OPINION

Tackling child violence through the media

In response to your article titled «The fruits of a bankrupt society» (June 6), I applaud your newspaper’s effort to draw attention to the issue of bullying and child gangs. Unfortunately, this behavior by children has been going on for generations. My father, who was raised on one of the Cycladic islands during the mid-1930s and early 1940s, told me tales of terror when he was a boy. The night they first arrived on the island, he looked out of his bedroom window and saw large fires in the distance. When he asked his mother she did not know, but the next day he learned that two rival child gangs had a small battle and one lost. The losing side had their belongings burned. This is at an age of 10 or 11! Fortunately, my father and his brother were not among the victims as they were new to that society and my grandfather had a certain legal status that protected his children, but this tale serves as an example of how this problem has existed for several generations. Perhaps it is genetic. Perhaps it is learned behavior. In either case, it is a problem that not only afflicts children but society as a whole. Greeks spend more time fighting each other than banding together to solve greater issues and achieve greater goals. In the end, everyone suffers.  In addition to the excellent coverage your newspaper gives to environmental issues, I would respectfully ask that your institution provide the same community leadership by covering this issue as well. The coverage of this issue should be in the form of documenting positive efforts by government, non-profit organizations and communities to confront and address this society issue. Rather than focusing on the violence, which tends to inspire hooligan-wannabes, positive news coverage will provide educational lessons to people within Greek society and serve to demonstrate how this problem can be addressed and the problems reduced. JOHN-WILLIAM DECLARIS, Laurel, Maryland, USA.