Revival of the Ancient War Spirit

  • SumoMe

View of the Acropolis form the Pnyx Hill

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Welcome to Greece

Years are long since gone and events now blur into one, but once upon a time on a clear weathered day, I opened my balcony doors and stepped out to light a cigarette and from that moment nothing was ever the same.

The blast from flash grenades reverberated off concrete buildings and the limestone of Mount Lycabettus. Black smoke billowed up into the blue sky, riot police stalked the streets as the nauseating smell of burnt plastic and teargas made the eyes tear.

Neighbors threw towels and handkerchiefs from their balconies to strangers vomiting in the streets. Helicopters whirled overhead while elderly with memories of war and rebellion, locked their doors.

After the anger died out, I walked down Alexandras Avenue with intention of photographing this eerie scene.

What I found was focused, chain smoking, Spartan like men hulling pieces of burnt structures into dumpsters while yelling at strolling old ladies to be careful. And as I carefully stepped over broken glass on the streets, I put my camera away. Taking pictures felt disrespectful.

Greeks took the riots very personally. From cities to mountain villages to the islands, there was a deep sense of embarrassment as the world’s spotlight shined on the actions of a few.

But this was only the beginning.

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View of Athens from the Parthenon

 

The Modern War

These memories stem from December 2008 when riots where triggered by the murder of a 15 year old soul in the center of Athens.

Looking back, those of us who were in Athens understood the expanding tension in the streets. Working for months end and not getting paid but too scared to quit – a job is still a job and chances are slim for another opportunity. There are mouths to feed, bills to pay, and somewhere if you’re lucky, a life to live.

In Greece, the political and economical situation is complicated and cannot be explained in simplistic words. But, I can tell you this. Greece is not the stereotypical case of Socialism gone wrong. Greece is not, and never has been a country of free handouts. What we are witnessing is a case of an extremely corrupt government, mixed with shady European politics fused with economical greed and diluted of morals. A terrible mess which trickled down into the lifes of ordinary citizens – who only wanted to go to school, work their jobs, raise their families – who are now physically and psychologically stripped of self.

It was only a matter of time before implosion.

 

A_NIGHT_web

 

Hurricane of the Mind

So I gave up talking and withdrew into my own world. I became one of the angry, tired eyed Athenians.

Many describe this time as the height of humiliation. The nation was asphyxiated by austerity and soaring levels of poverty. An unelected government was forced into the Parliament. The sell off of islands, ports, banks, utilities, airports, motorways, real estate, and Greek heritage began. Greeks saw this as an international take over but the harder they protested the more tear gas was thrown in their faces.

Moral was a slow dehydration while hope was swiftly bled by the bloodless.

You’re looking for hope everywhere. People coming in from abroad, swooping in and taking advantage of both the desperate and accomplished. The abuse across all industries was phenomenal.

But as anybody who has never been outside the borders of their homeland will understand: what is only seen, is only normal.

I am at a studio in Athens, the radio is blasting in the background. There are more protests but the energy feels dangerous today. The government is about to collapse and nobody knows what is going to happen next. There are terrible rumors. People are trapped in a burning building, one of them is a pregnant woman. I pause many times to look at the exhausted artists around me – they are my heroes – but with a hawk’s eye and woman’s instinct, I need to know that both myself and they are not losing our minds.

 

Who is the Enemy?

The issue of human rights expanded.

Geography speaking, Greece is the border of the East and the gate to the West: the fate of this small Mediterranean country could easily be the fate of the world.

Western governments of the world raised their eyes when Chinese, Russian and Arab companies lined up to take advantage of the Greek fire sale.

My dear readers, I need not go on. You understand.

 

Burst of Light

 

The Revival of the Ancient War Spirit

Maybe it’s the temperament of the Sunlight or an echo of Ancient History, but Mediterraneans cannot be subdued nor will easily cower in obedience. So one cannot be surprised that the revival of an Ancient War Spirit has manifested.

For too long this mafia system of “business is everything, don’t mess with us” has shown they can occupy and plunder life, country, and history.

To anybody who has ever lost everything knows: when you have nothing to lose, that is true Freedom. The Greeks have refound courage and dared venture outside the system.

I sense the Hellenic heart and soul rising from ashes, blaring their individual war-horns. The call for a rebalance of power has sounded.

The very light that gave Greeks the spirit of innovation is now surging through Athens.

 

 

Greece, the time has come to touch the stars.

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