OPINION

Letters to the Editor

The Commentary column On being useful by K.I. Angelopoulos, printed on the front page of Kathimerini English Edition on September 27, 2001, evinces an obvious inability to understand that on September 11, 2001, New York City and Washington, D.C. were the most recent targets by extremists that seek the destruction of Western civilization. An overwhelming majority of Greeks and Greek Americans recognize that Western civilization cannot coexist with ideologies dedicated to our destruction. Although some Greeks may feel a confirmation of their own power by claiming that they are engaged in critical thinking by pondering the root causes of global terrorist activity or the global impact of a head-on confrontation the West and the Muslim world, they are hopelessly confused and misguided. The United States has not sought a head-on confrontation with the Muslim world any more than the United States sought a head-on confrontation with the empire of Japan prior to the Japanese attack on US forces stationed at Pearl Harbor in 1941. By commencing discussions with our worldwide allies regarding a strategy for marshaling our resources against this enemy, the United States, Greece’s NATO ally since 1952, has not sought flattery or to restore a dented image. We have arrived at a crossroads; together we must forge a new paradigm for the continued evolution and development of our civilization and ourselves. New York City, the home of millions of Americans and the largest Greek-American community in the United States, was attacked without justification; many Greek Americans and at least 30 Greek nationals were among the thousands killed. The Greek Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas, established in 1916, that stood at the foot of the World Trade Center was destroyed. The forces of darkness, intolerance and repression have fired their opening shot at all of us. On being useful is useless. Most Greeks understand what happened on September 11, 2001 and they understand that civilization itself was the target. Those who do not agree should stand aside and ponder what appeasement created in Europe in the first half of the 20th century. Nicholas James Fengos New York City Public opinion I am writing regarding Nikos Konstandaras’s Commentary of 25/9/01. I am curious as to where Mr. Konstandaras thinks these AEK fans have sprung from? They are, most likely, Greeks who have grown up in Greece where burning the American flag is almost a national pastime. It is only recently that 17th November marches to the American Embassy have become quieter and don’t always include flag burnings. I might also point out that these marches, over the years, have included many of the people that Mr. Konstandaras mentions as examples of sane, reasoning Greeks. Currently, Archbishop Christodoulos, Greece’s spiritual father, preaches divine retribution toward the Americans, gentlemen at my local cafe talk about America finally getting what they deserve and even good friends hint that perhaps America was a bit arrogant. If this is what educated Greeks say, what do you expect of football louts? This isn’t about hooligans, this is about Greek public opinion expressed at it’s lowest level. At least these brats are honest about their antipathy, and I bet they won’t try and retract either. Deborah B. Ninios Kifissia Disappointed Greek American Being a Greek American I am disheartened yet uplifted by the article, Athens fears anti-American image abroad (September 27, 2001). Disheartened because in America we perceive the Greek people as disliking us. Uplifted because Athens is evidently concerned how this demonstration by a minority will be viewed by Americans (and the world). I follow your newspaper weekly. It is how I learned of the new airport opening and planned road construction. Also, of how the city and country are doing in preparation for the next Olympics, the recent drought and many other things. You see, my grandfather left Greece in the early 1900s. He left family behind. When he found employment and opened up his own business here in America he sent money back to help his family. He never saw them again and no one in the family has ever met them. On September 15, four days after the terrorist attack, I was to take my first European trip and what was my destination? Greece, and more specifically Volos, where the family lives. Out of fear and knowing that I could not enjoy myself while my country was in such pain I did not go to Greece. Dear editor, I do not want your sympathy but this is what I want. I have not been to Greece but long to return to my roots and embrace my family. I encourage and challenge you to do what you can to wipe out terrorism in your country, not only to make it safer for travelers and commerce but safer for the most important thing, Greek citizens. So, Dear editor, what is it going to be? A fearful Athens, or an Athens strong and confident?