Greece has been at the receiving end of the mass exodus of people fleeing the war torn, shattered countries of the Middle East, hundreds of thousands of desperate people have entered Greece in the hope settling in Europe and creating a better life for themselves and their families. They have not met with much of an official welcome, herded, corralled, detained, ill-treated, has been the response from officialdom. However, people outside the official state apparatus have taken a much more humane approach. Volunteers have turned out and done what they can to help this legion of desperate people. The latest sign of this in Athens, was at The Plaza Hotel, abandoned 7 years ago,(Not the luxury one in Syntagma Square, pity though!) has now been occupied by 400 refugees, it has had a massive clean up and is now a relatively comfortable, temporary home for tired and desperate people. The empty hotel was there, the state had the power to utilise it, but didn't move in that direction, to them, much better they sleep rough or a detention camp, forget the human side and try to keep control by fear, uncertainty, and intimidation. Thanks to all those people of Athens who helped create this much need refuge for desperate people. Another example that, left to their own devises, the people can sort out their problems, without the interferences of the oppressive state apparatus. Though, not doubt the state will yet try to step in and sabotage this humane response.
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Welcome to “Hotel Plaza” in Athens!
Abandoned hotel squatted for 400 refugees
Abandoned hotel in the northern center of Athens. The “Hotel Plaza” is supposed to host up to 400 refugees, and hopefully in the upcoming week, they will be able to receive further room requests. Since the occupants have entered the building, the weekend has been a busy one: The rooms have been aired and cleaned, the kitchen cleaned and prepared for cooking, weeds and trash removed from the front entrance, the first meals cooked, assemblies held and plans made.
We could already see how refugees staying at the hotel have started to relax and recover from the past weeks of stress and precarity. A clean room for oneself, a friendly atmosphere, a quiet and safe common space, and the dedication of everyone to treat each other with respect and in solidarity: You could feel the relief of those who have lacked these crucial needs of life for a long time.