Solidarity, anti-fascist struggles & Covid-19

March 14, 2020, the first day after the announcement of the Greek government for the closure of shops and for a radical change in the way we communicate, but Sappho Square in the center of Mytilene was full of people. Solidarians from Greece and from many European countries gathered to support the call of the Antifascist Initiative of Lesvos Against the Detention Centers: 

“- to state in practice our opposition to the emphasis only on the island’s local society – and in all forms of fascism & nationalism and to send fascists and neo-Nazis back to their holes 

” – To unite our voices in favour of open borders, free movement in European countries and against the illegal movement of people.”

The rally and solidarity march took place on Saturday morning, following a route through neighborhoods and the shopping center of Mytilene, the waterfront, the building of the Region, the port and the courts.

The actions were commented on in various ways and – for the most part – quite critically, with the characteristic article of a local newspaper entitled ‘The most dangerous nonsense of the year took place today in Mytilene!’. Of particular interest is the criticism leveled not at those who would have done it anyway but “by people who would have supported the marches if it were not for the issue of corona, that is, by comrades in this struggle.”

In response to these criticisms, the Lesvos Anti-Fascist Initiative Against Detention Centers immediately replied with a text entitled ‘On the course of Saturday 14/3 (Mytilene) or On Social Responsibility’.

“For all these reasons we took to the streets against the generalized fear that feeds all kinds of ‘fascism’ against the different. We promise, when the epidemic is over, to come out again and be thousands.”

Naya Tselepi
March 2020

1,2,3,4,7 by Antifascist Coordination Lesvos & 5,6 by Naya Tselepi


Xenophobia Virus

During the rally and solidarity march of the Antifascist Initiative of Lesvos Against the Detention Centers that took place on Saturday, March 14, 2020 in Mytilene, protesters shared the solidarity masks with the characteristic XENOPHOBIA as well as flyer for further distribution – both in Greek and English, entlitled ‘ΞΕΝΟΦΟΒΙΟΣ’ ‘and’ XENOPHOBIA VIRUS ‘respectively. It was the first day after the Greek government announced the closure of shops and a radical change in the way we communicate, so this text very aptly and caustically commented on the ‘invisible’ dimensions of a virus that poses a greater risk than the corresponding one, of corona, that of xenophobia.

“The xenophobia virus (xenovid 20) is a highly contagious viral infection that is rapidly spreading across the globe. While it is yet unknown exactly how dangerous this new virus is, several deaths have been reported in the past week, including that of a 2-year-old child. Inform yourself and take adeuqate measures to avoid a crisis in your region.

Key Symptoms

  • Fevrish contempt for foreigners
  • Sudden outbursts of racial slurs
  • Islamophobic comments or thoughts
  • Nationalist ideas and/or a sudden atraction to national flags
  • Delirium of supremacy above others


The virus is usually transmitted though online media and personal contact. Most common are: 

Fake news, fascists, coastguards, FRONTAX, police, religious leaders, and government officials. 

The virus is epsecially found prevalent on national flags.

How to protect yourself

  • Avoid any contact or association with costguards, FRONTEX and cops
  • Avoid municipality-led demonstrations
  • Visiting neo-nazis must immediately be isolated and quarantined
  • Contact with foreigners has been proven to minimise chances of infection
  • Avoid key infection zones: FRONTEX ships, Hacienda bar and around roadblocks near power plant and Moria village
  • Be mindful of overly simplified answers to complex questions.”

Naya Tselepi
March 2020

Photos by Naya Tselepi


#All Women Against Moria

In the daily life of the women and girls of the hot spot of Moria, relentless insecurity prevails. More than 20,000 people live in a detention centre with a capacity of 3,000 people at the time of writing (April 2020). Even more so for women, this situation exacerbates their insecurity as most are victims of different types of violence, including rape. This violence is not unprecedented for them as it was most often experienced in the countries of origin, during their travel to Europe, and in the hot spot of Moria it is greatly intensified. Even greater is the need for women traveling alone to be housed in specially designed spaces, women’s ‘safe-spaces’. Unfortunately, these places are few and overpopulated, so very often single women are forced to stay in tents set up in areas with a male population, which makes their survival very difficult.

For the inhumane conditions they experience every day in the hot spot of Moria and for the asylum applications that are increasingly delayed for hundreds of immigrant and refugee women, they marched and demonstrated on January 30, 2020 from Moria to Mytilene. The main slogan of the women during the march was ‘Moria is a women’s hell’ which was supported by solidarity on social media with the hashtag #AllWomenAgainstMoria and he motto ‘tolerance for the conditions in Moria and the geographical limitation of asylum seekers on the islands is criminal’.

Their voices were very loud, and neither the torrential rain nor the shields of the uniforms of the special police forces could stop them.

The testimonies of the women themselves in conversations and interviews taken by one of the writers are exemplary of the situation:

“Moria is not Europe, Moria is worse than Afghanistan. We, women, we are not safe in Moria, in Moria people has been murdered, in Moria, they treat us like dogs (very bad),we request from the united nation to help us. Moria is not Europe, Moria is not a safe place, and our youth are hanging themselves to end up their lives. We want justice.”

“We want justice, we want freedom. When we had to cross the sea we realized we could drown, but we took that risk for a better future for our children. Unfortunately it is worse than Afghanistan, we do not feel safe in the Moria camp, we suffer. from the conditions that exist in Moria. We cannot even compare with hell the situation we have in Moria … ”

“We have putted our lives in danger, we have risked our lives when we stepped in the rubber boat, and we knew that it was possible to get drowned in the sea, we knew that it was possible that won’t make it alive to Greece. Why Greece is prisoning us? Greece is not Europe, Greece is worse than Afghanistan, we want justice, we have come to live and for that we have putted our lives in danger several times.”

“We want nothing else but just freedom from you, just let us to go because of these kids, we have lived our lives in all the worst possible situation, at least let these kids to have a peaceful life, why you have no mercy towards us? Why nobody hear us? Why you don’t want to listen to us? Why you do not understand? We have put our lives in danger to finally arrive here and yet you are deporting us back.”

Μigrant women are screaming for freedom, it’s time for their voices to be heard, for “invisible” women to be seen.


Violeta Dimitrakopoulou & Naya Tselepi
April 2020


photo 1: Natasha Papanikolaou, 
photo 2 & 3: Lesvos Solidarity Pikpa, All Women Against Moria, 
photo 4, 5 & 6:  Violeta Dimitrakopoulou


Intercultural choirs that build a habitus of solidarity

In Mytilene, among the disputed borders and beliefs, the many invisible efforts of coexistence and solidarity, and the many choirs and theatrical groups, some actions stand out for   being intercultural and for building a habitus of solidarity.

“Opera Babel” February – March 2017 (troupe of 50 people from 4 – 60 + years old, and from different backgrounds) .. The performance was inspired by the “Epic of Gilgamesh” but here it had a different ending: “To put it very simply, because here in Lesvos, a new story is being written in which refugees, locals, volunteers, children, amateurs and professional singers and musicians will meet on stage to take us on a journey into a new world. The one in which we can all coexist harmoniously… “

MAHABHARABBIT May 2018 (troupe of 60 people from 4 – 60 + years old, and from different backgrounds). The performance took place immediately after the attacks of some residents against a gathering of refugees in Sappho Square. Named the Mahabharata, after the Indian epic Mahabarata, the modern flood of rubbish (corresponding to Noah’s Ark) and the term rabbit – a Magic Rabbit that gives the idea of ​​a balloon, “a balloon that does not work withair and fire but with good cooperation and solidarity “and proposes the idea of ​​recycling – processing.

14/5/2018 Excerpts from Maria’s interview with Christy at the 6th Experimental High School where the rehearsals of Cantalaloun take place:

“The idea started two summers ago at the festival in Tsamakia, where we met with Fred, Mariza, and Christina. It was a three-day event, open to all, with acrobatics, music, dancing, and tying naval knots. Because we liked it, we decidedto continue it; so, next November we started with a meeting in Mosaic (see post) where, = the rehearsals took place in the beginning . We rely solely on our own resources and crowdfunding. Apart from cantalaloun, there is also polyfonica with young children. It’s nice because we all come together. My children come along with me and I really like doing something together with them; because, then, we sing the songs at home and the energy of joy is transferred there.

I like that here we meet people from different countries, different cultures, different ages and finally we unite by singing and, eventually, we realize that we are not very different from each other but we have something very common, which is the love for singing. And this attitude towards  communicating and knowing new cultures and their music is very important. The choir started from the joy and love of people who wanted to sing together, and this core of peoplebrought others; the choiris open to all who think in the same way.

We try to unite all our voices and let this new composition  to be brought outthrough this combination of different voices (soprano, medium major). The body is important to us and that’s why we want to avoid  uniformity; instead, we want to be different and colourful. Being yourself is becomes clearer. You sing and your soul  is elevated.

Because singing is a way for, both, protesting and proposing something, the choir went to the anti-fascist march. That is, to propose joy and the fact that this system can change for the better. Because songs, music, dance and the arts in general unite us, rather than separate us.”

From that day onwards, the choir’s songs flood Lesvos’ neighborhoods and squares and especially Sappho Square with their music, every time it’s deemed necessary. It is slowly building a habitus of solidarity and cooperation and inspiring other collectives.

Christy Petropoulou
December 2019


Bourdieu P., 1972. Outline of a theory of practice; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wacquant L., 2016. A concise genealogy and anatomy of habitus The Sociological Review, Vol. 64, 64–72.

Petropoulou C., 2019. Can the poetic of commoning change the habitus? Reflexions from Lesvos with a Latin American perspective of urban – regional social movements. In : Gouvias D., Petropoulou C., Tsavdaroglou C., 2019. Contested Borderscapes.Transnational Geographies vis-à-vis Fortress Europe. Invisibles Cities, pp.125-138.

Φρατζή Δ.,2018.

Παπανικολάου Ν., 2017  

Συναυλία 2/11/2019

Photos by: Christy Petropoulou