Olympic security

Greece’s reaction to foreign reports about its ability to guarantee security during the Games shows that we fail to fully grasp our role and responsibility. The Olympics are a global event hosted by a country every four years. «Host» is no random word, as the country that organizes the event comes under four-year supervision by the IOC, which has the first say on the projects and timetables. The country that shoulders the Olympics burden, under the watchful eye of the IOC, is driven by various motives, particularly worldwide promotion. Only a successful Games can meet these goals. A failure would cause damage disproportionate to the expected gains and hence Greece is naturally more concerned about the outcome of the Games than anyone else. The question of security became paramount only after Greece had been awarded the summer Games. The terrorist threat ballooned after 9/11 and after other countries suffered terrorist attacks in response to the US invasion of Iraq. The security of the Games is not threatened by the homemade bombs planted by some domestic fringe groups, but by an international terrorist strike that the country will neither have provoked nor be able to avert. An attack of this sort would follow the logic of the bloody attack carried out by Palestinian extremists at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games: «We recognize that sport is the religion of the Western world… So we decided to use the Olympics, the most sacred ceremony of this religion, to make the world pay attention to us.» Greece has multiplied security spending and, in a move that treads on national sovereignty, invited NATO to provide security assistance. This effectively means that the Games’ security becomes an international matter. Besides, if our country was to share the blame fairly according to the causes and the instigators of international terrorism, then Murdoch and his ilk would also be held to account.