Here’s a guest posting from the splendid Rupa of Rupa and the April Fishes. Their album, Build, is just out, and you might recognise the title track from the Generation Food trailer. Below, a video for “Weeds”, and a story of the video’s director.
as a band, we started going to athens 5 years ago to play concerts, brought over by an excited promoter of means. when we were there we witnessed progressive signs of deeper social unraveling. in 2009, we discussed with the concert promoter our discomfort in charging ticket prices that would prohibit people who may want to or may need to hear this kind of music from coming to the show given the economic upheaval greece was experiencing.
so we found a way to come to athens with our music that felt right to us. we met young organizers in athens’ anti-authoritarian movement, people who were running a social center called NOSOTROS where crucial aspects of social functioning were continuing as schools closed, clinics closed, suicides, drug use and homelessness increased. there, we played shows that were open to the public and free, asking for donations and accepting the generosity people were able to give, in the way of food and shelter. we have returned to athens in this way several times now and this simple act is teaching me something about the value of music outside of industry or economic models. i see the effect it has to simply witness and to bring a moment of celebration and reflection to people who feel invisible as the world’s experts stroke their chins to discuss “the greek crisis” in terms that do not reflect the humanitarian crisis or the humanity of the people on the ground, those people who are trying to build another way.
the filmmaker who made this video yiorgos bakalis is a friend we met through NOSOTROS. he offered to make this video to our song “WEEDS” as an expression of his gratitude for our gift of music. i checked in with him at the end of september to see how the video was coming.
his reply to me in email:
“sorry for the late but i was in prison.”
i came to find out that yiorgos was one of 15 demonstrators who was picked up by the greek police and tortured after attending an anti-fascist demonstration on september 30th where greek citizens were speaking out publicly against the activity of the neo-nazi group, the golden dawn. scapegoating greece’s economic hardship on groups of poor laborers who travel from the global south seeking work, the golden dawn has been terrorizing immigrants in athens by roving in gangs and assaulting immigrants in their neighborhoods. yiorgos went to join the demonstration against this activity and was tortured as a result. a large percentage of greece’s police force are part of the golden dawn and greece’s media is tacitly complicit, allowing these kinds of abuses to continue.
this video is a tribute to the global awakening we find ourselves in, to the people who have the courage to speak out against the abuse of power where they see it–in their governments, in their financial institutions, in their own neighborhoods.
the music video is here:
please let me know the most powerful way we can get this message out. please don’t let the people of athens continue to be invisible while the world’s media delivers hysterical imagery and talks about the financial crisis in terms that have no felt human heart. my music is about raising awareness for folks who have no voice rather than a comparison to any pop culture divas. it is an honor and privilege to speak on their behalf and i need your help to get the word out.