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graffiti Archives - St. Stephen's University

What’s in a Name

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Europe is a place of culture, history and apparently the very hot sun. I have the opportunity to travel to seven of these beautiful countries. Each sharing their back stories with the young Canadian. On this trip we’ve had the opportunity to visit some very important historical sites. Some uplifting and inspiring while others hold a dark and tormented past. However, a common connection is the tagging. Mainly during the long train rides, bus rides and countryside have I noticed graffiti. An harmless and colorful activity that people ensue to leave a mark. To them it may not seem like some random word written in a public space but instead, their mark.

Yet, I have also noticed that in places such as the Mauthausen Memorial/Concentration Camp and Hitler’s bunker there were an abundance of names engraved into the wall. The people seem to be from all over the world, from different years ranging from 1989 to 2017, reminders to “Never Forget” and couples writing “2gether 4eva”. I cannot help to think what drive do people have writing their names or whatever else on the walls of these types of places. Why on earth would people want to associate their namesake in places where hundreds of people suffered and passed or where a notorious dictator had once walked himself. It is understandable for people to want to remember or show that they were present in this place at one point in time, however, why leave an everlasting mark in a place where chaos and death ensued? I cannot help but wonder how people came to terms with making that decision but their name is now forever in the halls of the underground or remains of a former prison.