Letter: Nations who get into in a state

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YET AGAIN the modern Greeks are being compared unfavourably with the ancient Greeks and blamed for the crisis in the Balkans because of their dangerous and frantic nationalism. Not one of my Greek friends wants the former Yugoslav province of Macedonia to become part of Greece. What they are immensely fearful of is Albanian, Bulgarian or Turkish occupation of northern Greece on the pretext of re- uniting 'Macedonia'. The parallel they draw is the occupation of northern Cyprus by Turkey in 1974. Maybe they are over- reacting. But it should be possible for the rest of the world to understand the fear behind the over- reaction. Mr Ascherson says that the point is not to overcome nationalism but to understand it. The modern Greek point of view can only be understood in the light of their four centuries of occupation by Turkey and what happened 20 years ago in Cyprus.

Penny Rose

London SW2

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