ReelNews presents – Into the Fire: The Hidden Victims of Austerity in Greece

In times of severe austerity things look bleak for Greek people, but they’re far worse for those who have recently arrived. Without housing, legal papers or support, migrants in Greece are faced with increasing and often violent racism at the hands of the growing Nazi party Golden Dawn and the police in Athens. Many are trapped by EU laws and legislation of other EU countries meaning they’d be returned to Greece if they managed to get to another member state, they are desperate to leave the country.

On 21st April Into the Fire has been released online and published on various websites simultaneously. Guy Smallman and Kate Mara went to Greece before the last elections (June 2012) and spoke with refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants and undocumented, trying to get an idea of the state of the asylum procedure in this European border country and what it is like to live in constant fear of being attacked – for having the wrong skin colour.

Refugees flee their home countries on the search for safety. Due to it’s land border with Turkey, Greece is one of the main entry gates into Europe, but once there refugees are faced with deficiencies in the asylum procedure, and appalling detention and living conditions. European legislation prevents them from moving on to other European countries and traps them in Greece.

Without housing, legal papers or support, they are faced with increasing and often violent racism. Attacks do not only target refugees, but any foreigner, including immigrants who have been in Greece for years. In spite of incendiary propaganda by the fascist party Golden Dawn and a surge of murderous attacks, state and police seem unwilling to address the issue. Allegations of police sympathizing with Golden Dawn are an open secret. The refugees address their plea for help to Greece and all of Europe: “Let us leave!”

Funeral of Shehzad Luqman in Kotzia square in Athens. 19-1-13 The 26 year old Pakistani migrant was stabbed to death in a racially motivated murder on January 16th as he was cycling to work. His family and friends from the local Pakistani community met in

The Wake Up Call (English subtitles)

EN: The Wake Up Call» is a short documentary on the politicized street art that has emerged in Athens during the course of the Greek economic crisis. It follows four Greek street artists (Paul, MaPet, Absent & Bleeps) in their attempt to leave an imprint on the urban landscape of Athens. Politics, satire and colours are merged together to create an outdoor manifestation of ideas, far from the dominant ideology.

By documenting the work of the four artivists, «The Wake Up Call» reveals an attempt to force a political awakening on crisis-stricken Greece through street art.

More info on The Wake Up Call Website


EL: Το «The Wake Up Call» είναι ένα ντοκιμαντέρ μικρού μήκους για το πολιτικό γκράφιτι στην Αθήνα της κρίσης.

Το ντοκιμαντέρ ακολουθεί τέσσερις street artists στην προσπάθειά τους να αφήσουν το πολιτικό στίγμα τους στο αστικό τοπίο της Αθήνας. Πολιτική, σάτιρα και χρώματα αναμειγνύονται για να γεννήσουν μια υπαίθρια έκφραση μακριά από την κυρίαρχη ιδεολογία. Μέσα από τη δράση των τεσσάρων καλλιτεχνών, το «The Wake Up Call» επιχειρεί να αποτυπώσει την προσπάθεια πολιτικής αφύπνισης στην Ελλάδα της κρίσης, με έργα τέχνης του δρόμου που περιμένουν τη φθορά του χρόνου.

Ο MaPet το πρωί είναι οδοντίατρος. Στον ελεύθερό του χρόνο κόβει στένσιλ με τον οδοντιατρικό τροχό του και τις νύχτες κάνει αυτό που ο ίδιος αποκαλεί «προπαγάνδα στο δρόμο». Ο Absent στήνει ένα πρόχειρο τυπογραφείο και σμιλεύει πολιτική σάτιρα πάνω σε ένα χαρακτικό που υπηρετεί τη δική του αντιπληροφόρηση. Από την εποχή του «No Niquita» μέχρι το «Hello Χ-ίτη» οι αφίσες του, τυπωμένες σε λαδόκολλα, δεν έχουν περάσει απαρατήρητες. Ο Pol, άλλος ένας «στενσιλάς», απεχθάνεται τον καθωσπρεπισμό της μεγαλοαστικής τάξης και λέει με ειρωνεία «Καθαροί τοίχοι, βρώμικες συνειδήσεις». Ασκεί κριτική στον ρόλο των κυρίαρχων ΜΜΕ και καλεί την κοινωνία σε εξέγερση με ένα μεγάλο έργο στον πεζόδρομου της Ερμού. Τέλος, ο Bleeps, ίσως ο πιο γνώριμος από όλους, σχεδιάζει μπροστά στο φακό του ντοκιμαντέρ το τελευταίο του έργο, μια αλληγορία για «Το Τίμημα» που καλείται να πληρώσει ο λαός λόγω της οικονομικής κρίσης.

Την τελευταία δεκαετία η Αθήνα έχει αναδειχθεί σε μια από τις σημαντικότερες πρωτεύουσες της street art, της τέχνης του δρόμου. Γκράφιτι έχουν γεμίσει ολόκληρες γειτονιές του κέντρου όπως τα Εξάρχεια, ο Κεραμεικός και το Γκάζι. Ειδικά τα τελευταία δύο χρόνια, με την εμφάνιση της οικονομικής κρίσης, το πολιτικό γκράφιτι έχει βρει εύφορο έδαφος απέναντι στη μονόπλευρη πληροφόρηση και την έλλειψη κριτικής στάσης στα τεκταινόμενα από την πλειονότητα των κυρίαρχων ΜΜΕ. Παράλληλα, η άνοδος της ακροδεξιάς στην ελληνική πολιτική σκηνή αποτέλεσε το έναυσμα για ακόμη περισσότερη κριτική στο πιο ελεύθερο κομμάτι της ελληνικής πρωτεύουσας, τους δρόμους της.

Το «The Wake Up Call» είναι μια καταγραφή του καλλιτεχνικού πολιτικού ακτιβισμού στα χρόνια της κρίσης, ενα «κοινωνικό ημερολόγιο σε δημόσια έκθεση», όπως το αποκαλεί ο Bleeps, εφήμερα αναρτημένο στους τοίχους της Αθήνας.

Έρευνα – Σενάριο: Κώστας Καλλέργης
Φωτογραφία: Κώστας Καλλέργης/Δημήτρης Πεταλάς
Μοντάζ:Κώστας Χριστακόπουλος
Μουσική:Κλεάνθης Κωνσταντινίδης/Γιώργος Τσέτικας
Σχεδιασμός ιστοσελίδας:Μανώλης Κανδανολέων

ROAR presents: ‘Utopia on the Horizon’

ROAR presents ‘Utopia on the Horizon’, a documentary on the Greek debt crisis and anti-austerity movement, dedicated to those who chose to struggle.

Versión en castellano aquí. Ελληνική έκδοση εδώ.

In May 2011, hundreds of thousands of Greeks swarmed into Syntagma Square in Athens to protest against the firesale of their country, their labor rights and their livelihoods to corrupt domestic elites and foreign financial interests.

In a matter of days, a protest camp was set up – organized on the principles of direct democracy, leaderless self-management and mutual aid – providing a glimpse of utopia in the midst of a devastating financial, political and social crisis. On June 28-29, during a Parliamentary vote on further austerity measures, the state finally responded with brutal force, eventually evicting the protesters from the square and crushing the radical potential of their social experiment.

A year later, Leonidas Oikonomakis and Jérôme Roos – PhD researchers at the European University Institute and co-authors of the activist blog – returned to Athens to speak to activists involved in the movement and the occupation of Syntagma Square, as well as WWII resistance hero Manolis Glezos. What follows is this dramatic portrait of a country veering on the brink of collapse; and the people who chose to struggle in order to build a new world on the ruins of the old.

Watch now on YouTube: English (with subtitles) Greek (with subtitles) Spanish (with subtitles)
“UTOPIA ON THE HORIZON” Was Brought To You By: Reflections on a Revolution (
Made Possible By: Syntagma Multimedia Team (RealDemGr)
A Production By: Descuadro Producciones (
Cast: Maria Kanellopoulou, Dimitris Timpilis, Niki Dimitriadi, Manolis Glezos
Directed By: Jérôme Roos, Leonidas Oikonomakis
Produced By: Jérôme Roos, Andrés Cornejo
Edited By: Andrés Cornejo
Sound Design By: Benjamin Schimpke
Mix and Additional Music: OddOne Studio
Production Assistant: Tamara Van Der Putten
Archive Footage By: Syntagma Multimedia Team
Screenplay By: Jérôme Roos, Andrés Cornejo, Leonidas Oikonomakis
Translations By: Leonidas Oikonomakis, Yorgos Goumas, Maria Pafili, Tamara Van Der Putten, Santiago Carrión, Pedro Noel
Music By: Maria Kanellopoulou (soprano) – ‘Astron Ouranion’, Maria Kanellopoulou (soprano) – ‘Pace Pace Mio Dio’, Nikolas Asimos – ‘Den Pa Ma Nas Xrypan’
Special Thanks To: Christos Staikos, Manos Cizek, Geoff Arbourne, Manolis Foinikianakis, Nikolas Leventakis, Boumba Dimitrokali, Felipe Maqui, Gorka Molero, Stavris Chatzivasiliou, Tamara Van Der Putten, Ike Krijnen

Ken Loach / Which Side Are You On

Stunning documentary on the 1984 UK Miners Strike where international capital used Margaret Thatcher’s Tory government to mount a vicious campaign of violence and hatred on the British working class. The film features the miners and their families experiences told through songs, poems and other art.

David Graeber, DEBT: The First 5,000 Years

While the «national debt» has been the concern du jour of many economists, commentators and politicians, little attention is ever paid to the historical significance of debt.

For thousands of years, the struggle between rich and poor has largely taken the form of conflicts between creditors and debtors—of arguments about the rights and wrongs of interest payments, debt peonage, amnesty, repossession, restitution, the sequestering of sheep, the seizing of vineyards, and the selling of debtors’ children into slavery. By the same token, for the past five thousand years, popular insurrections have begun the same way: with the ritual destruction of debt records—tablets, papyri, ledgers; whatever form they might have taken in any particular time and place.

Enter anthropologist David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5,000 Years (July, ISBN 978-1-933633-86-2), which uses these struggles to show that the history of debt is also a history of morality and culture.

In the throes of the recent economic crisis, with the very defining institutions of capitalism crumbling, surveys showed that an overwhelming majority of Americans felt that the country’s banks should not be rescued—whatever the economic consequences—but that ordinary citizens stuck with bad mortgages should be bailed out. The notion of morality as a matter of paying one’s debts runs deeper in the United States than in almost any other country.

Beginning with a sharp critique of economics (which since Adam Smith has erroneously argued that all human economies evolved out of barter), Graeber carefully shows that everything from the ancient work of law and religion to human notions like «guilt,» «sin,» and «redemption,» are deeply influenced by ancients debates about credit and debt.

It is no accident that debt continues to fuel political debate, from the crippling debt crises that have gripped Greece and Ireland, to our own debate over whether to raise the debt ceiling. Debt, an incredibly captivating narrative spanning 5,000 years, puts these crises into their full context and illuminates one of the thorniest subjects in all of history.


David Graeber teaches anthropology at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He is the author of Towards an Anthropological Theory of Value, Lost People, and Possibilities: Essays on Hierarchy, Rebellion, and Desire.

This talk was hosted by Boris Debic on behalf of the Authors@Google program.

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