Freedom versus security acquires new force

Freedom in our time means security. And as regards the organization and mechanisms of security systems, the overall impression made by the Olympic Games in Athens was very positive, said the minister of the Interior of the Federal Republic of Germany, Otto Schily. The organization was wonderful, and cooperation with Greek Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis was excellent and constructive, the minister told an August press conference of Greek and German journalists, adding that Germany, host of the 2006 World Cup at Munich, would surely benefit from Greece’s experience, not only with respect to organization and security, but also in terms of sheer «friendliness.» Such words from Schily, architect of the German bill on immigration and responsible for internal security in Germany, come as high praise indeed. «Despite the gigantic security net, the festive atmosphere of the Games was not affected in the slightest,» he said. «Greeks did whatever was humanly possible for security – and let’s not forget the saying that there is no such thing as 100 percent security – and rightly won praise for this sector, as well as others.» Schily himself inclined to the personal belief that security measures on such a gigantic scale reached the «upper limit.» In the era of «Islamist terrorism» and increased criminal activity, Otto Schily, a veteran lawyer, felt freedom and security were interdependent, not contradictory, concepts. It was a «faulty philosophy» that persisted in mixing up those two concepts, he said. «Where does freedom lie in the case of the Twin Towers?» he asked, going on to distinguish between a totalitarian state, with its violations of privacy, and security, which conformed to the European rule of law and European democracy. As for the burning issue of doping, he felt the control policy was bearing fruit. He dwelled warmly on the Paralympics, which would be attended by Horst Koehler, president of Germany, and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

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