Categories
Symbols

Angelina

“Why are you not Angelina Jolie?”

he asked me intensely when I reached out my hand to give him a bar of soap, during a collective solidarity initiative, which was organised by the Binio Squat and the Workers’ Centre of Mytilene. The initiative took place on 21 June 2015 toward migrants and refugees who were living in the then temporary camp in the area of Kara Tepe in Mytilene.

“Fortunately or unfortunately, my friend, I’m not Angelina, but why do you say that?” I asked, without knowing that exactly the previous day the actor and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador had visited a refugee camp on the southeast coast of Turkey, in Mardin, in the context of World Refugee Day [1]. 

“Instead of just giving me this soap like you have, she could change my wet mattress and my muddy tent and give me a better place to live.”

The previous day, he later explained, a friend of his who lived in the Mardin camp complained to Angelina Jolie about his bed, and the actor, acting immediately, asked those in charge to replace it, which happened immediately. 

After he told me this story, he threw the soap he held in his hands, asking angrily: “of what use is this to me?” and I, chewing my words, ended up stuttering–I’m not sure he even heard me: “I’m sorry I’m me.”

I don’t know whether my friend was still on the island some months later, when Angelina Jolie visited the Moria hotspot (17 March 2016) and if he managed to address his requests to her.  What is certain is that the actor, in a meeting she had with NGOs and agencies on the island, declared her pessimism as to what extent an immediate response to the migrant and refugee crisis could be given. [2] In addition, in answer to a question regarding the consequences of the “refugee issue” for the economy of Lesvos and the need to stimulate tourism, she promised she would come on holidays to the island with her family. [3]

Naya Tselepi
December 2019


[1] https://www.unhcr.org/news/press/2015/6/558595e96/unhcr-special-envoy-angelina-jolie-pitt-calls-action-world-refugee-day.html

[2] https://www.ekathimerini.com/207056/article/ekathimerini/news/day-two-angelina-jolie-on-lesvos

[3] https://www.lesvosnews.net/articles/news-categories/koinonia/i-yposhesi-tis-angelina-jolie-gia-diakopes-sti-mytilini-den-elpizo


Photos:
Lesvos news net, 17.3.16, https://www.lesvosnews.net/articles/news-categories/koinonia/i-yposhesi-tis-angelina-jolie-ga-diakopes-sti-mytilini-den-elpizo

Categories
Resistances

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

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

Categories
Resistances

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

Transmission

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