….wild is the wind…creative freedom is the seed….
I am really feeling the heartaches of Greece right now. I am so sorry that the people are going through such a rough time. In the case of greece I can honestly say that some of the debt crisis was genuinely created by irresponsible banking policies artificially manipulating the population into debt. I don’t want to go into the details of my experience but suffice to say, my other art studio is on a gorgeous greek island, an old cottage just under one of the big village old windmills that used to supply bread to the whole area. It is also down the road from one of the most treasured Byzantine church in Greece and it is surrounded by vineyards.
But yesterday I got a message from my friend who was also my real estate agent, Barbara saying that my “Windmill” neighbor is having a panic attack! He was very concerned that our bomb of an old Mercedes car (absolute heap of junk) might be stolen!
I said, “That is impossible! You would have to be desperate to steal our old bathtub of a car!”
But he insisted that we send him the carkey so he can “close up our car” ad prevent gypsies from stealing our car! Luckily for us, we left the key in the house and my other neighbor (his relative) always has the key to our house, so he can just pick up the key and do whatever he liked to defeat those gypies! 🙂
In the meantime, our garden is used as a vegetable garden patch for the 5th year in a row. The greeks are amazing, when they want to be! I always maintained that in my years of growing up with Greek Australian neighbors who pride themselves on being “Wogs”, the one thing I learnt is that the greeks have the ability to create both heaven and hell according to their wishes. I have seen the amazing capacity of greeks in Australia to grow into a “tour de force” in almost every aspects of Australian society in the space of only one or two generations.
I would like to remind my greek island friends of this. Those who stuck to their traditional family values continue to thrive in a very difficult economic situation in Greece. When my greek neighbors wanted to, they created communities out of thin air. They made one another lives better, no matter what happened on the island; be it earthquakes, famine, economic downfalls or dealing with predatory bankers. Even in the most rustic of villages, I have always seen an incredible appreciation for culture and the role cultures helped their community to prosper. It was a pity that in the rush of economic expansion in the last few decades after Greece joined the EU, a gold-rush mentality happened and people forgot their roots.
I genuinely believe, as an out-side observer that my greek friends will find an innovative way to weather the crisis on the island. It will be a tough time ahead but the art will go on and so will the greek culture. I think it is time, all of greece, take my neighbors’ leads; start caring about their neighbors, start working together again, give a thought to how they can best help one another protect one another from opportunism and predatory crimes.
My neighbors have been islanders since forever and while many of them have lives in Athens also, they never forgot their roots. They cared. It was not about the church or anything artificial outside that brought them together; in fact sometimes they did not even get along with their own relations very well across different generations but something abstract about culture & tradition held a lot of meaning for them; in the process of that, they never stopped working with their land no matter how prosperous their businesses got in the good times and they never lost the knowledge that made their lives on the island sustainable across generations.
It is about time, the more disenfranchised of the modern greek city youths, discovered their traditional roots. While many of my neighbors would be considered “simple islanders” by Athenian standards, their down-to-earth sensibilities about their surroundings are simply priceless!
Art & Culture are reflections of the sustainability of their island living. That is not to say, there is no pain or difficulties; life is simply not idyllic just because one is on the greek islands, but I am grateful to all my islander friends and neighbors for their abilities to make life slightly less difficult for me, who is only an occassional islander; yet I feel their sense of community & sense of fairness from oceans away.