"Critics complain that the Valencia [Spanish] authorities had a bad habit of falling in the thrall of celebrities like … Santiago Calartrava, a superstar architect who transformed a dry riverbed … with a complex of space-age style buildings, the City of Arts and Sciences.
The same thing happened in Valencia, where Mr. Calatrava's designs were selected without competition while his commission grew from about 3 percent of the construction cost to 12 percent without public notice …
Today the public rage about Mr. Calatrava's commissions is palpable in a region reeling from 27.3 percent unemployment, compared with a national average of 24.4 percent, leading the Zurich-based architect to issue a statement last month defending his $115 million fee as 'modest' and below average for similar projects." [International Herald Tribune (IHT), July 9, 2012, p. 4]
Palpable is also the obscenity of a $115 million fee for the "labor" of Calatrava, the "superstar" architect; a "celebrity".
Putting aside the fact that in Spain local authorities placed padlocks on supermarket waste bins to prevent people from spreading disease by scavenging for food in the waste bins, let us try to examine the Calatrava case.
When does a human become a "celebrity"? Also, what are the "advantages" of being a celebrity? They tell us that a man or a woman is considered a celebrity when he or she becomes "famous". So, is Alexander Fleming, of penicillin, a celebrity? He is fairly famous. However, I doubt if ordinary people consider him a "celebrity". Is the famous (American) Madonna a celebrity? Definitely, yes! Is Calatrava, the "superstar architect" a celebrity? Obviously he is!
As for the "advantages": the inadequate $115 million fee of Caladrava is really modest compared to the innumerable millions "offered" by civilized societies to the celebrities of Hollywood, TV "personalities", etc, for their sweat.
So, what is the laborious work that Calatrava has been sweating on so that he will be entitled to such an obscene fee as above?
If a five-year-old child is given a pencil and a sheet of paper it is certain that the child will start tracing all kinds of curves on it. Many of the curves will resemble an arch. [The inside of our feet form a curve resembling an arch].
Calatrava has covered the earth with huge arches made of steel. It took Calatrava the same time and effort to trace the curves of those arches, as that of the five-year-old child. That constitutes the artistic architectural offering of Calatrava to the world.
[Interesting Note: Quite a few decades ago I was working as a civil engineer on a Greek island. A young Greek colleague, an architect who had studied architecture in France, was working on a building constructed according to his architectural design. A part of the facade of the building constituted of a series of stone (marble) arches. To build a stone arch one has first to build a wooden form of the arch on which the stones will rest to build the final stone arch. After the stone arches were built the young architect ordered the laborers to destroy the wooden form, so that the curve of his arch could not be copied by another human. The laborers, ordinary and rational humans, laughed their heads off at the self-importance of the young architect. By experience, they knew that the effort and the skill to trace the curve of the arch was insignificant. End of note.]
Thus Calatrava after offering the world the curve of his arches as an architect, he had to design the structural part of the arches, that is, to make them strong enough to stand and not fail, which is the work of a civil engineer. A job that lasts for a few weeks, if not days. [If I am not mistaken, Calatrava after studying architecture he, also, studied civil engineering so that he could do the structural design himself]. But, he had to ask the help of a civil engineer, expert in soils, to design the foundation of the arches. Again a job of a few weeks and at a cost of a few thousand dollars. It is for this artistic inspiration and laborious effort that the Calatrava's of the world, the magnificent "celebrities", get their "modest" fees.
Greece is lucky to have a part of the Calatrava offerings to the world. The occasion: the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. [The reader can find an examination of the "greatness" of the Olympic Games through the years in my ZNet Commentary "Nazi Olympics" of August 18, 2005. Also, see the excellent ZNet Commentary of Nov. 2, 2012, "Gold or Freedom", by Nick Lalaguna].
Besides the Pharaonic arches of the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Calatrava offered the Greeks a multitude of lesser arches so that the decedents of the builders of the Parthenon should finally realize the worth of the arch, given that the ancient Greeks had not invented the arch and were using only the "simple beam"; a straight beam resting on the top of two adjacent columns, as in the Parthenon. Among those lesser Calatrava arches one can see a "forest" of steel arches forming kind of a perforated canopy (!) over the various … paths joining the different areas of the Athens Olympic Stadium. Today, the Athenians can enjoy the view of this forest of "strange" arches, from the metro windows as they pass by the stadium.
Finally, the Athenians at another part of the city can enjoy a pedestrian bridge designed by Calatrava as an … harp! Spanning a road width of about 100 feet this Calatrava "opus" is a rather "loud" statement for a simple pedestrian bridge. Also, instead of a simple beam Calatrava used steel tendons (the cords of the harp) to carry the weight of the bridge. Engineers know that tendons are prone to rusting, as they are stretched continuously.
[Technical Note: Steel has great strength to resist tension (stretching). One cannot stretch a stone. Stones can resist only compression. Arches can exist only because they can exploit the strength of some materials that can resist compression. Therefore, historically arches were built of stone. An arch made of steel is a "redundancy". All Calatrava arches are made of steel. End of Note].
The cost of the 2004 Olympics in Greece is not known. The estimate starts at about 4.5 billion euros ($ 5.8 billion) and ends at about 30 billion euros ($ 39 billion). Even if the cost was 15 billion euros, ordinary Greeks could have avoided some of the pain they feel today. Also, unknown, at least to me, is the fee paid to Calatrava for his arches.
Here is a grim testimony confirming that pain, as printed on page one of the "International Herald Tribune" (The Global edition of the "New York Times") of October 25, 2012:
"Elena an unemployed [Greek] woman had received a diagnosis of breast cancer a year before she visited [Dr.Syrigos]… By that time, her cancer had grown to the size of an orange and broken through the skin, leaving a wound that she was draining with paper napkins. 'When we saw her we were speechless', said Dr.Syrigos … 'Every one was crying. Things like that are described in textbooks, but you never see them until now …'" Elena cannot get her very expensive chemotherapy drugs at the state hospitals, although she could access those hospitals over the harp-shaped Calatrava bridge, as many of the most important state hospitals of Athens are located within walking distance from that pedestrian bridge.
The padlocks on the waste bins of Spain and Elena's paper napkins are the "handiwork" of the individuals who constitute the world elites (Americans, Chinese, Japanese, Russians, etc) and those parts of the populations of the civilized and advanced nations who consider the rest of their fellow humans as lesser than themselves. That is, the part of the population who are pious, conservative and cruel. Of course, in Greece besides Elana's napkins the situation with garbage bins is worse than the one in Spain.
So, It was not only the Valencia authorities that fell "in the thrall" of the Calatravas of the world. The same happened with the Greek political and economic elites, chosen decades ago as US-proxies by consecutive US Presidents. However, these elites, with the help of "Madison Avenue" methods, manage to "persuade" a part of the populace that the Calatravas of the world, the sundry "celebrities", advance our civilization. Thus, Calatrava with his arches made a few more millions out of the taxes of ordinary Greeks, including Elena. Naturally, rich Greeks do not pay taxes. They are good Christians, they have the "right" political connections and they are … pro-American. Also, I wonder if Merkel and Schaeuble of Germany claim that part of the cost for the Greek Calatrava saga of the 2004 Athens Olympics were paid by the diligent German taxpayers for the "lazy and corrupt" Greeks. If so, the Germans spent their tax money wrongly for the Nazi-type Athens Olympics instead of repaying the Greek people for the gold they stole from the Bank of Greece, etc, in 1941, during the World War II Nazi occupation of Greece.
Finally, to close this part of the present Commentary, we should recognize that it is not only the pain of the Elenas and the scavenging of garbage bins, imposed by the world elites and their local proxies, that the Spanish and the Greek peoples have in common. Both peoples hold a special and prominent place in Europe and the world.
The Spanish, in the 1930s showed to the world that the theory of "There Is No Alternative" (TINA) to the brutality of capitalism, is wrong. A proof that Hitler, Stalin, the US, the French, et al could not tolerate and, basically, crashed an entire people.
The Resistance of the Greek people against the Nazis, during World War II, is recognized historically as an important factor in the defeat of Nazism.
Yet there are other, more mundane, events that are common to Spain and Greece. On November 2, 1938, around 10 a.m., at the age of 8, I was doing my daily "wanderings" at an abandoned quarry close to my home in Athens. Then all of a sudden the church bells of Athens started to peal all over the city. This went on for almost the rest of the day. The event the church bells were celebrating was the birth of the first child, a girl, of Frederika, the wife of Paul the crown prince of Greece. The girl was Sofia, now Queen of Spain.
Sofia, in 1962, married Juan Carlos of Spain, who, later, in 1969, was handpicked as king of Spain by that brutal dictator Francisco Franco to succeed him. "Juan Carlos came to the throne after the death of the dictator Gen. Francisco Franco in 1975 with virtually nothing …" (IHT, Sept. 29-30, 2012). Not exactly! Sofia had a substantial dowry paid by the Greek taxpayers without their consent. The dowry was 30,000 golden British sovereigns, or 9 million (1962) Greek drachmas. The wedding cost (1962) US $ 2.9 million, to host 32 kings, princes and princesses, 109 deposed royals, and 3,000 Spanish aristocrats.
Today the wealth of Juan Carlos is a secret. It is estimated at about 1.79 billion euro ($ 2.33 billion). Also, Juan Carlos is immune from prosecution.
How come in Anno Domini 2012, the Spanish people, who offered to the world the precious anarchist experience of the 1930s, tolerate such a humiliating condition for their human nature? For example, in the spring of 2012 while some Spaniards scavenged the dust bins for food Juan Carlos was elephant hunting in Africa. It is reasonable to expect that the majority of the Spaniards were angry. However, that is not enough.
What might be the basic reason of such indignity for a proud people? My view: The rule of the US Emperor, since the early 20th century. Tools in the hands of the Emperor: Fascism and religion. [See below].
As for the Calatrava kind of celebrities, which is not only a cultural problem, it rests in the hands of the generation of the young people of this planet to clean the political and cultural garbage that is covering the entire planet.
The Greeks started their struggle for independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1821. By 1830 they had won their freedom, with he help of the British, the French and the Russians, also known as the "Protector Forces". Of course the "protectors" were not the ordinary people living in the respective geographical regions but the assholes, royal or other, who ruled over those peoples. So, the "protectors" started shopping around Europe to get a king for the uncivilized Greeks.
[Note: Forgive the vulgar word, but just consider the row of "assholes" [aka leaders of the ordinary people of the world] of recent historical time: Teddy Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, General De Gaul, the Bushes, the Kaiser, Bill Clinton and his frosty wife, Stalin, Ronald Reagan, Pinochet, Markos, Suharto, Obama, Ceausescu, Mubarak, Netanyahu, Gadhafi, Hitler, Sarkozy, Franco, Mussolini, Dick Cheney, and on and on, each one of them responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, even millions of humans.]
At first, in 1830, the "protectors" chose Leopold the son of the German duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld. Leopold declined the Greek crown but a year later accepted the crown of Belgium and became Leopold I. Unfortunately, he had a son who in his turn became Leopold II (1835-1909), king of Belgium. That son, Leopold II, proved to be "a megalomaniac of monstrous proportions". By now, historians consider him as a worse monster than Hitler, for his brutality in Africa. Also he has remained almost unknown to most of the peoples of the world. Why? Thus, one can say that the Greeks were lucky not to have such a monster as Leopold II, first as a crown prince and then as a king.
The next choice of the "protectors" was Otto, the second son of King Louis I of Bavaria (the "real" Germany). Otto became the first king of the Greeks in 1833, at the age of 17! Otto lasted for 30 years up to 1863. During those 30 years the Germans, inevitably, established in Greece the foundation of the Garmanic way of ruling the populace, etc. Also, they left a "residue" of Greek elites as proxies of the Germans.
So, after Otto, the "protectors" repeated their shopping around Europe and this time they chose a young Danish prince of the German ducal House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Gluecksburg who became King George I of the Greeks. The new royal line was pro-British. Therefore, the culture, etc of another of the "protectors" infiltrated into the society of the uncouth Greeks, leaving again the inevitable residue of pro-British elites.
Early 20th century
During this period, especially before and during the First World War there was a rather brief infiltration of the French version of "protection", probably due to the personal preferences of Eleftherios Venizelos (1864-1936), one of the various Greek "Ethnarchs" ("leaders of the nation"). All the Greek elites, at that time, spoke fluent French and the French language was taught in the high schools as a second language. The Gallic influence was not as "lively" as that of the Anglo-Saxons.
[Necessary Note: Venizelos created what is known in Greece as the "Special Law". Aim of the law: crush the commies. I hope that at some point in time a Greek student will write a PhD thesis about the number of Greeks who were tortured to death or were crippled for life in the Greek police stations of that period. Of course, the statue of Venizelos stands prominently in front of the Greek Parliament at Syntagma Square and in squares all over Greece. Another "ethnarch" was Karamanlis (1907-1998), uncle of the younger one, who as Prime Minister, a few years ago is responsible for the Elenas of Greece.]
Late 1920s and the 1930s
This, the basic Nazi period in Germany, is a crucial period for Greece. The intellectual elites of Greece were attracted by the German culture. For example, in the Polytechnic, the elite School of Engineering of Greece, around 80% of the professors were educated in Germany; some of them pro-Nazi. During that period, the Greek middle class was split almost evenly to pro-Germans and pro-British. The pro-German Greeks seemed to be more aggressive. Then in 1936 John Metaxas, a military officer of the Greek Corps of Engineers, educated in Germany and pro-Nazi, was "appointed" by the pro-British king as a dictator to turn Greece into a fascist nation with a Nazi veneer. A schizophrenic situation, yet very "effective" in the attack against the communists, through torture of unbelievable brutality, although the "commies" constituted only around 6% of the population. This lasted up to 1940, when fascist Italy attacked Greece, a fascist dictatorship!
As it happens with most operations (covert or overt) planned by the "intelligentsia" of the West (read the US for our times) the violent intervention in another country results in situations opposite to the ones aimed at. Thus, the Metaxas dictatorship imposed by the British, resulted in moving about 20% of the Greek population towards the Left, after they were witnesses to the barbarity and the absurdity of the dictatorship. The same happened 31 years later with the US imposed military dictatorship in Greece. [See below]. Naturally, the pro-Nazi part of the population remained faithful to its Nazi "religion".
Nazi Occupation (1941-1944)
The Nazi occupation of Greece lasted four years. What happened to the pro-Nazi Greeks? A significant part of them (even upper middle class ones) were among the hundreds of thousands that starved to death in Athens. I always wondered how they felt during their last moments on earth about their Nazi religion. The hard-core pro-Nazis, mostly affluent and amoral, remained faithful pro-Nazis and some of them collaborated with the Nazi occupiers. Most importantly, the Nazi occupiers created what they called the "security battalions" by recruiting the lumpen, the criminals and the psychopaths among the Greeks. To add insult to the crime the Nazi occupiers dressed them in a khaki version of the Greek National uniform. The uniform that the tourists photograph today at the tomb of the "unknown soldier" at Syntagma Square, in front of the Parliament.
Syntagma Square, where the Greeks of today fight again for their right to exist.
The lumpen "security battalions", known to the Greeks, today, as "battalion-goons" ("tagmat-aletes" in Greek), proved to be worse than the worst Nazi soldiers in brutality and sadism, as mentioned even in Nazi documents of the time.
When the Nazis left, in October 1944, the Greeks that had moved to the Left constituted about 45% to 50% of the population. Among them the Communists numbered to about 15% of the population. Also, they (the Left) were armed. What could Greece be like today if the Left had not fallen into the trap mentioned below. My estimate: Greece would not have turned into a Soviet satellite but rather would have evolved into a country similar to the Spain that briefly existed in the late 1930s; a country of men and women living in dignity and integrity.
December 3, 1944 to 2012
On December 3, 1944, less than 8 weeks after the Nazis left, the British, Stalin, and the US (the Dulles brothers, "Wild" Bill Donovan, et al) trapped the Greek Left by massacring them at Syntagma Square, in front of the tomb of the "unknown soldier", and thus started the contemporary history of Greece as a member of the … West. The West that is based on the classical Greek ideas. (See Martin Bernal's "Black Athena".)
What happened to the "battalion-goons" and their upper middle class collaborator counterparts? The US governments, starting with Harry Truman, turned them to a respectable, affluent, and useful tools of the CIA. For example, Papadopoulos, the colonel who led the 1967-1974 military dictatorship in Greece was a CIA agent since the 1950s and a Nazi collaborator during the Nazi occupation of Greece.
So, out of the families of the CIA-protected Nazi collaborators and the lowly "battalion-goons" a new generation of (open or "closet") pro-Nazi Greeks spread into the Greek society.
"Aside from the penetration programme directed against revolutionary organizations, CIA stations also direct the offensive weapons of psychological and paramilitary operations against them. These include … the organizing of goon squads to beat up and intimidate party officials …" [Philip Agee, "Inside the Company: CIA Diary", 1975, p. 61, emphasis added].
On November 16, 1973, a Thursday, one day before the massacre of November 17 during the student uprising at the Athens Polytechnic against the military dictatorship, my late wife and I were standing at the green area in front of the Athens Archaeological Museum, adjacent to the Polytechnic, where the uprising was in full blast. This museum has been visited by almost half he population of the world during the last 100 years, as it is the center of the remnants of the classical Greek culture. Among the bushes of the area there was a bus full of armed policemen. A few yards from the bus there was a group of around 60 or 70 young civilians; the "goon squad". Their leader was a tall skinny young man. Missing was a scythe to make him look like Death. We heard him say to the group: "Let us go and beat up some of the students at Bouboulinas Street", the street on the rear of the Polytechnic. At that point we heard the ranking officer of the policemen telling another officer: "I cannot control them" ( the "goons"). I saw the same skinny man at the trial of the dictatorship torturers, talking to the defense lawyer of the torturers. in 1975. A year later I spotted him in a Canadian bank in Athens where he worked as a clerk.
Those "goons", of 39 years ago, were the forefathers of the hard core of the Greek Nazis that today are members of the Greek Parliament. This hard core still does not number more than 100 people. The reason that they managed to have around 10% of the Greeks supporting them is rather obvious. Today (November 8, 2012) in the news we learned that a 60-year-old Greek committed suicide because the government cut the pension he was entitled to as a person with total disability. The anger of the Greeks against such callousness is misplaced by some of them as support of this group that each night does not only beat up dark-skinned immigrants but is stabbing them with knives, especially at the Saint Panteleimon neighborhood (see my ZNet Commentary, "The psychopathic 'Servants' of the Elites", of January 10, 2012). Prominent among the stabbing goons there is a woman.
The Greek Nazis have very strict values, which they express with shouts in the Greek Parliament. The values: "Patriotism, Religion, Family"! That is, the values of the American KKK, the Nazi KKK, and the values of the Mitt Romneys and the Obamas of drones, etc.
– American KKK: American Ku Kux Klan
– Nazi KKK: "Kinder, Kirche, Kueche". ["Kids, Church, Kitchen"]
– No need to refer to the values of the Mitt Romneys and of the Obamas.
Let us dwell a bit on this, so "serious" matter:
– Patriotism: The [professional] "refuge of a scoundrel" (Dr. Samuel Johnson).
"But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me."
This is Jesus talking, according to Luke 19:27, in the "King James' Version" of the Bible. "And when he had thus spoken, he went before , ascending up to Jerusalem."
[Note: Here, there is a (rather intentional?) inaccuracy in the translation into English from the original Greek text. The Greek word is not "slay" but "katasfaxate". This word is a compound from the preposition "kata" ["cata" in its English rendition] which means "down" and the verb "sfaxate" which means "to slaughter". Thus, the meaning of the original Greek word is: "slaughter completely" or more accurately "slaughter brutally". Speakers of English are very familiar with the meaning of "cata": "catastrophe", "cataclysm", "catalepsy", "cataract", etc. End of Note.]
About a week ago, the Greek Nazis and a group of Greek Orthodox Christians (orthodox means: having the right faith) attacked a small theater in Athens where there was a play about the sexual life of Jesus, or something. The Nazi antics were the "usual" ones. What was nauseating was a youngish woman with blond hair yelling like mad, holding a Christian icon in one hand and giving the Nazi salute with the other. This happened in Athens in AD 2012!
So, for about two thousand years Christians were advised to "slaughter brutally" the non-Christians or kill people on the sidewalks outside abortion clinics, in more advanced societies.
– Family: Again, things are rather easy to examine. One can, simply, follow the lives of Gingrich, JFK, FDR, Eleanor, the priests in Regensburg, Boston, and so on.
This is a "devilish" coincidence: A few minutes after typing the above sentence I found out that: "Petraeus Quits; Evidence of Affair Was Found by F.B.I." The New York Times, November 9, 2012, By Michael D. Shear. It seems that Petraeus understood that the religious fanaticism of the Taliban was a rather contrarian behavior against the nature of man and … Anyway, the reader can enrich his knowledge about Petraeus in the ZNet Commentary, "Ethics of Stone", of October 17, 2007. [This from that Commentary: "The correct spelling of the name 'Petraeus' is 'Petraios' … and it means 'of a stone'", in Greek!]
To close this Commentary:
How is this "unexpected" anomaly with the Greek Nazis going to evolve?
As mentioned elsewhere in these ZNet Commentaries the solution to the problems of the world rests in the hands of the ordinary Americans.
The ordinary Americans have to understand that by being indifferent to the violence of the Greek Nazi goons, they are playing with fire. They have to understand that the violence permeating the American society is an inspiration to these modern Hitlerites. They have to understand that the Greek Nazis, as described in the above historical record, are tools of the world elites and dominant among these elites is the, just elected, US "emperor" and the people pulling his strings.