September has started badly. Real problems are further aggravated through the fear campaign cultivated through television, mainly, but other mass media too.

Today I am in Nea Smyrni, a suburb created by the Smyrna refugees of old and which subsequently grew to one of the best known due to the exit of Constantinople exiles(Greeks who lived in Constantinople but had Greek citizenship were ousted from Turkey in the early ’70s) which swelled its inhabitants considerably.
Nea Smyrni has long been synonymous with left wing politics: theirs was the only municipality the Communist Party of the Interior (Euro-communists) won right after the fall of the military junta. Their Ionian heritage is also subtly evident. They have managed to preserve a feeling of community, rare in any Metropolis.
Nea Smyrni Square is vibrant with shops, cafes and pedestrians. Toddlers fearlessly leave their parents’hands to talk to strangers, pedlars of all kinds, color, shape sell cds, bags, corncobs etc, old ladies meet for a chat, old men play tavli and have lively football discussions. Every cafe seems to have its own clientelle. Floca cafe offers a cheese pie with every cup of coffee!
The crisis blues seem to have bypassed Nea Smyrni. Is this true or are its inhabitants so accustomed to disaster as to become immune? Mrs Anna, a pensioner from the UK, relates her experience:”I was thirty and had a little girl of 12 when Turkish authorities knocked on our door and told my husband that he could not open his hardware shop the next day. He was a British citizen and had no right to own a shop. In a few weeks we were forced to leave the only home we knew. Two unemployed adults, an old lady and a child arrived to London with the clothes on our backs. I cried for days. Thank God we managed. We shall manage again”.

The refugees’stories are more heart-breaking. Their survival gives me hope. Their belief in human nature and endurance, their warm welcome to strangers and friends alike, give me hope.
Our humanity is our weapon and it cannot be defeated.