Monday, June 1, 2015

Musings from the Road: Marseille and Colonialism

I'm always been impressed by the majestic steps leading up to the St. Charles train station in Marseille. The whole effect is very beautiful, but aside from the very proud lions at the top, the statuary didn't ever really strike me as anything special. It seemed generic to me (like many monuments of its kind) and I never really took in any of the particular details. However, heading up those steps the other day, I suddenly noticed a whole late 19th century "Marseille: Port to the Orient" vibe‎ that was depicted. And when I really took a closer look at the statues titled  "The Asian Colonies" and "The African Colonies", it got my mind racing about the totally dark side of colonialism. It struck me that the arrogance, greed and sense of entitlement of the colonial mind-set was obviously implied in the imagery of those statues. And I also felt like the effect was further heightened by the "sensuality" and veiled "eroticism" that seemed to promise that all this colonial bounty was there "for the taking".
Damn it.... we're still living today with the problems created by the crimes of colonialism. It seems self evident, but sometimes it's amazing to actually stop and think about these things amid all the busy-ness. 
Heavy thoughts while racing around all over Europe from concert to concert.


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