Graffiti in Athens
Location: Tsiklitira Streeet in Pangrati near the Panathenaic Stadium
Translation: “They steal your life and they’re feeding you with nation and race”
Description: According to the worker that translated this, “they” refer to either the government or fascists. The only other person I got to talk to, let’s name him K, said that they (government/fascists) say things such as migrants are bad people (“essentially lies” -K) in order to feed the people fear and make their brains into nationalists. I was not quite sure about what he meant by this because I just wanted to let him continue on, but he seemed as though he was ready to change the subject (I also think he got a glimpse of the other graffiti that I had pulled up on my laptop and wanted to talk more about those than this one. I still think it’s interesting to note that he was not too excited to talk specifically about this graffiti like he was about the other two. I wish I had the guts to ask him more about this one, but I couldn’t.
Location: Iakchou Street in Gazi
Translation: “You have to respect the workers, otherwise Rubicons will come against you like storming rivers.”
Description: Rubicons, as was explained to me, are an anarchist activist group in Greece. I then talked to the two Greek men that I had talked to for the other graffiti photographs. K said that he feels most of the anarchist tags are inspirational and inspirited, and that he liked most of them. He then went on to say that he himself is not an anarchist but he likes their “passion for their utopia,” but doesn’t always like the methods they use (meaning the street fights, riots etc.). F agreed with this specific graffiti, about respecting the workers, but he said that he is not an anarchist himself and that he doesn’t really see the world the way anarchists do. It’s interesting to note that these two men were also around my age, if not a few years older. The worker at the cafe also said that he is not an anarchist, but he agrees that workers should be paid on time and be treated fairly (makes sense because he’s a worker himself).
After talking with them, I decided to do a bit of my own research, and I found out that Rubicon is exactly what they say they are: a group of activists who protest for the rights of others and themselves, sometimes in a peaceful way, as unraveling a banner with the words “Solidarity with the hunger strikers - Immediate fulfillment to their demands - Anarchist group Rubicon,” (Article Here) or in a not so peaceful way, as in the vandalization and attack on Attica Prefecture Headquarters with sledgehammers (Article Here). I thought it was interesting, and I never knew about this anarchist activist group until seeing and talking about it with some Greek people.
Location: Stournari Street in Exarchia Square
Translation: “Asteras Exarcheion” (left side) and “We wear masks to look at each other in the eyes” (right side)
Description: Asteras Exarcheion is the football team for Exarchia. I had no idea what it was until I asked. I ended up asking only two people what they thought about this specific graffiti, and the only answers I really received were “Oh, that’s my team!” On the right side, I was just told that it was a sort of joke by one, and the other said he just didn’t really have any sort of take on it whatsoever. However, it’s interesting to note how they quickly could identify with the football team, but not so much the right side of the graffiti. I decided to do a little research on the football team, and ended up watching a short Youtube video of an Asteras Exarcheion football game (just a short one with most of the focus on the crowd). In the description it reads:
Like any notorious neighborhood, Exarcheia in Athens, Greece, has its own
notorious football team and the fans it deserves. A sports club operated by its
antifa fans on a self-organization basis promoting non-hierarchy, freedom and
solidarity through open assemblies. The atmosphere during the games cannot
be properly described unless you've been there. Highly identified with anarchist-communist politics, wherever the team plays, its fans create an
atmosphere that resembles a riot, like the Exarcheia neighborhood is known for
across the world. Whenever the team scores a goal, the fans usually cheer with
anti-cop (ACAB) slogans like they would during a protest (Cops-Pigs-Murderers).
If the opposite team scores a goal, the fans cheer regardless, like they have scored
a goal themselves. Even if the team is demoted to a lower football league, the fans organize a party to celebrate it, no matter what!
I thought this was interesting because throughout the video, I noticed how the fans were chanting and throwing toilet paper and even had some kind of color bombs. Honestly, it did look like a riot, but it was interesting. I think this graffiti was more about the football team rather than the quote next to it, but I wish I could’ve been able to get a little more information on the right side of the graffiti.