Prescription for Failure

By Marcus A. Templar

Not considering the call of the Greek Diaspora for hiring Public Relations (PR) firms in
Washington, Greece continues to keep a deaf ear. It upholds the delusion that the Diaspora is competent to do what professional PR firms do for other countries. Simultaneously, Greek politicians and diplomats insist to mingle with the affairs of the Diaspora destroying any chances for success. In other words, while the politicians want us to help them, they want to pull the strings of how to help them or what to do; prescription for failure.

While most members of the Greek Diaspora exert willingness, time, and money to help the causes of the ancestral country, they lack understanding and expertise to undertake the task. Some Greek Americans have only rudimental knowledge of ancient history which they keep repeating in a form of a tirade, as if the U.S. Administration and publications are either mentally incapacitated or deaf. No matter what they read in publications and how it has been supplied to them the response is the same: Alexander the Great was Greek!

One of the most striking examples is the response that a very educated young man gave to a letter published by a newspaper in the United States. The original published letter was written by a certain person representing the views of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Although the letter justified Skopje's stance on the name issue, citing that a nonsolution regarding the name dispute in Skopje's terms, would bring instability to the Balkans, the young Greek responded in a lengthy letter that Alexander the Great was Greek! In short, the letter was not published.

Lack of knowledge of the issues at stake is another problem of the U.S. Hellenic Diaspora. Part of the Greek Diaspora lobbies the U.S. Administration siding with the views of Skopje, Turkey, or Albania without realizing they are actually doing harm, maintaining that the "solution" sounds logical; they however lack expertise and in depth knowledge of the arguments. They do not even ask the relevant organizations to acquire some appropriate information and if they do ask they give the impression that they did it because of politeness, not because they actually listened. Briefly these organizations are extraneous.

Others send correspondence to their elected representatives writing multi-page letters enumerating the achievements of ancient Greece, democracy and such, but the present issues take a hike. They mail hardly edited letters without taking into consideration any writing style, claiming, "because this is how we write." The reader, the audience, and the destination of the letter are inconsequential to them; and then they do not understand why they get no results. Could it simply be that nobody has read the letter?

Now getting into the core of the issue, why Greece has not yet hired a good professional Public Relations firm to take care of its national issues with the U.S. government, publishing networks, and news organizations? Greece prefers the cheap and free way. The above mentioned examples are the result of such thinking. They rely on the aforementioned people and their organizations, some of which have no interest in helping, except that they use Greece as a vacation place and a reason for their own self-indulgence and self-flattering.

Thus, Greece is not doing well because of the governments mishandling the PR issue. Since the Greek Diaspora does not have people who understand global security, regional stability, Balkan and international politics, Greece has to hire professionals that do understand. Otherwise, Greece's results will be as lamentable as they are thus far.

The role of the Greek Diaspora should be one of assistance and it should not be placed to take the entire responsibility to promote the Hellenic national issues in Washington. The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey, both with very small Diaspora in the United States, have been very successful in promoting their interests because both have hired PROFESSIONAL lobbyists in the only capital of the world that the most serious decisions take place about the fate of the rest of the world. Shouldn't Greece have the best lobbying firm that money can buy right now?

(Posting date 8 April 2008)

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