The Festival was about cultural diversity including many relevant activities for the participants. The place that hosted the Festival is a special place in Thessaloniki, Oikopolis Association. It is a colorful free social centre and meeting place extremely active in the field of solidarity and ecology.
The air of the first day was full of expectations. Waiting for the arrival of all delegations… They will be the same as in Turin? Do you know anybody? What will be the workshop’s topic that they want to handle and how…
After every arrival the desire to start this new adventure increased. Someone already knew each other, for the others was a sequence of names, handshakes and smiles. Once all the delegations had gathered, we made a small presentation of the delegations themselves and how the days to come would be organized; the workshops and the artistic performances. Finally we went to a beautiful taverna and stir the delegations we started to know each other better. The evening was happily completed with Aperito's concert.
In the following days the ice had already broken for all of us! And a journey just began, full of new experiences, interactions between the teams and the members, many new information that worked like food for thought. Every moment was something different, something amazing, despite the lack of sleep, despite the body tiredness, our spirits were totally in a rush, our minds started to overthink,about Europe, people, solidarity ,freedom, human rights, equality and everything that is connected with these in a positive or negative way. We had the chance to discuss about the migration crisis, apparently overwhelming Europe, and presaging the collapse and demise of the way of life we know, practice, cherish, see and assist actually to various forms of support and solidarity between human beings. We remember so intensely the moment dedicated to fold the clothes for the babies, there were so small. That was a very important lesson and one of many things that we lived in the festival, all the feelings got in the surface of our souls and took a place not only in the activities of this festival but also in our hearts.
An incredible moment of the festival was our participation in the Human Library, an equalities movement that challenges prejudice and discrimination through social contact. It uses the language and mechanism of a library to facilitate respectful conversations that can positively change people’s attitudes and behaviors towards members of our communities who are at risk of exclusion and marginalization. We assisted to the Ollie Ollie Oxen Free performance inspired by the last Pythia’s oracles and Nazim Hikmet’s poetry. There was no need for words but only through the expression of the human body had an almost transcendental impact on all of us. The power of art! The performance loaded us with energy for the following action. We took part in the street performance "We are all in crisis; We are refugees" by the performer Valentina Paraskevaidou. We walked in the centre of Thessaloniki city with our suitcases and passports like we were refugees and we stopped three times pretending that we were trying to see our new world, our new house as we had lost ours because of the war. In the end we were all together watching the sunset. It was an amazing experience full of contrasting emotions. Like all the beautiful things it did not last long.
Goodbye to the fellow adventurers we left behind Thessaloniki and the wonderful experience that the Festival gave us…!