the bear and the glass

It is a widespread thought, talking about Greece, that the only generation that received a real pension is that of our parents, the one that will expire in a near future. The generation before them, though it worked hard through turbulent times, surviving -whoever did- three wars and other equal disasters, had to depend on their children for a decent old age. The generation seeing now the top of the hill and soon its other side, has limited chance expecting much more than what their parents will endow them. I trust that the generation rising now is spotting the mistakes and so will be able to solve the riddle; as long as they also see the importance of history knowledge.

Looking at my compatriots the last 20 years partly from a distance and partly from proximity, what I find after all most striking is the lack of historical memory and even more the reluctance of recovering it. Is it the responsibility of uninspiring teachers who let people slip from social consciousness to the pursuit of individual gain? Is it a choice for forgetfulness against a painful past of hidden or not dependency?  Whichever, I never understood how the same people who every Sunday could see the bear dancing at Fokionos Negri square, thought that moving (not dancing) with a glass in their hands meant liberation from misery. As result, the bear is nowadays more free than the Greeks.

The photographs come from an album called “Athènes et ses environs” presenting characteristic buildings and businesses of that time. It does not have a year indication but it was published somewhere in the decades 1910-1920.

hat-making atelier of Aphroditi Kapnissi, arcade Arsakeiou (now arcade Orphea)
tailoring atelier of Christos Kapnissis, next to his wife's atelier

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