OPINION

Shadow-boxing

The concerns over security for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games that were voiced in a story in the Guardian did not come as a surprise as, despite the police crackdown on the November 17 terrorist group a year ago, many Western governments remain skeptical regarding our country. What was surprising, on the other hand, was the fierce political reaction from the government here – adamant that Athens will host the safest Games ever. The September 11 terrorist attacks against the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon demonstrated that there is no such thing as a safe city and that it is naive to believe otherwise. Furthermore, security measures provide no full guarantee. If that were the case, then Israel, a country where the entire population is under arms, would be the safest state in the world, which, of course, is not the case. If international terrorism is as dangerous a threat as the USA and Europe would have it, then any international event – more so the hosting of the Olympic Games – makes a very attractive target for all sorts of extremists. By virtue of its geographical location, Greece would be faced with the prospect of a terrorist attack even had the terrorist attacks in the United States and the ensuing American-led campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq (which radicalized a further section of the Islamic population) never occurred. Our politicians’ shadow-boxing against various newspapers that publish reports expressing views that are within the bounds of reason in the light of the current global conjuncture is naive and fruitless. Greek citizens must realize that the folly of staging the Olympic Games in Athens entails huge security spending without any guarantee of success in this area.