28th Antinazizone-YRE summer camp: a successful event, besides covid and the wildfires!

Report by Antinazizone 

On Saturday night, August 7, the 28th Antinazizone-YRE summer camp that took place in Drepano, Igoumenitsa came to an end. Despite the adverse conditions this year – with the continuation of the coronavirus pandemic and the devastating wildfires – we managed to hold a successful event. 

Although the summer camp had a life of its own, it was not of course detached from the everyday reality across the country. Everyone was reading the news on their mobile phones and discussing the devastating fires in northern Evia, in Attica and elsewhere. The grief that was evident, however, must turn to anger – against those who promote the plundering of nature for profit and do not do what is necessary to protect people, animals and trees. 

*** 

Two hundred and thirty-five people attended the full event, with around 50 additional people from the local area participating in various sessions (discussions, concerts, workshops, etc) without staying at the campsite. This number is lower than in previous years, which in our opinion is because we are still living in an unprecedented period characterized by the fear of coronavirus and a general messing up of everyone’s lives. 

All this has of course affected us, but it has not stopped us. The summer camp was once again characterized by a lively and combative atmosphere, with interesting discussions and a general mood of solidarity.  

In recent years we have had an increasing presence of youth at the summer camps, and their  boundless energy sets the tone for all the activities. This did not prevent the “boomers” from achieving a (narrow) victory against the “zoomers” in a beach volleyball match, because experience counts for something! Training for the 29th summer camp match has already started. Apart from this particular “confrontation”, one of the most inspiring elements of the event was that we managed to harmoniously coexist. People of different ages, political views and ethnicities gave an insight into how we think a society where diversity will not be a problem, but a wealth, will actually work. 

*** 

In total, 13 discussions were held at the summer camp, on current or historical issues, which were very interesting. Despite the fact that the camp is a holiday time for everyone, the need to discuss the problems in our lives and find solutions was something that was evident from the willingness to talk about a number of topics. And all this in the midst of a heat wave, which made it more difficult to attend the discussions than in previous years. Among other things, we discussed the historic outcome of the Golden Dawn trial and how the antifascist movement continues; the issue of oil and gas extractions in the East Mediterranean and the nationalist tensions that accompany it; femicide, sexist violence and the #MeToo movement in Greece; the climate crisis and the struggles to protect the environment; the issue of drug addiction; attacks on education; and police repression. 

Alongside the discussions there were film and documentary screenings, live concerts, workshops, activities for children and much more! 

The most powerful moment of the camp was probably the concert given by Yiannis Chaldoupis & Moukliomos (meaning “free” in the Romani language) with their fusion of traditional songs of Epirus and modern music trends. Despite the fact that everyone had to refrain from dancing due to health protocols, and “danced” sitting down, the mood in the venue was really passionate! 

*** 

At the closing remarks of the summer camp, 2 young female comrades, Maria Zoumbopoulou and Jo Michaloglou, took it upon themselves to draw a balance sheet of the event. Gathering the experience of 10 days and passing it on has its own difficulties as a task. But the most important thing that came out was how many people gave their time and ideas to make the project a success. For so many (and different) people to live together for 10 days, talking, having fun, eating and drinking, without significant problems is big in itself. And it all relies on everyone’s voluntary contribution: from the shifts at the bar, grill and kitchen, to the musicians, those who went before the event started to help prepare it, and every little and big help there was. 

children’s hangout
first aid workshop

Once again it was proven that collective effort can work, and work well, giving all of us hope! 

untill next year!

*** 

Discussions about where to hold the next summer camp have already started, as have ideas about what we need to change, and what we can do better. An appointment that has been going on for 28 years, where old acquaintances meet again and new ones are added every year is continuing its journey.   

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