The Wheels of Progress
Freshly-equipped with Art supplies, and on my way for a fresh-squeezed glass of OJ, and before I went to get my nails painted a matte shade of eggplant, I ran into what I immediately had to document—for the sake of History. I don’t know how I missed it on my way to the Art store, but I did. I guess being across the street made a huge different in what I saw on my way to the Art store. Heading back provided an altogether different perspective.
NOTE: Someone apparently saw this as an opportunity to roast their potatoes. Look closely.
I have no clue as to what happened here, besides what remained as the testament of an atrocious act, or perhaps a really really bad accident. But the wheels began to turn and I began to speculate as to what may have produced what I saw before me.
From what I had read in Athenian papers, the police force carefully monitors the movements of terrorist groups here, and though Athenians revere the right to protest, of all the protests I had seen, I had never witnessed anything remotely resembling violence. Instead, protests were well-organized and the presence of police—not only there to ensure there was no violence, were also there to protect the right to protest, and opened the routes of demonstrations—and so I doubted this was the act of protesters. But as I thought about it more carefully, I thought perhaps it was.
It was the words of a taxi driver who graciously paused so I could snap this piece of Art that got me thinking…
It had been in the news for at least a month, this thing that had provided an endless source of both amusement and incredulity, primarily because of its degree of absurdity, that came rushing forward, and I thought I had perhaps solved the mystery of this act before me.
Some may recall the image of Chancellor Merkel reaching into her handbag for a solution to the Greek Economic Crises—the money Greece owed Germany. The modest proposal that Merkel & Co pulled out, however, was totally unexpected. She reasoned an adequate solution to the problem would be if Greece handed over The Parthenon, to cover her debt to Germany. No kidding. Indeed, this proposal produced an assessment—as though this is possible—of the value of The Parthenon as a piece of real estate.
Now how Germany exactly proposed to shift The Parthenon from Mount Acropolis to its soil remains a mystery, to which I do not have a key. Furthermore, highly difficult to even speculate the path of reasoning this idea produced.
However, one can speculate on the brilliance of Merkel & Co. And while I was doing exactly that one day with Paul, a tattoo artist, he told me something I did not know, and is perhaps a well-guarded secret. Paul said Germany had yet to pay Greece reparations for the damage incurred during WW II. Now perhaps those damages aren’t anywhere near what Greece owes Germany today—or the value of The Parthenon, for that matter—but perhaps someone should speak up! Even if this reimbursement makes a tiny dent into the debt—nothing wrong with that, eh? Go for it, I say.
I refer now to that gracious taxi driver who felt compelled to—not only allow me room to snap my pictures—but make a contribution to this piece of History, and provide its caption. And while a motorcyclist who whizzed by said to me, “Why are you taking a picture of that?” … The taxi driver used a more philosophical approach to the scene before me. In fact, when he spoke his words, I thought perhaps he had borrowed them from the past! So eloquent was he. But I could also see him in the act of composition, the eyes upward, searching the sky, a moment of hesitation, and then, this—
“Whoever Disrespects Me, Shall From That Moment On … Feel My Wrath.“
(Anonymous Athenian Taxi Driver, 21th c.)