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Imia and the "Gray Area" of the Aegean



Mr. Lamprakos and the wreath laid in honor of the 3 servicemen who gave their lives for God and country. Incidentally, the two flags in this picture were the ones that sparked the entire controversy, and the government's action!


Not three full months had passed since the Imia crisis, and the new action of the Hellenic government proved what our submission resulted in. What I am referring to of course is the new "status quo" in the Aegean, and the "gray area" or "neutral zone" which was created following the crisis.

In honor of the three servicemen, Panagiotis Blahakos, Ektoras Gialouos, and Christos Karathanasis,that gave their lives at Limnia, the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York, and her president Vasilios Stathakos, decided to lay a wreath in the area where the helicopter fell, as well as on the islet of Imia. The wreath was also decorated on each side by an American and Hellenic flag (similar to the Federation's logo).

The wreath and flags were placed on the islet by Mr. Lamprakos and Mr. Economou, who were escorted to the islet by TELE CITY journalist, Mr. Spiridaki. Their action, whether politically motivated or not, represented the loss and affection felt by the Hellenic nation as a whole. But due to the concessions made on the night of January 31, the raising of our flag on that Hellenic soil is not permitted!

While Turkish citizens were smuggling drugs and illegal immigrants in the Aegean, the Hellenic government saw fit to send two Coast Guard vessels to remove the flag(s)! I can assure you that had the Federation's representatives left only the American flag behind, that flag would still be standing. But as always, the Hellenic government had an excuse to cover their once-again traitorous act. They described the incident as a "provocation" (like raising a flag on any Hellenic soil is cause for "provocation"), and presented the laying of the wreath as a "raising of the flag". Mind you that the flag(s) in question are smaller than those carried by schoolchildren in parades around the world (as indicated by the picture)!

Many will say: "The three are lost, let's not lose any others". I will then advise them to talk to the parents of those that have come before these three. The mothers of those who have lost their boys to the blue waters of the Aegean, while defending not "rocks", but "air". Or the mothers of servicemen who have lost their children defending "rivers" or "ghost-towns." Is this is the Nation of the men and women who once cried "Eleutheria e Thanatos" - "Liberty or Death", or is it the nation who will idly stand by and watch politicians butcher off pieces of land our forefathers gave their lives for?

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