FALLING BETWEEN THE CRACKS
by Amos Keppler
Venice Beach, California, known for once upon a time being a breeding place for rebellion and alternative thoughts, an oasis from persecution of the outsider has fallen on hard times and changed dramatically the last thirty years.
Houses where alternative artists and rebels were living are now rebuild and refitted for the rich and middle class "elite" of California who likes to bask in the glory and notoriety of yesteryear. Where people once joined and sang around the campfire there are now fenced tennis courts and well groomed parks.
The houses are straight there by the beach' walking path. Everybody, the beggars, the homeless and the tourists are walking by, but the security people are never far away.
An old man is standing there, by the tennis courts, in the middle of the beach-walk. He's using a can to support himself. The entire can, and the entire man, too, is shaking. He's sticking out his cap, begging for mercies. Unable to keep his hand straight, he has to re-raise it occasionally, in order to keep it from just hanging down along his side. He never is able to raise it completely or hold it completely straight.
The number of homeless has literally exploded in Europe and the United States in recent years. According to Klaus Topfer, the executive director of the United Nations Environmental Project (UNEP), poverty has always been one of the reasons for the accelerated destruction of the environment.
The number of homeless is visibly increasing, making the usual state of denial most people use to hold on to their illusions very difficult. People refusing to see the people they're seeing every day or choosing to ignore it, have always been the popular way out. So, in these days, when that is becoming increasingly difficult, how are people dealing with it?
One typical example would be Los Angeles and its more or less official inner city co-council of appointed business employees and elected members, making old, well-proven methods new again.
Downtown undesirables used to gather on Pershing Square, an open space not far from the center of the financial district. Than the police started to enforce the always existing regulations about "illegal gatherings in the streets", shooing them away from there. The official reason is that the homeless' presence is "bad for business". So as the homeless was chased off means were allocated to the process of hiring artists and architects to make the square "the envy of all recreational areas". Simultaneously the rest of the financial district "underwent necessary renovations," which basically consisted of removing anything making the area hospitable for human beings. Very little green, Only the cold streets. Especially the area around Bank of America has been turned into a cold, uninviting place. There are no benches. All restaurants have moved off the streets and underground. You don't venture into the Bank of America Tower without risking a heavy security check.
So, as desired the homeless or most of them didn't go or hardly go there. They can still be found somewhere, of course, mostly on segments of Main Street, which hasn't truly been a main street for some time, where they can be observed in bundles, and the surroundings of historical downtown, where also Mexicans, Chinese and Korean have moved in (as the cinemas on Broadway moved out).
So all is well, as usual. Poverty and various undesirables are once again sequestered from the mainstream population, thus repeating the success of history.
Amos Keppler has written the novel "Your own Fate" with most of the story taking place in Los Angeles. It will be published in 2003.
His novel "ShadowWalk" will be released in English in early December 2002.
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Ongoing Transformation and Metamorphosis started.
FIRST WAVE: 2000-12-08, 352. Night 12055 by the end of the year of The Abyss.
SECOND WAVE: 2001-05-25, 155. Night 12056 in the first year in the time of the Twilight Storm.
Written 2002-05-29. Entered 2002-06-06-06...