Former Swedish MP talks to ‘K’ about the attack against him in Omonoia.
“Just a few seconds before, I was telling Alexandros that having to leave is such a shame. That I had missed Greece having been away for so long and that I would have really liked to stay a few more days. Unfortunately, a few moments later the only thing I was thinking was how to leave the country as soon as possible”. Former Member of the Swedish Parliament speaks to the ‘K’ about the attack on Omonoia.
Former member of the Swedish parliament, Tasos Stafylidis, 41, has yet to overcome the shock. Besides, even the scars on his face still persist. It was late Sunday to Monday morning, 1st of April, when he and a friend were returning on foot to their hotel after a night out – they had gone to Monastiraki for dinner. A few hours later they would be flying to Stockholm – the four-day getaway coinciding with Catholic Easter was over. “We were walking on Athenas’ Street, close to Omonoia, when we felt being gripped by our shoulders”, he recounts talking to ‘K’. The three strangers were wearing black clothes and black masks on the face. The only things they uttered were vile homophobic insults in fluent Greek (“Where are you going filthy faggots”) before they started punching us. “I think they had followed us for hours”, says Tassos. “Perhaps they realized by the way we were speaking or by our clothes that we are gay and we became target”. They cannot remember noticing any distinguishing mark on the perpetrators’ clothes. “The only thing I can remember is three black shadows.”
Shocked, they both initially though it was a robbery, as they reported to the police. But neither their wallets nor their cell phones had been removed. “It took a while to realise that is was a homophobic attack”.
The adventure of Tassos Stafylidis has shocked Sweden, where he lives and works. “Here he is a dear personality”, ’K’ is told by journalist Viktor Mattsson from the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, who first published the news. “The attack against us made me realize the extent of the problem in Greece,” he says.
Mr Stafylidis is known in Sweden since 1998, where he was the first openly gay politician elected. He was getting elected with the Left Party. Although it has been seven years since he left politics to devote himself to art – he is an actor – he remains an active gay rights activist.
“I was aware of the upsurge of racism and fascism in Greece, but I did not know that homophobic attacks had become so common. Unfortunately, the problems homosexual people are currently facing in my motherland are many”, he concludes.
[Translated article from ‘Kathimerini’ newspaper, 09/04/2013, found online at: http://www.kathimerini.gr/4dcgi/_w_articles_kathremote_1_09/04/2013_492611
The original report of the incident on the website on the Swedish newspaper ‘Aftonbladet’ (in Swedish): http://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/article16547776.ab (pictures taken from here)]