Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Don't... know... what.... to....

Say about the day. Seems the whole city is on a slippery marble tilt, arms and heads falling off statues, plates breaking...

Didn't avoid the riots today though I was tucked in my usual place, the otherwise peaceful Voulis Street. I've learned that the word in Greek that I want is χἀος, "Khaous" or, chaos. See? It's a Greek word. A cavalcade of motorcycle cops came down, all screaming at each other in what seemed to be half instructions and half angry confusion. In the chorus I heard the word "MALAKA" 39 times in 20 seconds.
The office dwellers, tourists holding ice creams, coffee shop patrons, shop owners... we were all in the street with the encroaching BOOMS getting more and more difficult to ignore, the acrid smell of burning metal inflaming our nostrils and the wafts of pepper spray eventually drifting into our eyes, driving us back inside.

Soon after, from the other end of the street, a group of protesters who had tidily wrapped up the ordeals of the day: looting, bank burning, dumpster turning, car fires... were walking along, eating sandwiches, drinking coffees out of plastic cups, their scarves hanging loosely around their necks and the white paint being half wiped from their faces. Most were laughing amongst themselves like kids at lunch break.

To be fair, maybe these were just the ones shouting and carrying their red flags and not the ones lighting up cars and terrifying the shop owners, one of which was Michele, owner of Lithos Jewelry, standing alone outside and guarding her domain in front of a burning dumpster that blocked the street to the National Cathedral.

The difference with the riots of today were that the old timers were participating. It was not just a bunch of anarchistic youths throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails. The associated press quoted a man:

"We'll be on the streets every day, every day! You never win unless you fight," said 76-year-old Constantinos Doganis, who gets euro345 a month from his farming pension fund.

On polling the people in my environment including responsible, intelligent, mature business owners, no one seems to blame the people for exploding. They might even believe it's all necessary, justified, but with three people dead, they will have a hard time convincing me.

Remember what I said about manifestation? Remember a certain volcano? You think these things are coincidences?