Τρίτη, 15 Νοεμβρίου 2016


Dear Mr. President,

I am Stahis Papavasiliou MD FACP, an aging Associate Professor of Endocrinology at the University of Crete School o Medicine, and citizen of Greece.
I consider the USA a second homeland, not without justification I believe.
I spent ten years in the US with Antigone my wife for the past 42 years, a Pediatric Neurologist and our two sons Spyros and Anthony and came to love the country and its people dearly. 
I received  my post graduate education in California and Michgan and my younger son is a US citizen He did his graduate studies at UC Berkeley and is currently Assistant Professor in Belgium.
My older son Spyros is an architect, trained in Edinburgh and Cambridge  and an ordained Greek Orthodox deacon. 
He had to go to Cyprus along with my daughter in law Photini and our four grandsons.
He kept asking with tears running down his cheeks why we had to leave the US back in 1986 when we decided  to return to Greece.
An uncle, George  Koutrouzis, was a decorated US army soldier  during WWII.

I extend to you and your entourage a heart felt wellcome to our country and I hope that you will spend a few hours of much deserved rest with us.

In the unlikely event that you or someone from your staff reads this letter I would like to present to you a picture of the country from the point of view of the common man; a view you cannot get from morning briefs, state dinners, speeches and the diplomatic give and take with the leadership of Greece. Neither can you get it from the windows of your limousine as it dashes down the streets of Athens and the "sterilized" environment  the Secret Service and Greek security agencies have diligently secured for you.

We are a small ancient nation Mr. President going through very hard times, trying to survive.
We live in a blessed part of the world  and our history and achievements of the distant past are known to all, so I will not dwell on them. This is not the case with the history, achievements, heroism, trials and tribulations  of Modern Greece from the War of Independence to the present day.
Since 1821, the dream of the common Greek has been to live free, with justice, some prosperity and do what he does best; work, learn, create, travel, share, enjoy life. 
To some extent  we achieved these goals abroad as you know better than me, from your contact with the vibrant diaspora of Greek Americans in the US. 
Domestically, the going has been tough with all kinds of obstacles in realizing these dreams most of the time. It was after 1974 that an era of stability, freedom and prosperity dawned upon us. For a brief moment in our history we had the "Audacity of hope". Your words.
But we squandered the benefits of this spell and the combination of a deep moral crisis, world economic crisis and the shifting tectonic plates of geopolitics threaten once more to wipe us from the face of the earth.   
The average citizen of this country Mr. President faces the following existential issues.

1. How  to make ends meet on a daily basis. Most households are overburdened with debt.
We live with two nightmares; the duo Merkel, Schaueble that refuse to reduce the burden of the public debt and the taxman. They both combine to kill whatever is left of the Greek economy by stifling the efforts of the small businessman to survive and forcing the worker to accept wages well below the poverty line. I face a grim future regarding my pension and I will probably have to work well beyond my 70'th birthday just to be able to pay my taxes. Others are much less fortunate. Most of us are not pleased with the policies of neither the EU nor our own government and we do appreciate the calls from the US to do something about the debt. 
It is high time for the debt to be reduced to sustainable levels.
We appreciate the help we received, but the price is way too high, economically, morally, politically.
We are not the lazy, tax-evading, scoundrels that the international Press has made us to be.
Most of us are hard working people who were unwillingly caught in a maelstorm.
Political correctness went out the window when it came to Greeks and we are very bitter about it.

2. The refugee crisis. 
It seems to the average man on the street, that we are unjustly overburdened with refugees.
Most of them enter the country illegally via Turkey. They come from the war ravaged Middle East, Africa, Pakistan, even as far as Afghanistan.
The problem is much more complex than just providing aid to women and children displaced from Syria and other areas of strife and unrest. 
For one thing, all these people are Muslims, coming to a 95% Greek Orthodox Christian country that wants to maintain the current religion of 2000 plus years, along with our language, and civilization and the newcomers do not wish to integrate into our civilization but want to assert theirs.
Our coexistence with Islam since the time of Heraclius and later under the Ottoman Empire has been neither peaceful nor happy, to put it mildly.
At the hands of the Turks we suffered the loss of  the Ionian region of Asia Minor through the genocide of Greeks in 1922 and more recently part of Cyprus. 
How can anyone ask us to submit to this uninvited and threatening  invasion by hostile foreigners who declare in the Holy Koran that we "the people of the Book", are "tolerated"?
For the time being, the average Greek is tolerant instead and offers whatever help he can, but he is also deeply concerned.  
The prevailing view is that this is an organized effort to change the composition of the Greek population and on this issue the political leadership of the country and the average person are at odds. Mr Erdogan is explicit on this and finds an ally in someone no less than Mr. Soros and his NGO's. We strongly object to the efforts of both.
We understand the plight of the true refugees but wouldn't it more reasonable for Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other rich Muslim countries to accept the flow of their displaced fellow Muslims?
Of course there is also the issue of security. I need not elaborate on the threat of cadres of ISIS infiltrating Europe and the US, via Lesvos and the islands of the Eastern Aegean.

3. Migration of our youth and a demographic crisis.
I have the personal experience of having my two sons move far away and I wish you never go through this Mr. President. There is no bigger curse for a Greek parent than have her/his children and grand children torn away, the way Greek young men and women, our best and brightest, were torn from us.
In my practice I see more and more women defer motherhood for a later date, for reasons that I can understand, until time takes its toll and it becomes too late and costly to have a child.
I can not describe the pain and despair of my childless patients when I tell them that menopause is upon them and that yes there are means to help them but the cost is prohibiting.

4. Integrity of our country and the threats of war by Turkey.
While we are sinking deeper and deeper in crisis, Turkey has been growing.  
If this growth translated into a friendly interaction there would be no problem. I have good friends in Turkey.
However, the adminstration of Mr. Erdogan, on the theoretical basis laid by Mr Davutoglou, has opted to resurrect the Ottoman Empire.
Recently, with eyes wide open with surprise the averge Greek read in the newspapers that he decided to annul unilaterally the Lausanne Treaty. 
It became the talk of the day in the cafes and the neighborhoods and people started talking quietly about something that we know for a long time that is coming. War with Turkey.

In  conclusion Mr. President, if I had the chance to ask you for one favor it would be this:
Please exercise all your influence and power to secure the status quo in the Aegean and maintain the current borders in the Balkans. We understand that Turkey is considered a more important ally than us for American interests and statesmen like Mr. Kissinger, analysts and thinkers like Mr. Brzezinski, along with NATO officials have spelled this out in no uncertain terms to our chagrin, but it may not be so in the long run. Remember that our nations stood together in two World Wars to Turkey's none.
Be for us a champion like Jefferson and you and the American people will not regret it.

Most respectfully, 

Stathis S. Papavasiliou MD FACP


3 σχόλια:

  1. Δοκιμάσατε να βάλετε το link http://rosicrux.blogspot.gr/2016/11/an-open-letter-to-president-obama.html (προσοχή, θέλει κλικ στον τίτλο της ανάρτησης, αλλιώς βγάζει την home page) στο https://www.facebook.com/potus/videos/563081097215068/ ή στο https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact ;

    1. Ευχαριστώ πολύ φίλε μου αν και δεν είδα έγκαιρα το σχόλιό σας.
      Μετά την δημοσίευση, ο υπολογιστής μου ΄ρχισε να συμπεριφέρεται λίγο περίεργα για λίγες ώρες πράγμα που ίσως σημαίνει ότι ....έλαβαν γνώση οι φύλακες αλλά απεφάσισαν να μην απαντήσουν.

    2. Εμένα ο υπολογιστής συμπεριφέρθηκε παράξενα όταν για πρώτη φορά επισκέφθηκα το nsa.gov. Στο παράθυρο "Κατάσταση:Τοπική σύνδεση" έβλεπα τον υπολογιστή να αποστέλλει δεδομένα στο διαδίκτυο και επίσης τον σκληρό δίσκο να δουλεύει έντονα!