It has been a week since we heard about the flattering statements of the newly-elected mayor of New York, Eric Adams, in favor of Turkey. And yet, so far there has been no reaction from the Greek-American community.
We were shocked by his statements to the Turkish news agency Anadolu, with his immoderate admiration for Turkey. But the whole situation also surprised us. How is it possible that we did not know about the relationship of the leading candidate for Mayor of New York City with the Turkish-American community? How was it possible for his Greek-American supporters not to realize the deep relationships he had developed with them?
And how is it possible for his supporters to be silent, at least in public, now that we know?
Last week the silence of those claiming the role of leaders in our Community was deafening – and heartbreaking. But it was also revealing. This newspaper gave them the opportunity to comment, but they refused. One wonders why. If they think that Adams will appreciate them more, they are wrong. Only good relationships make good friends.
In a previous commentary titled A Turkish Tree Grows in Brooklyn – and Our Community’s Responsibilities (November 24, 2021) I wrote, among other things:
“I propose the following: a group of Greek-Americans, led by our Archbishop, should ask to meet with Mr. Adams to make clear our dissatisfaction and ask him, in the worst case, to maintain equal distance between the two Communities. But we have to do it now, at the beginning of his term, in order to prevent the worst, because barring any unforeseen situation, he will be the mayor of New York for at least four years and we cannot allow him to be ‘the first Turkish mayor of New York.’”
In a second commentary of mine titled ‘The Adams issue: It is a Leadership Issue’ (November 25, 2021), I wrote:
“At the same time the Adams statements bring to the forefront another major issue that is very obvious and oftentimes harmful: They raise the relentless question of how and who in the Community deals with such matters. In other words, they reveal the magnitude of the lack of competent popular leadership at the head of our lay organizations. There is probably no other period, in recent decades, when the Greek-American community in New York was so headless and fragmented.”
The fact that Adams caught us by surprise is a big problem. However, the fact that we do not react as Greeks to his statements is an equally big problem.
What other conclusion will he and other politicians draw from this, other than the fact that the Greek-American community is disorganized and headless, that it lags behind the Turks in New York in dynamism and passion, and that, therefore, it can be ignored without serious consequences?
And so, let us not blame Adams and every other ‘Adams’ for their pro-Turkish relations and their indifference to our Community. The problem lies with us and no one else.
So let us stop shifting blame and responsibility to third parties and let us see where we are to blame. Let’s see what lies behind it.
Once we uncover the root causes, those findings will be invaluable to our Community…