Logbook entry 9, 07/23/2016, Earth
A short travelogue on our documentary’s premier in Greece
After Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Projekt A has also started to run in cinemas and other locations in Greece. Our secret sneak preview took place in the completely crowded Parko Navarinou on May 13th. We have been really excited to come back to the first of our far flung movie locations. Projekt A was shown there to honor the founding of Parko’s 7th anniversary.
The cinema premier followed on May 19th in the Alkionis movie theater. Marcel was there as well and was ready for a Q&A. Then followed screenings and crowd discussions (some of them with protagonists) in other Athenian cinemas, at the anarchist B-Fest, a showing at the Athens School of Fine Arts and, last but not least – before leaving by ship for Ancona in Mid-June – a wonderful, student-organized screening at the stairs over/above Patras.
One of the highlights, besides some articles in the press, was the radio show in the Greek public station ERT. Here you can visit the Projekt A Youtube Channel and here you get directly linked to the radio show.
What’s the situation like in Greece these days? Compared to the days of our main shooting in 2012 and 2013 it got, concerning the population’s resistance, definitely calmer. The people’s daily routines are marked by the austerity programs and there are still strikes on a weekly basis, which complicate their lives. This can be especially limiting as far as public transport is concerned. In the blink of an eye you can be stranded on a lonely island, or maybe you don’t even reach it in the first place, in case the seamen put down their work for 4 days (as it happened to our travelling Marcel).
Other consequences only hit the Greek population as such. The control of capital transfers, for example, allows them to draw a maximum of 420€ a week. Though a monthly wage of 750€ for an elementary school teacher, to take an example, you rarely get into trouble because of the limit. The costs of living are comparable to those in Germany though. What was interesting to see, was that for the greater part of the population life seems to go on as usually. Even though the lower third of society is hit hard, there are still enough well-off people who can afford to buy a beer for 3,50€ in hip clubs.
What we have recognized immediately and of course is to our liking, is the rising number of bicyclists in Athens. Had there been only a few weirdos like two or three years ago, who dared to take on the car and motorcycle traffic in that hilly city, so today they’re becoming more and more. That this trend isn’t only due to economic hardships, but is also having an ecological and athletic aspect, is shown by a variety of bike-demonstrations. Big respect!
As elsewhere in Europe, the anarchist movement is foremost active in the area of refugee relief work these days. Many of the squattings in Athens are done with and for the refugees. Thereby solidarity goes beyond the movement’s borders – which is even more stunning taking into mind the economic situation of many people around the country.
Due to the EU-Turkey deal less and less refugees are making it to the Greek islands, that’s why many groups on Lesbos and elsewhere are leaving. But for sure, there will be enough to do anyways.
And the government? The disappointment concerning the Syriza-administration in the movement, as well as among the greater part of the population is big. Nevertheless one has to concede that at least there are no evictions of squatted houses. (Note / August 10th 2016: Unfortunately this is not true: At July 27th three squats in Salonika were evicted. Also in the year before evictions took place. At the moment we do not know which political entities are responsible for this actions) But of course the situation concerning the real estate market in Athens isn’t that pressing anyways at the moment. About 30% of all houses are vacated. Prices are down and the first property sharks, Greek and foreign, are beginning their land grabbing at dumping sales. At some day the boom has to arrive, and until then, there will again be a little more property in the hands of the few.
However, here you can see an environment in which there is lots of space for changes. For changes, which are necessary, but are depending on the ability of the people to build up projects and structures over the long term.
Whoever feels like supporting Parko Navarinou actively, or in any other way can contact them via firstname.lastname@example.org
We want to thank all those helping us to bring the movie to Greece. It was just the beginning!
For further screenings and for requests from Greece in general please contact email@example.com (German, Greek, English). Or contact us via our Greek facebook-account. There you can also find a schedule of upcoming screenings and press articles.
Marcel & Moritz