So this is what Greece has come to. As reported here, Greece's culture ministry is planning to rent out sites like the Acropolis to advertising firms and other businesses. According to a ministerial briefing, a commercial firm could rent the Acropolis for a professional photographic shoot for as little as 1,600 euros per day. Demonstrators could also rent the ancient landmark.
It's sad that it should come to this but then, Greece needs every euro it can get. It has no money and it's struggling to avoid a historic debt default in March.
For those who have never been to Greece, the Acropolis overlooks Syntagma Square, where Greeks have been assembling to protest the austerity measures -wage cuts and tax increases, such as a tax on energy use – that the Greek government has had to push through, in order to receive bailout funds – 130 billion euro ($165.5 billion) in total – from the "troika" of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
The Greek government is not only making it easier to obtain a permit to use the space. According to Bloomberg, it's also lowering the permit costs for archaeological sites and museums to entice more people. Film crews will now be charged only 1600 euros ($US2039) a day, down from 4000 euros in 2005. Professional photographers need only pay 200 euros, down from 300 euros. Pictures of state-owned sites and museums in publications will be as low as 30 to 60 euros per shot.
The announcement has been attacked in the blogosphere. The Love of History blog puts it bluntly. "Of course, the ones who applauded the Greek government's move were the Germans. According to the German newspaper, Bild, the Greeks should offer all of their archaeological sites for rent, so that the state fills up its coffers. On the other hand, the Greeks cannot be more humiliated for the loss of their sovereignty and its symbols."