Tag Archive for ‘Greece’
As everyone knows, Greece became a member of the eurozone on the back of a lie. The colonels’ regime had collapsed, Greek politicians were nervous, and that pseudo-French aristocrat Giscard promised entry to a country that is more Middle Eastern than European, but with olive oil. Entry meant no more tanks surrounding Parliament at midnight—rather a pity, actually, because they kept some semblance of law and order.
We had a big but quite mediocre lunch near the Agora, at Attalos, and by the time we got to the entrance, we found out they had changed the schedule for visiting the Agora. Returning the next day, we took our time getting lost on the site, which is impossible not to do, even with the straightforward guidebook put out by the American School.
The Plaka was once the heart of modern Athens, first Ottoman Athens and then the Athens built largely by German kings and queens and their philhellenic architects. It was ruined by the work of brilliant American archaeologists who tore out the heart of the neighborhood in digging up the ancient agora and by corrupt politicians who encouraged the displacement of the residents by as cynical a set of junk merchants as has ever afflicted a tourist shrine. It is almost as bad as the streets around the Vatican.
Greece is an ancient land but a young country, younger even than the United States, whose citizens have grown old, generation after generation, bragging about the youthfulness of their democracy. Here in Greece, as Toynbee pointed out in one of his last books, the multiple burdens of the past weigh down on every generation.
The irrepressible Silvio Berlusconi is in hot water again with all left-thinking people, this time for his remarks on illegal immigrants. After praising Libya for taking back 500 illegals from Italy, the Italian PM observed, “The Left’s idea is of a multi-ethnic Italy . . . That is not our idea, ours is to welcome only those who meet the conditions for political asylum.” Naturally, the Secretary of the Italian Bishops Conference was outraged and praised multi-culturalism as an Italian value.