Athens. September 2, 2019. Yesterday, an insistent rumor evoked a possible evacuation of the Notara squat 26 for this Monday morning, exactly one week after the evacuation of Spirou Trikoupi 17.
EXARCHIA, MON AMOUR!
So, I came, although I was not on duty. I came in solidarity for the place and for those who live there. I also came to share responsibility in the case of arrest. But I came also for love.
Our places are stories, stories of struggles, stories of life, stories of love. To come and spend the whole night, when we have not slept for two days, is a way of saying I love you.
Exarcheia never understood the difference between day and night. But the State absolutely insists on teaching it. The government has decided and believes it can be enforced. But it’s a waste of effort. Exarcheia will not be domesticated, regulated, conditioned. Exarcheia will not walk in step, neither on the dial of the watch, nor under the injunctions of power.
Here we do everything upside down, we live intensely as if death were going to catch up with us and we only fall into sleep by exhaustion. At my side on the picture, Eleftheria, Despina and Mimi also did all night duty. Idem for most others: residents and and those expressing solidarity, who are not in the picture and who have watched over the place and with dozens of families sleeping above.
Every hour that passes is a gift. Even the most difficult. So after keeping watch at K * Vox last night, then working all day from one place to another, then being perfumed with “Lacrymo No. 5” in dusk riots, I just closed my eyes for five minutes in the shower and then I came.
When we love, we struggle to say no, to abandon the other, to protect ourselves, to withdraw, to rest. We unfold again, all along, and we find an improbable energy that we thought was no longer as soon as we hit the stairs, the street or the door.
No, not sleeping for Exarcheia is not sacrificing yourself, but just loving. To love this idea put into action, with its successes and failures, its joys and sorrows, its strengths and its weaknesses. To love the humans here who are its heart, but also the cats of the neighborhood (not all black), or even the stray dogs: these strays that one feeds, who also squat in groups in makeshift shelters and who live resolutely without masters!
Exarcheia my love, I filmed you, I photographed you, I told stories about you, I tagged you, I carried you with me in all my travels, with each time the fear of not seeing you again.
It does not matter what threats your invaders throw into your sometimes barred streets – the occupying army that claims to bring order when it openly declares war on us. What does it matter to the blows and the trials that will come? I am here for you and for the utopia you bare. I am here so that, whatever happens, your memory remains and your seeds continue to spread to the four winds. I am here with others to transmit you, every day, through the ever more numerous messages which reach us from the end of the world for you.
Yannis Youlountas (September 2, 2019)
We invite everyone who has not yet seen Yannis Youlountas’ film, Love and Revolution, to do so, perhaps thereby understanding better what is at stake in Exarchia. (Click here).
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