OPINION

Editorial

Security has always been an essential aspect of all major events, including the Olympic Games. The unprecedented terrorist assault of September 11 gave the security issue a whole new dimension. It is indicative of the situation that next year’s Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City will be protected by an 80-kilometer no-fly zone, and yet International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge still said that nobody can predict a 100-percent safe outcome. Furthermore, the head of the immortals will meet US President George W. Bush to discuss security issues during the Winter Olympics. It is worth pointing out that the IOC security committee recently decided to implement a stricter security program. This program will be introduced in the 2002 Winter Olympics and will, of course, constitute the model for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Greece’s authorities are interested more than anyone else in adopting the new security standards and, if necessary, taking additional measures to reinforce security at this major sports event. For this reason, slanderous reports directed against our country by US security officials only cause sadness and indignation. The source of the near-identical reports is obvious. Because of the existence of the November 17 terrorist organization, the aforementioned agents have leveled a rebuke against Greece by issuing threats that the Games may be transferred to another city. There is no such possibility, of course, yet such threats are indicative of the negative climate. The terrorist assault of September 11 proved that the source of terrorism is not where these agents were pointing. These prejudiced officials, who have accused Greece of tolerating terrorism or, at best, of incompetence, ought to reconsider their criticism. Unfortunately, their anti-Greek frenzy has reached new heights despite the fact that Athens had begun official cooperation with security experts from seven countries before the devastating terrorist blitz. Greek officials may be responsible for delays regarding preparations and the completion of several projects, but these do not involve security issues. Criticism over security issues is obviously fed by bias – unless it is prompted by aims which have nothing to do with the Olympic Games.