‘The City at a Time of Crisis’ project has produced a map charting all racist attacks that have taken place in Greece since late 2009. The map is an excellent visual interactive historical record, that contextualises brilliantly the rise of violent racism in the last years. Although the project’s focus is Athens the map covers the whole of the country. The record is constantly evolving, fed by the public’s reports, which – once verified – are put online by the editing team.
The fact is that we will never know how many racist incidents actually take place in the country. Fear or inability to report them on behalf of the victims, and the administration’s own anti-immigrant and well-established racist attitudes combine to make a very patchy public picture.
Visiting the map, one can get a good idea of exactly that record of whatever information has managed to reach the corners of the public sphere, to identify hotspots of incidents and areas of limited action – or at least of limited reporting due to a lack of access to reporting hubs, such as migrant or anti-racist associations.
‘The City at a Time of Crisis’ is a research group exploring the impact of the crisis on the urban space of Athens. Since its map went online in 2012 it has circulated widely in the web. On 25 September 2013 it was reproduced by the Guardian, triggering a mass wave of re-postings. It was then that the Greek blogosphere started noticing this unique resource. This is a very telling episode on the close contact and influences between Greek and foreign media and web-sources – a story with strong undercurrents and the Guardian quite a central player in it all.