|photo credit: Elisabetta Favaretti|
I've also been reluctant to post about it because I'm sure you can find much better coverage of it elsewhere--and because I've already posted about the topic and it's one I find myself too disgusted by to go into again. All I can say at this point is that Venice has long devoted itself wholeheartedly to making money--the history of Venice is the history of such enterprise. But while the old Republic's rapaciousness could lead it to commit such reprehensible acts as the sack of Constantinople, it drew the line at money-making ventures that could lead to the literal collapse of its own beloved city, constructed against such great odds and with such great effort amid the wastes of the lagoon, preserved through waves of plagues and would-be invaders.
Perhaps too many years of fleecing tourists rather than laboring with their hands have made many Venetians forget how perilous their old city's position is amid the indifferent lagoon. Or perhaps they fatalistically see what has been called "Casino Capitalism" as the only hope their city has for survival, risking its quite literal collapse because they can imagine no other option.
But it seems to me, and to many others, that "Casino Capitalism" has given way to "Nihilistic Capitalism," and last Sunday's protest, like so many others around the world, seemed aimed at trying to reassert a value besides reckless unsustainable methods of making money.
In any case, it succeeded in delaying the departure of the three big ships for three hours after their appointed times, imperiling the indolent passive early evening view of the once-great Republic that their passengers had been promised. I mean, after all, what better way to take in one of the world's great human wonders than lounging in your deck chair on your own private balcony while the ship's loudspeakers blare some suitably sentimental opera-lite?
When the big ships did leave their berths, they were met by an assortment of small craft, whose biggest threat (as you can see above) was simply their expression of noisy anger.
I wonder what the cruise passengers made of those small fry down below? I wonder what they were told by the ship's speakers?
Could they still hear the Broadway show tune on the loudspeakers?
In any case, the police responded aggressively. A helicopter hovered low over the boaters, a friend who was in a boat there told me, creating high winds and waves that were particularly perilous for those protesters in traditional oar-powered boats, while police boats circled around other groups of boaters also stirring up as many waves as possible. Other police boats moved among the protesters with video cameras, letting everyone know that--as could only be expected in these days of the rampant surveillance state--they were being filmed.
The always informative Living Venice blog (http://livingveniceblog.com/) provided a link to video of the big ships, which I reproduce here:
(But of course, you'll find much more at http://livingveniceblog.com/ than just protest video. Such as news about what shows are going on around Venice right now, and tips on how to see the city.)
And so it went.
And so it goes.
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