Friends from the Axladitsa-Avatakia Learning Center in Greece are reporting to us what their learning experiences are currently on the streets of Athens – this is society learning (Club of Rome: No Limits to Learning, 1979) in action:
Sarah and I are just back from Syntagma – where we met Anthi – where many people are gathered, continuing to stand up, place their stake in the ground – and continue to act for life.
Some scenes from the Square to share with you….
We were saying good bye to Anthi and I smelled incense – like we have in our churches and I said – where is that coming from? Anthi – pointed out a little tent where on styrofoam a cross was drawn – this is a priest who has come and set up a small chapel – inside the tent is a little alter with icons and a cross – with incense burning and candles lit. I felt tears coming to my eyes – to see this symbol of our land – to see this brave man bring his practice to the square. He is a feisty priest – and he has placed his stake in the ground too.
Then many people gathered in front of the Parliament continuing to chant and show that the agreement of the signing away of our land and people by our government – is not our agreement. They wave Greek flags, stand under banners, talk with friends – of all ages. You can hear that no one is listening to us from the Parliament – but you can see ourselves learning how to listen to ourselves – our voices bouncing back from the Parliament into our own hearts – no more sleeping here!!
Finally – going down the stairs to the Square centre – Platia – there are about 5000 people taking part in the People Assembly – that takes place every night. People stand up to the microphone and speak their propositions – speak their pain, frustration, hope, dreams. Others listen and clap or wave their hands. For one guy it is his first time there – speaks of how he did not believe in this – but then was there on 28 and 29 June and saw how people participated – so decided to come – his proposition – we need to create new songs together so we can sing in our freedom!! As he speaks – a group of people from the flotilla trying to get to Gaza come into the crowd where they have just come from sit in at one of our ministry’s. They are cheered into the crowd and welcomed to join us.
The story you keep hearing being spoken is the shock of the violence from our own riot police against the people on the 28th and 29th June. People were there in peace – standing up and showing our government, Europe, the World that we are not in agreement with this agreement or its life threatening measures. The response was repeated and violent teargassing – right into the crowd – and even the medical centre set up in the metro station. Beatings and provocation. Even tonight they set off teargas.
The air is very edgy here, folks – I call for your prayers, heart holding and love – we need to keep the peaceful warriorship going. We are not doing this just for ourselves – we are doing it on behalf of the whole.
Further reflections on learning about real democracy in Athens: