Piraeus, Greece – Magda Fyssas walks to the corner of her living room and lights four crimson-coloured candles. She places them next to a smaller, already-lit white candle under a large charcoal sketch of her son, an anti-fascist rapper who was killed by a self-professed Golden Dawn member four years ago.
In the memory-filled home she says now feels empty, she does this every day.
The murder of 34-year-old Pavlos Fyssas on September 18, 2013, ignited weeks of anti-fascist protests, clashes with riot police and altercations with Golden Dawn, the neo-fascist party that holds 17 seats in Greece’s parliament.
Protesters rally in cities across the country every year on the anniversary of his death, mourning Pavlos and other victims of far-right violence.
His murder was a turning point for the anti-fascist movement, which has since elevated Pavlos, whose rap name was Killah P, to martyr status.
In the working-class neighbourhood of Keratsini, a large monument depicting Pavlos rapping sits not far from his mother’s home. Throughout Athens, Piraeus and elsewhere, his name is tagged on buildings and pavements, his face emblazoned on posters.
Magda’s living room is her personal shrine to Pavlos, the wall covered in photos, posters and paintings of him.
In one photo, Pavlos wears a billowy black wig for Apokries, a Greek holiday akin to Halloween. In another, he squats with crossed arms and mimics the American hip hop group Run DMC, wearing a white jumpsuit and a large gold chain.
|Magda Fyssas sits in her living room gazing at a corner dedicated to her late son in September 2017 [Nick Paleologos/SOOC/Al Jazeera]|
In a drawer under the photos, Magda keeps Pavlos’ letters and journal entries. She shuffles through the papers silently until she finds the one she is searching for: an entry titled “Alcoholic Anthology”.
“If all of your life is eaten away by fear of the familiar and unfamiliar,” the hand-written entry reads, “then death will find you fearful and sweaty,…