The Terrifying Rise of Greece’s Nazi Party
GULAM HUSSEIN, a 20-year-old Afghan with a bushy brush cut, hates Greece. He’d leave if he could—even if that meant returning to the imperiled village in eastern Afghanistan that he fled a decade ago. “Anywhere but Greece,” he told me one afternoon late this summer in Athens. “I’d heard it was bad here, but I didn’t know how bad.”
About a week before we met, Hussein had gone searching for scrap metal in a central Athens neighborhood near Attica Square. Collecting scrap is a hand-to-mouth job; it pays only a few euros a day. But with his poor Greek language skills—and a sick wife and a one-and-a-half-year-old daughter to support—scavenging for other people’s junk was Hussein’s only option.
As he crossed a bridge on his way to a friend’s home, a group of four men called out to him. They had two dogs at their feet, and they were dressed in black t-shirts. To Hussein, black clothes meant one word: fear.
He ran. The dogs chased him. One caught him by the neck, the other by the leg, and knocked him down. The men beat Hussein around the head, hitting him with sticks, kicking him with their boots. Lying on the pavement, his skull streaming blood, he screamed for help. He remembers seeing people peering at him from their balconies, doing nothing. Then he blacked out.