Letter to The Boston Globe, July 9, 1999

American Hellenic Media Project
P.O. Box 1150
New York, N.Y. 10028-0008

Via fax & e-mail: (617) 929-2098

July 9, 1999

RE: Murphy's Flaw

To the Editor of The Boston Globe:

In his July 6th report, "Greece feeling heat to finally tackle terrorism", Brian Murphy exaggerates the extent of terrorism in Greece and fails to view it within its larger context. The small group of extremists responsible for the sporadic attacks on foreign businesses and for the handful of American officials killed over the last two decades are a perverse exception to Greece's standing as among the safest countries in Europe for both tourists and foreign officials alike.

According to information taken from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports, Greece's homicide rate is less than a fifth of the U.S.'s, and Americans are seven times more likely to be murdered in their own nation's capitol than anywhere in Greece. The memorial at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City commemorating 168 dead should serve as a sobering reminder that far more Americans and government officials have died as a result of home-grown terrorism. Whether looking at terrorism or crime, Americans and US officials are safer walking the streets of Athens or Thessaloniki than those of Washington, D.C. or New York.

Mr. Murphy's disproportionate focus on what is in essence a minor concern for U.S. interests is a red herring that not only detracts from the real foreign policy issues our government must address in the region, but hands otherwise inconsequential extremists their biggest victory by magnifying the perception of danger they pose and thus their ability to spread terror. Moreover, exaggerating the effects of terrorism in Greece helps to undermine our staunchest and most democratic ally in the region and our best hope for the spread of democratic and free-market values to the Balkans, Turkey and beyond.

Very truly yours,

P. D. Spyropoulos, Esq.
Executive Director

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