‘A lack of political will’ for tackling domestic terrorism

The recent missile attack on the American Embassy [in Athens] once again shows that Greece does not have the political will to root out small left-wing terrorist cells. If it were not for American pressure to find the culprits, the Greek authorities would not be doing much. Why is there not the same domestic urgency in arresting anarchist groups and football hooligans who continually taunt and damage public property in full view of mainstream media, while the police sit back and watch? Does the state have no respect for law and order and does it only act when there is outside pressure to do so? GEORGE SALAMOURAS, Melbourne. I would like to congratulate Nikos Konstandaras on his insightful editorial on Greeks and their myths (January 15). For some time now, I have been bothered by the persistent attacks by alleged anarchists, leftists or whatever they regard themselves to be. I have been trying to say to anyone who will listen something like what Konstandaras says so knowledgeably and eloquently, trying to explain why it is that young Greeks (and I assume they are mostly young and mostly male) are engaging in this behavior. I have no problem with Greeks who point out that the USA tolerated, if not even supported, the Colonels’ coup; I certainly join in the condemnation of the US invasion and war in Iraq. But what do these attacks offer Greeks except some false sense of identification with mythical Greek «Davids against Goliaths»? A related issue in my mind is why the present government is so slow to act, so passive in the face of this violence. I have my own theories: One is that, as a center-right government, it is willing to allow this leftist-based violence go on as a sort of «pressure release,» a safety valve for its own status and survival. If New Democracy cracks down really hard, it runs the risk of antagonizing a large segment of Greeks – not only all PASOK supporters but many of its own supporters who are also angry at the USA for its past and present misdeeds. So they leave these troublemakers be, so long as the violence is only at the fringes. But I think history shows that countries live to regret this kind of tolerance. I predict that when some «innocent Greeks» start being injured or killed, then you will see a reaction. But forget about how it looks to an American. Greece is a member of the EU. I think Greeks should be asking themselves in what other EU country this sort of ongoing violence is tolerated. JOHN S. BOWMAN, Massachusetts.