OPINION

Opinion

. ..The global network of Greeks abroad can only grow through a parallel development of professional and group networks, such as those of parliamentarians, entrepreneurs, scientists, artists and, above all, young people. The last-named, more than any other group, is haunted by the specter of assimilation. The wager will be won by those among them who have not been incorporated into the structures of older generations. Many of them will participate as volunteers in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The isolated Greek communities of the ex-Soviet Union continue to have the greatest need in terms of material aid. Much has been done in this area, and the efforts bear the stamp of Deputy Foreign Minister Grigoris Niotis, president of the World Council of Hellenes (SAE), Andrew Athens, and the general secretary of Greeks abroad, Dimitris Dolis. The main focus is on education- and health-related programs. With joint funding by Greece and American non-governmental organizations, SAE has managed to build and to maintain health centers in Ukraine, Georgia and Armenia. It is particularly interesting and deeply moving that Greeks with different backgrounds and lifestyles have such close links and cooperate creatively to strengthen the presence of the Greek element in highly volatile regions. Many people in Greece, blinded by a provincial or pseudo-cosmopolitan mentality, deem that the government’s policy on the Greek diaspora is of secondary importance. The Greek government has asked the EU to exert pressure on Ankara to adopt the requisite measures, but in vain. In most cases, Turkish officials refuse to accept and send migrants who arrived on the Greek shore on Turkish vessels back to their countries. Whenever migrants enter Greek territory or are detained by coast guard authorities, Greece is obliged to offer them medical treatment, food and accommodation. Western governments have to abandon their ambiguous stance and take a clear line on the issue. Understandable as the impoverished masses’ desire for a better life may be, migration to the West is no solution. Today, most migrants who make their way to the West manage to settle down. Hope is then vindicated, sustaining more migration.