For Sale by Ingvar Hogni Ragnarsson
Athens the capital of Greece and the cradle of western civilisation has been there for over 5000 years and is one of the oldest cities in the world. Now Athens and Greece stand against a wall and are fighting for the future of there country but the path that needs to be taken is not clear.
Every day I walked through the port of the University in Exarchia. One of the anarchists groups in Exarchia had taken over a part of the University and it served as a refugee camp. The anarchists did not let anyone inside and stood guard at the entrance and no photography was allowed on site. Despite this the University kept on going with it´s daily activities.
In Pedeon Areos a garden next to Exarchia there were refugees living for a period of time but were kicked out by the government and the police. The garden is full of drug dealers and addicts and they stay there with out any harassment from the officials. The garden was fixed for millions of euros a few years back but to day it is ruined again and is a shadow of it´s former self. The reason for this happening people told me is the mafia and the government conspiring together, it´s a classic story of gentrification.
I had to walk through a broken fence and past the camp of a Roma family. I walked slowly towards the building that was supposed to be abandoned but two dogs came running towards me. I stopped and slowly turned back and the dogs calmed down and they followed me to the exit. I will need to go back again to find out why the map was blurry…
There were thousands of Refugees at the Pireaus port close to Athens when I came there in the spring of 2016 and more people coming in every day. It was a strange feeling walking past all these families and children living in horrible conditions and nothing I could do to help them out. The community in Pireaus did all they could to help out, giving out food, clothes and shelter. But the real problem lies with in the EU and there border policies and refugee programs.
Next to Pireaus there was a hidden camp in a no-mans land. This land is for sale like so many places in Greece and what it means for a nation and countries identity to life in a land that is owned by others but labeled as Greece time will only tell.
Among young people there is a high unemployment rate and life is getting more complicated after the recession. This day they were simply enjoying the view.
In the Olympic stadiums in Athens there was a big refugee camp when I was there, it was closed to the public. The area was guarded by police and private security and you could sense a strange vibe coming from the people. The camps were changing in to so called “hotspot” from a “Welcoming centre” and the people was waiting to be processed. It was a tense time to visit the Olympic grounds as the deal between the EU and Turkey was on the table to deal with the refugee crisis.
Alexia and Riyus were enjoying the view Strefi Hill after a day at school. Alexia is a Psychology student and Riyus is studying mechanical engineering. Alexia does not have a job in the summer but Riyus considered him self very lucky and has a job this summer in his dads mechanical workshop.
I lived in Exarchia when I was in Athens and it´s a neighbourhood controlled by various anarchists groups and the mafia. It´s a vibrant area and the anarchists groups control various squats around the area and host hundreds of Refugees. There is a tension growing between the anarchists groups and the mafia and riots happens every week. This is an area that the police will not enter but instead stands guard on the borders to control the flow of people in and out of the neighbourhood.
Next to the Olympic stadiums in Athens there is an abandoned Airport and its for sale. There is a debate about the sale of this land to private investors and big money is involved but the amount that will be collected will go straight to the creditors of Greece and and the estimated price for the land is about one billion euros – the deal needs to go trough so Greece gets the second payment of there bailout review, the second payment to Greece is 2.8 billions euro due fall 2016.
It is estimated that the gentrification of the Elliniko Airport will produce 90.000jobs.
At the port of Pireaus a group of Afghan refugees where playing football. They arrived by boat a few days ago when I meet them and where happy to be in Europe but they don´t want to stay in Greece but are stuck at the port as the boarders are closed for further travels in to Europe.
Next to the parliament in Athens is The presidential gardens and they are guarded by police who patrol the area. Not a single refugee or homeless person could be found in the area and tourists can walk carless around the park and look trough there fingers clueless about what is happening in the backyard of Athens.
Khilla P was stabbed to death by a member of the Golden Dawn.