Sunday, March 11, 2007

Last Thursday I was worried about violence at the protest, so I tied a pink bow in my hair before I left my house. I wanted to look a bit out of place because I am young, and although I didn’t intend to stay when things turned violent, I did not want to be mistaken for a student with the police, or a police spy with the students. Before the protest began, I sat in the sun watching people gather at the front of the line, the place where the press people mull around, and the serious protesters, the ones with bombs in their backpacks who are not afraid to be photographed, stand. Despite the fact that there was story happening all around, I seemed to be the point of amusement for the rest of the press people, who kept looking over at me and laughing. None of them wore pink, preferring tough guy black or green jackets and trousers with thousands of pockets. The people covering the protests here are always men, but I hadn’t seen these ones at the other protests, and they seemed particularly grizzled and imposing. They all had enormous cameras, each with a lens as big as one of my legs. These guys are foolish, I thought, but at the same time I was envious of their confidence. They were filling a very specific role, and unlike me, they fit into the scene like pieces in a pie.

The ability to blend is something that I cannot do in Greece, and it seems that the longer I am here, the more confusing my role in most situations becomes. My presence as both a foreigner and a resident is oddly contradictory, much like my strange muteness while I can understand most of what is going on around me. I have been here long enough to know some things, but not long enough to make me a full participant in conversations with Greeks. However, when I speak with other foreigners, I am always surprised (and usually a bit disappointed) by what they don’t know about this place. Perhaps this confusion is just what it means to live and work outside one’s home culture, especially when your job is to seek out stories that are happening around you. My trouble is figuring out where the story ends and my own life begins.


Anonymous Val said...

Well said.

11:35 AM  

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