Take me to my home
‘City Plaza (Βig home). I will never forget this part
of my life, it is like a spotlight in the darkness, it has the full power of love and hope. I miss all my friends who where there, sometimes I am crying when I remember them but I must think, it made me feel it's my home. (My mother, before she died, I asked her in hospital what do you want… she said “take me to my home. My Home is City Plaza”)… Before I came to Greece I had only one idea: I hated the world because we are Kurdish and no one loves us or believes in Kurdish rights. But I learnt (the humanity) and that we are all humans. I learnt the love for other people, so it changed my mind, changed my self, to love people. Greece is the heart of humanity. Moustafa.’
Moustafa, 40, Kurdish Syrian,
the Hotel City Plaza, 2018
Take me to my home.
In March 2016, the borders surrounding Greece closed in the wake of the EU-Turkey deal, leaving more than sixty thousand individuals seeking refuge in Europe suspended in untethered limbo. Unable to continue their journeys to settled independence, many of these individuals remain in Greece, awaiting asylum applications or pursuing illegal routes further into Europe, many without documents, accommodation or financial stability. Political squats, initiated by refugees and activists in Central Athens, are local attempts to protest the EU’s unsatisfactory response through solidarity, anarchism and activism. Strengthened through a necessary struggle to remain afloat, communities were built from scratch. In abandoned hotels and schools, complex global issues find themselves situated amongst a strange mix of familiar every-day decor and the warmth of personal space. Each day, collective responsibility and the difficulties and going’s-on of every-day life act as protest to the conditions of government run camps, as the squats fight to maintain the visibility of vulnerable individuals in the city. The Autumn of 2019 saw the majority of the squats in the are of Exarcheia forcefully evicted under the newly elected ‘New Democracy’ government, leaving Notara 26 the first, and last, political squat hosting refugees in Exarcheia, whilst conditions in official camps intensify. Between the walls of the squats, each moment, trivial or organised, is spent in pursuit of freedom and independence.