Let’s Stop Bashing Athens and Greece

The column that Athens is a "Grey Zone" is another negative depiction of a city that has been beset by many wars and invaders and is unfair.

Another week, another article by Andy Dabilis that’s short on facts, but long on baseless accusations.

His article on Athens being “The Grey Zone” (“Welcome to Athens, You’re Entering… the Grey Zone,” Jul. 12) proves that he is hurriedly writing articles at the last minute, without thinking them over, or even bothering to check for accuracy, hoping no one would notice.

Athens’ population has not doubled, since 1984, as he is claiming. As a matter of Athens proper has lost residents, and the Athens metropolitan area, including the suburbs and exurbs, has just about stayed the same, since 1984. A quick check on the Hellenic statistical authority’s figures, would have told him that.

Another inaccuracy is his claim that Athens could have had a river running through it. If Athens had a river, most of the year it would be dry and nothing like San Antonio’s River Walk, to be used as a tourist attraction.

Dabilis is comparing Athens to Rome, Paris, or New York. Those cities are centers of large countries, with huge resources and two of them are former colonial powers that used their colonies to extract wealth and build up their cities. Athens is the capital of a country that was poor and ravaged by war and occupation within many people’s lifetimes.

I was in Athens during the first weeks of June. The water fountain in Syntagma was operating. It is nothing fancy, compared to Rome’s, but, any visitor to the city, first sees a modern airport, a clean and efficient metro system, and highways that are not full of pot holes. Not the “dog bowl” that Dabilis sees.

His unfounded comments, such as Samaras “likes the color purple, as in 500 Euro notes and lots of them, please,” insinuating that he is on the take, for himself or his friends, is totally out of line. If he has proof of that, let him show us. Otherwise, it’s a disservice to TNH’s readers to inflame passions with no proof.

Athens needs plenty of improvements, but, negativity does not help. The New York Times has Athens on its list of 50 top destinations that should be visited. They must know something that Andy doesn’t.

Lambros Karpodinis

Brick, NJ