Apparently I am a traitor and not a serious person

My last post about the collision between the Greek and Turkish airplanes (there are reports that the Turkish one might not have been an F16 but an F4 with spying capabilities) got me in trouble with a couple of fellow Greeks.

There was a comment about the loooong history of warfare in the region, from the ancient times. Yes, I agree with Tom that it’s not easy to forget the past but if there is something that history teaches us is that animosity and confrontation always bring misery and always at the cost of prosperity, at the cost of advance in all fronts of society. People should work together, they should collaborate, especially if they are neighbors (BTW Tom, I am “Savas” and not “Stelios” :-)

And then there was this comment by Dimitris B. This is a translation from Greeklish (the phonetic use of the Latin alphabet to capture Greek words) so I hope I am accurately capturing the comment’s intentions.

“Your critique is exceptionally immature and provocative!!! If you didn’t understand, the Turkish airplane was a spying one and the Greek airspace was violated! One of our pilots was lost. To leave Greece in order to pursue a career is called immigration, to forget your roots and not to take a position in order to have a good relationship with the Turkish there is called treason. I am disappointed because I thought you were a serious person…”

And an ‘unknown’ continues by commenting on the above comment…

“What did you expect? That he’d be a serious person?”

I find the comments totally unjustified. I don’t know the people who commented and I suspect they don’t know me personally either. They don’t know how much I love my country. Just ask Jim who was very surprised when I was ready to go back to Greece to fight for my country as things were escalating in the mid 90s between Greece and Turkey. Gladly nothing happened.

I lived in the UK enough years to be able to apply for citizenship but I preferred to return to Greece in order to do my military service in 2001 (it’s still mandatory in Greece for all men). That was at a huuuuuuge career cost, especially given the totally unrelated stuff I was doing at the army. Having an MSc and a PhD in Computing Science, and having done post-doc research work and R&D for HP I found myself cleaning toilets, washing dishes, pealing potatoes while other inexperienced kids with the ‘right’ connections were part of the army’s Information Technology and Research division. I am not complaining, everyone has to contribute in all aspects of the military life but I am sure that my skills could have been applied in a better way and my time could have been used more creatively.

Had I tried to legally avoid doing the military service back then? Yes, I had looked for opportunities (the drafting law enables really strange cases like serving for 3 months at a NATO country’s armed forces instead). I couldn’t take advantage of any note of the law so I decided to go back instead of illegally staying abroad like so many other Greek scientists. I wanted to make sure that I obeyed the laws of my country so I can go in and out of it without any problems. I did my duty and I moved on. I do not accept the characterization of a “traitor” and I do not allow anyone (especially when they are anonymously expressing their opinion) to question my love for my country just because I have an opinion that is in favor of peace, of people working together, of people being good neighbors. Why couldn’t we live together with the Turkish nation and help each other like when the Greek rescuers were the first ones to help with the Istanbul earthquake few years ago and the Turkish were the first ones to arrive and help at the Athens earthquake only few months later?

I did not take sides in my previous post. I said that both sides (politicians and military but not the people) were equally to blame for the continuing animosity and for events like yesterday’s one. And no… I don’t know of any Turkish here but this has definitely not been by choice. It just hasn’t happened yet.

The most important part of this story and unfortunately the saddest one is that a young Greek pilot was lost.

Comments are closed.