Skip to comments.Analysis: Greek anti-Americanism
Posted on 01/12/2007 12:32:04 PM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu
|Many Greeks will have reacted with satisfaction to the dawn rocket attack on the US embassy in Athens.
There is an undercurrent of anti-Americanism in Greece, which began after the Great Powers carved up Europe at Yalta towards the end of World War II. It has been perpetuated every generation since, by some aspect of US foreign policy.
Revolutionary Struggle, the left-wing guerrilla group which claims to have fired the Russian-made rocket, is continuing the tradition of its predecessor November 17, of attacking targets which have - in its view - populist appeal.
November 17 began its long terror campaign in December 1975 by murdering Richard Welch, the CIA station chief, outside his Athens home.
It went on to murder three other American diplomats.
Welch's assassination was part of an attempt to avenge American support of the right-wing military dictatorship which ruled Greece with an iron fist from 1967 to 1974.
The colonels' regime began to falter after a student uprising in 1973.
The rebellion was centred on Athens Polytechnic, and on November 17 that year the colonels sent in tanks to crush the revolt.
The true casualty figure has never been confirmed, but it is thought as many as two dozen students were killed.
Greece has never forgotten nor forgiven.
That day in November is regarded as a defining anniversary of Greece's modern democracy and, because of its backing of the colonels, the United States is inextricably connected in a very poor light.
Each year, on that date, tens of thousands of trade unionists, left-wingers and ordinary people march from the Polytechnic to the heavily fortified US embassy.
Invariably the demonstration disintegrates into a ritual battle between riot police and anarchists.
The march is also an opportunity for Greece's grandparents to vent their anger over US interference in their domestic politics.
After Stalin, Truman and Churchill divided Europe at the Yalta summit, Greece slid into civil war, fought between communists and nationalists.
During the five-year conflict, America supported the nationalists, because they were desperate to make sure that the Soviet bloc did not have an outlet to the Mediterranean.
It took a full 25 years after the end of the civil war for communists and their supporters to be fully rehabilitated into Greek society.
Resentment over their treatment has continued to this day.
Unpopular US moves
The playstation generation's disdain of America has been fuelled not just by stories told on the knees of parents and grandparents, but also by President George Bush's invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The wars in both countries are widely opposed in Greece and are regarded as despicable acts of folly.
America's reputation in Greece is also not helped by the perception that it usually takes Turkey's side during disputes between Athens and Ankara.
Disdain for American values is, however, not universal in Greece.
There is a large expatriate Greek community living in the US and many people here admire and imitate the American entrepreneurial spirit.
But most Greeks believe American foreign policy is both malevolent and disastrous. So there will not be much sympathy for Ambassador Charles Ries, as he surveys the damage done to his fortress on Vassilis Sofias Avenue.
On the BBC's "Have Your Say" forums, the Greeks there consistently have an anti-American view. Whether this is the case for the vast majority of Greeks....
It was quiet in Athens in 1963. Aside from street demonstrations and anti-American, anti-British, and anti-Turkey signs and chants it was perfectly peaceful and no danger at all. They had actual military in battle dress posted at various places in the city, especially near American Express, the American embassy, and other obvious points of interest.
These days, most of the anger at the US is generated by our support of Turkey, who is their ancient enemy.
They really hate the Turks, and they are locked in a cold war with them
The Greeks are pretty socialist, we visited family there, both the husband and wife are doctors, they live in a tiny apartment and drive a wreck of a car.
My middle name is Speros, my mothers maiden name is Metaxas, my grandfathers cousin was the Prime Minister of Greece, my grandfather remained a communist in NYC and read the Pravda every day until the day he died. Quite a bit of political fights when we went to visit grandma and grandpa, I was too young to participate.
Here is PM Metaxas in Wikipedia:
Trust me on this one because I'm experienced it first hand.
Greece is one of the worst anti-american countries in Europe. In some ways, even worse than France or Spain.
Filled with miserable lazy racist communists.
Yes, the article mentions their conflict with Turkey. Do they still have the objective of getting Constantinople back? And weren't they in support of Turkish membership into the EU?
Greece actually gained territory after WWII. Whay are they pissed at the US? We even helped the pro-western faction in their civil war that followed.
I don't know about those two things, but I do know there is still a lot of tension over Cyprus and several islands in the Aegean
plus, many Greeks were ethnically cleansed from areas in present day turkey in the earlier parts of the 20th century
they have been at war off and on for a long, long time
So let's break off relations with Greece, give ALL of Cyprus to the Turks, and suspend participation in any NATO exercise Greece participates in.
"But most Greeks believe American foreign policy is both malevolent and disastrous."
Kind of a sweeping statement, but if true, not unusual for Euroweenies.
My guess is any anti-Americanism is more related to perceived perference for the Turk than any aspects of political philosophy. And I can't think of one single reason to like the Turk.
The article basically says that Greek anti Americanism is based on Greek leftism. Well, leftists always hate America, so if Greeks are leftists or sympathize with leftist thought, of course there will be anti Americanism.
OTOH, friends of mind from Miami recently toured Greece and reported being treated nicely wherever they went. I myself would love to see the Greek islands one day, or at least some of them.
The article suggests that that "pro-western faction" was a dictatorship, so sort of akin to the various cases in Latin America where a dictatorship was picked over a Communist [dictatorship].
Yes, Greece gained the Dodecanese Islands (which had been under Italian control) after WWII. It would make more sense to focus their anger on Britain--it was the Brits who intervened at the end of WWII to prevent a Communist victory in the civil war (eventually Truman came to Britain's aid). During the Cold War Turkey seemed to be a more dependable ally for the US--Turkey had its own reason to be anti-Russian, whereas Greece shares an Orthodox heritage with the Russians.