OPINION

Letter to the Editor

Kathimerini should continually expose in its editorials and front pages the terrible crime of child labor, exploitation, abuse and, for all intents and purposes, slavery (September 6). Children should not have to provide rent, food and clothing to their families with the pittance they earn. Children should be in schools, in safe homes and have medical care. How embarrassing and humiliating for a country of democratic values. Another embarrassing issue is the lack of accessibility to markets, theaters, buses, trains, museums, churches, hospitals, etc., for handicapped people who use wheelchairs, walkers and canes. What a healthy country! Not too many disabled people in sight! Must be the olive oil. Shame on every government that has ruled the country. If Greece can afford the Olympics it should be able to afford new hospitals, schools and roads, accessibility to all venues by the handicapped and food and shelter for all children. Over the same week, the international media made much of the unsporting behavior of the Turkish crowds, cheering their home team in the basketball tournament while jeering and whistling incessantly whenever their rivals touched the ball. In Tunis, at the Mediterranean Games, even the Greeks were shocked at the hooliganism in the weightlifting arena, where the crowd did its best to break the concentration of the rivals of hometown athletes. And it takes quite a bit to shock the Greeks, who are renowned for having introduced soccer-style hooliganism to basketball in Europe. Sadly, one cannot even use the metaphor It’s not cricket in lamenting this lack of sportsmanship, in an era where many of that genteel lunacy’s luminaries have been implicated in the most sordid match-rigging. Unless, of course, we adopt cricket as the touchstone for what is or is not fair. With the illusion of amateurism dying a belated death, and with the stakes so high, a new definition has to be found. In which case we might need to look no further than the awe-inspiring tennis match between Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi at the US Open quarter-final on Thursday. Here were the two best players of their generation, fighting point by point to prove themselves once again at a time when youngsters with their youthful vigor seemed to have overwhelmed these seasoned battlers, two lions in the fall. The match could have gone either way as neither warrior gave an inch. And in the end, after a three-and-a-half-hour war, Sampras won. It was awesome, he said. That’s probably about as good as it gets, playing the very best on a night match at the US Open. It was so close. It really was. And Agassi: A match like this just boils down to a few shots, and that’s the difficulty in it and that’s the beauty in it… You have to give credit where credit is due. Pete played the big points well and pulled out a match that’s disappointing for me, but I’m glad to be a part of it. And so are we. With those few words, an event at the other end of the earth, of a sport that we do not usually watch, that should be completely meaningless to us in our usual whirlwind of recriminations and excuses, assumes a profundity beyond any game.