Athens: Notara 26, five years of solidarity and resistance

The story has been told many a times now. We have heard, witnessed, and lived it in the past five years. In 2015, with the onset of mass migration and what was called the “refugee crisis” we saw the political, social, and urban landscapes of many places change—including Athens, Greece. The events touched and affected the public and private lives of many. The beginning of Noara26 points to one of those moments. A time when a group of people, with ideals and politics of self-organization, collective action, and solidarity were moved to occupy an empty public building in the city’s downtown and to create a place of shelter and safety for thousands of refugees who were abandoned in the streets of Athens.

This September marks the fifth year of our squat’s existence. It is true that we can mark this date in our calendars and remember it as a day of creation and celebration. But the lessons we have learned, the joyful moments we have created, the memories and lives we have shared, the challenges and struggles we have faced and overcome as community are unmeasurable and exceed the limits of time.

These five years would have been impossible without the support and solidarity of our neighbors, friends, and comrades here and abroad and we are deeply grateful for it. We wish we could show our appreciation and celebrate this day with a big party. But we are going through a peculiar and difficult time as we face the COVID19 pandemic. Perhaps compromise is not a word we would like to have in our political vocabulary but in an effort to navigate the challenges of this time, with attention and respect to health and safety of all publics and communities, we have tried to use the tools we have and create a virtual celebration.

For the five-year anniversary of Notara26, we have received an overwhelming amount of love and support in form of video messages and music videos from residents who have left and traveled, from comrades, and from artists from all over the world and we would like to share them with you…

The past weeks of preparation have reminded us of the creative collective power and of achievements that are not only against the odds, but more importantly fruits of solidarity and resistance. Our struggle for a different and better society continues but we take this moment to reflect and remind ourselves and all of you who will join us in this celebration that solidarity will win.

Solidarity is our weapon!

Community of NOTARA 26

Notara 26
Exarcheia, Athens
notara26 [at] riseup [dot] net

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