Saturday, July 22, 2017

Seismic Changes Around Here


I’m writing this from my cave on a rock in the middle of the Aegean Sea. Thankfully, I’m in the central Aegean, far away from the tourist heavy areas of Kos (a Greek island) and Bodrum (a Turkish coastal town) struck by a 6.7 magnitude earthquake less than twenty-four hours ago.  It is the second such event in the broader region this year.

Hundreds are reported injured, two have died, and media reports from Kos show extensive damage to older buildings and parts of the port area, with images from Turkey revealing people abandoning buildings and waiting in the streets.

Earthquakes are not new to the region.  They serve as continuing reminders of the “big ones” of the past, and of those yet to come.  Entire civilizations have disappeared around here through quakes and eruptions—fictionally represented by the Lost Island of Atlantis.  

With all that’s happened in the region over the past twenty-four hours, it struck me as out of place for me to be voicing (as I’d planned) concerns I’d heard from many on Mykonos over esthetic architectural digressions (and transgressions) they see as threatening the very soul of their island. 

Bluntly speaking, I think to do so at the moment would be a sign of horrible bad taste…almost as much so as the new construction so many have in mind to pan.  

The above three photos are not of Mykonian locales, but of Athens 2004 Olympic venues a decade later. Could they be the Ghosts of Times to Come?

Argh.  So, I shall hold my tongue and, instead, offer my prayers and condolences to those souls affected by the earthquake, and wish them—make that all of us—no more damaging tremors.

As for what’s happening on this island, I offer an ancient Mykonian proverb:

“All that is necessary for evil architecture to prevail is for those most affected by it to do nothing.”



  1. We can always count on Jeff to shake things up. I'm sorry to hear about the destruction and loss of life. Hasn't even made the U.S. news, too many other seismic tremors around here to worry about those billions of other people around the world (who don't really matter anyway...) As for the Olympics venues, I'm always amazed how many billions of dollars are poured into those and how often they fall into ruin afterward. Perhaps refugees could be housed therein?

  2. The US has long ago retreated to Fortress America when it comes to news coverage...and now to Fortress DC. As for your suggestion on using the old Olympic buildings for refugees, it's been granted. See,

  3. The earthquake was well reported here and I did look up Google maps to see how far away it was from our leader. And there a whole phenomenon of zero happening once a country has hosted the Olympics. No boost to the local economy...everything returns to as it was...or worse.

    1. I assume you're talking about Barbara, for she's the one who shakes my world. [A momentary pause for applause]. On the Olympics, it's instructive to note that the venues constructed in Greece for the original games have held up far better than those for 2004!

  4. Really glad you're safe, Jeff, and my thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the quake (and bad architecture, though admittedly that's less pressing at the moment).

  5. Thanks, Susan, and though we're safe from the quakes, I can't say the same from the architecture.