The stabbing of Greek rapper Pavlos Fyssas by a sympathizer of Greece’s most prominent extreme right party earlier this month has led to the arrest of the group’s leadership and the unification of once bitterly opposed rap artists against racism and violence.
As reported in an article by Independent contributor Nathalie Savaricas, Greek hip-hop fans talking to the paper are furious at mainstream political parties that they hold responsible for the rise of the Golden Dawn party, which openly admires Nazi ideology. The fans criticized the government for taking action only after Pavlos’ death, when they could have routed the movement by addressing the population’s deep economic pain rather than allowing budding fascists to play and benefit from that role.
“Exploiting the financial crisis and rising crime, Golden Dawn sprung out of near-anonymity with anti-immigrant rhetoric and won an unprecedented 18 seats in Parliament in last year’s general election,” Savaricas writes. “Recent surveys suggested the party, which openly admired Hitler’s ideology, has become the country’s third strongest.”
Some artists say they had cautioned the public for years about the spread of fascism but that they weren’t taken seriously. “Before the killing, they just saw us as musicians with funny hats and controversial views because we were so critical of the establishment,” Akis Tsinidis, aka 12th Monkey, says. “Now they pretend to be shocked and surprised to see Golden Dawn murder just because the victim was a Greek.”
But despite the dismantling of Golden Dawn, musicians lament the enduring flaws of Greece’s institutions and a brazen exploitation of their friend’s death – from politicians across the spectrum trying to win voters to a press eager to increase its public. “Whatever happens, my friend isn’t coming back so let’s just hope he didn’t die in vain – if they’re going to take advantage of it, let them at least not pander,” says Thanassis.
He intends to make sure Pavlos’s death wasn’t futile. A concert in Pavlos’s memory is to take place within the next year and will bring musicians – from reggae to punk – onto one stage. The proceeds of the festival will help set up the non-profit organisation Pavlos wanted: care for the homeless and lessons of music, languages and history to destitute Greeks and foreigners.