It looks like tonight’s event is going ahead. The Walk with Amal will begin at 7.30 from the Pasalimani Clock Tower right on the edge of the Marina. I had taken a stroll down there earlier in the afternoon to check out the location. I had been to the Marina before via the Hop on Hop Off bus tour but finding it on foot was a different matter. Piraeus should be easy to navigate as the streets are set out in very distinct grid lines. Google Maps however really has a mind of its own!
I set off a little earlier than necessary because I’d planned to eat before the event. As I arrived at the small square next to the clock tower there was a large police presence and also a group of men dressed in black. The atmosphere felt a little tense so I sat on the periphery of the square trying to gauge the situation. Over the course of the hour, more people arrived at the square – more women, a few families and then several groups of young people, some carrying flags. The atmosphere now felt less intimidating. There was a group of young people handing out leaflets. As the young woman handed me the leaflet I asked her what it was about but she said that her English wasn’t very good. Another young woman approached me and asked if I wanted her to explain to which I said yes.
She told me that they were here for Amal but there had been problems with the fascists (her exact words) that had caused last nights event in Athens to be cancelled She said “We are all here to make sure that tonight she can walk”. So the men in the square were there to support Amal! I thanked her for her help but no words could describe my admiration for these young people – probably the same age as my grandchildren, around 17 – 19 years of age. This can really restore your faith in human nature.
There was a small contingent of young men – probably around the same age, who I guessed were there for reasons other than to support the event. A few of them would occasional walk through the square and approach the volunteers handing out the leaflets. I could see the volunteers giving them directions of where Amal would walk. After taking a leaflet they would screw it up and throw it on the floor as they joined a small group of young men of a similar age. I’m not saying that this group were associated with the fascists that were trying to disrupt the events with Amal – how would I know? However, there was something about the body language, the swaggered walk and the smirks that made me think that they weren’t here to support tonight’s event. But people have come out in strength tonight and Amal WILL walk!
Slightly later than scheduled Amal appears in the back of an open backed truck filled with balloons. The young people with the flags are there to escort her and to sing to her until arrival at the Municipal Theatre. We walked with Amal with more people joining along the way. The crowd was now substantial and joyous and full of positivity and support.
I apologise now for the dodgy videoing – it’s really not my forte! At one point I fell into a bollard and nearly broke my leg because I wasn’t looking where I was going!
By the time we reached he Municipal Theatre there was standing room only. I had to dodge and weave to get to the far side of the square to get a reasonable vantage point.
Tonights event is called Sleepless, Here is the description of the event from The Walk’s website.
“Amal is looking for a safe space to sleep as she arrives at the square in front of the Municipal Theatre of Piraeus. She sees beds. Upon each bed, sits a child with their parents.
The children don’t want to sleep, but to play and dance to the music of Giorgis Christodoulou. Their parents try everything until slowly they start falling asleep one by one. All except Amal. She is tired but more than anything she is alone.
The children gather around her one by one offering comfort and finally Amal can sleep to the sound of the lullabies provided by Marina Satti’s chórès choir.
All of this will take place in front of the Municipal Theater of Piraeus, one of Greece’s pre-eminent theatres, which served as a safe haven for displaced people who arrived in Greece in the wake of the destruction of Asia Minor.
Giannis Panagopoulos – direction, Maria Stamataki & the teachers of Chorologie: Myrto Katsou, Aggeliki Mouzaki and Christina Bitou – children’s choreography, Dimos Klimenof – set and costume design, Evina Vasilakopoulou – lighting, Yannis Damianos – sound engineering, Aristeidis Marantos – lyrics to the songs of Giorgis Christodoulou. With the participation of students from the Piraeus Association School of Dramatic Art.”
What a truly beautiful show this has been – not may I add, enhanced by my terrible videoing skills or rather lack thereof! Well done Piraeus and well done Good Chance Theatre!
That’s more than enough excitement and frenetic activity for one day. I need a swift drink and something to eat so I go to a lovely little bar called Filotimos located down the side of the Municipal Theatre. Dover cocktail and a light bite!
Tomorrow we wave Amal goodbye as she heads of to Italy