Walking together. Collection of short stories on the refugees’ right to the city.

Walking together

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Walking together. Collection of short stories on the refugees’ right to the city.

July 2020,  Athens-Mytilene-Thessaloniki, 63 p., ISBN: 978-618-82533-2-2

Editors: Charalampos Tsavdaroglou, Chrisa Giannopoulou, Olga Lafazani, Christy (Chryssanthi) Petropoulou, Ilias Pistikos 

Translation: Ilektra Kyriazidou

Research Group: Invisible Cities

Introduction

The manual for the refugees’ right to the city, attempts to listen and highlight the everyday reality, the concerns and struggles of refugees by focusing on their personal stories. It aims to give space to those who the dominant policies render invisible and undesirable. To those who faced thousand obstacles to cross the borders, to those who have no access to the city centres, to those who are not allowed to speak about their reality, to those that met and in solidarity struggled together but also to those that faced disappointment, rage, and exhaustion yet still continued to walk.

During the recent refugee crisis between 2015 and 2019, more than 1.5 million people crossed Greek sovereign space in their journey towards North Europe. Nevertheless the closing of the borders, the hot spots and outside the cities state camps accommodation, the endless waiting for asylum applications, the racist threats and fascist attacks as well as state policies of marginalisation, criminalization and stigmatization, are ever so present and visible. What is not visible are the small everyday practices of solidarity and struggle of the people in motion. A hidden treasure of gestures, emotions, and practices of mutual assistance, self-organisation, mutual care and constant struggle, that doubts and undermines the multiple geographical, social and political borders.

The present document attempts to contribute to the circulation of experiences and knowledges of populations in movement. Of those invisible people without rights that traced the possibility to dispute the statist housing structures, that occupied abandoned buildings at the centres of the cities and transformed them to collective housing initiatives. Those that invented forms of coexistence, cohabitation and communication beyond national, gendered and religious divisions and organised a number of protests, such as marches against refugee detention centres, and who ultimately claimed the right to the city, to visibility and to spatial justice.

This text circulates in four languages (Greek, English, Arabic and Farsi) due to our belief that the sharing process of these simple daily stories breaks the isolation of trajectories and routes and collectivises the experiences and struggles.

Mostly we would like to thank all those that participated in this research and to wish them to continue walking with dignity.

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