Migration Media Award: Third Place, Print Category English
Author: Alexander Clapp
Media: Economist 1843 Magazine
Date of Publication: 24 October, 2018
Title: Europe’s Heart of Darkness
Short summary: This is a report from a town twenty kilometers west of Athens called Aspropyrgos. Most of its population does not speak Greek. Virtually every object that reaches Greece by sea goes to Aspropyrgos for storage – only to then leave it on trucks for the rest of Greece or the Balkans without leaving so much as a trace. It is also the place that the Chinese Overseas Shipping Company has chosen to be its primary railway hub in Europe to redistribute goods along One Belt, One Road. Aspropyrgos is a concentration of the problems that are afflicting Europe at a much larger level. Crime is rampant. The state is absent. The economic crisis had pitted its minorities against one another in increasingly tribal ways. Some see a solution to their problems in the arrival of the Chinese. Others look to the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, which has helped restore many social services that Athens could no longer afford to provide.
Link to original publication
One night last April Konstantinos Potouridis disappeared from his home in Aspropyrgos, an industrial town in central Greece. Two weeks later, his uncle Kostas received a phone call from his abductors. “They said my nephew was still alive,” Kostas explains, “but they wanted €1,500 for his return.” Kostas didn’t contact the authorities.
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