Archivo de la categoria ‘Cultura’

The other drama of the Greek crisis.The monuments have no voice

I’ve allowed myself to publish this long article from the NYT on other serious side effects of the Greek that are being overlooked.

The front page of yesterday’s New York Times echoes the warning calls from the Association of Greek Archaeologists in recent months to defend Greece’s cultural heritage and whose latest manifestation is this posting:

Its message, clear and direct, reads, “Monuments have no voice. They must have yours,” regarding the effects of the cuts and the irreparable damage being done:

“In Messenia, on the Peloponnesian peninsula, excavation work has come to a halt on a fifth- or sixth-century B.C. mountaintop temple discovered in 2010 not far from the well-known Temple of Apollo Epicurius, a Unesco World Heritage site. Xeni Arapogianni, the state archaeologist who oversaw the region and directed the initial excavation of the newly discovered temple, was forced into early retirement last fall before she could complete research for publications about the find”.

“On the island of Kythira, Mr. Tsaravopoulos recently visited a plot of sparsely wooded field, acting on a tip from a friend that a bulldozer had been at work there without a permit or antiquities inspection. He arrived to find a makeshift dirt road freshly carved into a hillside, scattered with dozens of broken pieces of glazed pottery dating to Hellenic and early Roman times”.

And it sends a reminder of the service that archaeologists have lent Greek society for years, something that has earned them an honourable reputation and which has remained intact to the present day:

“Despite its relatively low pay, the profession of archaeology has long been held in high esteem in Greece; it is a job that children aspire to, like becoming a doctor. And in a country where the public sector has been plagued for decades with corruption, archaeologists have retained a reputation as generally honorable and hard-working.

They used to say that we were a special race,” said Alexandra Christopoulou, the deputy director of the National Archaeological Museum. “We worked overtime without getting paid for it — a rarity in Greece — because we really loved what we did”.

To read the article:

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Is Greece European?

Me gustaría recomendar la lectura de este artículo de Robert Kaplan sobre Grecia. Resume de forma maestra la Grecia de ayer y de hoy, sus contrastes, logros y fracasos en la historia y las consecuencias derivadas de una particular ubicación entre el este y el oeste, donde geopolítica y geografía conforman la cara de una misma moneda y cuyo efecto desestabilizador se ha mantenido manifiestamente vivo a lo largo de los siglos.

I’d like to recommend reading this article on Greece, by Robert Kaplan. It sums up masterfully the country’s past and present; its contrasts, successes and failures throughout history. It examines the consequences of Greece’s unique positioning between East and West – where geopolitics and geography are one and the same – and whose clearly destabilising effect has endured down through the centuries.

“Is Greece European?”, by Robert Kaplan:

Greece is where the West both begins and ends. The West — as a humanist ideal — began in ancient Athens where compassion for the individual began to replace the crushing brutality of the nearby civilizations of Egypt and Mesopotamia. The war that Herodotus chronicles between Greece and Persia in the 5th century B.C. established a contrast between West and East that has persisted for millennia. Greece is Christian, but it is also Eastern Orthodox, as spiritually close to Russia as it is to the West, and geographically equidistant between Brussels and Moscow. Greece may have invented the West with the democratic innovations of the Age of Pericles, but for more than a thousand years it was a child of Byzantine and Turkish despotism. And while Greece was the northwestern bastion of the anciently civilized Near East, ever since history moved north into colder climates following the collapse of Rome, the inhabitants of Peninsular Greece have found themselves at the poor, southeastern extremity of Europe.

Read more: Is Greece European? By Robert D. Kaplan | Stratfor

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