Whom does it hurt

The pár perc Budapest (a few minutes of Budapest) blog reported in a sad little news on the cleaning off of a small graffiti that has survived more than a hundred years.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, in the era of horse railways, flag-officer György Adorján etched into the clinker wall of the University during the probably boring hours of his job whatever just came to him. The naive work, made with great care, has conserved his memory until this spring.

The graffiti since 1901 and (under the mouse) in 2012

In some cities they manage to consciously preserve such little signs of the past, and this is not only mere sentimentalism, but also image building. Because the history of a city is made especially personal, and the city itself attractive and unique by these little stories which invite you to get to know it. Where we destroy our own values so that we do not even realize the devastation, the culture of poverty has won.

Larger map
How easy it would have been to draw a frame around the interesting area, and to spare only a few bricks from grinding. No specialist of city history or protection of monuments can always watch over every detail of a renovation; the porter of the building, even if he knows the spot, is not so much concerned to intervene in others’ work; and this otherwise minimal attention, care, independence or initiative cannot be expected, it seems, either from the workers or from those directly controlling the work. Therefore we stay in astonishment only afterwards at the sight of one more piece having been planed off from our own common memory.

I think this is the same problem that we so often face during our efforts of public garden development. Such as the public worker who cuts off even for the third time the freshly planted shrubs instead of going round them, because it really does not matter to him, and anyway, when else could he play with an electric lawn mower. How much richer we would be if we could just attain the blessed state of leaving things alone.