Greek anti-fascist hip hop musician Pavlos Fyssas, also known as Killah P., was stabbed to death on Wednesday, 18 September 2013, by a neonazi and Golden Dawn party supporter who confessed his crime after being arrested on the same day.
According to eyewitnesses, a few hours after midnight on the 18th, a group of 30 men wearing black T-shirts and military boots, attacked 34-year-old Fyssas and 7 of his friends near a coffee shop at Amfiali, Keratsini, a district of Athens, where he was watching a football match with his girlfriend.
A man, said to have driven to the scene after answering a phone call by members of the mob, stabbed Fyssas twice, aiming for his heart. He was later recognized by witnesses as one of Piraeus’ most notorious neonazis. Fyssas pointed at his murderer [el], and possibly identified him, before expiring in hospital, several hours later. According to the victim's father, doctors opined (video, el) that the stabbing was professionally executed. It is believed that the attack was a pre-arranged ambush, given the musician's stated opposition to the Golden Dawn party. Golden Dawn itself denied any connection to the perpetrator or the murder, despite evidence and testimonies pointing to the contrary.
Journalist Leonidas Saklabanis tweeted an eyewitness testimony:
@LSaklabanis: Αυτόπτης μάρτυρας(φίλος του Φύσσα): Τον μαχαίρωσαν 2 φορές γιατί δεν μπορούσαν να τον βάλουν κάτω. Φορούσαν μαύρες μπλούζες.
Eyewitness (Fyssas’ friend): They stabbed him twice because they couldn't take him down. They wore black T-shirts.
Blogger and twitter user Monahus pointed out:
@monahus: Σύμφωνα με τον πατέρα του Π.Φύσσα κάποιοι τους άκουσαν να μιλάνε για Χρυσαυγίτες και ειδοποιήσαν τηλεφωνικά όσους του εστησαν ενέδρα
According to Fyssas’ father, some people heard them talking about Golden Dawnists and called the others that ambushed him afterwards.
Eyewitnesses also claimed that they pleaded with police officers present to interfere, but they declined because the attackers were “too many”. London-based Greek journalist Yannis Baboulias added:
@YannisBab: Worth mentioning that the killer was in the end arrested by a female officer, while her collegues stood there and did nothing. #Greece
Deputy editor of Greece's daily English language newspaper, Kathimerini English Edition (@ekathimerini) Nick Malkoutzis commented:
@NickMalkoutzis: On murder of antifascist Pavlos Fyssas, gov't also has Qs to answer regarding apparent inaction of police who witnessed stabbing #Greece
Initially, mainstream media latched on to the football quarrel-rhetoric, making the murder seem not premeditated and with no political motives:
@YannisBab: Unbelievable that TV station SKAI runs story of murdered antifascist under the title “He killed him over football”. Absolute disgrace.
The 45-year old self-confessed murderer initially told the police that he was already at the coffee shop where the victim was sitting with his friends, that they attacked him as he was heading back to his car, and that he was forced to stab the victim in self-defense. He also denied being a member of Golden Dawn, claiming a “loose” association with the neo-nazi party.
However, his allegations were incoherent and contradicted the statement that his wife gave to the police. She stated that during the football match, her husband was at home when he received a phone call by a stranger and rushed out, and later admitted being told to dispose of “political literature” and assorted incriminating evidence in a followup phone call:
@NickMalkoutzis: Police sources tell @jeansouliotis that Golden Dawn member who stabbed antifascist Pavlos Fyssas told wife to throw away his party card
@inflammatory_: Taser+batons found at the flat of Fyssas’ murder who asked his wife to remove any material in connection w Golden Dawn #rbnews @Polyfimos
According to a friend of the perpetrator [el], he was not only a Golden Dawn supporter, but he and members of his family also worked at the party's offices. The perpetrator is being investigated by the police for performing violent acts on the party's behalf, such as beating up immigrants around Piraeus. His wife and a friend of his, also working for Golden Dawn, were both arrested for providing false testimonies and attempting to eliminate evidence from the perpetrator's apartment.
Apostolis Kaparoudakis, co-founder of the independent web radio radiobubble, quoted a news article:
@O_Kanalarhis: TVXS: “O δολοφόνος πληρωνόταν από το ταμείο της Χρυσής Αυγής για ξυλοδαρμούς μεταναστών” http://bit.ly/18y8zm1 #rbnews #massmedia #KillahP
TVXS: “The killer was being paid by Golden Dawn to beat up immigrants” http://bit.ly/18y8zm1 #rbnews #massmedia #KillahP
and blogger alepouda added:
@alepouda: Σύμφωνα με την δήλωση του εκπροσώπου της ΕΛ.ΑΣ. ο δράστης επισκεπτόταν τα τοπικά γραφεία της Χ.Α. πέντε με έξι φορές την εβδομάδα.#KillahP
According to the police spokesperson, the perpetrator was visiting G.D's local offices 5 to 6 times a week. #KillahP
Besides the testimonies, there are several Golden Dawn photos and videos on YouTube, where the perpetrator can be spotted participating in the party's events or outings, such as the infamous only-for-Greeks food and clothes hand-outs.
Pavlos Fyssas, the victim, was a well-known and loved underground hip hop artist, his songs and actions reflecting of his independent anti-fascist and anti-racist spirit:
@LSaklabanis: Αυτόπτης μάρτυρας: “Ούτε εγώ ούτε ο Παύλος ανήκουμε σε κάποια πολιτική παράταξη. Ψάχνουν να βρουν θύματα”.
Eyewitness: “Neither I, nor Pavlos belong to any political party. They are looking for victims”.
The Editors’ Newspaper [el] attested:
Killah P, [meant] “Killer of the Past”. [..] [Pavlos] hailed from a working family, was an avowed anti-fascist, beloved in his neighborhood and known to the Greek hip hop scene. [..] “Of course he was an active anti-fascist. Just listen to his lyrics,” explained a neighbor. The mother of a good friend of his confirmed that “he wasn't a member of any party, but he was politically active in his own way. Do not doubt for one second: It was a politically motivated murder.” “He always fought for his beliefs,” said a shop owner, near the scene of his murder.
The news spread like wildfire on Twitter, as incensed netizens started tweeting and posting about the murder, pointing to Golden Dawn for moral responsibility:
@amarylll: Ο Κασιδιάρης γιατί εχει πάρει σβάρνα τα κανάλια ως σχολιαστής και δεν έχει συλληφθεί ως ηθικός αυτουργός; #zwa
How come [Golden Dawn press officer] Kasidiaris is on every TV channel commenting and hasn't been arrested yet for abetting? #animals
Many Twitter users kept reminding others that immigrants were Golden Dawn's first victims. Vasilis Papageorgiou wrote:
@vaspap7:Δεν ήταν ο πρώτος νεκρός. Εκτός αν θεωρούμε ότι οι μετανάστες που δολοφονήθηκαν απο Χρυσαυγίτες δεν ήταν άνθρωποι
He wasn't the first one killed. Not unless we consider the immigrants murdered by Golden Dawn as non-humans.
Accordingly, blogger Anthony Verias pointed to a map of racist attacks in Greece:
@VeriasA: Map with racist attacks which have taken place in #Greece via @MindThe_Gab #rbnews #KillahP http://map.crisis-scape.net/
Thessaloniki-based alternative news site Alterthess reminded of doctors’ unheeded warnings about assaults against immigrants:
@alterthess: Νευροχειρούργος από Κρατικό Νίκαιας: Εδώ και 3 χρόνια φωνάζουμε για δεκάδες ρατσιστικές επιθέσεις http://dlvr.it/3zxDsF
Nikaia hospital neurosurgeon: 3 years now we are yelling about dozens of racist attacks http://dlvr.it/3zxDsF [el]
Amnesty International condemned the murder of the anti-fascist activist, and exhorted the Greek government to prevent further politically motivated extremist violence:
This surge in xenophobia, intolerance and politically motivated attacks in Greece is truly chilling – the authorities must act now to prevent such violence from spreading before it gets out of hand
Global Voices editor and author Asteris Masouras created a storify on this subject, and contributed to this report.
The following is one of Killah P's songs with subtitles in English, a hip hop remix of a well known song by Greek rock band Trypes which became an anti-fascist anthem against fear, eerily apposite to his fight and final fate.
Golden Dawn are extremists. The rise of violent communist and anarchist extremism in Greece is also very troubling.
what an awful thing to do to a person