Nicholas Papanicolaou is a co-Founder and Co-Chairman of the World Public Forum "Dialogue of Civilizations." The WPF brings together each year on the island of Rhodes, Greece some 700 important officials and representatives from more than sixty countries for four days of open and frank deliberations on cross-religious and cross-cultural issues.
By Nicholas Papanicolaou
In the spring of 1964, I was a sophomore in high school in Athens, Greece. My father was a high government official and had raised me to be aware of the dangers from communism and socialism. One day, my brother and I were being driven in my father’s Cadillac on the way to an appointment. My father’s chauffeur was a policeman, dressed in civilian clothes, and he was driving the car.
As we were passing the old Olympic stadium of Athens, we were suddenly surrounded by dozens of young men who appeared out of nowhere. They came from behind the bushes, trees, and a couple of fence walls where they had been hiding. They stormed my father’s car which to them was a symbol of the capitalism they hated.
My father’s driver slowed down the car to a full stop, not wanting to hit anybody.This was a lynch mob. It was an experience that made us feel helpless and terrified. Young men in their 20s and 30s, with faces twisted in anger, were pounding on the windows of the car, hurling foul language at us as they grew more aggressive by the minute.