I filmed this video while being 8 months pregnant with my daughter. (A rainbow baby, after two miscarriages and lots of hurt.) Athena is a song about my hometown. Since I recently moved back from Berlin, we – videographers the MÉTA Project & me – decided to film around the city, almost as if we wanted to document what’s changed; seemingly nothing has changed, but only because so much did. The current population of Athens (based on recent calculations) is about 3.154.000 people – over 3 million people happen to call Athens their home. Whenever I’m asked, I always talk about how compact everything feels in Athens. Considering the current population density, Athens sure feels (and is) as crowded as never before. But what’s that done to its people? Does it leave them room to breathe?
For how long can one go without finding some kind of solace in their surroundings, in their lives?
I’m often writing about the concept of home. To me, home is not just four walls and a roof – it’s way more than that. It’s a place, an idea, a relationship where you feel safe and warm. Everyone deserves to find their home. We’ve been taught to obsessively, hungrily seek for a piece of bourgeois conformity in our lives, but I want to believe it’s becoming clear that simplicity will always offer more comfort than any frilly luxury of any sort.
Providing the space for my daughter to grow – being her home for nine months, has activated an/my almost primal need for safeguarding. All these months, I became my daughter’s shield. I started noting down weird comments and looks addressed to me and sharpened my reflexes. People can be nice, but they can be cruel, too. Bringing to life a daughter, raising her in a world that perpetuates seeing girls and women as breeding machines “of lesser merit” is something truly terrifying. I’m scared, but I shall not show her. I shouldn’t be driven by fear. Instead, I shall become her four walls and roof, under which she’ll feel safe and protected, allowed to be whomever she wants to be.
You’ll think, what does that all have to do with Athens, its population, the video or my album Plotting Revolutions… Well, in my head, it’s all connected like a thread. Returning to Athens, long after running away from it, has helped me reconcile with my roots. It’s taught me that we can make whatever we want out of our home, hometown, home country, planet. WE create the environment we want to live in. During these tumultuous times where all we used to know gets challenged and empathy runs low, there’s little patience for words. Yet, we must persevere. We must open the doors of our “homes” for all those who feel unsafe and threatened. Despite its (perhaps) troubling legacy, up to today, Athens is an emblem for democratic values and ideals. We must embrace these principles and stop letting the hatred in. We shall resist division and conflict, opt for cultivating tolerance, compassion. Envision the world we expect our children and their children to walk on.
After all, the revolution will come from within.
You can stream “Athena” on the platform of your choice smarturl.it/sarahpathena