This is RIDICULOUS and a crime…

(Streets of Valencia)

When I visited Athens for the first time in 2016, I had many expectations. As a life-long “fan” of Ancient Greece, I was very excited about visiting the Greek capital for I knew I would come face to face with many of the structures, monuments and buildings that I had read about so many times and as many seen in pictures and videos. And I was not disappointed. However, I was shocked to find the incredible amount of graffiti all over buildings, private and public and as well on some of the ancient sites.

I will not show those pictures because I do not want to glorify vandalism. Defacing private or public property is a crime. And I will no longer use, or tolerate the word “graffiti” as a descriptive adjective of that, which is in effect, a criminal act.

It is vandalism. It is not street art. It is not graffiti. It is a criminal act perpetrated by those with no respect for the property of others. I don’t care if some are done with great precision and obvious talent on the part of the offenders, or if some are mere lines and scribbles. None of it is art.

In Valencia I have seen plenty, as I’ve seen in so many European cities. It is sad to see beautiful facades suddenly made ugly because someone has chosen them to paint on. Here are some examples of how neighbourhoods look like when the authorities do not stop the ones committing this filthy vandalism.

I truly cannot understand how anyone can think they’ve the right to deface someone else’s property in that fashion. And I cannot understand why the police does not take more overt action against these scribblers. I also think that neighbours, in those areas, as well as business owners, should take a more aggressive stance to protect not only their properties from vandalism of this sort, but to protect and keep the beauty and integrity of the neighbourhood. Here are some more examples, and these are just in some areas of Valencia, the city is full of this vandalism.

I remember New York City back in the early eighties and how full of these lines and drawings you would see, especially on the subway trains. They were so full of this scribbling that there was hardly room for any other one and they would impose the new ones on top of the old ones that would be fading away.

But that all ended by the late eighties. New York cleaned up. The painted up trains were replaced with new ones, security cameras were installed, new laws were enacted to allow the city to impose large fines and even jail time to the offenders and now you do not see a single scribble on any New York City subway train. And as well, you do not see the city vandalised as European cities are.

I can only say that as an artist I enjoy and encourage all forms of expression, especially artistic expression but I do not like to see buildings, statues and monuments defaced with vandalism. It is unfair to the community, to our visitors, to everyone. I cannot imagine anyone that is pleased to see this nonsense everywhere.

I have seen and heard about how in some cities, they have chosen neighbourhoods and areas and designated walls and other structures…sanctioned by their owners…for artists, usually young persons, to demonstrate their talent with spray cans of paint. They have created beautiful murals. I am all for that. That is not an act of vandalism, it is art. Because no matter what definition of art one subscribes to, one cannot justify art as a criminal act.


Parade! On Valencia Day!

Yesterday was the “Diada de Valencia”, October 9, the “Day of Valencia” celebrated in all of the Comunitat Valenciana. There was a beautiful parade that crossed through a large part of the city. I wanted to share some of the images that I consider the highlights of the parade. By the by, the costumes were extraordinarily beautiful and the marching bands were superb. All in all it was a great show for the whole family. As far as I could see, everything was celebrated in peace and tranquility. There were a few protesters that tried to politicise the event but there was plenty of police afoot and the day ended in peace.

On the 9th of October, King James I liberated Valencia from the Moors. That is the reason why there is such Moorish influence in the parade. They have tried to symbolically include the different Moorish people that once populated Valencia and their Kingdoms. Balansyia, as the Muslims called Valencia, was lost to the Moors in 1238. The period of Muslim rule was from 711 to 1238.

The Moors were very tolerant to the locals. In Balansiya there was religious freedom for all, as well as hereditary privileges. These rights were not removed from the Christians of Valencia. Little by little, over the centuries, everyone dissolved into the Moorish population.

However, Balansiya prospered and blossomed. The Moors installed in Valencia very good irrigation systems and eventually turned the dry terrains of Spain into green lands and beautiful gardens. Actually, there is a neighbourhood in Valencia called Russafa (Ruzafa in Castilian) whose name means “garden” in Arabic. It was one of the areas that greatly benefited from the irrigation system which the Moors installed.

I mention this to clarify that although on the 9th of October the celebration is all about the re-conquest of Valencia, there is no animosity or ill will towards Muslims or Moors. The Comunitat Valenciana is proud of its heritage and recognises all aspects of her history and represents them in such spectacles as the parade on the Diada.

This is one of the many feast days and celebrations of Valencia that a visitor would greatly enjoy.

Coat of arms of Valencia
Coat of Arms of Valencia
(By Heralder, Elements by Xinese-v)

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