If you have been wondering how and why anti-Americanism is so pervasive in Greece*#8212;and has been for many years, long before President Bush and Iraq became another excuse*#8212;here is a recent illustration that offers a vivid explanation of the process.
For those who may be unfamiliar with the Greek press, the daily Kathemerini has been the most respected newspaper of the conservative *#8220;right*#8221; for more than seven decades. Yet, it often publishes articles and news stories that are biased against America. Most recently, it published an article of its frequent columnist professor Christos Yiannaras, which dripped with venom and inaccuracies about the United States. But this is only part of the story. When Dr. Achilles Adamantiades of the World Bank sent to the newspaper an article effectively refuting Yiannaras*#8217; arguments, the newspaper refused to publish it.
We often hear that the leftist journalists in Greece have been responsible for the anti-American bias. This is only partly true. The truth of the matter is that for more than 20 years, the non-leftist journalists and politicians*#8212;out of timidity and shortsightedness*#8212;did nothing to set the record straight. Professor Yiannaras was attacking the European Union for allegedly imitating the United States instead of becoming *#8220;the guardian of European freedoms and social priorities, upholding*nbsp; the*nbsp; tradition for state-run European universities, keeping its science and research free of expediencies, advancing the achievements of its cultural creativity, and preserving the high level of its quality of life and*nbsp; culture.
*#8220;Instead,*#8221; professor Yiannaras went on, *#8220;the European Union appears (with dramatic consequences) infected with a syndrome of inferiority in the face of the new/rich primitive culture, economic might, and military superiority of the United States. The E.U. wants to bring the traditionally state controlled universities under the politically uncontrollable demands of the economy, creating institutions of a society that seek to teach its leading cadres itself, and not to entrust them to the so-called *#8220;free market.*#8221;
*#8220;The American model that seems to have enchanted the E.U.,*#8221; he said, *#8220;is a society of emigrants, a racial hodgepodge of uprooted people for the sake of survival, with tragically antisocial differences in their way of thinking and in their cultures. They are *#8216;united*#8217; by their blind devotion to *#8216;money,*#8217; a devotion they inherited from the early emigrants, *#8216;money*#8217; being the measure of evaluating every person. Their idea of life is the search for *#8220;opportunity,*#8221; the stubborn effort to show off their riches and their power to the lands of their origin*#8212;their childish admiration for their machines and for the size and glitter of their products.
*#8220;The overwhelming majority of the American people are in a state of undifferentiated masses, buried deep in their lack of education, with dizzying percentages of illiterate people. An esthetic barbarism, ridiculous clothing, a torpid state of overweight, with idiotic gullibility and easy submission to any kind of power (even the power of crazy religious preachers). This is the model, the E.U. wants to imitate and sacrifice for its sake the social conquests and its cultural refinements which should have been upheld as its cause of pride.*#8221; Professor Yiannaras is well known in Greece for his erudition and rich vocabulary. However, even trash can be wrapped in colorful and glittering gift paper.
Dr. Adamandiades tried to refute with facts the grotesque picture painted by professor Yiannaras. He pointed out that the great American universities, famous the world over, are private and that professor Yiannaras himself *#8220;wrote with admiration about them when, in a moment of sincerity, he wrote his impressions after a visit to Princeton: *#8220;The *#8216;racial hodge-podge of uprooted people,*#8217; Dr. Adamandiades points out, *#8220;is a nation made up of people who came from every corner on earth and yet they have learned how to live and prosper in social peace and harmony*#8212;a unique example for other countries where racial and ethnic differences are a constant source of trouble.*#8221;
*#8220;The search for *#8216;opportunity,*#8217; which Prof. Yiannaras seems to deride, is a cornerstone of the American social justice, much more effective than the European social handouts which, according to Yiannaras, should be a matter of pride for the Europeans. It was this *#8216;opportunity*#8217; to be successful and prosper which attracted millions of emigrants to America and which has been the secret of its success.
*#8220;Composers, scientists, artists, writers, men and women of talent, have come to the United States and found the doors open*#8212;many of them forced to leave their own countries when they found there he doors closed by favoritism or prejudice. The tradition of valuing talent and ability regardless of national origin, family connections, or political favoritism, has been and continues to be the reason why this country has reached the highest levels in almost every area of human activity.*#8221;
*#8220;Prof. Yiannaras speaks also of the *#8216;neo-barbarism*#8217; of the Americans,*#8221; said Dr. Adamantiades. *#8220;He seems to forget conveniently everything *#8216;civilized*#8217; Europe has done through the ages (what Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Belgium, Portugal did when they were at the pinnacle of their power. )
Prof. Yiannaras prefers to forget that without the help of the United States, Europe would very likely have been swept under the real barbarism of the Nazis, and more specifically that without the Truman Doctrine, Greece would have been today very much like Albania after forty years of Communist rule.*#8221;
The respected, conservative newspaper Kathemerini refused to publish this response by Dr. Adamandiades*#8212;evidently to protect its readers from being exposed to an unsettling dose of the truth.