Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pavlos Fissas

Pavlos Fissas was an antifascist activist and rapper in Greece. He was stabbed to death a few nights ago by a supporter of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn. Here are two articles about Fissas and his murder:

• Joshua Stephens, “Anti-fascist Struggle and Race in the Face of Golden Dawn: A Greek Anarchist Responds”

• Leonidas Oikonomakis, “For Pavlos: The Antifa Rapper Killed by Golden Dawn”

The person Stephens interviews emphasizes that his murder shouldn’t be seen as special:
...[A] politician from Syriza was on TV today saying that Pavlos represents the first casualty of Golden Dawn. And he said that straight-faced, with no shame, as though the immigrants who’ve been murdered don’t count; as though Pavlos is somehow more of a person. And that sentiment is fairly widespread. I think a lot of people will be “shocked” today, as though this most recent event is some sort of a revelation.

Like a white body is somehow more jarring to the collective conscience.

Exactly. Why weren’t people equally shocked when Golden Dawn murdered a Pakistani [Shehzad Luqman] biking home from work? The only response came from anarchists and leftists. But maybe now people will finally listen. Maybe it’ll be like when Alexis Grigoropoulos was murdered in 2008. Police kill people all the time; that uprising happened because Alexis was someone people felt connected to.

And you think Pavlos’s visibility as a musician might provoke that same response?

Possibly. I don’t want to diminish anyone’s anger. I just find this “shock” a little repulsive, I think. A musician? A white male? It’s easier for people to identify with him than with nameless immigrants, but they’ve been killed by fascists, killed in detention centers, killed in police offices, and not seen such a broad response as Pavlos's murder has.
I don’t want to minimize the earlier victims of GD violence by talking about Fissas’ murder. Nor do I mean to reduce him to an abstract political symbol when I quote this portion of his friend’s tribute:
…[T]he rise of fascism in Greece is a direct result of the austerity policies that have driven the people here into extreme levels of poverty, marginalization and insecurity, providing fertile ground for the neo-Nazis of Golden Dawn who promise them national glory in place for economic security.

The neoliberal austerity policies that have brought Greece to this condition are being imposed by the Troika of foreign lenders: the ECB, the IMF, and the EU, and implemented by the servile government of this country.

Both the Troika and the Greek government have chosen to turn a blind eye to the murderous actions of Golden Dawn. They know about it — it’s not that they don’t. But as long as the austerity measures are voted through Parliament and the debt is repaid, the Troika is happy. At the same time, Antonis Samaras’ ruling right-wing party views Golden Dawn supporters as “their own people”, and even the Prime Minister himself regularly adopts Golden Dawn’s hate speech, especially when it comes to matters of immigration….
It seems that his tragic death might be the beginning of the end for the Golden Dawn. I hope it is, but that doesn’t make the loss of this unique human being any less tragic.

(An English translation would be much appreciated.)

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