Moon over ExarchiaPosted: May 6, 2012
Athens, May 6
At dawn we were woken up by police. We had to take down the tents that we had put up a few hours earlier. Once we did that, we could sleep on.
It was a bad start of the day. People are nervous, tired and angry. Some of us still try to get some sleep, others want to discuss and resist.
At eight o’ clock police say we have to go. The first tourists are about to arrive, and they don’t want them to see a band of hippies camping.
So just like the night before, we get escorted for a couple of hundred meters into the desolate inner city hell of Athens.
We decide to return to Syntagma. We park our shopping carts there, we occupy our angle, and we crash in the grass to get some more sleep.
That’s more or less how the day went by. It was the second day of Agora Athens. Most of the things that were planned never took shape. Only the preparatory assembly for a march to Palestine attracted the attention of some locals, activists and marchers. For now it’s only a crazy idea. If there are people crazy enough to join, it might become a reality.
I’m quite skeptic on the subject, and I don’t really see the point of it, other than the desire to keep marching.
Two routes are being considered. The northern one would leave from Greece and pass through Turkey up to the border with Syria. The southern one would leave from Tunis, cross all of Libya and Egypt up to the Suez Canal and the Gaza strip. In both cases it’s very unlikely that the march will arrive at its destination.
The Turkey route is hard, but practically feasible, and likely to be overwhelmingly beautiful. The North African route is impossible unless the march adapts itself to the circumstances of the land and transforms into a kind of old style caravan with camels, mules and Arabs. It has hundreds of kilometres of deserts and uninhabited lands to cross along the southern shore of the Mediterranean. It must but an incredibly boring walk. But from a revolutionary point of view it’s the most interesting route, because it touches the three countries that were at the root of the Arab Spring, starting from Tunis and passing by Tahrir square before arriving directly on the border of Israel.
While we are relaxing under the trees in Syntagma, the Greeks are voting. We don’t really care about it. ‘If elections would change anything they would be outlawed’. The only worrying thing we heard is that the neo-nazi party can legally take part for the first time, and they are set to take a lot of votes.
And so they did apparently. The nazis have entered parliament, and when evening falls police presence around the square goes up. They are expecting the nazis to come celebrate in Syntagma, and the anarchists to pick a fight with them.
We don’t want to be caught in the middle. We decide on a strategic retreat to Strefi, the mountain of Exarchia. It was the place that the Greeks recommended us for camping. We won’t be visible there, but at least the place is defendable. Police are unlikely to send us away, because they would have to enter the anarchist quarter to do so, and that could lead to street fighting.
It’s almost midnight when our caravan arrives in the park on the hill. It’s a great place for camping. We occupy a stone theater between the trees. A few meters further up the hill you look out at the citadel and the gold lit Acropolis. The full moon is high. There is quiet all around.
‘So here we are,’ I think. ‘Why did we come here? And where are we going next?’