Reportback from 10/3/20 and written by Feminist Anti-Fascist Assembly
On Tuesday, Feminist Antifascist Assembly organised a demo outside Greek Embassy in UK in solidarity with the migrants affected by the dehumanising border crisis between Greece and Turkey. We also wanted to show our support with the Greek and other international communities that have shown empathy and given assistance to the migrants in the face of adversity and increasing violence that is being projected on to them by the institutionalised enforcement bodies of both Greece and Turkey, such as the police and military, as well as anti-immigration and fascist groups.
We also wanted to express our discontent with the EU’s unacceptable violence and brutality in this case: The Union claims that by keeping the borders closed, it acts in the best interests of the rest of Europe by allowing Greece to invest hundreds millions of euros into building walls and detention centres, offering to pay €2000 to every migrant who chooses to leave the islands and turning a blind eye on self-proclaimed ‘defence’ groups who are roaming the islands freely in search of migrants in order to ‘send them back to Turkey’.
It’s us versus them. The never-ending dichotomic, distancing and isolating narrative of capitalist state politics in the face of hardships, a creation of an ethereal enemy that is supposedly to haunt our lives and make it hell if we allow it in, is not the kind of world we as feminists, anti-capitalists and anti-fascists choose to live in. We went to the Embassy with a strong message – destroy your borders, open your minds, open your homes, embrace the hardships of others, understand their pain and desperation and tell your government to fuck off if they dont want to do the same!
Around 200 protestors showed up outside The Holland Park Station on the day, including stewards, welfare providers and QueerCare who did a fantastic job making sure we stayed hydrated and energised. The atmosphere and the mood was very positive and animated. Around 6.30 when most of us gathered, we headed off towards the Greek embassy, unveiling a FAF banner that summed up the purpose of the demo nicely – “The enemy doesn’t arrive by boat, he arrives by limousine – no to fortress Europe”. when we got to the embassy, there was another group of protestors waiting and chanting in solidarity! The size of the banner and the numbers of people were enough to block the road outside the building, which created a bit of a quandary for the wealthy residents of the area who were rushing to their comfortable homes at the end of the day and could not understand why they had to change their route, after all the dinner was ready and waiting! At some point the beeping was loud and intense, but it wasn’t the beeping of solidarity. At one point a group of protesters refused to let a police van through, keeping in line with an anti-police message. The officer driving the van told the protesters, “if a person dies, it’s on you” and started turning around, when someone reminded the officers that even more people die because of their actions.
Despite the lack of a megaphone, many people representing other activist groups or simply individuals who wanted their voice to be heard, gave moving and insightful speeches. People continued to chant slogans that support refugees, denounced Fortress Europe and reminded the far right that from London to Athens we are all antifascist! Finally, a poem by Greek anarcho-feminist poet Katerina Gogou was read out in both Greek and English. During the Greek version of the poem, the crowd joined in, which made it a particularly moving moment.
The demo ended with the participants having a silent moment while lighting candles and placing them on the banner that read ‘resist the border regime’ right outside the embassy, in the memory of those who suffer, resist, fail, adapt, die and survive trying to cross the borders of HOPE
The poem by Katerina Gogou is below, with the original in Greek and the translation in English below.
Yperaspízomai tin anarchía
Μη με σταματάς. Ονειρεύομαι.
Ζήσαμε σκυμμένοι αιώνες αδικίας.
Τώρα μη. Μη με σταματάς.
Τώρα κι εδώ για πάντα και παντού.
Μέσα απ’ του καθένα
την πανέμορφη ιδιαιτερότητα
του Σύμπαντος την Αρμονία.
Ας παίξουμε. Η γνώση είναι χαρά.
Δεν είναι επιστράτευση απ’ τα σχολεία
Ονειρεύομαι γιατί αγαπώ.
Μεγάλα όνειρα στον ουρανό.
Εργάτες με δικά τους εργοστάσια
συμβάλουν στην παγκόσμια σοκολατοποιία.
Ονειρεύομαι γιατί ΞΕΡΩ και ΜΠΟΡΩ.
Οι τράπεζες γεννάνε τους «ληστές».
Οι φυλακές τους «τρομοκράτες»
Η μοναξιά τους «απροσάρμοστους».
Το προϊόν την «ανάγκη»
Τα σύνορα τους στρατούς
Όλα η ιδιοχτησία.
Βία γεννάει η Βία.
Μη ρωτάς. Μη με σταματάς.
Είναι τώρα ν’ αποκαταστήσουμε
του ηθικού δικαίου την υπέρτατη πράξη.
Να κάνουμε ποίημα τη Ζωή.
Και τη Ζωή πράξη.
Είναι ένα όνειρο που μπορώ μπορώ μπορώ
και δεν με σταματάς δεν ονειρεύομαι. Ζω.
Απλώνω τα χέρια
στον Ερωτά στην αλληλεγγύη
Όσες φορές χρειαστεί κι απ’ την αρχή.
Υπερασπίζομαι την ΑΝΑΡΧΙΑ.
I stand for Anarchy
Don’t stop me. I’m dreaming.
We lived bowed for centuries of injustice.
Centuries of loneliness.
Now don’t. Don’t stop me.
Now here forever and everywhere.
I dream of freedom.
the Universe’s Harmony.
Let’s play. Awareness is happiness.
It’s not a draught from schools
I dream for I love.
Big dreams to the sky.
Workers with their own factories
contribute to the global chocolate-making.
I dream for I KNOW and I CAN.
Banks give birth to “robbers”.
Prisons give birth to “terrorists”.
Loneliness gives birth to the “maladjusted”.
Products give birth to “necessities”.
Borders give birth to the armies.
Ownership gives birth to everything.
Violence bears violence.
Don’t ask. Don’t stop me.
It’s time to reestablish
the morale law’s supreme action.
Let’s make a poem out of life.
And Life an action.
It’s a dream that I can I can I can
and you can’t stop me I don’t dream. I Live.
I extend my hands
to Love to Solidarity
As many times as it’s needed and right from the start
I stand for ANARCHY