τΗΧΟΣ

-2020-    -2021-

 

The "Wall of Voices" or "τΗχος" was created with an intention to offer young adults a space for reflection on social issues in the European and local society. Here you will discover various essays, galleries, videos and content projects created by our volunteers. 

 

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In the Shoes of Teenage Asylum Seekers, by Aurore Desbourdes

25/4/2021

The organization Youth Center of Epirus hosts a facility Agios Athanasios (Άγιος Αθανάσιος) since august 2020 and volunteers help at the facility because the pandemic crisis them change and adapt work to the situation.

 

I arrived at the beginning of this project and we build it slowly from September until today. This new program gives opportunity to the volunteers of Youth Center of Epirus to provide a non-formal education on several topics to these teenagers. The facility of Agios Athanasios is located in the mountainous region of Zagori, near to Ioannina. It hosts 40 teenagers - asylum seekers from 12 to 18 years old. The place is managed by social workers, teachers, cookers, caretakers, director and others, to give these youngsters a comfortable place to live, a stable basic knowledge and a social, psychological and physical help to develop themselves in the local society and in the future.

 

Living in a small facility such as Agios Athanasios can be very challenging in several aspects, especially in this pandemic period and since November 2020 the lockdown does not allow them to go to the city when schools are closed. The pandemic situation makes life very difficult for these teenagers, some of them are there for 6 or 7 months and have been in Ioannina only 6 times or less. They had to learn to live in community all together with the only possibility to leave the place for very short times and for emergency. Which is why, our work is very important to them. We are here to entertain them, educate them on many interesting and essentials topics. The activities we organize allow them to interact, to have fun and to learn at the same time. This experience is also very rewarding and instructive for us, the volunteers, because we share a lot about our culture and the teenagers share also about theirs.

 

The workers main goal is to provide basics needs and education to these youngsters and secondly to find relatives of them. This chance allows them to leave the facility and to build a life with a relative. If no relatives are found, the teenager will stay in the facility until 18 years old or until their asylum seeker application is rejected. Then he is allowed to leave the place to live in an apartment with help and financial support of another program or is being sent back to their country of origin.

 

Since we arrived, some teenagers have left the facility, to join another asylum seekers who are older than 18, or to join a relative. For example, one teenager left to Thessaloniki to live in an apartment, and another, who is younger than 18, left to Germany to join a parent. These teenagers have many different dreams, ambitions, or future projects. They mostly want to settle in Europe. Indeed, some teenagers shared with me that they want to go to Sweden, to England, or Switzerland. They all have very different wishes that are reflected in their future career plans. Most of them are very sportive, and few teenagers want to pursuit this vocation, for example, to be a fitness trainer or professional athlete in football or bodybuilding. Other teenagers are more focused on computer and gaming field and they would like to become computer developers.

 

I had the opportunity to speak more precisely with some teenagers and to share a bit of their background and ambitions. Two of them are twins from Yemen, and they shared with me about their experience in Greece. After being in Athens for few months and almost in Agios Athanasios for almost six months, they left the facility in mid-March, to live in an apartment in Ioannina. They wished to leave earlier but, like every other teenager, they had to wait to be older than 16 years. It is a real relief for them to leave and move towards a change. After staying in two facilities, they can finally  pursue their life and long term goals. Considering that they are still minors, the twins will continue to go to school and then explore a particular direction about which they still don’t have a clear idea yet. They will still have the social and financial help of another program, and it will help them with their plans.

Talents

Through this volunteering, we have created a wide variety of projects all together, the volunteers and the residents of the facility. These activities have allowed them to develop different skills, to share their talents, their interests, and their creativity with us.

 

Some teenagers have a real talent in any activity related to art, such as painting or drawing.  They also painted and decorated the walls of the facility with one of the teachers and our help. This activity allowed them to improve their painting skills, precision and imagination, meanwhile, making the communal living place more welcoming and to their taste. Some of them have building, creating skills. We combined our ideas with the skills of these teenagers.

The teenagers really enjoy gardening as well this is a good way to learn responsibilities and organization to take care of the plants and the garden, even if the volunteers are not there to look after it. In the pictures above, you can see creation of squares that will contain plants and a circle in the middle with flowers. And a door that will have climbing plants, spiral garden and green house. 

As well, we the possibly to manage some cooking activities which were very interesting to perform. The youngsters really enjoyed it, and some of them have great skills in this topic.  For example, here you can see creation of ravioli with spinach and mushrooms.

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Series of Inspiring Feminism and Sorority Stories: ΙΣΧΥΡΗ, by Joana Detchart

7/5/2021

Series of inspiring feminism and sorority stories have started! ΙΣΧΥΡΗ or Powerful Series will tell you about inspiring women in our city Ioannina and Epirus region. We wish you will connect to them through their stories follow this series on the ΙΣΧΥΡΗ or Powerful page. 


Story of a Refugee, by Joseph Taher

9/4/2021

In Greece there are thousands of refugees and asylum seekers. We tend to hear about them in numbers; - numbers of arrivals, numbers of asylum procedures, numbers of the expenses related to them. But every single number is a human being with a unique story. This is the story of Sawsan - a Syrian refugee in Ioannina. She is one of the many, who has a story to tell. This is the story of her journey.  

 

Measures have been taken to conceal the identity and to keep the anonymity of Sawsan for the protection of her and her family. 


Women's Day / New Series of Inspiring Feminism and Sorority Stories: ΙΣΧΥΡΗ, by Joana Detchart

8/3/2021

Η 8η Μαρτίου είναι η Παγκόσμια Ημέρα της Γυναίκας.

Παρά την αβεβαιότητα και με ένα μέρος της ιστορίας να μην είναι ομόφωνο, η προέλευση της 8ης Μαρτίου ως διεθνούς ημέρας για τον αγώνα και την υπεράσπιση των δικαιωμάτων των γυναικών σε όλο τον κόσμο, βασίζεται στους αγώνες των εργατών και τις πολλές διαδηλώσεις στις αρχές του 20ού αιώνα σε όλο τον κόσμο. Τα αιτήματα της εποχής ήταν: το δικαίωμα ψήφου, το δικαίωμα για καλύτερες συνθήκες εργασίας και ισότητα μεταξύ ανδρών και γυναικών, που ήταν όλα μέρος μιας επαναστατικής προοπτικής.

Αυτή η ημερομηνία επαναλήφθηκε καθ’ όλη τη διάρκεια των ετών, έως ότου η φεμινιστική αναβίωση της δεκαετίας του 1970 έκανε την 8η Μαρτίου τη «Παγκόσμια Ημέρα της Γυναίκας», που αναγνωρίστηκε και επίσημα από τα Ηνωμένα Έθνη το 1977. Τώρα είναι μια κρίσιμη ημέρα σε ολόκληρο τον κόσμο, όπου οι φεμινιστικές ομάδες και οι ενώσεις υψώνουν τις φωνές τους: μια ευκαιρία αποτίμησης της κατάστασης των γυναικών και απαίτησης της ισότητα των φύλων ξανά και ξανά, μέσω μιας αλλαγής παραδείγματος και του τέλους της πατριαρχίας.

Σε αυτήν την περίπτωση, ας θυμηθούμε ότι ο αγώνας για ίσα δικαιώματα, ευκαιρίες και πλήρη ύπαρξη μεταξύ των φύλων δεν είναι κάτι που γιορτάζεται μόνο μία φορά το χρόνο. Οι σημερινές κοινωνίες θεωρούνται από και για τους άνδρες (1). Η πεποίθηση αυτή καθιστά τον αγώνα για την ισότητα των φύλων μια καθημερινή μάχη για όσους ενδιαφέρονται και αγωνίζονται για αυτό.

Αντιμέτωποι με το Covid-19, η τρέχουσα υγεία, οικονομική και κοινωνική κρίση θέτει εκατομμύρια γυναίκες (2) και LGBTQIA+ άτομα σε μια εξαιρετικά επισφαλή/ αβέβαιη κατάσταση. Στην πρώτη γραμμή του αγώνα κατά του κοροναϊού, οι γυναίκες αντιπροσωπεύουν την πλειονότητα των επαγγελματιών στον τομέα της υγείας. Ωστόσο, πληρώνονται 11% λιγότερα από τους άντρες ομολόγους τους παγκοσμίως (3) και η τρέχουσα κρίση βυθίζει την πλειονότητα αυτών σε αβεβαιότητα λόγω της κοινωνικής τους αναγνώρισης στις κοινωνίες μας. Πράγματι, η πανδημία έδωσε σίγουρα ορατότητα στους βασικούς ρόλους των γυναικών στα κοινωνικά μας συστήματα, χωρίς να τις ενσωματώσει στις διαδικασίες λήψης αποφάσεων και στους κύριους τομείς εξουσίας στις χώρες μας. Η υγεία, η προσωπική βοήθεια, το νοικοκυριό, η εκπαίδευση, η μαζική διανομή και άλλοι τομείς είναι χώροι όπου οι γυναίκες, οι μετανάστες, οι φυλετικοί, οι νέοι και οι επισφαλείς, υπερεκπροσωπούν τις συνθήκες εργασίας. Η ευθραυστότητα ενός τέτοιου μοντέλου επηρεάζει τις γυναίκες όχι μόνο στον επαγγελματικό κόσμο αλλά και στον ιδιωτικό τομέα, όπου η κατανομή και και το μοίρασμα των οικιακών καθηκόντων παραμένει άνιση. Τέλος, πρέπει να θυμόμαστε ότι τα μέτρα που ελήφθησαν κατά τις ισχυρότερες στιγμές της πανδημίας, ιδίως η απόφαση κλειδώματος, έβαλαν πολλές γυναίκες σε άνευ προηγουμένου ευπάθεια, καθιστώντας πολύ δύσκολο για αυτές να ξεφύγουν από την ενδοοικογενειακή βία της οποίας είναι θύματα.

 

«Οι γυναίκες σε όλο τον κόσμο απαιτούν και αξίζουν ένα ισότιμο μέλλον χωρίς προκατάληψη, στερεότυπα και βία · ένα βιώσιμο και ειρηνικό μέλλον με ίσα δικαιώματα και ευκαιρίες για όλους. Για να επιτευχθεί αυτό, ο κόσμος απαιτεί την παρουσία των γυναικών σε όλες τις θέσεις λήψεων αποφάσεων» (4).

 

Οι αγώνες είναι πολλοί και πολλαπλασιάζονται και οι φεμινιστικές προόδους και νίκες δεν αποκτώνται ποτέ οριστικά. Ο φεμινισμός δεν σκέφτεται τον εαυτό του σε μια μοναδική και αποκλειστική μορφή, αλλά στις πολλές πτυχές που διαθέτει, όσο είμαστε μοναδικοί και διαφορετικοί. Ας κάνουμε αυτόν τον πλούτο πολλαπλότητας και εξαίρεσης μια δύναμη. Ας είμαστε σε αλληλεγγύη με όλες τις γυναίκες σε όλο τον κόσμο και ας κάνουμε αυτήν την ημέρα μια κατεύθυνση για να οικοδομήσουμε τις αλληλεγγύες μας, και ας κάνουμε τον φεμινιστικό αγώνα ένα κοινωνικό σχέδιο για την κοινωνία στην οποία φιλοδοξούμε!

Με αυτήν την ευκαιρία, είμαστε στην ευχάριστη θέση να ανακοινώσουμε το νέο έργο μας με τίτλο ΙΣΧΥΡΗ (5). Η Joana είναι εθελόντρια του οργανισμού μας, μέσα από το πρόγραμμα του European Solidarity Corps και θα μας παρουσιάσει μια σειρά φεμινιστικών συνεντεύξεων μέσω των οποίων θέλουμε να επισημάνουμε ισχυρές και εμπνευσμένες γυναίκες που θα έχουμε τη χαρά να συναντήσουμε στα Ιωάννινα τους επόμενους μήνες.

 

«Θέλω να κάνω το φεμινισμό μου μια ευκαιρία να μοιραστώ και να προωθήσω την ύπαρξη εξαιρετικών ανθρώπων στα μάτια μου, προκειμένου να εξερευνήσω μαζί σας τις εμπνευσμένες ιστορίες των καλεσμένων μου. Να κάνω τη φωνή μου γέφυρα ανάμεσα σε ζωές και εμπειρίες, και πάνω απ 'όλα να δώσω πίσω σε όσους με εμπνέουν το σωστό μέρος που τους δίνω».

 

Τα λέμε σύντομα για το υπόλοιπο αυτής της συναρπαστικής περιπέτειας!

Long live sorority!

 

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March 8th is International Women's Day.

Despite some uncertainty and a part of history that does not remain unanimous, the origin of March 8 as an international day for the struggle and defense of women's rights around the world is rooted in the workers' struggles and the many demonstrations of the early 20th century around the world. The demands of the time were those for the right to vote, better working conditions and equality between men and women, all of which were part of a revolutionary perspective.

This date was echoed throughout the years, until the feminist revival of the 1970s made March 8th the "International Women's Day", officially recognized as such by the United Nations in 1977. It is now a crucial day throughout the world, when feminist groups and associations raise their voices: an opportunity to take stock of the situation of women and to demand gender equality again and again, through a paradigm shift and the end of patriarchy.

On this occasion, let us remember that the struggle for equal rights, opportunities and full existence between the genders is not something to be celebrated only once a year. Today's societies are thought by and for men (1) . This gap makes the fight for gender equality an every second struggle for those who are concerned, and this for the whole of life.

Faced with Covid-19, the current health, economic and social crisis places millions of women (2) and LGBTQIA+ people in an extremely precarious situation. Put at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus, women represent the majority of health professionals in the field. Yet they are paid 11% less than their male counterparts worldwide (3) and the current crisis is plunging the most of them into precariousness due to their social recognition in our societies. Indeed, the pandemic has certainly given visibility to the essential roles of women in our social systems, without integrating them into the decision-making processes and the main spheres of authority in our countries. Health, personal assistance, household, education, mass distribution, and others are all sectors where women, migrants, racialized, young, and precarious, are over-represented and working conditions are affected. The fragility of such a model impacts women not only in the professional world but also in the private sphere, where the distribution and sharing of domestic tasks remains unequal. Finally, it should be remembered that the measures taken during the strongest moments of the pandemic, particularly the decision of lockdown has put many women into unprecedented vulnerability, making it very difficult for them to escape the domestic violence of which they are victims.

 

"Women around the world are demanding and deserve an egalitarian future free of prejudice, stereotypes and violence; a sustainable and peaceful future with equal rights and opportunities for all. To achieve this, the world requires the presence of women in all decision-making" (4).

 

The struggles are many and multiple, and feminist advances and victories are never definitively acquired. Feminism does not think of itself in a single and exclusive form, but in the many facets it has, as many as we are unique and different. Let us make this richness of multiplicity and exception a strength. Let us be in solidarity with all women throughout the world and let us make this day a direction to take for the construction of our solidarities, and let us make the feminist struggle a social project for the society to which we aspire!

It is on this occasion as important and significant for us that we are pleased to announce the new project : ΙΣΧΥΡΗ (5) (“powerful”). Joana is a volunteer of our organization, through the program of the European Solidarity Corps and she will present us a series of feminist interviews through which we wish to highlight powerful and inspiring women that she will have the pleasure to meet in Ioannina over the next 6 months.

 

“I wish to make my feminism an opportunity to share and promote the existence of exceptional people in my eyes, in order to explore with you the inspiring stories of my guests. To make my voice a bridge between lives and experiences, and above all to give back to those who inspire me the rightful place I give them.”

 

See you soon for the rest of this exciting adventure!

Long live the sorority!

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1 cis-gender men

2 I mean by "women" all people who identify themselves as such, and by extension I include in my reflection all the different gender identities from the spectrum, other than cis-gender men

3 https://www.unwomen.org/.../in.../international-womens-day

4 https://www.unwomen.org/.../in.../international-womens-day

5 ΙΣΧΥΡΗ is a project with multiple formats, depending on the guests, presenting through interviews the inspiring existence of women from Ioannina. The bases of the project are: feminism, sorority, sharing


"Refugees" by Brian Bilston / Socially engaged literature "The Poem of the Week" by Beatriz Ribero da Silva

1/3/2021

Οι εθελοντές του Κέντρου Νέων Ηπείρου σας παρουσιάζουν:

 

«The Poem of the Week» είναι μία πρωτοβουλία που έχει ως στόχο να μοιραστεί μαζί σας ποιήματα που σχετίζονται με θέματα όπως το Μεταναστευτικό και το Προσφυγικό. Αυτή η πρωτοβουλία είναι ζωτικής σημασίας καθώς αναδεικνύει  ότι υπάρχουν μη τυπικοί τρόποι εκπαίδευσης για να μάθουμε για τα κοινωνικά θέματα και ότι η Λογοτεχνία είναι ένας όμορφος τρόπος για να το πετύχουμε. 

Κάθε εβδομάδα επιλέγουμε ένα ποίημα σχετικά με το  Μεταναστευτικό και το Προσφυγικό και το μοιραζόμαστε στη σελίδα μας στο Facebook / Instagram αλλά και στην ιστοσελίδα μας. Το ποίημα συνοδεύεται από την ανάλυση της σημασίας του και από μια σύντομη περιγραφή του συγγραφέα και του έργου του. Το ποίημα αυτής της εβδομάδας έχει τίτλο «Refugees», από τον Άγγλο ποιητή και συγγραφέα Brian Bilston.

 

REFUGEES, by Brian Bilston

They have no need of our help

So do not tell me

These haggard faces could belong to you or me

Should life have dealt a different hand

We need to see them for who they really are

Chancers and scroungers

Layabouts and loungers

With bombs up their sleeves

Cut-throats and thieves

They are not

Welcome here

We should make them

Go back to where they came from

They cannot

Share our food

Share our homes

Share our countries

Instead let us

Build a wall to keep them out

It is not okay to say

These are people just like us

A place should only belong to those who are born there

Do not be so stupid to think that

The world can be looked at another way

(τώρα διαβάστε από κάτω προς τα πάνω)

 

Ανάλυση ποιήματος

Το ποίημα αυτής της εβδομάδας έχει ιδιαίτερο ενδιαφέρον με την πρώτη ματιά. Ως αναγνώστης μπορεί να αναρωτιέστε: γιατί να μοιράζονται ένα κείμενο ενάντια στους πρόσφυγες;

Σήμερα, με τις πολλές ειδήσεις που διαβάζουμε στα μέσα κοινωνικής δικτύωσης και την παραπληροφόρηση που προκύπτει από αυτό, είναι εύκολο να διαμορφωθούν ιδέες προκατάληψης για πρόσφυγες και αιτούντες άσυλο. Αυτό το συγκινητικό ποίημα μας θυμίζει ότι οι λέξεις μπορούν εύκολα να γίνουν όπλα και η γραμμή που χωρίζει δύο αντιφατικές απόψεις μερικές φορές δεν είναι τόσο μεγάλη.

Πρέπει να έχουμε επίγνωση του τρόπου με τον οποίο εκφράζουμε τον εαυτό μας και να προσπαθούμε να κατανοήσουμε τις προοπτικές των προσφύγων και των αιτούντων άσυλο, γιατί ποτέ δεν ξέρουμε τι είδους εκπλήξεις μπορεί να έχει η ζωή για εμάς. Όπως λέει ο Bilston «Αν η ζωή είχε ένα διαφορετικό χέρι / Αυτά τα αγέρωχα πρόσωπα θα μπορούσαν να ανήκουν σε εσάς ή εμένα».

 

Σχετικά με τον Συγγραφέα

Ο Brian Bilston  είναι το ψευδώνυμο του Paul Millicheap, πρώην ακαδημαϊκού εκδότη από την Οξφόρδη. Ο Bilston άρχισε να δημοσιεύει τα ποιήματά του στο Twitter και γρήγορα έγινε διάσημος (σήμερα έχει 80.000 ακόλουθους στο Twitter, μαζί με 51.000 στο Instagram και 41.000 στο Facebook). Ονομάζεται συχνά "Banksy" του κόσμου της ποίησης και κέρδισε τον τίτλο του Poet Laureate του Twitter.

Ένα από τα πιο ενδιαφέροντα χαρακτηριστικά του έργου του είναι ότι η μορφή είναι σχεδόν πάντα αντισυμβατική: τα ποιήματα μπορούν να εμφανιστούν ως στοιχεία Scrabble, εικόνες δέντρων, tweets, υπολογιστικά φύλλα Excel ακόμη και διαγράμματα Venn. Εάν ενδιαφέρεστε να αναζητήσετε περισσότερα για τον συγγραφέα, ο Brian έχει δημοσιεύσει τέσσερα βιβλία: “You took the last bus home” (2017), “Refugees” (2019), “Diary of a somebody” και “Alexa, what is there to know about love?” (2021).

Σας προσκαλούμε να συνεχίσετε να τσεκάρετε τη σελίδα μας στο Facebook / Instagram για περισσότερα βίντεο σχετικά με την κοινωνικά δεσμευμένη ποίηση. Την επόμενη εβδομάδα θα μοιραστούμε μαζί σας ακόμη ένα ποίημα!

 

***

 

The volunteers of the Youth Center of Epirus present:

 

“The Poem of the Week”, a  weekly initiative that aims to share poems related to the themes of Migration & Refugees. This initiative was born from the understanding that is vital to show that there are non-formal ways to learn about social topics and that Literature is a beautiful way to do it. 

Every week we will select a poem about Migration & Refugees and share it on our Facebook/Instagram page and website. The poem will be accompanied by an analysis of its meaning and a brief description of the author and its work.

This week’s poem is entitled “Refugees”, by the English poet and writer Brian Bilston.

 

REFUGEES, by Brian Bilston

They have no need of our help

So do not tell me

These haggard faces could belong to you or me

Should life have dealt a different hand

We need to see them for who they really are

Chancers and scroungers

Layabouts and loungers

With bombs up their sleeves

Cut-throats and thieves

They are not

Welcome here

We should make them

Go back to where they came from

They cannot

Share our food

Share our homes

Share our countries

Instead let us

Build a wall to keep them out

It is not okay to say

These are people just like us

A place should only belong to those who are born there

Do not be so stupid to think that

The world can be looked at another way

(now read from bottom to top)

 

Poem Analysis

This week’s poem is particularly intriguing at first sight. As a reader you might be asking yourself: why are they sharing a text against refugees? 

Nowadays, with the numerous news we read on social media and the disinformation that derives from that, it is easy to form preconceived ideas about refugees and asylum seekers. This touching poem reminds us that words can easily become weapons and the line that separates two contrasting opinions sometimes it is not that long.

We need to be conscious about how we express ourselves and try to understand refugees and asylum seeker’s perspectives, because we never know what kind of surprises life might have for us. As Bilston says “Should life have dealt a different hand/These haggard faces could belong to you or me”. 

 

About the Author

Brian Bilston is the pseudonym of Paul Millicheap, a former academic publisher from Oxford. Bilston started publishing his poems on Twitter and quickly became famous (nowadays he has 80,000 followers on Twitter, alongside 51,000 on Instagram, and 41,000 on Facebook). He is often called the “Banksy” of the poetry world and won the title of Poet Laureate of Twitter. 

One of the most interesting characteristics of his work is that the form is almost always unconventional: poems can appear as Scrabble clues, tree images, tweets, Excel spreadsheets and even Venn diagrams.  If you are interested in searching more about the author, Brian has four books published: “You took the last bus home” (2017), “Refugees” (2019), “Diary of a somebody” and “Alexa, what is there to know about love?” (2021). 

 

We invite you to keep checking our Facebook/Instagram page and website for more videos about socially engaged literature. Next week we will share with you another poem!


"They Took Your Home From You Now They Call You Refugee" by Nikita Gill / Socially engaged literature: "The Poem of the Week" by Beatriz Ribeiro da Silva

16/2/2021

«The Poem of the Week» είναι μία πρωτοβουλία που έχει ως στόχο να μοιραστεί μαζί σας ποιήματα που σχετίζονται με θέματα όπως το Μεταναστευτικό και το Προσφυγικό.

 

Αυτή την εβδομάδα σας παρουσιάζουμε το ποίημα «They Took Your Home From You Now They Call You Refugee» από τη Βρετανίδα – Ινδή ποιήτρια και συγγραφέα Nikita Gill. Η Gill είναι μία από τις πιο επιτυχημένες «Instapoets» των ημερών μας έχοντας δημοσιεύσει πάνω από 360 δημοσιεύσεις. (Instapoetry είναι ένα στυλ ποίησης που προέκυψε ως αποτέλεσμα των μέσων κοινωνικής δικτύωσης).

 

Πιστεύουμε ότι το ποίημα της Gill είναι συναρπαστικό και συναισθηματικό. Περιγράφει πώς η έννοια του «σπιτιού» αλλάζει αναπόφευκτα για κάποιον που είναι τώρα πρόσφυγας. Το πιο σημαντικό, τονίζει την ιδέα ότι το να γίνεις πρόσφυγας δεν είναι επιλογή. Κανείς δεν θέλει να εγκαταλείψει το σπίτι του και να μετακομίσει σε άλλη χώρα, εκτός εάν προσπαθεί να σώσει τη ζωή του.

 

«They Took Your Home From You Now They Call You Refugee», by Nikita Gill

 

Home is a language 

you grew in your mouth

that now no longer exists anywhere

but inside your heart and head

 

Home is where

you had to teach your children

how to run from men who are dressed 

in war and blood

 

Home is now a legend

a story of where you grew up,

happy and safe before

they set your entire world aflame.

 

Home is where you ran to the sea

because the place you once belonged to,

now no longer remembers your name.

 

Home was your refuge.

Now, after cruelly taking it from you,

they call you a refugee.

 

Σας προσκαλούμε να συνεχίσετε να τσεκάρετε τη σελίδα μας στο Facebook /Instagram για περισσότερα βίντεο σχετικά με την κοινωνικά δεσμευμένη ποίηση. Την επόμενη εβδομάδα θα μοιραστούμε μαζί σας ακόμη ένα ποίημα!

 

***

 

The volunteers of the Youth Center of Epirus present:

 

“The Poem of the Week”, a  weekly initiative that aims to share poems related to the themes of Migration & Refugees. This initiative was born from the understanding that is vital to show that there are non-formal ways to learn about social topics and that Literature is a beautiful way to do it. 

Every week we will select a poem about Migration & Refugees and share it on our Facebook/Instagram page and website. The poem will be accompanied by an analysis of its meaning and a brief description of the author and its work. This week’s poem is entitled “They Took Your Home From You Now They Call Your Refugee”, by the English-Indian poet and writer Nikita Gill. 

 

THEY TOOK YOUR HOME FROM YOU NOW THEY CALL YOU REFUGEE, by Nikita Gill

 

Home is a language 

you grew in your mouth

that now no longer exists anywhere

but inside your heart and head

 

Home is where

you had to teach your children

how to run from men who are dressed 

in war and blood

 

Home is now a legend

a story of where you grew up,

happy and safe before

they set your entire world aflame.

 

Home is where you ran to the sea

because the place you once belonged to,

now no longer remembers your name.

 

Home was your refuge.

Now, after cruelly taking it from you,

they call you a refugee.

 

 

Poem Analysis

 

We believe Gill’s poem is engaging and emotional. She describes how the concept of “home” inevitably changes for someone who is now a refugee. Contrary to the poem of last week,  “First-generation immigrant”, by Rupi Kaur, this week’s poem explores more the process of losing home, all the different steps that someone has to be through until they become a refugee: the war, the need to “run to the sea” to escape conflict, the unavoidable forgetfulness from home and being labelled as “refugee” by the world.

Most importantly, she emphasises that becoming a refugee is not a choice. No one wants to abandon their home and move to another country, unless they are trying to save their lives. 

 

About the Author

 

Gill is one of the most successful “Instapoets” nowadays (“Instapoetry” is a style of poetry that emerged as a result of social media), having published just over 360 posts. Her writing career started early: she had her first piece published in a local newspaper in India when she was only 12 years old. She gets inspiration from larger forces like the universe, stars and far-away galaxies and usually writes about love, anxiety, loneliness, heartbreak, migration and displacement.

If you are interested in getting to know more about her, she has many books published:  “Wild Embers: Poems of rebellion, fire and beauty” (2017), “Your Soul is a River” (2018), “Fierce Fairytales: & Other Stories to Stir Your Soul” (2018), “Your Heart Is The Sea” (2019),

 “Great Goddesses: Life lessons from myths and monsters” (2019), “The Girl and the Goddess” (2020) and “Where Hope Comes From: Healing poetry for the heart, mind and soul” (2021).

 

We invite you to keep checking our Facebook/Instagram page and website for more videos about socially engaged literature. Next week we will share with you another poem!

 


My Meeting with the Asylum Seekers, an essay by Santiago Petit

16/2/2021

I am a French volunteer, from Europe Solidarity Corp. I come from Martinique, an island in the Caribbean, and I am here, in Greece, for two months. I had a peaceful childhood, my family takes care of me, but I always thought my life wasn't the best. Not having known my father has often made me think, leaving an emptiness in my heart that could never be filled. I accepted this volunteer mission because I want to gather work experiences, but mostly because I like to give love to others, I like to know that my loved ones feel good, maybe because I know, or at least I thought I knew, how it’s feel to suffering. I was aware of the history of the majority of the teenagers, whom are under aged asylums seekers, I was going to care for. I assumed that some of them knew the war, or wanted to run away of their countries, for diverse reasons. However, I didn't really realize what it really implies.

 

My first meeting with the teenagers, at the facility, was warm, and I remember 2 faces who particularly touched me. When I saw the place -a pretty big house which is their home and their classroom- I thought about some activities I could do with them, activities based on non-formal education. I sympathized, at least from my point of view, with those I met quite quickly. Some of them knew some sentences in French, in Greek, and even in Spanish, so it was kind of funny to talk with the boys. I also told them that I will teach some karate class, sport I used to do at a high level; we did some small fights in the rules of the art, and I was glad to see some of them happy to do it. I also saw a big feeling of fraternity between each other, and it was really pleasant to see.

 

 But it was at the end of the day, when I remembered what had happened, that something struck me. Most of them are from my generation. And most of them come from countries like Afghanistan, Yemen and Pakistan. It is the kind of countries that our medias are talking about only when there is a war, a civil war, or a terrorist attack. Even if it is typically occidental to associate these countries to serious, hurtful event, it is a fact that living in these countries is painful.  We had barely a few years apart, and yet we had a history and a journey that was opposite to the extreme. Imagine being separated from your family, simply because the "rulers" of their countries have a baby-like fight. Imagine leaving your friends, your country because of incapable people. Imagine losing your bearings, your culture, abandoning your home, because of people who only want to become rich. I would have gone crazy. We all would have gone crazy. We would have all sought to revenge, even if it meant lowering ourselves to the level of those "rulers".

 

And if they don’t run away from the war, they are leaving their own homeland because of the insane poverty over there. I don’t see why it is a crime. They are driven by the survival instinct. If it is a crime to want to live in a better condition and have a job, why do you go to work every day?

However, despite their story, I see them smiling. I see them, despite the absolute horror of what they've been through, managing to move forward, thinking about their future, and doing everything possible to lead a peaceful life. I see them, with dreams, with wishes in their heads to fulfill.

 

I felt ashamed of myself. From my little comfort, I managed to complain because I didn't get the brand-new sweater from a brand that exploits the Uyghurs1. I was able to complain because I didn't have a new watch that cost a French minimum wage. I was able to complain because I had the nerve to feel lonely sometimes. I guess for anyone who hasn't met these kids, or witnessed their story, this kind of nonsense must be normal.

 

Our parents, to make us take a step-back when we throw a tantrum, often said to us "Think of the little Syrian children who have nothing" which, afterwards, is a little disgusting and slightly racist. However, now, I guess I will avoid these non-vital things, and thank Allah, God, Jesus Christ, Buddha, the Universe for sparing me a tragedy such as some of the children have experienced, and facilitate them, from the absolute bottom of my heart, for their future, and for each of them, to fulfill their dreams.

 

 

 

1 https://youtu.be/tR11b7uh17Y In this video is described the mass genocide operated by the Chinese government against the Uyghurs.


"First-Generation Immigrant" by Rupi Kaur / Socially engaged literature: "The Poem of the Week" by Beatriz Ribeiro da Silva

3/2/2021

 

«The Poem of the Week» είναι μία πρωτοβουλία που έχει ως στόχο να μοιραστεί μαζί σας ποιήματα που σχετίζονται με θέματα όπως το Μεταναστευτικό και το Προσφυγικό. Αυτήν την εβδομάδα παρουσιάζουμε το ποίημα “First-Generation immigrant”, από την γεννημένη στην Ινδία Καναδή ποιήτρια, συγγραφέα και εικονογράφο Rupi Kaur. Αυτό το ποίημα είναι μέρος του πρώτου βιβλίου της, “Milk and Honey” (2014), που πούλησε πάνω από 3 εκατομμύρια αντίτυπα παγκοσμίως.

 

Πιστεύουμε ότι η απλότητα του ποιήματος καταφέρνει να δείξει τις δυσκολίες του να είσαι μετανάστης πρώτης γενιάς. Η Rupi περιγράφει μια κατάσταση που συμβαίνει σε πολλούς ανθρώπους, συμπεριλαμβανομένης και της ίδιας: γεννήθηκε στο Punjab  και μετανάστευσε στον Καναδά όταν ήταν τριών ετών, έγινε, όπως εκφράζεται στο ποίημά της, «μια γέφυρα μεταξύ δύο χωρών».

 

“First-generation immigrant”, by Rupi Kaur

they have no idea what it is like

to lose home at the risk of

never finding home again

have your entire life

split between two lands and

become the bridge between two countries

 

Music by JuliusH from Pixabay

 

 

Σας προσκαλούμε να συνεχίσετε να τσεκάρετε τη σελίδα μας στο Facebook / Instagram για περισσότερα βίντεο σχετικά με την κοινωνικά δεσμευμένη ποίηση. Την επόμενη εβδομάδα θα μοιραστούμε μαζί σας ακόμη ένα ποίημα!

 

***

The volunteers of the Youth Center of Epirus present:

 

“The Poem of the Week”, a  weekly initiative that aims to share poems related to the themes of Migration & Refugees. This initiative was born from the understanding that is vital to show that there are non-formal ways to learn about social topics and that Literature is a beautiful way to do it. Every week we will select a poem about Migration & Refugees and share it on our Facebook/Instagram page and website. The poem will be accompanied by an analysis of its meaning and a brief description of the author and its work. This week’s poem is entitled “First-Generation immigrant”, by the Indian-born Canadian poet, author and illustrator Rupi Kaur.

 

FIRST-GENERATION IMMIGRANT, by Rupi Kaur

 

they have no idea what it is like

to lose home at the risk of

never finding home again

have your entire life

split between two lands and

become the bridge between two countries

 

Music: https://www.bensound.com

 

Poem Analysis

 

Rupi’s poem is short, but heartwarming. With only 6 lines she is able to make us reflect about what it means to be a first-generation immigrant, specifically the difficulties that many people don’t even dream about. Rupi describes a situation that happens to many people, including herself: she was born in Punjab and immigrated to Canada when she was three years old, becoming, as expressed in her poem, “a bridge between two countries”. 

She really establishes a difference between “they” (the people that never had to face the heartbreaking experience of leaving home) and people like her, that after losing home still have to deal with the feeling of having two nationalities/cultural backgrounds.

 

About the Author

 

Rupi Kaur is one of the most famous poets nowadays. She has three books published: “Milk and Honey” (published in 2015, when she was a 21-year-old university student), “The sun and her flowers” (2017) and “Home Body” (2020). She rose to fame on Instagram and Tumblr by publishing her visual poetry and is often viewed as being at the forefront of Instapoetry. Her work touches on love, loss, trauma, healing, femininity, and migration. 

 

We invite you to keep checking our Facebook/Instagram page and website for more videos about socially engaged literature. Next week we will share with you another poem!


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