Greek artists mark World Poetry Day with anti-austerity protest

Updated: 2012-03-22 02:56:00


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ATHENS, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Greek artists marked World Poetry Day on Wednesday with a special anti-austerity protest in central Athens, spreading hope to passers-by through verses of major Greek poets.

Writers, intellectuals, representatives of publishing houses, musicians and dancers marched from the National Library to Syntagma square in a protest quite different from the hundreds of rallies staged in front of the parliament building since 2009.

Instead of the usual slogans against cuts on salaries and tax hikes imposed by the government to counter the crisis, artists raised banners with verses of Odysseas Elytis, the late Nobel Prize winner in Literature, such as "Make a leap faster than decay" or "If you can' t find spring, make it."

Meanwhile, they distributed to passers-by copies of verses of Dionysios Solomos, writer of the Greek national anthem, such as "Always wide open, always alert are my soul's eyes," as students of the Greek National School of Dance performed short theatre plays.

The aim of the protest, according to its organizers, was to show people that they can overcome disappointment and anger and find hope to tackle current difficulties in the rich Greek cultural heritage.

World Poetry Day was declared by the United Nations' cultural arm UNESCO in 1999 with a purpose "to give fresh recognition and impetus to national, regional and international poetry movements."