OPINION

Greeks here in Melbourne are very proud of our heritage

I wanted to convey my congratulations to Athens and the Greek people in general on the opening ceremony. As a Greek Australian I felt great pride at 4 a.m. on Saturday when I relived the history of Greece and the Games. It was very moving. Both my wife and I shed a tear as did most Greeks around the world. It was a very proud moment. The ceremony was big step above Sydney. A much classier ceremony that had meaning and shared the significance of Greece as one of the originators of so much of what is our daily life today. Greeks here in Melbourne are very proud of our heritage. The Euro 2004 victory made news headlines all over Australia. It was the first time I had seen a sporting event not involving Australia receiving so much coverage. And why? Because Greeks all over the world were united in their celebrations. The euphoria of the victory swept everyone. I am, however, very disappointed at the performance of many other countries including Australia in our treatment of Greece and its preparation for the Games. We have not stopped finding ways to criticize Greece. Instead of encouraging Greece, we sit back and provoke it and criticize its every move. I came in to work on Monday expecting people to say congratulations on the ceremony. Most of them however were quick to comment on the empty stadiums and the drug issue with Kenteris. If countries like Australia did not scare the world into avoiding the Games because visitors were going to be blown up, or because it wasn’t going to be finished in time, then maybe more tourists would be flocking to the Games. Instead they are going to Turkey and other countries where, in fact, they are more likely to be caught up in a terrorist incident. I hope the rest of the Games are as beautiful as the opening ceremony and that Greece can enjoy so much of what it has built for this event. ATHANASIOS KOULIANOS, Melbourne.