Letters to the Editor

It is regrettable that Kathimerini, in its English edition, found it appropriate to publish the interview of Mikis Theodorakis (Nov. 10). Kathimerini must know that those who read it, as a piggyback of the International Herald Tribune, are people who know English and have an IQ higher than those reading the Greek yellow press. That the Greeks living and prospering in America have only contempt for their compatriots back home is not a secret. But to have Mr Theodorakis pouring oil into the fire goes beyond logic. Mr. Theodorakis, by saying, The brutal truth today is that America is reaping what it has been sowing for more than the last half-century… does nothing else but justify the killing of more than 6,000 innocent people. The only response to such callous behavior is the one that Ms Oriana Fallaci felt appropriate for her compatriots of similar attitude: to spit on them. Mr. Theodorakis tries to qualify his stand with statements such as: The killing of millions of innocent people by the Americans East and West…; The unnatural conditions experienced by billions of people under the demonic hegemony of the powerful…; Afghanistan is a repeat of what happened in Yugoslavia…, and The sole responsibility for this (re: the massacre of innocent in the WTC) lies with the USA… The admiration of Mr Theodorakis for scams like the Milosevics and bin Ladens of the world cannot be disputed. But Kathimerini? G. Saridis New York Ulterior motives? Theodorakis is telling us that the actions in Afghanistan are the USA’s latest excuse to consolidate its hegemony. Of course, this resonates well with the Greek populace, which believes the CIA is most likely responsible for the World Trade Center terrorist attack on its own country. (More Greeks believe that the September 11 attacks in the USA were the work of the American or Israeli secret services, November 12.) Weren’t Theodorakis and other conspiracy theorists also telling us that actions of the USA in the Balkans a couple of years ago were a sinister ruse to gain control of Kosovo’s oil and diamonds (or was it gold and uranium)? Or that the USA was plotting to bring Greece and Turkey into war? Or that the US would soon be bombing the Parthenon? Curious then that the USA has subsequently been pulling out of the Balkans and leaving all those Balkan riches (and opportunities for Goody’s fast-food branches) to the Europeans and Greeks. Alan Thibbodeau Athens ‘Aggressive America’ Mikis Theodorakis may be an accomplished and popular musician, but this does not mean his opinions on international affairs, terrorism, or global poverty should bear any more weight than those of any ignorant but self-professed expert in a local kafenio. Mr Theodorakis’s diatribes are beyond simplistic. They are illogical, unsubstantiated and ignorant. Many of his claims belong in the category of so ridiculous and extreme that it’s difficult to refute them. But allow me to try with just one. Theodorakis claims the aggressive American economy divides the world into rich and poor and that the bin Ladens exist only because of inequalities, all of which are the USA’s sole responsibility. Is all poverty really America’s doing, or are there other factors? How about European colonial legacy in Africa and Asia? Or catastrophic experiments with communism? Or repressive totalitarian despots (only some of which can be laid at the USA’s feet)? Or debilitating local mismanagement? Or destructive racist, religious and civil wars? Or maybe most importantly, uncontrolled population growth, which makes it impossible for many countries to ever get a solid footing? It’s so easy to point out the inequalities. But what alternatives does Theodorakis offer to the USA’s open doors to immigrants from overburdened nations, and the money and experience they return to their lands? What alternative does Theodorakis offer to the knowledge created by the US that becomes a collective resource controlled and reaped by all (computers, surgical techniques, the Internet, aircraft, the telephone, television, farming techniques, just to name a few)? What alternative does Theodorakis offer to the currency and jobs gained by export of Third World raw materials (e.g. what would the Arabs do with their otherwise useless oil if it were not for the West)? And what alternative does Theodorakis offer for the jobs, currency, and development gained by exports to and trade with the US (which routinely maintains a massive deficit with most nations of the world)? The USA is not perfect. It has made mistakes. It has demonstrated self-interest. It has supported unsavory governments at times. It has oftentimes acted unilaterally. (Incidentally, can any country claim otherwise?) But in the big picture, the USA has probably been the most voluntary, open, egalitarian, and mutually beneficial superpower history has ever seen. The US has helped save the world from totalitarianism several times in this century, and the era of supposed US hegemony and dominance has witnessed much of the world rising in prosperity and freedom (Greece included) to the point where it often surpasses the US. That much remains to be done for greater equality and justice in the world is not an indictment of the US, but rather a call for a further extension of American and Western values of openness, inclusiveness, creativity, secularism, and individual freedom. Mr Theodorakis would do better by returning to writing beautiful music, and Kathimerini would do better to return its interviews to knowledgeable and thoughtful experts. Y. Haralambou Athens ‘Racism’ It boggles the mind that Theodorakis could say the US is only now reacting to terrorism because America is racist. And how dare Theodorakis say Americans care about terrorism because the Americans are the one and only chosen people. Hogwash! Of course Americans care about this recent terrorist act. It was a horrific action that far exceeded other terrorist acts in recent memory. Thousands of innocent and unsuspecting people were killed and a major portion of its largest city leveled. Would not Greeks care about terrorism if a major portion of Athens had been destroyed and thousands of innocent Greeks killed? The World Trade Center attack killed people from almost every nation on earth who were working in the amazing global metropolis that is New York City. And surely Theodorakis knows that America is a melting pot made up of people of every religion, color, and ethnicity. Including Greeks. So US concern about terrorism is anything but racist.

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