To His Honor Nikitas Kaklamanis Mayor of the City of Athens,
Greece 4 March 2008
Dear Mr. Kaklamanis, We in the West look to Greece, and to Athens in particular, as the cradle of our modern democracies, in which respect for all citizens within a society is paramount. We understand that the City of Athens gives its Aegis as an endorsement of a cultural event that has significance for the City’s population.
It has come to our attention that the Festival Yperifaneias – Athens Pride Association has applied to your office for the Aegis of the City for this year’s event, scheduled for 7 June 2008 in Klafthmonos Square. 2008 is the fourth consecutive year of the Athens Pride Festival Yperifaneias, and the second year that the organization has applied for the City’s Aegis. We do not understand how the leader of such an important city in World democratic history can refuse to acknowledge and validate an entire segment of his society and constituency by refusing to grant Aegis to the Athens Pride Celebration.
We are aware that you rejected the organization’s application in 2007. We consider this rejection to be in conflict with the idea of Isopolitia, and with the respect that a modern, democratic city must have for all its citizens, no matter their religion, race, age or sexual orientation. Furthermore, we respectfully remind you of the spirit and intent of the 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
There are a great many and variety of Pride Celebrations and events throughout the world which have official blessing from their respective governments, but you refuse to honour the spirit and integrity of such events within your own city. In fact, the Mayor of my city, His Honour, Mayor Eddie Perez of Hartford, Connecticut gladly recognizes the validity and contributions of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender citizens within his community, as does our State Governor, M. Jodi Rell and both of these officials proudly present our organization with Aegis from both the city as well as the State of Connecticut.
This is not an uncommon practice. Other officials of democratic cities around the world not only endorse but also participate in their cities’ various Pride events: The Mayors of London, Reykjavik, Stockholm and Berlin, just to name a few, proudly recognize the contributions of their GLBT citizens to their community in this manner. Why is this not done in Athens? We strongly urge you to grant this endorsement to Athens Pride this year without further delay, in a democratic display of respect and recognition for all Greek citizens and residents of Athens, and indeed, all citizens everywhere throughout the world.
Vice President Connecticut PRIDE Hartford Rally and Festival, Inc. Connecticut Pride,
Hartford, CT USA 06051