Unity for Defiance: Filming in the Anarchist Capital of Greece
“We’re the kids who have stopped talking,” a young woman mumbles in passing as she turns her back to me, declining an interview. “Write that down.” A short moment later, a scrawny and disheveled man sporting a burning cigarette and black clothing taps me on the shoulder. “No filming. What the hell are you doing here? No cameras.” I look up to find a set of eyes glaring at me from an apartment overhead. On the balcony, two red flags blow proudly in the wind, a symbol of socialism, communism, and left wing politics. I’m surrounded by a labyrinth of graffiti clad buildings, a never-ending art gallery reminiscent of a web forum. This discussion, albeit mostly made up of scribbled “anti-establishment” slogans sprayed illicitly on storefronts, is also home to some of the most stunning and detailed street art I have ever witnessed full of passion, wisdom, and intelligence concerning the current socioeconomic state of Greece. This is Exarcheia, a neighbourhood in downtown Athens known famously as a haven for self-proclaimed anarchists who are at war with the government, the police, and capitalism. It is also a breeding ground for brilliant artists, promising intellectuals, and philanthropists. Syntagma Square, home to the Old Royal Palace which has housed the Hellenic Parliament since 1934, is a short cab ride away.