Fact, fiction and psychosis — after Madrid

The horrific attack on Madrid last week by terrorists whose identity and objectives remain unclear, constitutes a real wake-up call for Europe. And it has not gone unheeded. France and Germany on Tuesday stressed the need for boosting security measures. And tomorrow, interior and public order ministers are expected to draft specific policies for security cooperation during their Brussels summit. Indeed, Europe is not responding to the threat of terrorism with hysteria, as was evident in the peaceful demonstrations staged by millions of Spaniards the day after the attack. On the contrary, it is determined to prevent terrorists from using the threat of death to influence the fate and the prosperity of its peoples. Unfortunately, Athens has been catapulted onto center stage of developments in view of the forthcoming Olympic Games. It is naive, to say the least, to maintain that because Greece has not harmed anyone, it will not be threatened. Those who think this way overlook that a likely terrorist attack on Athens during the Olympics would not be targeting Greece but the first major international celebration of sport and peace after Sept. 11. Whether this event is taking place in Athens, Helsinki or Tokyo is not an issue to them. In view of this, Greece’s request for NATO support in preparations for security during the Olympics was imperative and should have been made much sooner, perhaps following the attacks on Istanbul. Those who (out of knee-jerk anti-NATO rhetoric, the residue of a 30-year psychosis) reject intervention by the organ of «international imperialism» are willfully refusing to face reality. Firstly, the alliance includes not only America and Britain, but also Belgium, Germany, Denmark and, of course, ourselves. In short, we are calling on our friends and allies to help make the Games safer. Secondly, NATO has not taken part in the war in Iraq, as the allies could not agree on this. So it is not as tainted as other forces, which are cooperating with Athens anyhow in trying to make the Games as safe as possible. Finally, activating NATO to preserve peace is one of the more creative and productive purposes for all those involved, as it will not demand any force of weapons but the collection and exchange of data and the correct guarding of areas and sectors. The security of the Olympics is no game, nor a domestic issue. The involvement of as many specialists as possible can only give positive results.

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