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Πέμπτη, 01 Σεπτεμβρίου 2011 18:06

Greece-Persia (people)

Edward Norouznia: "The economic crisis revealed who are Greece's friends and who pretend to be friends. Is it necessary for Greece to look elsewhere for friendships?"

Today's overinformation and dissinformation on sensitive and hot issues related to third countries, makes difficult to accurately comprehend what exactly is going on. People balancing on two civilizations; make them a gateway to see the elements of the other country (Iran in our case) through their experience. It is one way to benefit their integration in our society and at the same time convey their experience from the society of their motherland.

We discussed with the Greek-Persian businessman Mr. Edward Norouznia, owner of the ALFA Group in Ilion of Athens and owner of the ALFA foreign languages and Computer School. Mr. Norouznia lives in Greece for more than 30 years and his views on various current affairs issues reveals an extraordinary attitude towards important topics for the Greek society. One characteristic topic is the one illegal immigration. His attitude on that is stable like the one of most Greeks and it is neither in line with the virtual reality which the controlled Media are feeding, nor with the groups controlling the Left wing political groups. On the contrary, he expresses his uncompromising stand that the Greek state needs first to deal with Greek citizens who are facing troubles and if there are any capabilities remaining, host foreign immigrants.

He points out the great capabilities to enforce Hellenic – Persian relations especially in the fields of Trade, Tourism and Cultural exchanges, since there is great sympathy throughout today’s Iran territory for Greeks (the Yunani) which was not positively used from the Greek side. Mr. Norouznia mentioned his personal initiative to enforce these relations.

The Interview

- You are born in Iran from Persian father and Greek mother. How did you come to Greece and how were the first years of your life in Greece?

- I came to Greece in 1979 as student. After completing the Greek language lessons in the Philosophic School of Athens University I passed the examinations for the National Polytechnic School and its Civil Engineering Department. I continued until the 9th semester when I had to stop for economic reason because I had to work. I worked as production manager in a large company, RADO, as well as in the procurement department of the Latsis Group.

The great day to receive the Greek citizenship came in 1987. I chose to serve my military service, although I could pay a monetary price to avoid it, because I considered it a great honor to have the Greek citizenship. I believe that today’s civilization was truly born in Greece and there is no more sacred thing for me than the opportunity to serve under the Greek flag and sacrifice myself if necessary for my beliefs for Greece.

I served in Evros for the 11th EMA (medium tank formation). I saw how much the Greeks value honor and the respect I was treated with, both by soldiers as well as officers.


When I completed the military service, I established the ALFA foreign languages School at Ilion, Athens as my contribution to society. This was a way I long believed allows me to substantially contribute to society. We may say a lot in theory. The point is what everyone does in practice based on his capabilities. When I had the capability, I offered to the Ilion Municipality the opportunity for free education in the School for citizens of the Municipality with limited economic income. I also offered 50% discount to athletes and officers in the Armed Forces and the Police.

Our Olympic champions Katerina Thanou and Pigi Devetzi, honor our School with their presence. This offer to our athletes and officers is a sign of respect for their national contribution. Especially for the Armed Forces and the Police we cannot just skip their contribution or collectively condemn them because of isolated incidents, because what the majority of their people is offering, cannot be repaid with money.

- Someone would say that based on existing concepts, your opinion is heretic because there are some people, from the left as they are self-defined, who do not have a friendly attitude towards the Police and Armed Forces. They even claim that anyone who is not 100% Greek is not treated well by the Police and generally the State. You express a totally different opinion even that they are not reimbursed according to their contribution.

- First of all, I would like to say something for the leftists. They have a very good theory, but very difficult to apply. However, the Left must watch out. If, for example, there is an invasion from another country, what would the leftists do? They will take their theories to stop the invaders? This is the role for the Defence Forces, to stop the invader. To defend the Greeks, Greece and Greek civilization.

- It is widely accepted that we have a kind of invasion with illegal immigrants and the Left is arguing these people should be legalized and inducted into the Greek labor force.

- Although I do not belong to the Left, I was one of their candidates in municipal elections some years ago to help them in our area, because those individuals had genuine interest. I considered important the work they wanted to do. However, they must not be running off the track and they must realize that it is not bad for someone to be nationalist and love his nation and country and to believe we need to protect Hellenism.

- So you see nationalism as love for the country, because to some extent, there is negative meaning attributed to that word.

- Of course. Everyone is nationalist. If someone is not nationalist, he does not contribute to his country. Someone else does not have the right to consider him fascist and similarly he cannot consider the leftists as red fascists. These are not good things especially now when we need solidarity in Greece. All political parties must revise their mentality. I come from abroad, feel Greek and I give my life for Greece. I would like to ask some people who declare themselves as Hellenists, if they will give their left hand for Greece. Like during the junta, it says nothing to go abroad and write poems. What makes the difference is to stay inside and fight. If the leftists have secured the Greek worker, then they can give asylum and shelter, of any kind, to others. Greece, on one hand, does not have the strength by itself to help these people. On the other hand, those from the NGOs and similar strange organizations, if they are really interested, can go to Bangladesh, Pakistan to help and see which political forces have been imposed and keep these people in such a condition. It is not help giving shelter to so many from them, with the danger for Hellenism to perish. They are over 800 million.

Therefore, the leftists must be very careful. When the Greek society says it cannot support families with many children, people with special needs, patients with chronic diseases, retired elderly people etc and as it is stated Greece cannot help them, with which right others want us to help so many foreign immigrants? Help your people so that you are not going to have the problem and then you can host others. The first victims from illegal immigration are the Greek workers.

If the left political parties are burning so much for illegal immigrants, let them create reception centres with their funding. Just to see how many they can host. These troubled people must go back to their countries. The procedure for asylum or immigration for economic reasons must be done through Greek embassies and consulates, so that Greece could have some control. They cannot just tell us “here I am, come deal with me”. Europe, the English, the French, the Germans cannot impose on a 10 million people to have some millions of immigrants. What will happen after five years?

When I came to Greece, I came to know the civilization of the Greek. Now why should I know the civilization of the Pakistani, Afghan and others? I can go to their countries if I want to. Why here? The Greek is obliged to safeguard his civilization for the next generations, not only for Greece but for all Mankind.

Who gives the right to himself to defend some foreigners who assassinate Greeks? Who has decided for those Greeks who loose their lives? To say, for example, for each 100.000 illegal immigrants we will have 10 deaths of Greeks? Who gave the right to himself to say that we will be accepting them in the country, give them shelter and work and give as well 10 lives of Greeks, for example, for every 100.000 of them? Who gave such a right to himself? Let them answer to that.

There is a group of issues we do not deal with. No one deals with what happens with those murdered by foreigners. I do not speak about Greek criminals, because you already have the Greek in the land. You are not obliged to have the illegal foreigner. After the death of those murdered by foreigners there is an odyssey for his family, which might lead it to poverty, misery, with the children unable to be educated and grow properly, because of loosing his father or mother.

Some things must be cleared, so that the country can survive and problems be solved. Deputies are another factor of the problem, especially now that pensions and wages are reduced. I believe that deputies must be paid the basic wage, so that they will experience how an ordinary citizen is called to live. Moreover, those who have not worked before, must not be elected, nor improper persons be put in ministerial positions. It is unacceptable to have Minister of Defence a person who did not serve his military service. Economics Minister should not be someone who is irrelevant of economics and knows the market only through University classrooms and not through the market. Asylum of deputies is another scandal and must be abolished.

- You have lived both the Greek and Persian civilization, your mother is Greek and your father is from Tehran, so can you tell us how you describe the two civilizations and common elements?

- Despite the conflict in ancient times, nobody disputes the love between the two peoples, especially when Greeks go to Persia and say they are “Yunani”, which is from Ionia, the Persians treat them with great respect. In these difficult moments for Greece, we can see that Persia in the past 30 years, managed to improve quality of life, as well as its technological potential with factories, technology, heavy industry, agriculture, even space applications. I believe that in the difficult conditions existing in Greece the people of both countries can enforce the existing bridges; we could have an influx of capital for investments in Greece, because Persians love Greece, while at the same Greeks can invest in Persia and have their investments secured and protected from dangers. They can even establish a company in one day and have state support for its longevity.

It is characteristic that more than 2000 years from the conflict between Greece and Persia in the Alexander the Great era, there are still families who name their children “Iskander” which means “Alexander”. This happens nowhere else in history, to name your children after the name of the person who conquered your country. It is indicative that there is no hostility but friendship. The Persians appreciated Great Alexander’s behaviour towards their civilization, the Persian people and the royal family and still name their children after Alexander (Iskander).

If after 50 years Greece is conquered by other people, what would Alexander the Great’s position be?

- What do you believe would be good to do in the trade and economic sector to enforce cooperation?

- There are already government and non government groups in Iran to help those interested to invest in Iran. The interested party informs on the type of business activity. We communicate with the Development Ministry to inform about the foreign businessman’s plans, in order to study the necessity and viability of the foreign investment. We do this in case there is not an important need, to protect the investor from loosing his money and propose to him alternative and more viable investment sectors. We brief him on the sectors with most need for investments, handle administrative and legal issues, so that he can have the company ready even in one day. The same could be done from the Greek side to send the message to investors that if they invest in Greece they will have protection and attention.

The Greek-Persian cooperation in the tourist sector can also play a great development role for both countries. The visa procedures is one example that should be dealt with, for attracting Persian tourists in Greece. Apart from other problems, the procedure is almost humiliating with all that bare requested even for a tourist visit. It is indicative that even a house contract is requested by those Persians who apply. Why would a Persian be interested when he can go to Italy, Spain and so many other destinations? Why all these difficulties? Other European countries give visa much easier. Greece could be giving visa only for a visit to Greece and if the visitor wishes, he can go to other European countries through their procedures.

Tehran itself has 16 million people. If we consider only the tourism potential from Tehran and the fact that Persians have increased economic capabilities, we can understand the huge role tourism can play both in the economic as well as the cultural level. When the Persian comes for tourism he does not come for low cost tourism, he has the capability to spend a lot.

The economic crisis revealed who are Greece’s friends and who pretend to be friends. Is it necessary for Greece to look elsewhere for friendships? I personally would like to see the ties between Greece and Persia enforced. We can succeed if we have a serious and coordinated purpose.

- One of the problems in the relations between Iran and the international community is the treatment of women as well as policies for which Iran is accused to be against human rights principles. As far as you know, what is your opinion on that?

- First of all we need to examine where these accusations come from. Can’t we see the accusations against Greece and Greeks that Greeks are supposed to be lazy? Shouldn’t we first see who says that and why?  The women enjoy a high position and respect in Persia. There is no such thing as no-rights. It is completely false and artificial. More than 30% in the Parliament are women. It is one more attack. Both before as well as after the Revolution, the Persians were on the defensive. They never attacked. It is one more attack.

- What is the perception of people in Iran about the way Greek governments face issues concerning Iran and how they face the Greek issues? Is Greece known, is it heard?

- There is sympathy from the Persians for the Greeks. If the bilateral ties are strengthened through trade, tourism, etc, the two cultures will come closer.


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