June 30, 2011
When Eugene Delacroix painted his allegorical image of Greece lamenting the atrocities against her citizens by the Turks, and his equally famous Massacre at Chios, he was keen to create support for the Greek independence fighters. Today, Greece suffers a new onslaught, not from the Turks, not from the East, but from the West, the global institutions of neo-liberal capitalism. The Greeks are getting slaughtered.
Yesterday, their politicians, a corrupt and elite class that regularly changes places with the financial sharks circling in the Aegean waters, voted to accept the ‘austerity’ measures that the EU and the IMF demanded. Those Greeks – they don’t work very hard, and they expect the state to do everything for them. Why, I have heard, hairdressers retire at fifty! I wonder…
I wonder too why the bondholders who made absurdly risky loans, with the connivance of the politicos, never seem to get called to account. (Here in the USA, Goldman Sachs is riding high. Why didn’t it go under with AIG? Remember this quote from when Bear-Stearns went under?) Somebody must pay, and it might as well be those ‘little people,’ the ones who don’t have a lot of money and who spend it like water. All those bankers and financiers? They have the interests of the global financial system at heart, which is to say, their interests!
December 21, 2008
This summer, I visited the Greek island of Naxos, where I came upon this wonderful temple dedicated to the goddess Demeter. The information panels at the site spoke of it as having evolved over centuries from a simple open-air cult site, to a fixed temple serving the surrounding villages and towns. This made me stop and think, taking a look at the surrounding terrain and scenery
It was built in the 6th century B.C. That’s a few centuries after the ‘events’ of The Illiad, or contemporary with them according to a few scholars. A site where local people would gather to slaughter animals, cook them over an open fire, pour wine on the ground, and direct entreaties to the goddess for a good harvest. Does the view look much different now than it did 2500 years or more ago? What a different relationship to the landscape those people had, compared to me, who flew into the country, flew to the island, and tooled about in an automobile. Those ancients never left the sight of the temple, most of them! Perched on a little bit of a rise, giving a view of the nurturing plains around. Just them, the land, and the all-seeing eyes of the goddess, whom they hoped to please with their offerings.
This digital reconstruction is pretty nice. The temple is of an unusual design, having a square plan, rather than the rectangular one used in the Parthenon and Greek temples the world over.