OPINION

Age of insecurity

Yesterday’s strike in Kenya confirmed the international community’s worst fears of the possible extended resurgence of bloody terrorist attacks. After the indelible memory of September 11, the recent tragedy in Moscow and the unending suicide bombings in the Middle East, yesterday’s attack serves to increase concerns over the geographical spread of terrorism, even to countries that are not on the political fault lines that spawn the terrorists. Besides the self-evident condemnation of mass violence, it is necessary to note that the succession of terrorist strikes shows they are fueled by deep-seated political causes, capable of pushing people to sacrificing their lives. While the powerful force of religious fanaticism may lie behind suicide bombings and blind violence, it is clear that terrorism is also fed by political despair and rage. This was recognized by the USA itself. A few days after the attacks on New York, President George Bush spoke of the need for a Palestinian state. Unfortunately, in the American elections that have taken place since then, little emphasis was placed on solving the problem by political means, with the result that the situation in the occupied territories of Palestine has become worse and the Israeli line more unyielding. But this state of affairs simply deepens the hatred felt by the Islamic world for the West and increases the number of those willing to sacrifice themselves «in revenge,» and killing numbers of innocents. If this aspect of the situation points to the direction in which Western policy ought to be moving, the upsurge of terrorist attacks brings with it more immediate dangers. Although Greece has a well-known and long-standing tradition of upholding the rights of the Palestinian people, one cannot rule out the possibility that some fanatics will turn on targets in the Greek State, especially in view of the 2004 Olympic Games and all their attendant publicity. This danger should not be ignored; instead, it should guide Greek policy in two areas: that of foreign affairs as well as that of security measures. In the former, Greece should stress, to the best of its ability, that it is in favor of a just solution to the Palestinian question; in the second, it should defend the lives of the inhabitants and visitors to this country and maintain an international image as one of the safest states in the world.