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Tuesday, 28 April 2009


It has been a proclaimed dream of democracy – an unrealised advance on the Hellenic invention – that ‘all men are created equal’. Those against this idea see no problem in its inaccuracy. All who favour it know it isn’t true. Their erratic journey along this potted road (universal franchise, progressive taxation, rights upheld in highest courts, freedom of speech) has been ponderously slow, the wheels on the showman’s wagon forever falling in the ruts of human nature, being constantly pushed and hauled from one to the other by hopeless idealists, to the amusement of watching cynics and the frustration of those still waiting on the promise of delivery, inclined to follow swifter remedies – the old conflict in Hellas between klephts and constitutionalists, the snake-oil simplicities of totalitarianism ("they are wrong - we are right, they are evil - we are good"), the siren call of charismatic leaders mocking the trudging oxtrain of democracy, between those impulsive libertarians for whom means justify ends and those who know as an article of faith and therefore at whatever the cost that they are inseparable. But when it comes to the contradictions Leonard Cohen describes them well.
...It's coming from the sorrow in the street, the holy places where the races meet; from the homicidal bitchin' that goes down in every kitchen to determine who will serve and who will eat...
* * * With the help of Katerina, secateurs and saw, we’ve cut back and bagged the high overflowing ivy hedge by the fallow garden across the path that’s been blocking the sun - rare since Easter Monday. Several passing by as we worked said this should’ve been done by the absent owners who've not been around, so far as we know, since last year. The children – small Katerina and Leftheris and his cousin, Angelis - helped pick up. sweep, and drag bagged-up foliage to the bins down the street, making work into play, as children do; lemonade and lollies for wages. “Now I can see to Kato Korakiana” said Mrs L approvingly.

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Simon Baddeley