Last night, Greek activist and artist Pavlos Fyssas was stabbed to death by a gang of neo-Nazi thugs. Leonidas Oikonomakis pays tribute to his friend.
Eyewitness reports on Pavlos’ murder are available here.
I still remember the last concert we gave in Athens as Social Waste back in 2005. It took place at the legendary “An Club” in Exarchia and we shared the stage with Rhymeshot, the new band at the time of Killah P.
– “We are not ready Pavlo, we’d better not perform, we haven’t done rehearsals for a long time.”
– “No, no! In our first concert I want you guys there! C’mon!”
At the time Pavlos was 26 years old, and I was 23. We had met at Freestyle Productions, a socio-political hip-hop production team that was formed around Active Member, the country’s biggest hip-hop band. As we shared similar political beliefs and respect for each other we became friends, and we remained so even after we both left Freestyle Productions.
Pavlos was from a working class suburb of Piraeus and, like all the kids born and raised there, he was a fan of Olympiakos (“..and Proodeftiki!” he would add!) — another thing we had in common and that brought us close. I remember we always used to hang out in the demonstrations being organized in Athens and elsewhere at the time, often marching together in the same formation. Pavlos was always present in the social struggles of his time and his generation, and he tried to contribute to them through his music and lyrics as well.
Time passed. I left Greece and now when I return I very rarely spend time in Athens. We lost contact but I was always learning his news from common friends. I heard he had opened up a small taverna in his neighborhood and I kept following his songs and activities from abroad.
And last night, after watching the game of my — and Pavlos’ — favorite team over the Internet, I kept browsing the web when the news came up: “Antifascist stabbed by neo-Nazis in Amfiali. It all took place after the game of Olympiakos-PSG”. I kept following the thread as the news slowly kept coming in, and then I read it:
“The antifascist young man is dead. His name was Pavlos Fissas, known in the hip hop circles as Killah P…”
I don’t even know why I am writing these lines right now… Or maybe I do know. Because a young man died tonight, a young man who happened to be a friend of mine, stabbed to death by a neo-Nazi squad whose members today are inside the Greek Parliament and who seem to be enjoying great popular support. And all this has a reason: the 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.
None of this is new. It has been going on for three years now while the social and economic conditions in the country steadily worsen, sending more and more people into the violent arms of Golden Dawn. Neither is Pavlos the only victim of this murderous squad. Just one year ago, a 27-year-old Pakistani immigrant Shehzad Luqman was also stabbed to death by these neo-Nazis, while numerous others have been seriously injured in the past years. And the police — many of whom are Golden Dawn supporters — are turning a blind eye as well. Now, after the immigrants’, it was Pavlos’ turn. And tomorrow? Whose will it be?
And how much longer will you be turning a blind eye?
And be sure… No Pasaran!
Leonidas from Social Waste