[Editor’s Note: Aleka Dimou is a criminal defense lawyer on the Greek island Mykonos. Two miles offshore her home lies the floating island Delos, where according to Greek myth twins Artemis and Apollo, the Bonnie and Clyde of their time, were born of Leto. Artemis popped out first, and was such a quick study that nine days later she midwifed laggard Apollo’s birth.
These figures of myth were full-throated lusty creations. Hence the unusual statuary found thereabouts.
From these myths contemporary notions of criminal justice developed. The old gods still are celebrated throughout the Greek isles. Lawyer Dimou ramrods this year’s celebration, Delos 2015, this weekend. Fire up your private jet and go if you can.
What follows is Ms. Dimou’s script for the documentary, “Delos of the Gods,” premiering at the festival on Mykonos. Hide the children.]
The sun is lighting up a new world, still malleable, waiting to be formed. Over the waves there drifts a rock, floating along, without identity, nameless. Adelos. Unapparent… A plaything of the waves and the winds.
The rock casts no shadow because the rock it moves with the sun. It travels in a space without memory, beyond history, out of time. But look! A certain spot, an important moment. Somewhere—at a point in space and a moment in time the rock stops. It escapes the glaciers of oblivion (ληθη) and becomes reality, truth (αληθεια). It is now attached with diamond chains to the centre of the archipelago. It acquires a place in the world, its own space in the universe. And it has an identity. A-delos becomes Delos. The rock becomes an island. In the middle of the Aegean Sea it stops (ισταται) and looks around (ορα). It acquires a history.
It surrounds and is surrounded! It surrounds the imperceptible rift between Myth and History. And it is encircled by titanic guardians, by floating priestesses. The Cycladic islands. Small and large.
The island of escape becomes a shelter. There are shadows now and in the shade of a palm tree Leto, or Lato, will lie and rest. The daughter of Titans Koios and Phoebe who arrives in the guise of a she-wolf, a refugee from the Land of the Hyperboreans. Hunted by Hera and banned from giving birth on land anywhere under the sun. Poseidon is her saviour.
Leto hugs the trunk of the palm tree during her labour pains and, in the shade, brings to light the two archers. Artemis and Apollo. Nature and reason.
Here! In the sacred lake!
Apollo is the harmony in the world. He combats disorder and chaos, the darkness that gives rise to the forces of the underworld which threaten the universe. He loves symmetry, harmonious music and light. He could only have been born here, just here, where the light is harsh, exposing lies and untruths, causing the truth to shine.
And yet, few of the mosaics in Delos depict Apollo, rather they celebrate Dionysos. The God of chaotic forces, wild music, drunken orgies and passionate eroticism. The sexless God who wanders in the forests crowned with vine leaves, accompanied by maenads and satyrs, eating food raw and flirting incessantly, shamelessly and openly.
Is it perhaps possible that here, on this island that emerged from nothing to become something, on A-delos that became Delos, we are seeing the definition and merger, the relationship and the conjunction of chaos and world, of love and death, of eternity and time, in short, the real world?
Is it possible that here, for a moment or perhaps forever, under the pitiless sun, has been achieved the extremely frail equilibrium between opposite forces, which is called LIFE—EXISTENCE?
So the island that came out of nothing to become something, the (unapparent) A-delos that became (apparent) Delos, entered history. It abandoned the myth, joined the flow of events and acquired a living population. Next to the city of Gods spread the city of humans.
I wonder whether the sculptors of the marble harpists and the broad-hipped mother goddesses passed through here. Whether the Minoans with their narrow waists and vases decorated with octopus legs ever lived here. Did the ships of Menelaus or Ulysses pass through these open seas on their way back from conquered Ilium?
Countless people wandered through the narrow labyrinthine lanes and climbed the slopes of Mount Kythnos with its rich aroma of thyme and sage. They dug dark cisterns in the earth to collect the scarce rainwater. Their rich traders and ship-owners built two-storey mansions around courtyards with pebble floors and shady colonnades, offering protection from the pitiless sun. They opened shops selling food and fabrics; and created markets filled with goods from neighbouring islands and later, the whole Mediterranean.
The soil of Delos, sacred and inaccessible, could not be used for farming or the keeping of herds. Animals never grazed this land.
And it was more than the cloths and pots of merchants that converged on Delos to be sold. There were also people, captives gathered from the whole of the Aegean to fill the renowned slave market that was organised there. Later, when the city had grown, away from its narrow lanes and busy markets, beyond the avenue with the ceremonial lions of the people of Naxos, the theatre was built.
I wonder how: blinded Oedipus’ screams, Hecuba’s laments, and Medea’s curses sounded, as they echoed up the slopes of Mount Kythnos. How men, gods and heroes — trapped in the nets of a blind destiny, and succumbing to the consequences of their hubris — appeared before the eyes of a public moved to tears. Until hearts softened through catharsis and a just ending. Until the public felt that Justice is not a remote and abstract notion, is not a virtual sun but a real force and therefore reassuring.
All around, the drystone walls of the houses, some remnants of plaster in the children’ room engraved with a wish or a prayer, the first rude letters. Here and there, a marble column or a stone threshold without a front door, drowned in camomile and red poppies. And so, what was minor becomes major, light matters become weighty issues — hence the stone threshold is found worthy and this world, the poet’s small world, becomes great.
The great temple, the sacred buildings, the altars for worship face the turbulent sea— the terrible Tsiknias passage — under the bright sunlight, these are the space of the gods, beyond time and history immersed in the calm silence of eternity.
The space of gods, on the one hand, calm and serene; and the city of humans on the other, agitated, labyrinthine, full of intensity and pathos. The realm of mortality and of love, which is the only escape from death. It is love that differentiates the city of the humans of Delos from the one opposite, the calm and serene city of the immortals, of the gods. Between the two the phalluses of Delos mark the boundary between the space of Apollo and the space of commerce. They stand high on their pedestals, trying to penetrate the sky, bold, arrogant and persevering as if in a sexual embrace.
Mother Earth raises her phalluses to inseminate the sky, ejecting fountains of seed into the clouds of the virile and hard primeval element.
Delos the hermaphrodite.
Delos the androgynous.
Humanity is the ideal model for Plato’s earthly love — man is not biblical, angelic and sexless, but demonic, active, creative, self-sufficient and pleasure seeking.
The phalluses of Delos stand as a monument to pleasure: pleasure that shatters into thousands of heartbreaks; pleasure crushed by death; pleasure without the blissfulness of godly immortality. Pleasure as the cure, the ELIXIR and the POISON of consummated eroticism —unashamed in its nudity.
Pleasure: rude and shameless.
(The narrator remains in the theatre, standing, immobile on the stage).
Is man his own master? Or are his actions determined by his human destiny? Is he the free ruler of himself and his own lot, or is he at the mercy of blind fate? Is he proud Antigone, convinced that she is obeying a godly, higher code of ethics; or is he Medea indulging her love’s passion? Or is he perhaps Oedipus, victim of the curse haunting his predecessors? Oedipus who was convinced he acted virtuously and did not commit the vilest of crimes.
Is man the only being that doubts, questions and contests or does he just obey and suffer?
Are these the human heroes: who blithely ignore the factors that will defeat their efforts? Who also ignore their inner world, and are thus led to hubris, to the end of the drama, to death.
Death always shatters life.
Or are they the heroes who question even death, the only certain end, presaging a resurrection of the dead? Even the recently buried dead, like those that the Athenians dared to exhume in 424 BC during the “cleansing” of Delos and take to Rhenea, to a common grave. After that, women in confinement and the dying were forbidden to stay on Delos, the latter were sent immediately to Rhenea. Adelos, Delos, Delos of the humans, Delos of the Gods could not be host, neither to confined women nor to the dead. The inhabitants of the island became mere tenants, due to the barbaric behaviour of the Athenians which blackened Pericles’s Golden Era.
(The narrator sits on a piece of marble in the middle of the auditorium).
The priest of Dionysos used to sit here.
Hadrian also sat somewhere here on that autumn morning when he visited Delos coming from Ephesos, inspired by the spirit of Apollo, rational thinking, symmetry and harmonious chords.
Did he see the Bacchae?
Did he discern Pentheus and his subterfuge?
Did he think about his destiny?
Somewhere close to here, where the marble becomes smooth like flesh, Antinoos must have sat, the divine boy whose statues filled the world, from Gibraltar to Mesopotamia and from the Nile to the coasts of the English Channel. Antinoos who was loved, not for his wisdom nor for his bravery, but for his beauty.
The beautiful boy, whose starry constellation passes often above Delos and sheds its pale light onto these marbles.
Lower down is the sea and the harbour with the cedar yacht ready to carry the couple away, tragic figures in a drama four centuries after Euripides. Away somewhere, no matter where, perhaps to Athens, to Sicily, to Rome, wherever their fate leads them.
And now we are here, in a drama played thousands of years later. A drama of agony and fear where our illusion is that we will escape death.
Our journey is full of fear, death and love, love and death and its duration is uncertain. But, in truth, the destination is known.
(The narrator climbs Mount Kythnos, looks out from the top to the sea around and the 24 Cycladic islands. He breathes deeply, enjoys the beauty, the beauty of Delos, the beauty of the sea, the beauty of the world).
This high peak, is it the starting point or is it the destination? Is it the origin, is it the beginning or is it the end of a nostalgic journey? How beautiful life is; how unjust are sleep and death; how magnificent the overcast sky, no longer golden, but leaden, how beautiful the sun and the wine dark sea roughened by a threatening storm.
(The world of 2015.Views, the 12 year old boy killed by policemen in America, in Cleveland, some other not terribly violent view from Greece. And the narrator can only be dreaming. Dreaming is the only salvation line and the only way out to hope beyond reality.)
Below us the world that emerged from chaos. The A-delos Delos. The island that became something from nothing. And even if death and sleep are waiting round the corner, dreams accompany them.
Dream IS indeed the only possible obstacle to Death. Death can only be overcome in dreams. Only then does death become a-delos and mortals become immortal…
The dream of the mortal and perishable human being is nothing else than the desire of immortality…
It is the reminder of his divine origin; it is his inheritance along with Art, Creation, Love and Freedom.
The dream to leave behind here at the PEAK, be it the origin or the destination, his trace, the seed of his immortality. Here on the peak of Delos.
Delos, Delos 2015
[Translated from the original Greek by Ms. Dimou’s friend, Styliani Profis]
I’m just a plainspoken Colorado criminal defense lawyer, but the way I see it…
Next to Clarence Darrow, Gerry Spence may be the best known criminal defense lawyer in the history of the Republic. He’s written a new book — how he did it, I don’t know; he’s old enough to have been dead ten years already — and I wish I’d never seen it.
It’s called “Police State,” and it scares the hell out of me. I’ve written here about cops who’ve murdered children and unarmed men and women, but mostly, I’ve always wanted to believe, out of incompetence, lousy training, or fear of being hurt.
No one wants to believe the men and women who serve and protect us are killers on the loose, as Spence forcefully and convincingly depicts them. In my own hometown, police have drawn their guns on students suspected of drinking at a party, and recently shot dead a tripping and naked university scholar armed with a hammer they figured he might use. He would have had to jump from a balcony and contrive a perfect landing without breaking a leg to use it. Good shooting, our elected district attorney called it — not even close. Stupid shooting, I call it, preventable by taking a step backwards and letting the kid hit the pavement and see what happens next before you empty your gun in him.
Killing frightening or unlikable people is just the worst of it. Spence says he’s never represented a person charged with a crime in which the police themselves hadn’t committed a crime. I’m guessing that’s the experience of most criminal defense lawyers.
In my parents’ time, maybe even as recently as ten years ago, most people would find that hard to believe. Most people, I should say, whose only contact with the police had been at an accident scene or while asking directions. But cell phone videos of killer cops, coming faster and faster apace, are making believers of all of us.
I’m just a plainspoken Colorado criminal defense lawyer, but the way I see it…
I grew up wanting to be Mickey Mantle. But if I didn’t grow up, I would’ve wanted to be Yogi Berra when I did. See what I mean?
Yogi Berra died yesterday, and with him new entries into a collection of things he said that will never grow old. It wasn’t a crime — which would have made it eligible for this blog — but it was a shame, so here it isn’t — some of the many unforgettable twists (not always of his own doing) of his wise old tongue:
You can observe a lot just by watching.
It ain’t over ’til it’s over.
When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
It’s like déjà vu all over again.
He must have made that before he died.
Nobody goes there anymore: it’s too crowded.
A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.
If I didn’t wake up, I’d still be sleeping.
Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.
If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.
Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.
I never said most of the things I said.
[Editor’s Note: Sadmir Karović has graced these pages before. He is a tireless and independent researcher who lives in Bosnia and Herzegovina and has published numerous works on criminal law and human rights.]
EFFICIENT POLICY OF CRIME REPRESSION – SOCIAL PREVENTION OF INTERNATIONAL AND CLASSIC CRIMES
Nowadays, international criminal law is strongly criticized for having very adverse effects on real life. This also applies to classic or traditional crime on the international level. In real social life there ought to be some concrete and effective solutions,and protection mechanisms for all people and all human groups. International criminal law – a relatively new branch of law – is striving to establish international peace and stability in all regions of the world, under a universal axiom – the principle of equality. This is a theoretic idea and the essence of existence of this branch. It is evident that international peace and security, as well as other universal human values, are often overlooked in different geographic parts of the world. The motives behind destructive activities are different, but can be primarily focused on gaining profit, economic or political power, and occupation of territories.The international community is focused on finding a peaceful solution. However, it is often impossible to reconcile two extremely opposing sides or reach a compromise, which first leads to verbal disputes, and then to conflicts, wars, crimes and different forms of destruction. The international community is everlastingly seeking best solutions and appropriate reactions, but crimes and other forms of human destruction keep repeating in increasingly brutal and destructive modes. The engagement of the international community is mainly humanitarian (delivery of food and medications to vulnerable areas, etc.). That is inadequate, taking into consideration we are living in the 21st century when there is a real need to establish proper and effective control mechanisms in order to create necessary preconditions for peace and safety of every and each individual.
The situation is identical at the national levels due to increasingly complex social relations, the country and its law enforcement agencies are unable to devise a concrete and appropriate response to crime. What aggravates it even further is the fact that some new and very specific forms of organized crime (illegal drug and arms trade, human trafficking) have appeared on the social scene, as an international phenomenon by its very nature. Crime is a complex social and legal, multidiscipline and multifactor phenomenon, and as such very dynamic and unstable. The second aggravating circumstance is one of the key causes of such deeply unsatisfactory state – the presence of corruption that successively destroys the country and the society. This social and legal phenomenon is present in all countries, but it is more specific for the countries in transition where it appears more often. It is a general fact that crime is connected to other negative occurrences in the society, thus accumulating even further problems. Nowadays, there is no such thing as a state or a society immune to crime. Parallel to the general society development and the overall progress in all fields of human existence, different mechanisms, modalities, arms, tools, etc. are continuously improved for exercising even more destructive activities. Multiple international legal documents (conventions, agreements, etc.) acknowledge and recognize the basic human rights and individual freedoms while, on the other hand, numerous problems are present in practice (violence, crimes).
What is an acceptable solution?
Crime prevention should not be considered an exclusive jurisdiction of police or other law-implementing institutions.The primary task of crime-prevention implementing agencies or establishments is, indeed, crime prevention. However, it should be noted that many sciences (law, criminology, anthropology, psychology, sociology) developed an interest in crime, requesting a multidisciplinary approach to crime research. Social prevention of crime (international and classical) is a vital responsibility of all establishments as well as individuals, and not just the police, court, prosecutor’s office and other law enforcing subjects (family, educational institutions, non-governmental sector, sport collectives), and not just the law-enforcing agencies. Together, we need to find appropriate and concrete prevention mechanisms based on pre-determined crime causes. Firstly, the area of crime etiology must be defined, while the efficient preventive strategies and programs (that are in line with real life needs) must be researched. To research the area of crime etiology, i.e. to research the causes of crime, is the foundation or the platform for efficient development of preventive measures. Social crime prevention is a major precondition for peace and stability in every country and on the international level as well. The second major factor is a proactive correlation between the science and profession, and the core of the problem lies in the fact the politics doesn’t acknowledge it enough. Therefore, the science and profession must take proactive and preventive actions in all fields of human activities. It is generally known that the science and profession are often ignored by policy makers, which minimizes its real-life effects. Nevertheless, the science and profession should play an important role in society by creating positive and useful social processes. All subjects and authorities that can contribute to the efficient and energetic battle against crime and all other negative issues should be included in the process of prevention of classic and international crime. Declarative preference without a concrete action is insufficient, thus indicating there is a real need to find the most optimal prevention mechanisms in practice; the mechanisms that should be able to eliminate the concrete causes, or at least weaken their impact. In this respect, there are some universal human values that must be maintained and promoted; the values that actually lead towards significant crime-prevention opportunities and whose primary bearers are the family, school, different educational institutions, religious communities, media and other prevention-related establishments. Passivity or inaction presents a form of crime collaboration, therefore the international community, as well as other participants and individuals at the national level, are carrying a burden of responsibility and commitment to perform certain actions. It is important to reiterate that the science and profession ought to take responsibility and become a key bearer on the path towards the creation of positive and socially useful social processes in an impartial and objective manne. Furthermore, effective controlling and surveillance mechanisms must exist at national and international levels, so the risk factors could be timely recognized and identified. This would alarm us there is a need for undertaking certain actions to eliminate or decrease their influence, in order to stop any negative consequences or negative social after-effects, such as the crime. Certainly, when it comes to the energetic and united battle against crime and other negative occurrences in the society, all subjects and individuals should responsibly and in a committed way provide their proactive and tangible contribution.
By embracing peace and stability as fundaments, we can build and create a better future. This should specifically apply to individuals who are vulnerable categories in need to be awarded a special treatment and status (women, children, the sick, the elderly…). Every person deserves a normal life!!! Lessons from the past have to be learned once and for all. Prevention is the key to success!!!
I’m just a plainspoken Colorado criminal defense lawyer, but the way I see it…
I’m pretty sure Vladimir Putin has never called to speak with me, though I hang up on so many Russian comedians you never can tell. Russia has been a part of my life since my grandparents were born there; I’d hate to think I missed the chance to discuss the important issues with him: global warming, the persistent nuclear threat, Colorado DUI law.
So when Sir Elton John posted on his Instagram account this week that he had personally spoken with the Russian president, I was skeptical and maybe a little miffed. And even though a couple of Russian pranksters later claimed it was all a hoax, I’m not so sure, as I’ll explain in a moment.
Sir Elton gushed that he was “extremely honored to be speaking to one of the most influential (as it turned out, comedians) in the world.”
He added that “We can solve many issues together.” Issues like, apparently, comedic timing.
The singer’s better instincts kicked in, inadvertently, as he remarked, “I can’t believe he [Putin] found the time in his so busy schedule to call me.” I wouldn’t have believed it either.
Still, I wonder. Mr. Putin’s press secretary said that if Elton John ever did come to Russia, Mr. Putin would be thrilled to speak with him. And in the wake of the Republican presidential candidates’ musings on what their Secret Service code names would be if they were elected, I decided to call my Secret Service contact to find out if they have a code designation for the Russian president.
They do, and I was stunned.