Friday, October 28, 2011

Do Just as You Please; Makes no Difference

Tuesday, 25 October

The garbage strike is over. The garbage collectors lost, predictably. The strike, like the protests, was predicated upon the mistaken assumption that the government was accountable to popular opinion and could perhaps be influenced it. The gang that runs things doesn’t care even if you vote out the current office-holders; they have more of their own (in both parties) waiting in the wings.

Anyway, it’s over, and just in time, too, because by now the garbage is beginning to smell. We are grateful to observe that it has been collected from various neighborhoods, although not yet ours. On our corner, the garbage heap is as tall as a person and by now is blocking one lane of each street at the intersection.

Tomorrow is the Feast of Great-Martyr Demetrios, the patron saint of this City. It will be a national holiday and there will be huge crowds at the Church of St. Demetrios (and the other churches). All the highest-ranking Greek politicians will be at St. Demetrios, including the President and Prime Minister. I’d like to go there just to boo them, but there’s no point. (I still hope somebody does, though.)

Last year, at this time, Greek flags were blooming all over town. This year, from our balcony, we can see exactly 3 in the one direction (not counting our own) and two around the corner in the other direction. I don’t know what this means. Perhaps the propaganda has taken hold, which says the national flag is a symbol of fascism. And racism, implying that one thinks the Greeks are better than everyone else. (As you will know, if you watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding, there’s a grain of truth in that! But the racism bit is a canard, is nonsense.) This flag was carried by the heroes of the wars of liberation, when Greece liberated herself from Turkey; it symbolizes freedom and independence. It was carried in World War II to symbolize the same. THAT’S what it’s all about, just as the American Flag is about freedom and independence and bravery, and not about the jingoism and chauvinism in vogue with flag-wavers recently.