(en) To the members of the International Olympic Committee

.ALPHA. anarchist weekly (alfanarc@compulink.gr)
Sat, 8 Mar 1997 20:28:32 +0000

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Gentlemen, As active citizens of Greece we hereby express our strong opposition to an eventual undertaking of the Olympic Games of 2004 by the city of Athens.

Presently, our country is faced with an extremely difficult financial situation, as it can be verified in recent mobilisations of farmers, sailors, teachers, civil servants and other professionals. For millions of our fellow citizens future looks rather dark.

Moreover, from an environmental point of view, the city of Athens has reached a crucial point. Its very existence is at stake. The essence of the city, being the condensation of social and cultural relations and a meeting place for persons and commodities is under a grave menace.

1. Throughout the post-war period, the plain of Attica has been the site of an intense concentration of people and activities, and the use of land was determined by the rules of exhaustive exploitation and commercialisation.

The above phenomena have caused a number of acute social, urban and environmental problems and since these problems were never dealt with, in a radical way, they kept reproducing themselves to a point that presently the greater Athens area is a "problem region".

The present conditions in Attica are built up by the following characteristics: - Continuous extension of the city, at the expense of the last remaining free spaces, forests and agricultural land. - Free access to coasts blocked by various activities, foreign to the leisure, cultural and other needs of the general public. - Insufficient technical infrastucture (drainage etc) and social facilities. - Acute traffic problems, caused by the lack of adequate public transport system and the use of private vehicles as the dominant means of transport. - High rates of pollution, caused mainly by the traffic. In spite of the above conditions, Athens bids for the undertaking of the Olympic Games in 2004!

2. If the Olympic Games of 2004 take place in Athens, the consequences of this giant project will further aggravate the existing problems.

Namely, the projects and activities planned for the needs of the Olympic Games, in our opinion will contribute: - to counteract the objectives of the official urban planning (the Athens Master Plan) - to deepen the inequalities between the deteriorated regions of west Attica and the rest of the agglomeration - to encourage the option for planning a highly competitive "dynamic metropolitan district", at the expense of the balanced development of the country. - to an enormous expenditure drawn from the national budget, that will not be possible to be covered by the envisaged self-financing of the projects, thus leading to the inevitable solution of calling the people of this country to pay the bill.

3. Last, but not least, a few words about the very essence of the institution: In the ancient greek democracies, sport was contributing to the well balanced development of both spiritual and physical abilities of free citizens. It was not a show of achievements industrially produced and commercially promoted. Reconciliation of Man with Nature, through the equilibrium of body and spirit, is one thing. Record hunting is another.

With the conviction that true athletic spirit, true "Olympic spirit" cannot be served by giant manifestations ruled by market standards and blind competition, WE EXPRESS OUR OPPOSITION TO THE UNDERTAKING OF THE OLYMPIC GAMES OF 2004 BY THE CITY OF ATHENS. Our longing for a world with no poverty, misery and repression is miles away from the commercial fair known as the "Olympic Games". The institution was already marked since the its very beginning, but the blood that stained the Plaza of Three Civilisations in Mexico City in 1968 swept away the last illusions.

For our part, we declare our intention to join our forces in the direction of: - informing the general public about the menace that the Olympics 2004 consist for Attica and its people. - exposing the activities of the greek bidding committeee, who till now, has been moving in the darkest secrecy.


Citizens Initiative Against The Undertaking of The Olympic Games of 2004 by Athens

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