Philosophy, History and Action
I was not born to hate but to love.
from the tragedy of Sophocles, Choriko, 523, translated by K. H. Myris
Against a political power that represented hatred, cruelty and injustice, Antigone in the tragedy of Sophocles in the 5th century BC. resisted, obeying the voice of her conscience. Τhis attitude towards life inspires the organization “ANTIGONE -Information and Documentation Center for Racism, Ecology, Peace and Non-Violence” (ANTIGONE). In a world dominated by powerful economic interests and overflowing with injustice, hatred, racism and selfishness, the answer cannot be war, conflict and cynicism, but love for fellow human beings, life, the planet.
The non-violent resistance of a brave woman to power was a moral duty, which served the need for someone to honor his/her state “υψίπολις” and not to be someone who is not a citizen of any state “άπολις”, that is, -according to Sophocles- to combine the laws of his city with the justice of the gods, the sense of justice. It is from a corresponding moral debt and feelings of love and solidarity that all of us who participate in our own “ANTIGONE” are motivated.
“ANTIGONE – Information and Documentation Center for Racism, Ecology, Peace and Non-Violence” is a non-profit organization with headquarters in Thessaloniki and a branch in Athens. Since its inception in 1993, “ANTIGONE” has been active in issues related to racism and discrimination, human rights, ecology, peace and non-violent conflict resolution.
“ANTIGONE” develops actions aiming at ensuring the equal participation of all without any discrimination due to gender, race, ethnic or social origin, disability, color, religion, age, sexual orientation, etc. With a focus on solidarity and immediate activation, it seeks to contribute to the creation of appropriate conditions for all people to take an active role in the fields of social, economic and cultural life. Also, the main goal of the organization is to inform and raise awareness of the wider community on issues of non-discrimination, human rights, social ecology, non-violence and multiculturalism.
THE MULTIFACETED ACTION OF ANTIGONE
Since its establishment in 1993, it participates as a coordinating body and as a partner in projects of national and international programs, in thematic areas, such as the smooth integration of refugees, the inclusion of diversity, the fight against prejudice, the social and solidarity economy, the restraint of hate rhetoric etc. Alongside, it organizes non-formal education activities for democracy, human rights and ecology, which are addressed mainly to the school community, but also to the wider society in cultural spaces, meeting places for the elderly, social spaces for young people, etc.
“ANTIGONE” develops actions in collaboration with various social groups based on their own needs, which the organization constantly tries to listen to, coming into daily contact with them and responding with conscience and practical solidarity to its social work. In this context, it implements actions of support, social integration with educational seminars and vocational training workshops, but also seminars for tackling stigma and exclusion, which are addressed to vulnerable social groups, such as those of immigrants – refugees and migrants, Roma, inmates and those who are under social inclusion. People with disabilities, the long-term unemployed and others, etc., as well as experiential workshops for mental/emotional empowerment for women victims of violence, inmates etc.
An important part of the action of “ANTIGONE” is the information and the raising of awareness on human rights issues, which takes place in schools and other social and cultural spaces.
Since January 2002 and every year, “ANTIGONE” organizes the National Round Table against Discrimination, Racism and Xenophobia. It has a regular annual presence in the anti-racist festivals of Thessaloniki and Athens and in corresponding events while it participates in networks of organizations established at local, national and international level, but also co-organizes or participates in informative events, festivals, international youth exchanges. Volunteering is promoted more widely as a way of life, involving volunteers in activities that suit their interests and needs. Volunteering is promoted more widely as a way of life, involving volunteers in activities that suit their interests and needs. In the field of research on racism and immigration, “ANTIGONE” has conducted detailed studies on employment, education, immigrant housing, legislation and racist violence, on issues of minorities, immigrants and other social groups. It also conducts case studies on examples of good and bad practices in the fight against racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism.
HUMANITY AND SOLIDARITY
Since 2001,”ANTIGONE” has been the official national organization for cooperation with the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia – which has become the European Union Fundamental Rights Organization – for the establishment of the European Network for Racism and Xenophobia” RAXEN ” (Racism and Xenophobia European Network). Also, since 2007 “ANTIGONE” in partnership with the Center for European Constitutional Law “Themistoklis and
Dimitris Tsatsou Foundation” is a partner of the “FRALEX” program of the Fundamental Rights Organization of the European Union.
Since 2011, ANTIGONE together with the Center for European Constitutional Law, the Hellenic Union for Human Rights and the Center for Research of Minority Groups participate in the FRANET Program, constituting the “national focal point” of the Fundamental Rights Organization, which has consolidated two (RAXEN and FRALEX). A large percentage of FRA research is based on data and information collected from the Agency’s network of national focal points in EU Member States.
FRANET, with its diverse and specialized human rights research, helps the Organization to provide the EU institutions and Member States with independent and substantiated advice on fundamental rights. In particular, on the basis of data collected through research and expertise of “national focal points” in the field of fundamental rights, the Organization issues opinions and conclusions on how EU institutions and Member States can ensure respect for fundamental rights in practice in the formulation of relevant legislation and policies.
To achieve this goal, the FRA performs the following tasks:
- collection and analysis of information and data
- providing assistance and expertise
- communication and rights awareness
The EU institutions recommend and approve the thematic areas of work of the Otraganization for a period of five years. Key areas covered by FRA’s work include
discrimination, access to justice, racism and xenophobia, data protection, the rights of victims of crime and the rights of children.
For a complete overview of the prevailing situation, FRANET combines the data of legal analysis with the data concerning the daily experiences of individuals in real conditions. Documentation research is complemented by social research in the field, through surveys or interviews, or through analysis of available data.
At the same time, ANTIGONE has been selected since 2010 as a body of cooperation with the “European Network of Legal Experts in the Field of Anti-Discrimination” (Legalent), which specializes in regular monitoring of all institutional developments in legislation and jurisprudence and produces regular reports, analyzes and studies on the application of the principle of equal treatment in the EU Member States.
All the programs that have been completed or implemented by “ANTIGONE” can be found here
Finally, selected editions of books on social ecology, localization, nationalism, non-violence, animal rights, mediation, local history, etc. are implemented here.