George Varianides’ family awaits the return of their son in law, First Lieutenant James Enos of the 101st Airborne, 2nd Brigade
NEW YORK.- by Apostolos Zoupaniotis
Since the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441 last November, the lives of a newlywed couple, James and Jamie Enos are at a pause. A son of a Lieutenant-Colonel, James knows better than anyone else how to meet his obligations when he heard the call of duty.But with only 9 months of married life, this duty is quite heavy.
As the saying goes, all coins have two sides. But one side of the coin that got little coverage in the Greek American press is the agony of a family waiting for its own man to return home. Although James is not a Greek, he met Jamie, daughter of Greek Cypriot George Varianides and they married after he was baptized a Christian Orthodox.
Mr. George Varianidis an expert in Computer Science with Pine Bush Equipment Co. told Greek News “We are concerned about James, we worry about him. He and Jamie just got recently married, few moths ago, in June. So they lived together just few months before he was shipped out”.
Varianides said that Jamie has spoken with James three times since he left, the last time two weeks go. “That was the last time she was able to speak with him, before they started moving out of Kuwait and into Iraq. Right now he must be in Kambala or somewhere near. That’s the last one we heard”, he said.
James, a West Point graduate and a first lieutenant with the 101st Airborne, 2nd Brigade was stationed in Fort Campbell Kentucky when he was shipped to Iraq March 1st.
“When it was clear that war was inevitable”, Varianides stressed, “we were concerned because we knew if we did go to war James would be deployed.” He explained that he was in line to be deployed, anyway, but they were hoping it would just be an overseas deployment, not going to war. “Unfortunately, when the war began we knew he would be going.” he said.
James was deployed on March 1. When we spoke last Tuesday to Mr. Varianides the American troops were on the outskirts of Baghdad and the 2nd Brigade of 101st Airborne was engaged in heavy fighting near the old ruins of Babylon against Saddam’s Repuplican Guard.
We tried to politicize our conversation with Mr. Varianides in order to see what he thinks about the war and the decision by President Bush to go to war without an authorization of the UN Security Council.
“Everybody would prefer the whole United Nations to go along and participate with us. Unfortunately that didn’t happened.” he said. He didn’t want to comment on whether it would be better if President Bush gave more time to diplomacy, instead of moving in with just a couple of countries.
“I am not one to second guess the politics of our country. Would I like more countries to participate? Of course. Would I rather we didn’t go to war? Of course. But you can’t have it both ways. So, if we were going to go to war, which we did, it would have been better to have a coalition with more countries. Unfortunately that was not what have happened, so the President did what he had to do.” Varianides said.
Asked about his feelings, when he sees people in the U.S. demonstrating against the war, he takes a soft stand “This is America, they are entitled to do that. This is freedom of speech. If they feel this way, they have every right to demonstrate it peacefully. That ‘s why we live in this country.”
But, when we raise the same issue for people of countries abroad, the standards are different. “Foreign countries should have little bit more respect for a country that have supported them over the years, both militarily and financially and I think they have turned their back to us and this is unfortunate. I hope our country learns a lesson from that.” He makes special criticism to France and Turkey indicating that both countries are ignorant when it comes to history.
Then again in an emotional outburst he says “I would like every one to support the troops. These young men and women are risking everything for a country and people they don’t even know. You have to basically respect what they do. As for James he was asked to leave his wife and everything, pack and go there and liberate a people for whom he has no idea, who they really are or what they stand for. To have people back home protesting against that is shameful.”
We asked Mr. Varianides to tell us, as a son of a Cypriot immigrant with many years of work at the position of the Governor of the Cyprus Federation in New Jersey, whether he feels a policy of double standards is applied by the US when it goes to war in Kuwait and elsewhere while Cyprus for more than 28 years now remains under Turkish occupation.
“There is a little bit of a double standard. You care about human rights for one and not for the other. It is not right, but there is nothing I can do about it,” he replied
Now that the war is nearing to the end, the Varianides family awaits anxiously the day of return. It will not be quick for sure. George Varianides, however, is preparing his home to welcome his daughter Jamie, who will spend time with her parents during the days of Easter. When they all sing “Christ has risen” a prayer will be made for the quick return of Lieutenant James Enos of the 2nd Brigadier in the 101st Airborne. A prayer for his safe return and for a long and peaceful life together with his beloved wife Jamie will be made.