A - I n f o s
a multi-lingual news service by, for, and about anarchists
News in all languages
Last 30 posts (Homepage)
archives of old posts
The last 100 posts, according
The First Few Lines of The Last 10 posts in:
First few lines of all posts of last 24 hours
Links to indexes of first few lines of all posts
of past 30 days |
of 2002 |
of 2003 |
of 2004 |
of 2005 |
of 2006 |
of 2007 |
of 2008 |
of 2009 |
of 2010 |
of 2011 |
of 2012 |
of 2013 |
of 2014 |
of 2015 |
of 2016 |
of 2017 |
of 2018 |
of 2019 |
Syndication Of A-Infos - including
RDF - How to Syndicate A-Infos
Subscribe to the a-infos newsgroups
(en) Czech, AFED: Votes from Notara 26 (III.) The third in a series of interviews with people who are part of the Athens refugee squad Notara 26. [machine translation]
Fri, 24 Jan 2020 08:58:57 +0200
3. 'Dokhtar-e-Mah' ---- When a lot of people started coming to Greece in 2015, the idea to found Notar was born. Many people were camping in
Pedion tou Areos, near the Exarchy in the center of Athens, living in bad tents outside. We in the movement decided to help them. ----
Winter was coming. My friends and I had a plenum where we decided to find a suitable building and occupy it as a squat for refugees. After
mapping the area we decided on this one, it belongs to the Ministry of Labor, but it was empty for more than five years. We thought we would
give people what is public. ---- We entered the building on 25 September 2015, but it took another 15 days to prepare it. We divided it into
living rooms, showers, shared areas, warehouses, kitchen and so on. The social kitchens supported our project and brought us food for lunch
and dinner every day, as it did later to other squats in the Exarchy.
Notara 26 is the first squat for refugees opened in the Exarchy. After this, another 12, maybe more, opened. We had no model of how it
should work, and we tried everything on the go. In the beginning, we had plenums every day and set some basic principles. We agreed that
everyone would participate for themselves, not as a representative of a group. And we also agreed on a basic policy framework based on these
values: self-government, equality, horizontality and acceptance of differences.
The concept of "self-government" has become very important to the refugee support movement, what does it mean to you?
It means taking life into your own hands. Together we decide what we do, how we do it, what our visions are and how we want to achieve them.
And from the beginning, we thought we didn't want to have any connection with the state or NGOs.
But self-government is complex. Especially at the beginning, when the borders were still open and the refugees only came for two or three
days, so it was actually a squat of people on their way. Self-government doesn't work much when people can't stay long enough to form a
community. And how can you want people to get involved when this is perhaps the first moment in their lives when they can make decisions for
So that was the first part of the Notary story. It was a transit point for refugees who passed through Greece, and the "solidarians",
especially the Greeks and some of the refugees who interpreted, did all the work.
The second part began in March 2016, when the borders were closed and an EU-Turkey agreement was signed. Then many people got stuck in
Greece and stayed on the squat for much longer. In addition, many friends from around the world have come - and are still coming - to
October 24, 2016 at 4 am came fascist attack. It was an incendiary bomb from canisters with gasoline. A lot of people could die or get hurt
at that time, but fortunately the three residents on patrol responded quickly. One called people to come to support us, the other started
extinguishing with a fire extinguisher, and the third ran up the stairs to wake everyone down and lead them down. A lot of friends arrived
quickly. Then two fire trucks arrived, the fire was extinguished around eight in the morning. Everything in the lower "salon" and the
children's corner was destroyed.
We thought we had lost the building. But there was a huge wave of support. Not only helping hands, but also people from abroad who sent us
money, other squats housed people. In 15 days we opened again.
One day a plenary was held where the squat residents decided not to call themselves "refugees" anymore. They are the inhabitants of Notary.
I think this is the beginning of the third part of this story: when the self-government really started working and it was not just a
theoretical goal. The squat people stayed longer and formed a real community.
Of course, we have experienced hard times and problems. It is an evolving political and social project. I think that only now, after four
years, can we really call Notar a self-governing space. Decisions are largely in the hands of residents and people who support Notar but do
not live here come to help. The work is done collectively, people themselves form teams providing security, cleaning, supplies, food
distribution, babysitting, etc.
Since the beginning, Notara has offered accommodation to more than 9,000 people from more than 15 countries.
In addition, the squat has become the site of many projects and initiatives. Convoys from other countries, mainly France, came here and
brought supplies. We have groups dedicated to women's emancipation, language teaching, children's activities, collective cooking,
photography, dance or theater. One of our basic principles is accepting the differences, and the sign is that one of the first meetings of
the LGBTQI refugee community began here.
I would like to quote something from our first statement that we are saying today. It says, "Let us make odysey refugees for survival the
path of humanity to freedom."
What does Notara mean to you?
Notara is a place of love and revolution. You will find a lot of people from different cultures, with different experiences of life,
different beliefs and thoughts - but we all try to walk together to freedom. Without the state, without the NGOs, alone and together. This
And with love, because as a political and social project we are not only anarchists and anti-authoritarians, but people who are trying to
build connections, looking for things we have in common despite our differences. We have a lot of problems, but we continue. And for that,
love is needed. Because we love our community, we can work to overcome challenges.
Fighters are not enough to continue the fight. Human relationships are needed. Otherwise you have only an army, not a revolution. What we
need are human relationships and a fighting spirit.
What do you think of the current threat?
In July, a few days after the election, the first attack on us came. They've cut off electricity. Since then, most squats in the Exarchy
have been evacuated and there have been many other threats that may come true.
During those four years, Notara 26 was greeted in the neighborhood of the Exarchy and became an active part of life in this neighborhood.
But since the eviction of Spiro Trikoupi 17 and other squats on August 26, we have lived in occupied territory. Heavy-armored men are all
around us. They are there all day, all night, making trouble and provoking - screaming racist curses, slamming windows, trying to kick the
door, and so on - until they are ordered to clear.
We have 24-hour security guards on the squat since the fascist attack in 2016. People in plenary have decided to defend this community. We
will not leave the building. We will defend her every way. And they must know that even if they manage to clear this building, they can't
clear the idea of Notary.
Shortly after the elections, the City Plaza squad, organized by left-wing groups, decided to close. Among other things, they said it was not
safe for refugees to stay in the building during such an intense threat. They were certainly tired after three years. Have you discussed it
Every three or four months we have a special plenary, which is attended only by residents, not by others who support Notar to deal with big
things about squat and its course. After City Plaza was abandoned, we were shocked, especially because of the timing a few days after the
elections, so the residents gathered to discuss it. And they decided they wanted to continue. It is their decision, but the rest of us are
absolutely behind it. We say that whatever happens, we will continue.
Now in recent weeks, we've hired more people from other evacuated squats. They've gone through at least one evacuation and they know what
can happen here. But when you experience freedom in a squat and experience the hellish conditions in state-run camps, what do you choose?
As for fatigue, of course I'm tired. I would lie if I said I wasn't. But when I speak for myself, I can't give up. When I feel tired, I
imagine the image of the utopia on the horizon that we are going to.
How do you see the future?
The future is open. We make our way the way we go. It is certain that Notara will never die. Even if he clears this building, he won't clear
the idea. I know that the community of people and people who support them will continue in other ways. The struggle for freedom and our
human relations - these are things that give us the power to see the horizon and walk towards it.
Previous part ( s):
A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E
By, For, and About Anarchists
Send news reports to A-infos-en mailing list
A-Infos Information Center