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Dr. C.Karatzios/Chicago Tribune 06/30/11

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"Greece ties Europe in Knots" by Rosemary Righter‏

Dear Editor,
I have just read Ms. Righter's scathing commentary published in the Chicago Tribune on June 30, 2011 with the title: "Greece ties Europe in Knots. Tiny nation's chaos threatens world economic order." It is the same article verbatim published in newsweek on June 26, 2011 with the title: "Greece is the Way We Are Feeling. How did a marginal, misgoverned little nation push all of Europe to the brink?". This is not responsible journalism. In fact it smacks of racism. What Ms. Righter has produced is a tirade of spiteful arguments that have very little to do with true facts. I will not focus on the details of this pitiful excuse for journalism because I honestly don't know where to start. I would have to deconstruct the whole article. There are many factual errors that I wonder how both Newsweek and the Chicago Tribune accepted it for publication.
I will focus on two things. Firstly, did the Chicago Tribune have nothing else to post opting instead to rehash a story from Newsweek? I have a feeling that Ms. Righter opted for the shotgun approach: let's poke fun at a nation and send it to all major U.S. newspapers. I also detect a bit of sour grapes in her pedantic characterization of Greece as a "marginal little nation". Perhaps it is because jolly good Britain didn't invent democracy? Apart from Greece's contribution to Western literature, drama, governance, theater, and linguistics, that "marginal little nation" saved all of Europe during World War II by delaying Hitler's expansion westward.
The second thing I would like to bring up is the inappropriate tone of the article as if Greece is responsible for the evils of mankind. Yes yes, my people are backward, ouzo-drinking, zorba-dancing, illiterate villagers! She didn't even leave the Olympics out of her diatribe either. I do wish that London pulls off such an organized and tasteful Olympics as Athens did but she doesn't see it that way. I do remember how organized and (ahem)...tasteful the Atlanta Olympics were. And I also remember the homegrown terrorist attack in Atlanta! Any other stereotypes that Newsweek would like to share with the world? Did we also invent the plague?
Instead of looking down her nose at a whole nation and acting like a Colonial Lady of yore with 3 pages worth of hateful comments, perhaps Ms. Righter (and by extension The Chicago Tribune) could write a balanced and constructive commentary of how irresponsible European banks and corrupted governments (not only Greece's) led to the looming world financial crisis. The United Kingdom's finances are in dire straits as well and they are not even part of the Euro. In a month the United States will run out of money to pay their bills owed to China unless President Obama convinces Congress to raise the debt threshold.
So let's cut this ridiculous nation-bashing out and look at the glass houses we all live in. You are not better than those "Mediterranean southerners". And for your information, colonialism is dead. It's time to stop dreaming of Imperial England and the "noble savages".
Christos Karatzios MD
Montreal, Quebec, Canada

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