This is an article about green Athens. People from the Greek capital might react here:
– What do you mean „green Athens“? Athens is not green.
Well, it’s not. It is gray and white – from all the concrete of the dense buildings. You could easily see that from Google Earth: Athens looks like a huge bluish-white stain with very few green spots. What’s even worse, the fires a few years ago (which were most probably started on purpose) have left the hills around the city without any trees.
Some typical Mediterranean mist here but you can still recognize the cliffs that used to be a forest before
At first, I didn’t quite understand what people meant when they told me one of the reasons for the protests last year was the destruction of nature. Now you can see. It looks like some people in Greece have been very effective in burning and cutting as many trees as possible. And some other people are getting very pissed off by the first group of people. I hope this gives you an idea about the dissatisfaction and the situation I’m going to tell you now.
Walking around the neighborhood of Exarhia (a downtown district of Athens that became famous as a starting point for many of the protests) I saw a group of people gathered in a small park. I tried to find somebody speaking English and I ended up speaking in Bulgarian with one of the guys there. That was actually my first interview with a foreigner in Bulgarian. Anyway, let’s go to the story.
A burnt computer store, Exarhia
I understood people in the neighborhood wanted to have a park for more than 10 years. They complained they had no place to sit in the open air, no place to take the kids out to play, no trees around. Nobody helped them.
Now the action part. These people organized themselves and made a meeting on March 7 this year. They gathered on the corner of Zoodohou Pigis and Navarinou Skoufa and destroyed the walls of the car parking that used to occupy the space. Everything you see on the following pictures is the result of what they did together. They removed the pavement from the ground, they planted the trees, they watered them, they made the the kids’ playground. And they stay there all the time, keeping an eye on their creation. The authorities still haven’t decided what to do with the place.
A big poster at one side ot the park
The „office“ of the local community and the kids’ playground behind
In the afternoon, the improvised park is full of young people, mainly students
One more look at the place
I asked a few people what kind of political views they shared. We’re anarchists, some of them said. The anarchists worked together with the other citizens to create and protect this little park.