"You are sending my friends away"...

root for solidarity

Well-known member
Jan 14, 2012
Here is a letter I found circulating in the Greek internet. It is not adressed to you, but I suspect it will ring a bell, nonetheless.

The original (in Greek) is here:
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You are sending my friends away...

I’m going to stay.

By Anastasia Yamali

We grew up here, it's nice here. Not just nice… It’s magic. There is the sun. There is the sea. There is salt in our hair. There is sand hidden in the most obscure parts of a handbag that we forgot to shake… Over here we wear caps only for the fancy of it. It’s November now and we still don’t need to wear a coat. Here we eat souvlaki’s standing up, we drink raki and laugh. Here is where we where crying about boys who didn’t want us, then flew a shot to sh...t and giggled. Here is where they cried, those boys we didn’t want. Here is where we carved our names on trees (the few that exist). Here is where we run off, missing school. Here is where we got drunk and through up in the bathroom of some friend. Here, in my room, is where my mother had found us stoned, with a bottle of tequila and some lemon peel, do you remember? Here is where we started dreaming. And then, we heard about “revolution”, that is when our dreams changed. That is when we “ate chemicals” (tear/asphyxia gassed), when we run, when I phone-called you crying, the (austerity) measures had been passed and I saw some granddad being sprayed (with gas) in front of me, and your mother was crying behind the phone for you to come with the car (!) in the blockaded Syndagma square to collect me because, quote, I was a “stupid nut”. Here is where we learned about justice and where we saw injustice, here is where we where shuddered with some slogan and laughed with another: "my baby, you're as beautiful as a burning bank"… Now, you are leaving… You are not the first, nor the last…

I am staying.

One after the other, they are leaving. Off to London, to Belgium, to Berlin. Another one in Holland, several to America… Immigrants out of poverty…Who? My own friends. My co-students, the ones with whom we where raving about the jobs and the lives “of our dreams”. End of dream. At best, we will be working –those of us who would be lucky enough to have a job- twelve hours a day for some f...cked up disgrace of a salary. No traveling, no money, no great love affairs (“where can you find time for love affairs, don’t you see what’s going on?”), no future… That is what they have in stall for us. “One day and today”, just like when you are a conscript in the army… every day ends up a “one day and today”, day. Sh...t ….I know you don’t want to live on 500 euros a month, I know you have dreams… we shared these same dreams… I am staying.

One after another they get fed up, they flare up and leave. They all have great CVs, my friends, they do… They easily get hired abroad. I am glad for them. I am sorry that we get scattered… I am sorry that I am staying here and the others flee to a future for which they have to “reset their odometer”, in order to live it out… An odometer which we geared up together all these years. You are leaving… I will support you, but damn it, do not leave! Look at what we achieved in such little time. Could you have believed, back in 2008, that all this would have happened? Could you have believed that there would be hundreds of thousands of us gathering in Syndagma square, for so many months at a row? Could you have believed that we would have to grab each other’s hands to not get lost in the crowd? Could you have believed that we would be going to demonstrations and not see there, only the usual familiar faces? Could you have believed the result of the last elections, when we where celebrating in the kiosk of the university, and there was this funny silent kid there, holding an orange juice, come on, would you believed the distance we have traveled? I am staying.

One after another, they pack, they swear at the divines, they shed tears, and get on a plane – not just for the one year of their MA degree –but for, whatever… Their mother cries over the phone, what can she say? She says, “good luck”. And more and more this is what you hear: “Greece is only good for a holiday”. No, you fool! It’s not just for a holiday, because if you start believing that, that’s what they are going to turn Greece into… and, mind you, those would be holidays that one would be nauseous about… I am staying.

One after another they see the polarization, the see the fascists, the feel the impending clash coming... You told me something about coppers who had cornered an immigrant, that he showed them his papers, and they tore them apart. You told me about the buddies of someone you knew, they were caught and the dreadlocks of their hair where uprooted, one by one. You where shocked. I know that every night you hear about attacks of the Hrisi Avgi (“Golden Down”) against immigrants and gay people… I know that all you really wanted was to save kittens from being run over by cars and …now you have to deal with this gloom… We where not ready for this, but …it happened. And now what? Just like that, you don’t lead your life here the way you wanted to- and so, you leave…You leaving, the problem will still persist. Ware we perhaps always leaving, only caring about our personal salvation? Are we perhaps in this desperate state now, because we where all silently consenting with this good for nothing mindset? And what if, in a short time from now, wherever it is you are going, the same things that are happening here, happen there too? What will you do then? You will go somewhere else? Will you be going around the planet carrying a lousy suitcase, in order to find somewhere where the crisis has not hit, so that you can have a life? Will you pass through your life leaving and leaving and leaving? Maybe you where leaving and leaving and lost even when you where living here? Maybe when you where indifferent about things –indifference is an imponderable factor, it is- you where to blame, too? And me, as well? So, now you’ve gotten tickets, huh? I am staying.

One after another, they start talking by skype wearing there pajamas, talking to their friends the people that our county has driven away…They told us that all this is happening so as to “save our homeland”… What homeland, you fools? Our homeland is boarding a plane and is moving elsewhere… Our homeland is leaving and she has a book by Poulantzas in her suitcase (I lent it to you, and I know i am not getting it back), Woodpecker by Robins and one of my shirts… What “homeland” without my friends? The most ambitious dream is the difficult matter. It is the one worth having. And here, we, us few who remain, fewer every day, we strengthen our voice (that goes together with our rage). But I can not yell for two, for three, for ten (of you), we are few… They are getting what they want, don’t you get it? They are decimating us. You can not leave and leave us few here sticking with all the old fools who voted for Samaras. They will do it again, the same and even worse… Stay, so that we can take a stand. Stay so that we will banish them and make our world the way we deserve it, better! Dream with you eyes wide open, right here… I can’t do it alone… Stay so that we won’t stay a few…

I am staying.
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