Narcissus so himself forsook,
And died to kiss his shadow in the brook.
- William Shakespeare
There have been incidents in the Cyprus news lately that have animal lovers very upset. One was a dog deliberately dragged to death while tied behind his owner's car on Christmas morning in Limassol. Apparently his reasoning was that the dog was disobedient. He had sent the dog to training school and when he got him back, he was still disobedient. So I guess this somewhat less than human being figured he would show the dog. He killed him. He said in the event he was not successful killing the dog by dragging him, he had a hatchet in the back of the car to kill him with, just in case. (Astoundingly, he had a Plan B.) The police arrested him. What will happen? Not much. This is Cyprus. This is the Mediterranean. This is the mentality. They tolerate it. Is everyone here like this? No. Are there a lot here like this? Yes. So it is not just a few freaks? No. It is a freakish cultural attitude. It is a distinctly Mediterranean cultural attitude. You will find it in Greece, in Italy, in Spain, in Malta. I have artist friends there. I hear the same things about poisonings, cruelty, neglect, illegal hunting of birds. I have tried to figure it out for a long time. I have been here 8 years. I think I finally have a clue that, felicitously, I happened upon. I will go into more later, because I need to do some more research and think more about it.
But suffice it to say at the root is a wrong, misguided belief about their place in the world they live in, that, unfortunately, has its roots in Hellenism. Remember I am Greek American. I have a unique window into this world. I can say what a lot of expats here can't, and not be accused of racism.
On top of the Christmas incident of the poor dog being dragged to death in Limassol, there was a situation over Christmas where a Cyprus rescue group's dogs where being housed in a Cypriot kennel, owned by a former municipal worker, where neglect and cruelty where discovered. You can read about that tragedy here: http://cyprus-mail.com/2013/12/29/squalid-kennel-shuts-down/
You can read about the tragedy in Limassol here: http://cyprus-mail.com/2013/12/27/dog-tied-to-car-and-dragged-to-death/
It was a just a few weeks ago that while I was walking my dog I found a live puppy tied up in a bag at the village dump. It has been on-going that where I am living my cats have been vanishing into thin air. My landlord believes my neighbour is killing them. I have effectively been shut out of three of my feeding stations.
How do they see themselves? When they look in the mirror, what do they see? It is something to think about.
Narcissus does not fall in love with his reflection because it is beautiful, but because it is his. If it were his beauty that enthralled him, he would be set free in a few years by its fading.
- W.H. Auden