OPINION

Letters to the Editor

I wish to address myself to the comments made by many of my fellow-Americans on the reaction of Greeks to the recent events.I speak as a first-generation American, for what that is worth. I am the first to admit that Greeks are quick to whine, slow to show gratitude, and insistent on demanding explanations. At the same time, Greece has always been on the side of the USA. Greece is also the only country that has actually fought against and defeated the Communists, at very great expense to herself and without relying on foreign troops. For better or worse, that is a source of moral strength, if you will, in asserting herself. I also am first to admit that my fellow-Americans constantly moralize. We are apparently incapable of admitting even to ourselves that many of our actions are driven by self-interest. It was to our advantage to help rebuild Western Europe after World War II, as it was to our advantage to help rebuild Greece. We even helped Turkey, which was not even involved in World War II. That was self-interest, and to demand gratitude is childish. The behavior of some Greeks has indeed been shameful, but it was the behavior of individuals. My fellow-Americans, especially those of Greek descent, must remember that the USA itself has tolerated shameful actions at the expense of Greece: September 1955, by Turkey, without complaint by us; July 1974; the constant denigration of Greeks during the Reagan administration. Not to mention the unconditional support given to Turkey at the expense of risking the territorial integrity of Greece. Lastly, there is still no explanation why the CIA records of activities in Greece are still classified, the only country in Europe for which that is true, even the ex-Communist ones. What acts of gratitude are being hidden? So, my fellow-Americans, as annoying as Greeks can be, remember that it is because they have earned respect, and do not simply surrender to raw power. It actually makes them better allies, when the need is greatest. We should instead concentrate on cleaning up our own house, and that of some of our allies, given our propensity to declare our moral superiority over everyone else. Anastasios Mavrellis Berryville, Virginia, USA ‘United we stand’in New York City As a longtime resident of New York City, I’m writing to take strong exception to the article Face to face with the hellhole of ‘Ground Zero’ by your correspondent Mr. P. Malouchos (Kathimerini, October 2). New York, and with it the civilized world in its entirety, have been dealt a severe blow by organized criminals who took aim at the very foundation of our polity. But the spirit of the city is not broken. As soon as they had a chance to absorb the terrible events of two weeks ago, the people of the greater New York area have been going about their lives and business with great resilience. Banks and financial institutions reopened remarkably quickly, shops and restaurants are doing business at a brisk pace, schools and universities are functioning fully, the opera and the symphony houses have gone ahead with the openings of their regular seasons. Indeed, this trial has brought out the best characteristics of the indomitable tribe that call themselves New Yorkers. Solidarity, optimism and resolve are the responses of free people when confronted by darkness, and this case has been no exception: United We Stand in New York City, and we shall prevail. Too bad all this has been lost on some correspondents visiting briefly from overseas. Ioannis Karatzas, Eugene Higging Professor, Departments of Mathematics and Statistics,