OPINION

A phobic syndrome

The incident in which a television crew was recently mobbed by a Muslim crowd in Echinos, Thrace would be trivial were it not a reminder of how the Greek political elite has developed an inferiority complex toward its eastern neighbor. We have no firsthand knowledge of the facts, but there is no reason to question the TV crew’s version. The controversial tape in question contained no sign of blasphemy. And even if someone behaved disrespectfully, the fierce reaction of the Muslim community went well beyond acceptable limits. One may wonder how it is possible that the same people were beaten only a few days after being warmly welcomed. The answer lies in history. The stance of even the friendliest Ottomans would radically change when they turned into a mob. It is a trait that is common to all nations, but it seems stronger among those where individualism is less developed. Furthermore, the incident illustrated an aggressive undercurrent that lashes out at the first opportunity, where fear is deeply ingrained. The Greek minority on the isle of Imvros would never even think of committing a similar act, even if it were faced with the direst insult. The most important thing, however, was the reaction in Athens. The government rushed to bury the issue. Emboldened, the local authorities not only avoided tracking down the perpetrators but actually tried to soothe their anger by forcing the victims to apologize for their actions. TV channels cultivated a similar view. A creeping phobia, carefully hidden behind ideology, has infected politicians across the political spectrum to the extent where it shapes Greece’s foreign policy. The fact that Turkey needs a green light from Athens and Nicosia has not stopped Ankara from violating Greek air space or snubbing the Cyprus Republic. The mere thought of setting a condition for our consent is unnerving politicians in Athens.