Dancer on stairs - up two flights, back down three steps. It is not a coincidence that this graffiti on stairs can be found there. For they lead past the famous National Dance School. When sitting at the bottom of the stairs in the equally famous cafe called "nice & easy", often the piano accompanying the dancers can be heard. It is like water running down the stairs. Or else the dancers shout and clap enthusiastically after having completed another daily training session. So many young dancers have started there and three years later they depart with much more mature bodies. It is a measure of time.
Another measure is what happens to the refugees in Greece now that the EU-Turkey agreement is being put into force. Around this time, it is reported about 54 000 refugees are in Greece with still more coming daily from Turkey. On April 4th the programme started by taking by ferry 204 refugees back to Turkey. However, all the other refugees have now done what was to be expected. They all applied for asylum as they wish to delay as much as possible the forced return to Turkey. Thus due process has to be granted to them, in order to preserve the legality of such a EU measure.
Since Merkel had called for a welcome to refugees last September when many of them were stranded at the train station in Budapest, and which led to a massive movement of refugees towards Germany, the image of Europe has undergone an enormous change. The term "fortress" is invoked repeatedly to make explicit what this change entails. Another term is 'closed borders' and, therefore, at risk is to lose the European dream which was linked to Goethe once travelling freely from Weimar to Palermo.
The closing of borders means Europe responds collectively to this challenge by wishing to resume control over the movement of masses of people all seeking safety and security which they cannot find back home. By controlling the influx of people in this way, Greece is left stranded in between Turkey and the rest of Europe. Yet given human nature, as every day shall produce a new situation, both the refugees and the political authorities will have to come to some level of agreement on how to handle this demand for safety and security. It will not help to solve all these problems by letting the refugees face alone the dire situation in Syria. Despite some peace talks are going on, the destruction of cities and many other cultural assets has left a huge scar in that region. It will be difficult to heal.
What to say in the face of all of this? Sometimes images flimmer across the television screen showing how children look into the camera while some play ball in the background of the refugee camp. It would be good if the dancer on the stairs could give all of them an uplift, if only to say reach for the sky by climing the stairs. It will not be easy but can be done. Certainly heavy souls will pull many down, but then the human spirit is not forlorn. Not to forget the many people who have been helping. Only now they need as well some help as they have been deeply affected by the plight of so many and by what they have seen. So marvellous how everyone improvises and finds a solution, and may it be only for the next day. But that too is a measure of these times. What counts is not to let the imagination die down, for that would mean having in Europe no more empathy for these refugees whose faces tell many stories.
Hatto Fischer 5.4.2016
2020 Rijeka in Croatia
2021 Greece and Rumania
ECoCs in 2015 were
by Dileep Jhaveri, written on Feb. 24th 2016, after he had written the poem "Democracy"
In Search of Childhood Memoies
describe certain details they remember upon returning thirty years later to a place where they spend the summer months when growing up.in Pobaltis
Children and war
|Greece since the elections on September 20, 2015
27 - 29 March "Culture and Democracy" conference in Teboursouk, Tunisia
19 - 20 April European Culture Forum in Brussels
– which was postponed in November due to force majeure - i
20 - 23 June "Traces of Multiculturalism in Central Europe" International Conference organised by the University of Alberta, Canada at Wroclaw University
18 - 21 October 7th World Summit on Arts and Culture of IFACCA in Valletta Malta
8 - 9 November "Soul of Europe" conference in Berlin
23 - 25 November "Cities as Community Spaces" - Third International conference on Cultural Relations in Europe and the Mediterranean in Valletta, Malta
Publications by POIEIN KAI PRATTEIN
Catalogue "Imperishable Water", 2012 with Haroula Hadjinicilou, Anna Arvanitaki, Hatto Fischer (ed.), Athens ISBN 978-618-80160-0-2
Hatto Fischer: The poem 'Destiny still flows' by Katerina Anghelaki Rooke - this concerns a discussion of the poem which inspired the action on Rhodes last year
"Nation and Identity" by Kreisau-Initiative, with introduction by Hatto Fischer is crucial for answering the question whether or not Patriotism is an alternative to Nationalism. Youth met first in Kreisau, Poland and were inspired by this example set by the Kreisau Circle which went into resistance against Hitler on the basis of a non discriminatory approach for the day after Hitler fell.
Article by Anna Arvanitaki and Haroula Hadjinicolaou, "Action on Rhodes" in Journal "Nissides" (small islands). Rhodos, Vol. 9, 2012
The poem "strong images" by Hatto Fischer was published on August 18, 2015. See http://labloga.blogspot.com/search?q=hatto+fischer.
Poiein kai Prattein is member of the Mediterranean Directory organized by the
René Seydoux Foundation
Currently a group of poets with Yiorgos Chouliaras and Hatto Fischer as editors are preparing a READER about Greece to be published by Paperwall, Mumbai, India in 2016.
Cultural Calendar for 2015
14th of January World Wide Poetry Reading in Solidarity with Poet Fayadh who is sentenced to death by Saudi Arabia, see
18 - 20 February 16th Kritya Poetry Festival
2-10 March Women Scream Festival in Madrid www.gritodemujer.com
21 March Day of Poetry http://www.un.org/en/events/poetryday/
16 April Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah)
18 - 25 June 26th World Poetry Festival in Medellin, Colombia