To the Editors:
This is a copy of a letter that the Riverside Group of Amnesty International sent to the New York Times on March 28th; it has not been printed:
Surely there is something terribly callous about last Sunday’s (March 22) New York Times’ sixteen-page supplement extolling the beauty and romance of “Greece, the coming country.”
The undersigned members of Amnesty International have not the resources of the Greek Junta to pay The New York Times for a Sunday supplement that will tell your readers of the unspeakable treatment of political prisoners by the present Greek government. While the Junta extols the beauty of Skiathos and Crete, we would like to tell tourists about the concentration camp islands of Youria, Aghios Efstratios, and Leros, where shoals of prisoners are held without charges or trial of any kind, merely on suspicion of being opposed to the military regime in power, and where the conditions are so appalling that many men and women have gone insane from suffering.
The dictators blithely deny all charges of brutality; the Amnesty International report on Greece, prepared by two distinguished and politically impartial members of the English and American Bars, provides conclusive evidence that tortures of the most revolting type have become standard procedure in Greek political prisons. The dictators deny hindering the torture inquiry of the eight-jurist subcommittee of the Council of Europe (New York Times, March 22); the subcommittee charges the Greek Government with having refused to produce thirteen witnesses and let it visit political prisons. After two years in power the Junta evidently believe that they have acquired a certain respectability in the eyes of most people abroad, and they have therefore abandoned all remaining inhibitions in their ferocious treatment of political opponents and suspects.
Last month Alden Whitman, reporting for The New York Times the death of Dr. Karl Jaspers, quotes his statement, “There exists a solidarity among men as human beings that makes each co-responsible for every injustice in the world, especially for crimes committed in his presence or with his knowledge. If I fail to do whatever I can to prevent them, I, too, am guilty.”
The New York Times does not lack knowledge about the bestialities being committed in the prisons and concentration camps of Greece. For almost two years they have been amply supplied with factual evidence.
Would The New York Times have printed similar Sunday supplements in the late Thirties extolling the beauty of sunny Bavaria?
Ivan Morris, Demosthenes Kostas, Mauro Calamandrei, Janet McLaughlin, Anna Procyk, Peter Roux, Susan Roux, Walter Odajnyk, Judith Calamandrei, Marleigh Ryan, Stanley Feingold, Abby Greene, Mott Greene
Those who are concerned about the situation of political prisoners in Greece and who would like to help them may wish to get in touch with our Group, whose address is 173 Riverside Drive.
New York City
May 22, 1969