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A Respected Greek Professor Is Detained, Shackled and Asked If He Is Anti-American: A Democracy Now! Exclusive

StoryFebruary 18, 2003
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Right now, a Democracy Now! exclusive.

Eugene Angelopoulos is a Professor at the National Technical University of Athens. New York University invited him to speak at a conference on Philosophy and Politics last week.

But when Professor Angelopoulos arrived at John F. Kennedy airport, he was detained, shackled, and asked if he is anti-American and whether he opposes the war against Iraq.

This is the first time his story is being told. I spoke with him late last week.


  • Eugene Angelopoulos, Professor, National Technical University of Athens.

Professor Angelopoulos agreed to the FBI’s request for a second interview on condition it be held on what he considered neutral ground, at New York University. When he returned to his hotel after leaving the Democracy Now! studios, he found a phone message from the FBI asking him to instead come to the New York Field Office so that they could have an "uninterrupted conversation." He respectfully declined their request.

I spoke with him a little later outside the Greek Consulate on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. He was on his way to the airport where he would take the last flight out of New York before the blizzard.


  • Eugene Angelopoulos, Professor, National Technical University of Athens, speaking outside the Greek Consulate.

Professor Angelopoulos addressed the Philosophy as Politics conference at NYU on Feb. 15. He opened his address with these remarks:

“Many centuries have gone by from the time when Athens was the leading democracy of the world. Being the cradle of democracy and philosophy did not prevent Athens to declare war and slaughter the citizens of Milos for the declared reasons, 'If you are not with us, you are against us and we must make an example,' as reported by Thucydides–an Athenian man.

"Today US troops are preparing to invade Iraq while lots of US citizens demonstrate their opposition to war. Today the leading democracy of the world is the United States. Contradiction is inherent to democracy and every time, one term of the contradiction prevails. I don’t know if this is a fight between good and evil: this is for this assembly of philosophers to debate. But it is good for the world to know that America has many choices and voices, and not only the one of her president. Hope is not dead, and I am sure this conference will help keep hope alive."

Professor Angelopoulos caught the last flight out on Sunday night, just before the snowstorm shut down Kennedy airport. He is spending a week in Paris, France, where he hopes to find a little peace.

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