Young Greeks: Terrorism evil

The strong opposition of young Greeks to terrorist acts perpetrated in Greece was the main conclusion of a study carried out by the Department of Social Psychology and Research of Public Opinion of Panteion University. Equally striking is the fact that people as young as 19, whose experience with terrorism has been mostly filtered through the media, are willing to give up certain civil rights in order to fight it. They also believe that international treaties are the most effective way to eliminate terrorism. Despite the widespread belief that terrorism results from social injustice, most young people are convinced that terrorists are «evil,» taking pleasure in destruction and in disobeying the law. In short, they believe that terrorists refuse to become part of the society by choosing to disobey the community’s fundamental rules. The results of the project, in which 1,027 students from universities in Athens took part, were announced on Wednesday at a one-day conference organized by Gerasimos Stamou of Panteion University, who was the project’s director. Kathimerini journalist Andonis Karkagiannis was coordinator of the conference. One impressive conclusion was that 72.4 percent of young people condemn terrorism outright. While 78.4 percent of those asked oppose the use of physical or psychological violence during interrogation of suspects, 14.4 percent are in favour of such methods. Most (87.3 percent) are against police supervision of citizens’ lives, although 66.2 percent want greater controls over foreign nationals. These would include simplifying the extradition procedure for terrorism suspects, refusing political asylum to suspicious individuals and tightening security at the country’s borders. Attitudes are not as clear-cut regarding ways to combat terrorism. While most (70 pct) expressed their firm belief that international treaties are the only means to deal with terrorism effectively, 40.1 percent consider them a threat to the right of self-determination and a pretext used by the USA to impose its views, therefore claiming each country should deal with terrorism separately. Surprisingly, many are in favor of depriving terrorists of certain human rights. Nearly a quarter (24.5 pct) do not want them protected from physical violence, while another 23.7 percent are against protection from wrongful arrest; 18.7 percent believe that terrorists should not be allowed freedom of speech; 17.4 percent that they should not be entitled to a fair trial, and 17.2 percent that that they should be deprived of the right to be defended in court. About the same percentage see terrorists as evil (42 pct) and as common criminals (44.3 pct). However, 67,1 percent view terrorism as a form of social reaction.