Since the government closed down everything apart from super-markets, mini markets, grocery stores, butcheries, pharmacies, and repair stores, Athens seems already a ghost of her former lively, never-staying-still self.
Educational institutions were closed around the country on 13 March, retail and non-essential businesses were closed by 16 March, and by 23 March the country was on complete lockdown. Many of you, especially our Italians readers (keep strong, guys!), will, unfortunately, recognize the feeling. We even miss horns and traffic jams.
While under such conditions, the measures taken by the Greek government seem to be in the right direction, the repercussions for the already fragile economy of the country would be dire. …
Diavata is approximately 60km away from the border with North Macedonia, and about 500 refugees gathered on Thursday in a field near a camp in northern Greece in the hope of crossing the border and fleeing towards northern Europe. They have gathered following an anonymous call on social media to reach the heavily guarded border. At the same time in Athens, refugees left the main railway station after blocking trains on Friday and services resumed on Saturday.
The refugees spent the night in tents, lighting fires to stay warm and clashed with police because they believed false reports on social media that restrictions on travel to central and northern Europe had been lifted and that buses chartered by non-governmental organizations are waiting on the other side of the border with North Macedonia. …
In the absence of human presence, tear gas photographs as a soft subject, suspended like a misplaced cloud over seemingly tranquil urban scenes. Captured moments before the burn, it could easily be mistaken for mist on a frosty morning. Yet those who have had their eyes, throats, and noses scorched by the gas perceive the menace of these clouds as they spread over the streets. The violence of the burning fog is almost — yet not quite — obscured by its gentle, hazy pretense.
Captured over the course of a year, this series documents unpaid sailors occupying ferry boats, dormitories, and a public park in their struggle to receive their wages from the NEL company. Their year of negotiation, struggle, and tense waiting is representative of myriad workers across Greece defrauded by bankrupt employers during the financial crisis.
Even after 20 years living and working in Athens, everything still seems strange to me. And the closer I look, the more mixed I feel. It’s hard to explain. I am not good with words. I own no language, so I put my thoughts into pictures. Capturing my daily life downtown is like documenting a comfortable nightmare. Like me, the city is both calm and in crisis, explosive and exuberant, precarious yet teeming with possibility. Since the crisis, international press have moved on to other far-flung spectacles, but the gravitational pull of the crisis keeps me grounded photographing my home city. I don’t know what home is exactly — I think it’s a feeling not a place. For Athens, I feel a strong hate-love. I am tired of the city and its inexhaustible poliarities, but I still find familiarity in the extremes.