A few days ago I was complaining about graffiti in a still photo post with no commentary that appeared on Onnik’s blog
—he had taken a shot of a swastika, several of which were spray painted on and nearby the apartment building in which I live. The sign for the CCCP restaurant, on the ground floor, had been desecrated with two Nazi emblems side by side, then the stone walls leading down the steps to the restaurant’s entrance were also painted with them. Another swastika was painted on the tuf stone building’s wall just beside the restaurant, and across the street there were at least two more swastikas—until a bunch of us virtually erased them all.
Another commenter on several blogs including mine and a former blogger herself, Nessuna, suggested that we go out and get rid of these things somehow, either with spray paint or with sandpaper, as I had suggested. We met this morning, and she brought along some heavy duty sand paper, which was actually damaging the stone as we attempted to scratch the black paint off the wall, as well as some spray paint to basically cover up the swastikas when possible. Luckily the first swastika we started to work on was just beside the vernisage, at the top of the tuf steps of the Republic Square metro station vicinity, so I ventured into the beginning part of it, just a 100 feet away or so, and found someone selling some sandpaper that looked as though it would do the job. I bought a couple of meters worth and brought them back to the wall for us to get to work. There were five of us altogether, including the two of us, my with Ariga, Onnik, and a German tourist named Felix.
I am happy to say that we were able to remove just about all the swastikas we found in my neighborhood—for the most part the only area I have seen them at all. Most of them were removed by scratching the paint away, which took a lot of resilience as well as patience, but within a two-hour time span they were gone. Nessuna was able to get a hold of some white spray paint to cover up a swastika drawn on a pale-colored metal kiosk closed for business.
It strikes me as hard to believe that some punk is running around Republic Square painting swastikas in some kind of perverse display of national pride, while Armenians are being either brutally beaten or killed in Moscow as well as Krasnodar by neo-Nazi groups. Never mind the fact that over 200,000 Armenians died during World War II to make sure that symbol never draped over the wall of the Government Building on Republic Square. Really, I don’t know what this guy is thinking, but he is seriously misguided, and one only hopes his parents catch on to what he’s been doing, then knock some sense into his pea-brained skull. I hate seeing swastikas anywhere I happen to be, and the last place I want to see them is near my home. Actually, the first thing I saw when I got back about 10 days ago were four of them painted in a grid pattern on a garage door just near the entrance to my section of the apartment building. Nessuna happened to see the owners of the garage today and told them what we had been up to. Within the hour they had painted over the graffiti as well.
So our efforts were not in vain—we were able to get through to some out there that they should take matters into their own hands when they don’t like to see something instead of waiting for someone else, like the “government” to do something about it. One guy even came over and began lecturing Ariga about how to properly remove the paint with the sandpaper by wrapping it around a hard object like a small piece of wood or rock, which was conveniently at hand, then run it across the stone surface in long, even strokes. As Onnik pointed out, to get the job done yourself may never sink in, but at least I feel content that we took matters into our own hands by cleaning away symbols representing hatred, destruction, and pure evil.
Labels: Personal Experiences, Social and Cultural