the pride and the shame  

toothysmile 50M
12277 posts
4/29/2006 10:40 am

Last Read:
1/14/2016 10:07 pm

the pride and the shame

The pride and the shame.

As a teenager I used to live in Plaka, the oldest neighborhood of Athens, right on the slopes of the Acropolis.It was an exciting place to be. During the summers I often stayed up at night. Just after 4.30 am I would step outside. The small, narrow streets were deserted. I would go past the Roman Forum, pass the Tower of the Winds and find the winding trail that led up to the hill of the Acropolis.

I would cross the small woods of pine trees, my back turned towards the city. All I could see was the Parthenon, the temple dedicated to Athena, patron goddess of the city, arguably one of the most influential buildings of all times. It was the most eerie feeling, because as there was no one around I would lose all sense of time. This could have been taking place 300 years ago, and the scenery wouldn't have changed one bit. I 'd finally make it to the top of the hill and find a comfortable rock to sit. I 'd stay till I saw the sun rise behind the Lycabettus Hill, washing the city in a pink cloud, temporarily hiding its ugliness...

I 'd look towards the Parthenon again. I could touch the same marbles that Pericles touched, the ones sculpted by Pheidias and his crew, the most celebrated sculptor of ancient Greece. No bond to my heritage could be more palpable. A building standing there for 2500 years, just a short walk from my house. No reading of a play of Euripides or Sophocles could establish a more direct link to our history than these stones I saw before me. My heart was filled with pride. I came from a nation that once opened the doors that led to Western civilization. In less than a century, these buildings were built, some of sculpture's best masterpieces chiseled, some of the most extraordinary tragedies written, the philosophical theories of Plato and Aristotle expressed... Euclid, a personal hero of mine, laid the foundations of geometry... The very essence of beauty... the very essence of truth...

I would then look back towards the modern city. And my heart would sink. A faceless, gray city, noisy and polluted, its buildings a mass of concrete boxes... A city clearly not loved by its inhabitants. The color would rise in my cheeks as waves of shame would take over me. Athens could easily be the world's most beautiful city. Its climate is fantastic. The beaches surrounding used to have the clearest waters. The mountains surrounding it lending extra grandeur. And its archaeological treasures, part of the fiber of the city, are unique to say the least. Alas!...

Greece has changed rapidly over the last few decades. It is a much wealthier country now, importing labor, when it had been exporting it only as recently as 1970. We have grown richer but unfortunately by no means wiser. Nor more cultivated. Our civilization, our culture is not only reflected in our statues or our temples. It is reflected in how we live. In our TV commercials, our most watched TV shows, our newspapers... Our lack of any truly important artists, visual or literary... It is reflected in how dirty our streets are, dog and bird droppings a common occurrence... Our drivers flinging their cigarettes out their car window... Our young unable to use our language properly because our education system is so bad... I firmly believe we have hit an all-time cultural low. And I dread what the future holds for us.

The money now so abundantly earned by us modern Greeks is flung on expensive cars and exotic vacations, but never in a book store. Never for a visit to our museums, our monasteries, our national monuments. We leave that to the tourists...

It is exactly what fills me with mixed feelings. Pride for what we were. Shame for what we are...
but also sadness when I think what we could still be. And deep concern for what we will become...

...



rm_meow344 105F
2615 posts
4/29/2006 2:02 pm

Sweetie,
This is wonderful..This story
of a tale of childhood mixed
with the thoughts of today.
Sweeter read the second time..
*hugs* meow


ArgosPlumyKooky 45F
3902 posts
4/29/2006 2:11 pm

there must be some others like you. . .feeling this way. . . search them out and start a campaign. i sense your feeling of overwhelmedness. . .but all great efforts start small. . . it is the same here but we of course do not have the same depth of cultural and historical wealth here. . but toothy. . .you count. . .only one greek it takes yes? smilz bye


MOfunNOWWOW 55F

4/29/2006 2:46 pm

Seems your pride and passion could set fire to many a young mind and spread the fervor for generations to come. Your writings certainly stir me. Bittersweet and lovely post. {=}


MOMO
just a squirrel trying to get a nut


HBowt2 59F

4/29/2006 4:05 pm

I suppose something similar happened in Ireland but now we seem to be fighting to preserve our history....to clean up our streets...to maintain those old buildings that would have been knocked down previously. We are also building better with more responsibility and in keeping with the surroundings....Hope you city gets there soon...


runzwithknives 60F

4/29/2006 9:03 pm

Wonderful post, bittersweet.

...Never for a visit to our museums, our monasteries, our national monuments. We leave that to the tourists...
Too true and very true for many cities there as well as in the US. Pity isn't it? Our priorities suck.


Christabel168 44F

4/29/2006 10:13 pm

"We must be the change we wish to see in the world."
-Gandhi


papyrina 51F
21133 posts
4/30/2006 3:33 am

sad but true,rock stars,alcohol,drugs and fashion are the only things that keep the young interested
I've seen the changes over 20 years now and i don't like the Greece i fell in love with is slowly dieing.

We wait for the next generation to take over but there as corrupt as the last

Who knows what the answer is


I'm a

and
i'm here to stay


rm_rareview 41F
568 posts
4/30/2006 6:28 am

The money now so abundantly earned by us modern Greeks is flung on expensive cars and exotic vacations, but never in a book store. Never for a visit to our museums, our monasteries, our national monuments. We leave that to the tourists...

It is exactly what fills me with mixed feelings. Pride for what we were. Shame for what we are...
but also sadness when I think what we could still be. And deep concern for what we will become...


Toothy
what you are describing is very true. the above exract is very sad and very true.

Hoping for a better future.
Thanks for such a great post

rareview


rm_magnet4u22 49F
18406 posts
4/30/2006 8:40 am

That was a lovely post...and sad to read because of such great history in your country. I think we all have feelings about our own countries, as well. I love the Ghandi quote.



I


FunandFrisky79 41M/37F

4/30/2006 9:46 am

Beautiful post, Toothy! You're so compassionate! Unfortunately, too few people share your desire to keep their countries beautfiful. It's really sad. But, it's very reassuring knowing there are wonderful people (like yourself) still out there!

]


caressmewell 53F

4/30/2006 12:17 pm

Wonderful post Sweetie. I don't think that the mentality is limited to Greece and it's very unfortunate that any country will not treasure it's heritage, it's beauty and take charge of it's future.


rm_irida2005 45F
78 posts
4/30/2006 2:14 pm

And the life is hard too.. I miss Athens of 80's ...very much.. I wish to find a way to go back to the past and stay there..


Whispersoftly5 52F
15176 posts
4/30/2006 7:58 pm

Lovely, but sad post. As others said - bittersweet. I can't imagine growing up among such lovely and magnificent history and seeing the progress or lack thereof in the here and now. The way to describe it I felt as I was there with you. Wonderful post. Thank you!

Whisper...


clevergirl4U 58F

4/30/2006 10:01 pm

The whole world seems to be stuck in "forward thinking." I lived in Europe for a few years and what I enjoyed most was the HISTORY of the place. I celebrated one New Years in a 13th century stone abby, listening to a chorus chanting medieval music, which inspired me to find books on the period. How can we learn from our mistakes as a planet, if we don't re-visit the past?

So sad to hear this news...


LadytoPleaseYou 64F
5447 posts
4/30/2006 10:14 pm

This is a beautiful piece....sounds so familiar.....excellent post

PENIS CHARMING....where are you?


TabithaElectra79 38F

5/1/2006 1:58 am

I'm really glad you decided to write about this, and I think what you say is kind of reflected the world over to certain extremes, in that, we often take for granted what is right in front of us and do not fully appreciate the things which reflect our history and culture.


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/1/2006 3:01 am

meow344

thank you my dear Meow.
my hugs and kisses
as always...


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/1/2006 3:07 am

snatchmatch71

Yes snatchie, I 'm sure there are...
Alas! I am not a crusader and I will not save someone who doesn't want to be saved... It would take me more than a lifetime.
What I can do is live my life the way I see fit, respecting my principles and hope that others will do the same.
Your words touch me, thank you.


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/1/2006 3:10 am

MOfunNOWWOW

Thank you MO, you are very kind with me.
One can hope...
but the reality is often grimmer.
Still...
~smiles~


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/1/2006 3:14 am

HBowt2

I have often felt that the Irish and the Greek have a lot in common, even though we come from opposite corners of our continent.
So maybe we 'll follow your example.
Nevertheless, the damage is so vast, that it would be a massive undertaking.


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/1/2006 3:18 am

runzwithknives

Thank you my dear. It is ironic isn't it?...
It 's so good to see you here...


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/1/2006 3:20 am

Christabel168

That is a truly wonderful quote.
As is so often the case though, easier said than done.
THANK YOU baby.


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/1/2006 3:26 am



Agreed. Perhaps I should join you in that convent hon?...
~wink~


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/1/2006 3:28 am



Yes, I haven't lost all hope either. But it is hard...
Thank you dear Rare.


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/1/2006 3:30 am

magnet4u22

Yes, it is our history that makes it so hard.
Thank you, and it 's always good to see you here...


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/1/2006 3:34 am

FunandFrisky79

Your words touch me. I thank you.
My kisses straight to you.


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/1/2006 3:37 am

Caressmewell

So sad, yet so true. I hope we all learn from this.
My kisses.


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/1/2006 3:39 am

Irida2005

ah, yes...
I was away for most of the 80s... but here for the summers...
Glad you agree dear Irida. Kisses.


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/1/2006 3:41 am



You always have such kind words for me. Thank you.
You have brought the warmest smile to my face.
My kisses to you.


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/1/2006 3:44 am

Mzhunyhole

Oh...
that just shows what a wonderful person you really are.
However... never discount the value of your place!
It is exactly the mistake we make.
Thank you Huny, my kisses to you.


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/1/2006 3:50 am

clevergirl4u

Ah... I bet it was a memorable New Year's eve.
We must learn from our past. Of course we must study our past in order to learn from it. And by 'study' I don't mean memorizing dates or figures as we often do in our history classes here.
Thank you Clever. So, where did you live?...


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/1/2006 3:52 am

LadytoPleaseYou

Thank you and wellcome to 'the bright side of the moon'.
So, why is it familiar?...


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/1/2006 3:58 am

TabithaElectra79

Oh Tabi... so true... For once we can be serious...
Why did I get the feeling you 'd say exactly that?...
My arms around you.


bulging_boy 49M

5/1/2006 7:18 am

I loved Athens, but as you do also... for the rich tapestry of history and the monumental remnants of the civilisation before.

I remember standing in awe of these amazing buildings many now ruins, but still... what remains standing is so striking that it really doesn't take too much effort to imagine what it would have been like when it was at it's peak.

You are in an idyllic land Toothy, I'm glad that you are one of those who truly appreciates it's beauty despite being surrounded by it.


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/1/2006 12:03 pm

bulging_boy

Thank you my friend and wellcome to my blog.
It 's good to know you 've been here and know what I 'm talking about. I hope you enjoyed your stay and visited a couple of islands too. By all means let me know if you plan to return.


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/1/2006 12:20 pm

DanielGR

My dear Daniel, this is where I disagree:
We shouldn't compare Athens to other cities, we should compare it to Athens, the way it COULD be.
-Athens may be the safest capital, but it's much less safe than it was 10 or 20 years ago, whereas say, New York is safer.
-I hadn't seen a homeless person in Athens till 1990. I now see dozens.
-Athens is the most polluted city of the ones I have visited.
-Unlike Rome or Madrid (let alone London or Paris), Athens is a YOUNG city. In 1834 when it became the capital, it had only 5000 inhabitants. All of its streets were created later. And its primary destruction was done recently and not in the 50s. I remember Kifissia being a nice, quiet suburb, not the traffic-ladden monster it is now. I remember the sea of Asteria beach in Glyfada being as clear as the ones in the islands. I remember going to the original Everest in Kolonaki and knowing everyone there.
Don't get me wrong, I 'm not advocating stopping development; you can't anyway. I 'm suggesting planning responsibly for it. I don't see the sense of erecting high-rise office buildings in Maroussi, when there's no road infrastructure and no parking.
Enough...
Let 's get a beer, my treat...


Christabel168 44F

5/1/2006 5:00 pm

    Quoting toothysmile:
    Christabel168

    That is a truly wonderful quote.
    As is so often the case though, easier said than done.
    THANK YOU baby.

You are welcome.


nottycara 36F

5/1/2006 10:50 pm

Yep

I am nodding as I read line by line. What can we say more ? There are always some people who has gone too far, pursuing material interests, fulfilling endless desires and got lost in their race for modernity, luxuries and other things they deem exclusive. I have wondered about this for years.

We talked about it, we thought about it, some even taught about it. Sad enough those that listened and understood, how few or how many are they and do they listeners who determines to make a change or listeners who just listen.

It's nice that you bring this up. Its indeed a shame about the pride.


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/2/2006 12:46 am

nottycara

Thank you my dear Cara. I am glad we agree on this one, and I 'm sure you have similar examples in Singapore as well.


mycin62 54F

5/2/2006 6:02 am

That must have been wonderful, growing up there. I remember when I went to Italy, feeling the history of the land, thinking about those who walked there before me.


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/2/2006 6:32 am

mycin62

oh, it was... in more ways than one...
thank you for stoppimg by. kisses.


LadytoPleaseYou 64F
5447 posts
5/2/2006 2:04 pm

You are welcome and the pleasure is all mine.
I don't know why it sounded so familiar. It was a deja'vue thing, very surreal as if I were reading over your shoulder as you wrote it, or had walked with you in the night and heard your thoughts.
I guess saying that someone's posts sounds familiar could be construed as fighting words around here, but I didn't mean it as I was accusing you of anything. It was just a strange, haunting feeling I had as I read it. Difficult to explain and not the first time it's happened. Please don't take it wrong. I didn't intend for it to be.

PENIS CHARMING....where are you?


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/3/2006 12:30 am

LadytoPleaseYou
Quite the opposite. I am flattered. Thank you for taking the time to respond...


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/3/2006 1:16 pm

LipssayAll

My dear Lips, no need to apologise.
By raising your kids well, you are giving us the best gift you can give us. It is I who should thank you.
Kisses.


MaggiesWishes 60F

5/3/2006 1:48 pm

I could listen to you for hours on end. I love the history, the beauty, and the excitement of foreign lands. I've still got to discover this hunk of land I live on before I can even think of going anywhere else. Altho, I've always known I would never visit outside of the US. I find your words breath-takingly beautiful and your compassion, heartfelt.

warm huggies and smoochies


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/4/2006 5:58 am

MaggiesWishes

Aw... Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
You live in a beautiful land, that 's worth exploring to say the least. Why wouldn't you visit outside the U.S.?
More smoochies...


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/4/2006 6:04 am

humboldthonni

Oh my...
Your words move me. And I can't thank you enough for this comment.
You probably can't imagine what it means to me.


seek_my_flame 40F
465 posts
5/4/2006 10:10 am

Great post, dear! I have the same feelings from time to time... And writting that blog with the speech of Zolotas reminded me of Greek pride... and I couldn't help feeling that nowdays we don't have too many things to be proud of...

Great job, putting all these thoughts on paper! Bravo!


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/4/2006 5:59 pm

seek_my_flame
Thank you my dear Flame. It means a lot to me that the Greek people here see my point...
kisses.


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/4/2006 6:02 pm

Dysgyzed

~blushing~
oh my...
from the bottom of my heart... THANK YOU!...


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
5/4/2006 6:13 pm


A note to all my friends here.

I have to admit that I never expected to get many comments to this post. Once again, I was wrong. I am touched that all of you took the time to respond to something that is so personal and so important to me. Moreover to leave me such wonderful words. And once again, my mere thanks aren't enough.

My love to you all.


Opus_of_a_liar 40F

9/14/2011 10:59 am

Thank you for directing me to this post. I will read no onther blogs tonight. This is the perfect one to end on. Thank you.

Wise words.


toothysmile 50M
16515 posts
9/15/2011 3:47 am

    Quoting Opus_of_a_liar:
    Thank you for directing me to this post. I will read no onther blogs tonight. This is the perfect one to end on. Thank you.

    Wise words.
Glad you liked it. Thanks.
Hugs.


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