed themselves to be divided into separate groups by adhering to a particular ideology, as a means of belonging. That sometimes begs the question: Who or what determined that ideology? Most call that entity God. But if there is one God, did He/She say to his creations: “You should be a Catholic. You should be Evangelical. You should be a Jew. You should be Protestant. You should be Muslim. You should be Hindu”?
If the answer to that question is a resounding NO, then is each group claiming to have their own God, with His/Her own favorites and ideology? Or does each group claim to be the only people who know God’s word and will?
What kind of God says: “Go and kill thy neighbor! Steal his land and resources!”? Is there such a religion that believes those are really God’s commandments? And if there are separate gods for each group, then why have we abandoned the multiple gods of the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans? At least those gods made no secret of championing their favorites.
On the other hand, if we are to believe in one God, it begs the question: Has God created humans in His/Her own image as it says in the Bible? Or have humans created their god in their own image to justify their behavior?
If the answer is the former, then considering all the bloodshed, debauchery, and thievery going on around the world, perhaps one must either believe in a vengeful, conniving God, or one must believe that some humans get God’s intent woeful wrong, based on their own greed, blood lust, and debauchery. In other words, that they have created god in their own image, rather than the other way around.
Perhaps it’s something to think about while chewing on that drumstick.
- Modern humans evolved in Africa possibly from H. heidelbergensis, H. rhodesiensis or H. antecessor and migrated out of the continent some 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, gradually replacing local populations of H. erectus, Denisova hominins, H. floresiensis, H. luzonensis and H. neanderthalensis.Archaic Homo sapiens, the forerunner of anatomically modern humans, evolved in the Middle Paleolithic between 400,000 and 250,000 years ago.
Thea Halo is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Not Even My Name, a former news correspondent for WBAI in NYC, and a former producer for public radio in upstate NY. Not Even My Name was instrumental in garnering the first state-level resolutions in the U.S. that recognized the genocide of the Pontian and other Asia Minor Greeks and Assyrians. She was a co-sponsor and driving force, along with Prof. Adam Jones, of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) resolution that affirmed the Ottoman Genocides of Pontian and other Asia Minor Greeks and Assyrians as comparable to the genocide of the Armenians. She has also published a collection of poetry, and a number of Thea’s historical papers on the Genocides of Greeks and Assyrians have been published in books on the Ottoman Genocides. In 2009, Thea, along with her mother, Sano Halo, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 105, were awarded honorary Greek citizenship by the Greek government. In 2002, Thea was awarded the AHEPA Homer Award and, in 2012, the Association of Greek American Professional Women honored Thea and Sano for their “Profound contribution to Literature and to Hellenic Cultural Heritage and History.” Thea has also won numerous awards for her poetry and literary essays.