Imperial landscape on holiday

Mitchell, W.J.T. (2002) ‘Imperial Landscape’ In: Mitchell, W.J.T. (ed.) Landscape and Power. (s.l.): The University of Chicago Press.

I have recently returned from holiday in Rhodes and – naturally – took a large number of photographs while there. As well as the usual memento snapshots of a (very good) holiday, I tried to take some that showed a bit more of the reality of Rhodes – and by extension Greece as a whole – as it seemed clear that the collapsed economy still resonates throughout the society. There are a large number of abandoned building projects, works that had been started but never completed. This is not new in Greece, and I don’t claim any expertise in the economy there, but the scale seems much larger than the last time I was in Greece thirty years ago.

In his essay ‘Imperial Power’ Mitchell Jean Mohr’s photograph ‘Israel 1979’, where he juxtaposes new Israeli condominiums with an Arab village in the background. While acknowledging the conflict between Israel settlers and existing Arab residents, Mitchell says “everyone “owns” (or ought to own) this landscape in the sense that everyone must acknowledge or “own up” to some responsibility for it, some complicity in it” (Mitchell,2002:29).

While there is no direct correlation between the Arab/Israeli conflict and the collapsed Greek economy, there is a link in what Mitchell says here. I, as a UK resident, have a stake in the EU, to which Greece is also a member. To my mind one of the fundamental reasons for the existence of the EU is to provide support for each other as member countries. In that sense we are complicit in the effects of a broken economy on a fellow member country.

I include here two – landscape – photographs I took to try and illustrate the dichotomy between Greece as a place where myself and other europeans like to go on holiday, and the reality of existence for the Greek people themselves.



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