Dear Mrs. Miller,
I am writing to you as a dual citizen, as a citizen of your country, the USA, and as a Greek citizen. I have become deeply concerned after reading your recent comments, made while you are living in my country of birth, Greece. I am referring to your recent speech during the conference on “Trafficking in Women,” which was held at the Greek Ombudsman’s Office together with the US Embassy’s Public Affairs Section to commemorate Human Rights Day, on December 10, 2001.
I read from the Greek press that you are of the opinion that “in Bosnia, unfortunate women are not beaten by customers and are provided with condoms, unlike in Greece.” I believe that you speak out of compassion. People in general, and mostly children and women, are abused everywhere, to the shame of all of the rest of us, and there is no scale to measure pain. Nevertheless, I have lived almost half of my life in the USA and I should make some observations in order to put things in perspective.
Greece did not use its science to flood the world with demoralizing material, both sexual and violent, which dehumanizes our youth and women, and provokes them to crime. Greece is flooded for years now with violent Hollywood movies, which any sensitive, loving, and aware parent would never wish show to his children. In Greece, there is no shooting in schools and there are no police cars permanently stationed at the entrance of almost every school. In Greece, there are no drive-by shootings and the majority of the population does not own guns. In Greece, mental institutions are not overcrowded and there is no prison industry (one of the fastest growing industries in the US). In Greece, anyone can be out until morning having a good time without fearing that someone will stick a gun or a knife to his side, as someone put it. In Greece, families still hold together. The bond between the parents and their children is always strong, until death. Adults take care of their children and also provide loving care for their elderly parents. I have found out that this wonderful phenomenon still exists in the so-called underdeveloped countries. The Chinese, Koreans, and Native Americans, to name a few, also have strong family values. Anyone living in Greece is fortunate and that is no secret.
In Greece, people are not afraid or indifferent talking about politics anywhere during their waking hourséa way to keep democracy alive. Greek people are very generous, spontaneous, forgiving, and very sensitive to the suffering of others and this is known to more than 10 million tourists every year when they visit Greece. Greece would not wage wars around the world with the pretext of humanitarianism, creating the victims of prostitution you are referring to. A pure end can be achieved only when the means are pure.
Greece does not have any military bases around the world trying to control the military, political, economic, and even social life of other people; and in Greece, the media do not run war propaganda every day to justify the killings, mutilation, and displacement of hundreds of thousands around the world. Peace comes from dialog, like the ancient Greeks taught us, not by waging wars. In Greece, Greeks can afford to have more than one national election within the same year in order to choose a democratic government fairly. They would not allow a court to make the decision for them.
Here are some questions I have heard people around me asking lately here in the U.S.:
Why does the USA have to kill and mutilate hundreds of thousands of people, and displace even more from their everyday lives in order to bring peace? Is there no other way?
Must we kill people in order to save lives? Is it right for the richest and strongest country to bomb the people of the poorest countries?
Why does our government spend hundreds of billions of dollars to make new warplanes to rain down horror on people who have as little control over their leaders as we do over ours?
How is it that America, the richest nation on earth, cannot afford to have free higher education when Greece can?
The United States became very alarmed after the invasion of Kuwait. Why has it not for Cyprus, Palestine and the Kurds, to name a few?
Why does the American government wage wars around the world killing millions of people, even thousands of their own American soldiers with depleted uranium, and then deny and withhold any medical support?
Why does America send Israel millions of dollars of aid every year when there are thousands of Palestinian refugees, and when Israel is ignoring International law?
People concerned about the homeless, the hungry, and those without medical insurance in the U.S. ask; Why does the USA spend an annual military budget of over 300 billion dollars when they could spend even a fraction of it to meet the needs of the whole world? They would not have enemies.
You also stated that in Bosnia after 40 years of communist administration, the conditions regarding the exploitation of women are better, and that “it is a shame for the Greek government and for its citizens.” I believe that you did not intend to hurt the spirit of patriotism of the Greek people by speaking in this way.
Recently a very scandalous editorial appeared in the Washington Times titled “Reign Of Terror In Greece,” which paints peaceful Greece as a country of routine violence. My Greek American friends are asking, “Why is there such bias against a small peaceful country without the daily violence that is experienced in the USA?” Why is there such a fear in the USA? For a nation, all fear dies when it does not threaten anyone. Do we not like to live in nations, which no one needs to be afraid of? We do. Then why threaten? We need no empires and national interests when Damocles’ nuclear sword is on the top of my head your head and the head of 6.2 billion people.
Is it not the foreign policy of the U.S. government that has brought the thousands of unfortunate girls to Greece to live the way they do? It is a shame not to this or to that side, but to every one of us who have allowed this inhumane treatment of these women. No one is a winner when we inflict pain on someone else.
An ambassador’s work today is as important as never before. Their mission should be to help eliminate the mistrust between nations, and as a consequence, eliminate militarism and everything else that goes with it. Greece has suffered from the role that a number of American ambassadors and other officials played in the past (junta, Cyprus tragedy, among others). Anyone associated with the ambassador should be trying to maintain a good relationship with the people of the host country. In this way, the mission of the ambassador is helped.
Today informed Greek citizens who are watching the recent developments in the USA-Greece-Turkey political triangle are appalled. US policy towards Turkey in relation to Greece and in general the Balkans, Caucasus, and Middle East is bound to bring great calamities for all. Therefore we need to work passionately for a peaceful US foreign policy. More power demands more responsibility, more wisdom, and more concern for others. Only fairness and unselfishness will make America respected, loved, and followed by other nations in the world.
Mr. Andreas Toupadakis, Ph.D. is a Former Research Scientist of Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.