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Mikis Theodorakis, who was not able to attend the ceremony at which he was bestowed honorary doctorate by the American College of Greece in Athens (Deree), sent the following message to the assistance.


June 27, 2009

Honorable Mr. President
Honorable Faculty Members
Dear students
Dear friends

The decision of your College to honor me by bestowing upon me an honorary doctorate deeply moves and honors me; I thank you warmly.

First, because your College is unique in our country in serving the educational, learning, and cultural needs of young students and, second, because it represents a great people, the American people, whose presence over the past several centuries has given new momentum to the patriotic, political, scientific and cultural elements that comprise civilization internationally. It has done so to such an extent that it has lent freshness and renewed vigor to humanity’s struggle for prosperity, education and human rights.

The participation of this people in two world wars was decisive in the triumph of free peoples over dark, inhuman and aggressive adversaries; and their great sacrifices in those wars have won our gratitude forever.

I believe that the leadership role of the United States of America in all areas of life, which resulted in it achieving the highest of living standards, is not only a product of that vast country’s wealth of natural resources, but mainly of the work ethic and methodical habits of its people, of decisions boldly and freely made; in other words, of the quality of American thought and action.

It was thus that this country became so strong and acquired influence on such a global scale; and, on the basis of the theory of Harmony and Chaos, had the power – merely by flipping a switch this way or that – to impose on the entire world, on all peoples, either Harmony – that is, Paradise – or Chaos – that is, Hell. And for precisely that reason, the United States has an enormous responsibility before world history.

I really do not know if the American people are aware of this, but I am sure – because I know you – that if you do someday become aware of it, then the switch will flip permanently in the direction of Harmony, Peace, and Prosperity for all people; if at some point, together, you decide on it.

I know that many people consider my often critical stance toward this country “anti-American.” In reality, however, it is the opposite: my admiration for this country and its people is so great that I suffer and protest every time somebody, or some group of people, acts in the name of the American people in ways that I consider anti-American. Because to me “America” means above all freedom, progress, good intentions, peace, solidarity, the cultivation of education, science and culture.

America is, in other words, a beacon for all peoples. America, for me, is that switch, and I am waiting to see the hand that will flip it once and for all toward Harmony, an event that will raise that country onto the pedestal it should be on and deserves to be on: that of the best friend of all nations and, of course, of the Greek nation, which has never, from the depths of its soul, ceased to admire you, love you, and hope.

Thank you.

Mikis Theodorakis

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