Αρχείο κατηγορίας 2019 MAIN ARTICLES IN ENGLISH


   In a few days the yearly celebrations for the anniversay of the Maniot uprising and the beginning of the 1821 revolution will start. We will hear celebratory speeches that will praise the common war undertakings by Maniot warlords and their troops. The celebrations and festivities will break the routine in our daily lives and will remind us of Mani at the height of its  glory. Unfortunately, after the celebrations, we will  continue to approach in a  fragmented and individualistic manner the new situations brought upon us by the third industrial revolution’s information, economy and job market. In the meantime, we the inhabitants of Mani will continue to sell our land, so that we can meet our financial obligations. The monoculture of the olive tree, the badly organised marketing of the Maniot oil and the global overproduction of this product have all resulted in a lower income for us. Tourism, due to the specific characteristics of our region, brings additional income, which is unfortunately also significantly lower than what it could potentially be, if we only were able to manage this new source of wealth in a firm and orderly manner.

   It seems as if we have forgotten what the popular term “Unified Mani”, which Maniots and philo-Maniots like to use in every possiblle occasion, means. To us, the members of the “Maniot Solidarity” association and the stakeholders of our newspaper, it means forming common understandings and undertaking common actions for developing the potential of our area. This means full exploitation of the geographical, climatic and cultural characteristics of Mani. In order to achieve maximum potential, all planning and proposals need to refer to Mani as a whole, and then funding for smaller development projects should be distributed according to the particular characteristics of each area. In this way, the term “Unified Mani” will acquire reality and substance and will help bring maximum benefit to specific Maniot municipalities and their people.  

   During the 20 years since the first publication of our newspaper, we have been closely observing the course of events in Mani. In the past 20 years we have seen the merging of communities and local authority associations to seven municipalities in 1998 and to two municipalities in 2010. Since the municipalities are now only two, we would have expected that there would be increased possibility for achieving a common understanding and developing common development proposals. What we have observed instead was increased bureaucracy and lack of coordinated action. Instead of development potential, what we have observed is just simply managing everyday life in our region. During the past 20 years we saw minimal development in the public sector. There were few initiatives, which resulted in small public works that were carried out in a fragmented manner.

   Unfortunately, the Development Agency of Mani (Aναπτυξιακή Εταιρεία Μάνης), which was founded in 1994, initially tried unsuccessfully to bring common understanding and common action between the 80 municipalities and the 4 local authority associations of Mani. Ten years later, the agency became inactive due to different ideas that were formed after the changes in the local government administration. These new ideas and the bureaucracy of the state government resulted in separate development proposals, fragmentation and disassociation between different public work projects.

   After the last elections, it seems that a new situation is developing between state and local (both regional and municipal) governments, with a view to less state control and assigning more jurisdiction to local authorities. Hopefully this new trend will benefit the local development projects of Mani. The many voices of the municipal councils could have a positive influence on new proposals and projects. It would be a good idea if, not only new, but also older development proposals would now be discussed and re-examined, such as the ones that were presented in the OXE program (Πρόγραμμα Ολοκληρωμένων Χωρικών Επενδύσεων Μάνης) and integrated in the ΠΕΠ program (Περιφερειακό Επιχειρησιακό Πρόγραμμα Πελοποννήσου). An old project that really needs to be brought back to the table is the road Milea – Panagia Giatrissa, for which funding was already allotted in 2014, however, for the past 6 years the funds remain locked in the coffers of the Regional Fund of Peloponnese (Περιφερειακό Ταμείο Πελοποννήσου). We need to finally understand that Mount Taygetos is a unifying and not a dividing feature of the different areas of Mani. We need to remember that Taygetos is the mountain that has formed the special geographic and climatic characteristics of our area that attract tourists to Mani; it is due to Taygetos that our ancestors were able to stay independent during the centuries of Turkish occupation and it is due to Taygetos that they developed their free and fighting spirit, which we have proudly inherited from them.


Recently there has been a new round of discussions about public works, focusing on the cause of specific issues, such as delays, direct or indirect reinvoicing, defective and even unsafe construction. However, it seems that these discussions do not address the primary reasons for this dismal situation, but instead address issues of minor importance. It seems as if these discussions are directed towards finding an alibi and providing justification for the incompetence of those who undertake to carry out public works on the state’s behalf. This ineffectiveness is observed in all stages, from the allocation of funds to the completion and delivery of the public works.

Ineffectiveness and lack of transparency as far as public works are concerned have reached new heights.  It seems that our country holds the record in this area, while the reasons for this predicament are many and hard to define.  In the paragraphs below, we will attempt to examine in hierarchical order not only the actions, but also the omissions of those who manage all stages of public works (legislation, invitations to tender, completion and delivery), as well as their accountability for the negative results that are observed and recorded by the general public of the areas where they occur. There are four (4) categories of people who should be held accountable for this deplorable situation, as described below.

First, central government politicians. Since they have the jurisdiction to legislate, they can define firm and rigid regulations regarding the development of public construction projects, from planning to completion.  It is necessary that a rigid framework also allows for healthy competition between the civil engineering companies that will study and carry out each construction project.  Healthy competition should be based on a detailed statutory system,

which regulates the technical description of each project as well as the requirements and conditions of the tender.It often happens that during the course of a particular project, situations arise that can only be solved in court. A clearly and precisely identified framework with tight deadlines for these court cases and with strict legal consequences for those who do not abide with this framework is also necessay.   The identification as highly punishable “specific criminal offences” of transgressions and collaboration between guilds that have formed cliques during the course of a public construction project would have a dissuasive effect on this type of wrongdoing, which has become quite common.

Second, the municipal politicians and officials appointed by the local politicians. Since this group is politically responsible for the planning and completion of technical projects in their area, they should also be responsible for the detailed technical and financial study of each project as well as for the clearly defined conditions of the tender. There are many advisors in the municipal governments who can  provide reliable information regarding the specific requirements and characteristics of each category of technical projects.

Third, the technical staff who examine and supervise the public construction projects. This group is supposed to support the work of the municipal politicians and officials of the previous paragraph and make sure that the regulations for the technical description of each project as well as the requirements and conditions of the tender are respected and closely followed. This is the group that comes into direct regular contact with the people who carry out constructions projects, watch every step of the works at the constructions sites, verify the quality of materials, check

the work done behind the scenes and ultimately decide whether the project meets the safety standards.

Last, the contractors. They are a likeable group, which has acquired a bad reputation because of many unsafe and substandard technical public projects that they have undertaken. Construction deficiencies are usually reported by citizens of the area and also sometimes exposed by adverse climatic events. The quest for profit is not in itself reproachable, as long as it is compatible with the quest for safety. Before accepting a public project, contractors should make sure that they are actually able to deliver the services as promised and at the agreedupon price, without compromising the materials or the construction standards and within the agreed upon time-limits. If the contractors are simply after the highest profit, then they will make dubious political and financial deals, as well as compromises in many areas. They are the ones who will take all the blame for the inefficiencies, because it is the contractors that the public sees at the building sites…

Any time that the above-mentioned four groups of people do not abide by the rules, they are guilty of conflict of interest in the best scenario and guilty of fraud, misappropriation of funds and corruption in the worst scenario. No matter how big the efforts to cover a misdeed are, Econometrics has shown time and again that there is a very heavy price to pay for defective construction of public works: it is a huge monetary loss for the country, which negatively affects the national growth expectations and the  living standard of the citizens. This is of particular importance in areas like Mani, which receives very limited subsidies for public work contract


   Land registry and forest registry are two big national projects, absolutely necessary for the modernisation of our country, so that there is certainty about land ownership status. Completion of these surveys will lead to security of ownership and will create the necessary conditions for the recovery οf the construction industry, which in turn will lead to tourist development and to more extensive crops. It is a positive element that the completion of these surveys was imposed by the EU through various memoranda (and paid by the EU) in order to spur growth in our country. For twenty years now, we have been receiving fat subsidies for the completion of these two projects, but we are still unable to finish them. This demonstrates the political inadequacy of the Greek governments, which in past years have been managing these overly generous subsidies. The governments in office failed not only because of incompetence, but also because they opted for implementation plans on the basis of personal interest. The ordinary citizens who were expecting that the completion of these processes would mean stability of their ownership status, now find themselves entangled in a long-term series of amendments to state decisions, renegotiations and adaptations of  public procurement contracts with contractors and subcontractors, bottlenecks in court battles, costly fees, and even worse, they have no idea when these vague, open-ended procedures will come to an end and registration for the whole land will be achieved.

   Recently published developments make the whole land and forestry registry situation even more uncertain. The Supreme Court has just ruled in favour of a citizen/land owner who claimed that essential data was not considered during the compilation of forest surveys in his perfecture. This has resulted in the annulment of all forest surveys for the whole perfecture, and it now creates a precedent for many more such claims on the part of land owners. The fact that during the last ten months since the implementation of the registration of agricultural land in the real estate cadastre only 20-25% of the land of Mani has been registered, leads us to the conclusion that even after the end of the latest extension of the registration deadline, not even half the land will have been registered. It is obvious that anything that has to do with the land and forest registration was conducted poorly and with the utmost sloppiness. Once more, the inefficiency of public administration negatively affects the average citizen. This has already been happening for some time as far as agricultural land and forest registration is concerned, but it will become even worse in the future, during the long remaining years until the completion of these two projects, which will lead to the modernisation of our country. Since the EU subsidies provided for this purpose have already been spent by various state governments, the high cost of the necessary registration procedures will be covered by the national budget, which means that the expenses will be rolled over to the average citizen through general and specific taxation. Once more, the public administration incompetence will become an additional financial burden for the Greek tax payers.

   The agricultural land and forest registration programs affect a large part of the population, larger than the number of residents in each municipality. These two projects are of major importance to society, and their handling, as far as both general guidelines and specific details are concerned, also fall within the jurisdiction of local and regional authorities. Municipal and regional politicians have easier access than the average citizen to central administration authorities and as a result, they could present to higher authorities and pursue issues which are of crucial interest (such as land registry) to their citizens.  Municipal authorities also participate in regional authority associations (Περιφερειακές Ενώσεις Δήμων) and central authority associations (Κεντρική Ένωση Δήμων), and they have open communication channels with the ministers of the government in office. Unfortunately, we have never seen in the press any such proposals presented to higher authorities. If such coordinated proposals were to happen now, the land registry procedures could be simpified and the whole implementation process could be accelerated; administration procedures would be streamlined and citizens would benefit financially. Regrettably, such interventions did not happen, and as a result, we now do not have any specific proposals that could be used in the new national draft law regarding land registry that will soon be passed by the Parliament.

   It should be understood by all that the word “development” is not an abstract one, but requires a multi-effect approach and is based on complex requirements, one of the most important being the mobilisation of the citizens and their representatives.

                                                                                                                                                                THE EDITORIAL BOARD


In the year 2021 we will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the Greek revolution. For some people, anniversaries of important historic events are an opportunity for self-promotion and personal gain. For others, who are wiser, these events are an opportunity for paying tribute to those who played a leading role in these events. Those who wish to reflect on important events in a deeper manner need to adopt a more comprehensive approach. They need not only examine the conditions which caused these historical events, but also their consequences in the years that followed. The anniversary of such an important event, the beginning of the Greek revolution, which led to the independence of our country, certainly makes us reflect on the events of that period, but also on other later situations and their consequences during the 200 years of the existence of the modern Greek state. Deep reflection on the historic events of the centuries before 1821 is also needed and is essential for self-awareness, as these facts defined the the course of action of our nation. The most important of these events are the dismantling of the Byzantine Empire by the crusaders of the Fourth Crusade in 1204, the Frankish rule (Φραγκοκρατία) which lasted about 150 years, and their effects on the Greek population, and on the inhabitants of the Peloponnese in particular. Of course, it was the Ottoman rule that had the largest effect on the Greek population, but we should also not overlook the effects of the 30-year Venetian rule (Eνετοκρατία) on the Peloponnese.


   Οur reflection should focus on the four different societal groups at the beginning of the revolution and their interrelations. These groups were: a) the militant groups (armed fighters) both on the land and in the sea with their leaders (“captains”), b) the local representatives of the Christian population during the Ottoman rule (“kotzabasides” and bishops), c) the leading Christian orthodox group in Constantinople (the elite class of “Fanariotes” and the patriarchate) and d) the Greek merchants and intellectuals who brought the Enlightment from Western Europe to Greece. All these four groups had different ideas about the revolution and participated in it in different ways. Upon examination of the deliberations in the national assemblies during the first years after the revolution, we notice that the goals and aspirations of these four groups were very similar. However, upon closer inspection, we notice that after the second national assembly in 1823, the assemblies were cancelled for about four years. Internal fighting, disputes and civil conflicts distanced these groups from the original purpose of the national assemblies. It seems that the original unity and mutual understanding between these four groups did not really have a sound base and that as time went by, the goals of these individuals and groups were changing according to their desire of power within the newly-founded nation. These observations lead us to further reflect as to whether these splits and divisions were actually overcome or were mutated into something else during the 200 years that followed the revolution.


  We should also reflect on the deep division that existed in the society, the clergy and the state officials during the last decades of the Byzantine empire, when these groups had to choose between East and West. We also need to examine how this division changed during the almost four centuries of the Ottoman occupation and how it has since influenced our customs, our way of thinking and our way of living during the 200 years of the modern Greek state.


Deep reflection is also necessary on the relations of the newly-founded Greek state with the western powers, both during the revolution and during the two centuries that have followed. We should examine why our politicians could not develop a steady national policy, but preferred to rely instead on  the great western powers of the time, by forming the English, the French and the Russian political parties.


   In Mani, even deeper reflection is necessary, and our conclusions should become the guidelines for our  future course. In particular, we should ask ourselves why during the first years of the revolution Maniots were able to form expeditionary forces with participants from all local groups, but later internal fighting and antagonism were getting more and more intense. We should also ask ourselves what the costs were for our ancestors and our area of the biggest part of our population siding with those who opposed the government of Capodistria, opposition which finally led to his assasination.


                                                                                                                                                                THE EDITORIAL BOARD

[1] we define “reflection” as the active, persistent and systematic examination of every belief or alleged knowledge in the light of supporting arguments as well as the results of such an examination


In this column we always try to present topics that are closely related to the future of Mani and Greece in general. We specifically focus on municipal issues, because it is the municipal infrastructures of Mani that bring probably the highest big-scale investments in our area.  Municipal investments affect positively or negatively the quality of life of all inhabitants and landowners of Mani. We need efficient municipal investments not only in big-scale undertakings by the region (Περιφέρεια) and both municipalities of Western and Eastern Mani (Δήμοι Δυτικής και Ανατολικής Μάνης), but also in small-scale works and the maintenance of existing public works, so that the Maniots and the visitors of Mani enjoy reasonable comfort and all necessitites. In the next few paragraphs we will try to examine a few issues that will have to be dealt with during the new municipal four-year term.

Firstly, the vagueness of the new pieces of legislation that were passed by the Greek Parliament this year does not help in administering municipal affairs. The changes in legislation create uncertainty in the personal goals of individuals and cause undue difficulty in the cooperation and discussions/consultations between citizens. The enforcement of proportional representation in municipal elections, without the necessary safeguards to avoid potential problems, has created uncertainty in the capability of the municipal government to efficiently manage even the most basic social commodities, such as water, electricity, waste management, road construction etc.

The recent legislative initiatives attempt to alleviate some of the uncertainties and insecurities of the original piece of legislation, which became evident after the municipal elections of May 26 and June 3 of this year. The provision for consultation and collaboration on a regular basis between the mayor and the regional governor (περιφερειάρχης) for the whole length of the four-year term is a factor for stability and the creation of a larger number of decision-makers. However, the transfer of responsibilities from the elected larger municipal or regional councils to the smaller committees or legal persons (with a majority of members from the party of the mayor or regional governor) makes us sceptical. The transfer of issues of minor importance to smaller governing bodies, with the possibility of a referral back to the municipal or regional councils, at the request of minority municipal or regional councilors, could be a step in the right direction, as it would take the congestion off the large councils. However, the provision that a smaller entity, such as a local representative of a small municipality needs to submit an alternative budget in order to vote against a budget submitted by the mayor or regional governor is very unrealistic.

Unrealistic and misguided is the provision of the new legislation that strips the small communities (κοινότητες) from the right to make their own decisions regarding the construction and maintenance of small-scale public works and which forces them to simply submit a proposal in this regard to the municipalities. Electing the local representatives (τοπικοί εκπρόσωποι) of each municipality (δήμος) with a separate ballot and ballot box gives them special democratic characteristics and hopefully enables them to respond quickly and efficiently to the needs of  the residents of their small communities. The bureaucratic bottlenecks that were the result of the 1998 and 2010 mergings meant a neglect of the local public infrastructures. The local representatives of these communities know best these needs and as a result, are the ones who could efficiently manage them.

In the previous paragraphs we have examined a few issues that need to be dealt during the new four-year municipal term. What is now needed is the willingness of the local politicians to rise above egotism and develop a climate of team work. Only with altruism and a sincere desire to work closely with others they will manage to exploit to the fullest the limited power that the central government gives to the municipal administration. This is particularly true in areas such as Mani, where entrepreneurial activity is limited , and where the two municipalities of Eastern and Western Mani are the main players for the development of the region and the improvement in the standard of living of the residents. As it has happened many times in the past, again in this new municipal four-year term, elected local politicians need to go beyond the traditional egotism that has characterised Maniots for centuries. If we put aside our personal interests and strive for the common good instead, then we can collaboratively make the right decisions and create the infrastructure that our area needs so desperately.


Finding out the family history and compiling a genealogical tree is not an easy task for Maniots, particularly for the periods before the foundation of the modern Greek state. At that time there were few official documents, and family archives were kept only by village leaders and merchants. These archives contain little information about the social activities and inter-territorial relations. This void is partially filled by historical knowledge. We know the important events between Greece and other states of each period, and in particular the course of diplomatic relations, the wars and the treaties with other countries. This kind of information gives us an idea of the social actitivies and the life in the areas that were affected by these events. Historic events define mass migrations and eventually the demographics of a particular area. During the pre-revolution era in particular, the demographics of Mani were greatly influenced by the historic events of that period. Maniots immigrated to other areas, but Mani also received a great number of people who came there from other areas. (On page 2 of every issue of our newspaper, MANIOT SOLIDARITY, you can find a lot of information on these mass migrations. The information relating to the historic events that caused these migrations has been classified in the first volume of our book PAGES FROM THE HISTORY OF MANI, and will be completed in the forthcoming second volume). 

   The main cause for the migration of many population groups in Mani, particularly in the pre-revolutionary era, was its strategic geographic location, as well as the combat readiness of its people and the good performance of Maniots in diplomacy. Mani’s geographic location was advantageous, because its coast was near the route of the merchant ships coming from ports in the West and heading towards the large urban centres of the East. Western European states were looking for alliances with Mani, which would protect their ships in case of adverse weather conditions and against pirate attacks. The excellent fighting skills and the combat readiness of the Maniots constituted a centuries-long tradition . The constant updating of these war skills and the familiarity with modern warfare made the Maniots sought-after allies, both in times of war and peace. Maniot priests and warlords were both equally competent negotiators, who examined the political situation of each period in a realistic and objective way, and then sided at the right time with the appropriate allies.

   The important events that influenced mass migrations during the two centuries before the foundation of the modern Greek state were the Ottoman invasions in Mani during the 17th century, the 30-year Venetian occupation that followed, and then the second Turkish occupation, which together with the period of “autonomous leadership” (αυτόνομη ηγεμονία) in Mani, lasted until the Greek war of independence in 1821. These historic events brought demographic changes in Mani, the effects of which continue to the present day. We will try to give here a brief account of these events. The invasion of strong Ottoman and Algerian forces in Kotronas Bay during the second decade of the 17th century resulted in the occupation of 80% of the territory of Mani and caused the first mass wave of immigration of Maniots to the West.  A second strong wave of immigration of Maniots occurred during the 1670’s, when, immediately after the occupation of Crete by Ottoman forces, the Turks built three forts in Mani (in Zarnata, Kelefa and Passava), and reinforced them with military and administrative personnel. The 30-year Venetian occupation that followed (1685-1710) led some Turks who had settled in the area to convert to Christianity and become permanent residents of Mani. The same happened to many Venetians who had settled in the area, after the new  Ottoman occupation of Mani, during the middle of the second decade of the 18th century. Finally, the last strong immigration wave towards Mani occurred in the eighth decade of the same century  by refugees from other regions, who were forced to leave their homes due to the Albanian terrorism[1] in the Peloponnese, after the suppression of the Orlov uprising by the Turks and the subsequent withdrawal of the Russian troops.

In most cases, the Maniot immigrants abroad got assimilated into their new countries. The same applied, even more strongly, to the immigrants who settled in Mani. They quickly got assimilated into the culture, customs and religious practices of Mani, and in some cases they strenthened with their talents the contribution of Mani to the Greek independence war. Traces of these mass movements can be still found today…

[1] This terrorism was caused by the Albanian mercenaries who had been hired by the Ottomans to help suppress the Orlov uprising; the Turkish authorities were unable to pay them their promised wages, and the mercenaries were left ravaging and plundering the villages of the Peloponnese.




   The measures for the protection of the midde and the lower socio-economic class (which constitute the majority of citizens) are the most important issues during pre-election campaigns. The question is whether the measures promised during campaign periods are realistic. The results of the most recent elections have proven that the policy of overtaxing the middle class in order to subsidise the underclass did not bring any political advantage. Radical measures and redistribution policies, like the ones imposed by totalitarian systems which collapsed in the 1990’s, were also not effective. Political leaders are searching for politically effective measures, which will impress the electorate.

It seems that almost all political parties are trying to present programs, measures and policies that fall under the term “social market economy”. Social market economy is “a free market economic system, which conforms to the laws of supply and demand, and is directly overseen by the state, so that societal groups of reduced competitiveness, such as the elderly and the unemployed, are protected.” It will be interesting to see what the electorate will decide, i.e., which political party will be able to better implement social market economy policies. The difference in the proposed policies will depend on whether a political party favours statism (“all state”) or competition (“all market”).  In this article, we will concentrate on the following 5 questions:

1) Can an inflated public sector co-exist with the notion of social market economy? Is competitiveness possible in a state with an inflated public sector? Is it possible to lower the price of products and services and at the same time have profitable businesses, which in turn will be able to employ large numbers of people and make further investments?

2) Can a small public sector with limited scope, such as defense, security, public health, institutional protection through independent authorities and compulsory education, and also stringent supervision of economic competition, bring positive economic development for the population at large?

3) Should the social protection of those societal groups unable to be competitive, such as the elderly or unemployed, be provided only when there is no “free-riding” due to tax evasion and tax avoidance?

4) We live at a time of globalisation, when the prices of products and services are determined according to the production cost. In this society, can productivity only be improved through good training, technology and entrepreneurship? Are there any other ways for balancing the imports and exports of our country, or is the increase in productivity, so that prices are competitive, the only way?

5) After the traumatic experiences of the last ten years, has the majority of the electorate finally understood that distribution policies based on borrowing funds always lead to economic impasses? have they understood that the same conditions always produce the same results, and that in future it is advisable to steer clear of “false prosperity” policies?

Maniots have in their ancestry both of these concepts: the competitive process and the social protection. Our ancestors were practising these policies for many centuries, and we, their descendants, have inherited them. The many towers of Mani provided protection from the competition between families, which often ended in warfare. However, warfare did not exclude reconciliation, especially in times of urgency or shared objectives. The protection of the economically disadvantaged, who were recognized as equal members of the small society of each village, was always one of the main objectives.


We believe that it is possible, but only under certain conditions. The first condition has to do with the reason for which candidates want to run in the municipal elections. The second condition is related to the establishment of the norms for a healthy competition between different ideas and proposals in these elections. In theory, it sounds as if these conditions can be easily met, however, in our country this is not a simple task. Of course, we do have some examples of local politicians who governed in the past in an honest way, they put the common good above their personal interests, were productive, left a legacy in the areas they governed, and their descendants are today enjoying a good reputation because of them. Unfortunately, in our time, the era of “homo economicus”, this kind of governance does not happen very often, and the results of poor administration are disastrous in many municipalities and regions.  

If the candidates and the elected politicians reflect on how they are going to balance their ambition and their ability for good administration, then good things will happen in the areas they represent. Problems will start if politicians are overly ambitious and overly confident about their management abilities. This leads to fraudulent situations with many negative results, one of which (not necessarily the worst) is the unwillingness to cooperate with the other elected politicians. When this happens, it leaves the door open for pursuing personal interest (not necessarily financial) transactions, which do not correspond to the common good or the needs of the societies that these politicians were elected to represent.

Humans, except for self-preservation instincts, also have innate ideas which connect them to society and nature. If politicians are guided in their administration by their higher selfless  ideas for the common good, then they will work closely together with other politicians, as required by the proportional representation system, and their self-preservation and ambitious ideas will be kept in check. When this happens, the pluralism of ideas and the exchange of opinions is rich, and the synthesis of these ideas is beneficial to everyone. One of the most useful things that elected politicians could do, would be to create an algorithm, based on sound criteria such as area, population, etc. of individual areas,  for the fair distribution of funds by the municipalities to local communities and by the administrative regions to regional units. In this way, the solidarity and the collaboration between the individual units, which constitute an administrative area, would be strengthened.

Unfortunately, political practice in our country, both in state and municipal politics, particularly in recent years, is not characterised by a spirit of compromise neither by social solidarity. It is very possible that this old and corrupted kind of practice will be continued by the new municipal leaders.  Whether regional agencies will be working for the common good depends greatly on the character of the newly-elected politicians. It is up to them to avoid personal interest deals, and to try to synthesise the ideas expressed by their electorate in a way that the highest number of people in their area is benefitted. If our politicians are inspired by a selfless way of thinking, then it is certain, that after a difficult beginning, they will be able to develop solid groundwork for future cooperation, which will benefit the area they represent.  This kind of healthy collaboration will also benefit the electorate, which will be thus encouraged to support the choices and decisions of their elected representatives.

We, as representatives of the association “Maniot Solidarity”, do not limit ourselves to being simple well-wishers for our newly-elected politicians in Mani and the Peloponnese in general. We state that we will be active, and we promise and that in our own small way will support initiatives and decisions like the ones we described above.


Political activism is a fundamental obligation for all citizens, especially for those who possess not only natural abilities and social solidarity skills, but also organisational and management skills, acquired through knowledge and experience during the course of their lives. Political activism based on ambition is not in itself reprehensible, as long as the political skills of a particular candidate exceed his or her ambition. History has shown that those nations, which elect politicians with high social solidarity skills, excellent organisational and managerial skills as well as ambition, have enjoyed peace and a high standard of living for a very long time.


The above thoughts are very relevant at present, now that legislation has enforced proportional representation in both the municipal and parliamentary elections. We have already witnessed an unusually high number of candidates in the municipal elections and a “flight” of current members of parliament from constituencies with few supporters of their political party. We have also seen misguided political events, tailored to the upcoming proportional representation elections. All of these activities show that in many cases, ambition surpasses the abilities, knowledge, organisational and managerial skills of candidates.  It seems that many candidates, in addition to ambition, also have strong personal interest motives, financial and otherwise. These situations are a source of great concern for the election of a competent government for our country in the near future, first in the municipal sector and then in the state sector, since both municipal and state elections are both taking place in the year 2019.


In other countries, the activities described in the previous paragraph could be dismissed as random and occasional. In Greece, however, at a time when we are trying to exit from the ten-year long financial crisis of our country, caused mainly by financial irregularities on both the individual and state level, these activities are a cause for alarm, danger and great insecurity for the future. We see that many candidates for the next elections are currently following the same practices that have brought the public sector to bankruptcy. We need to search for the causes that have led us to the present situation, and to find ways to avoid catastrophic consequences that always follow the kind of activities described above.


A study of the history of different countries and geographical regions in the world proves that political ethics is the basis for individual nations’ success. The citizens of nations, which for a long time have been governed with strong political ethics, have been enjoying high prosperity and social wellbeing. Unfortunately, in our country, political ethics is not one of our strengths. On the contrary, we have seen elaborate schemes of disguising the personal and political motives of some candidates and the parties they belong to. These schemes, combined with the political immaturity of many members of the electorate, often bring to power populist leaders. Once a populist government is elected, the negative consequences of its governance are simply a matter of time.  Post-election allowances given to certain groups which helped elect a particular candidate or political party, do not offer a permanent solution to the economic distress of these groups, nor contribute to balancing out financial irregularities among the citizens.  On the contrary, they create resentment among those who are heavily taxed, and who in effect are paying for the allowances given to elected politicians’ favourite target groups.


In countries which have enjoyed for many years stable conditions of social and economic balance, citizens are politically mature enough to see through political and self-serving schemes, and therefore populist governments are a short-lived and easily reversed phenomenon. In countries like ours, particularly in the present precarious circumstances, choosing political candidates irresponsibly can be suicidal, because it changes Greece from a country with an uncertain future to a country with no future at all. This is why it is imperative that the most important criterion for electing a political candidate should be his or her political ethics. Only in this way the municipities, prefectures and the state will finally have an ethical and responsible government, which can then build a reasonable future for the generations to come.


In the present difficult circumstances, the Greek electorate has a moral obligation to look beyond personal interests, friendships and family relations. We need to vote for those candidates who have displayed social solidarity, effectiveness, but most importantly, political ethics in their personal and professional lives.


The current “Maniot Solidarity” is the 241st issue is our newspaper. This means that for 20 continuous years, our newspaper has been reaching its Maniot and philo-Maniot readers every single month, without interruption or multiple-month issues.

   At the beginning of 1999, when our association decided to publish a Maniot newspaper, we were not aware of the difficulties involved in such an undertaking. However, for those of us who were determined  to devote our precious free time to this effort, our love for Mani was stronger than the difficulties. For the past 20 years, we have kept researching and publishing data referring to the heritage that our ancestors have bequeathed to us, connecting elements of the past to the needs of the present and the prospects for the future. We have been envisaging a bright and prosperous future for Mani and its future generations. With optimism and strong will we are devoted to continuing our publication.

The course of our efforts has not always been smooth. We have encountered many obstacles in our path. Through team work and determination, the members of our association and its leaders managed to overcome these obstacles. Print media has been hit hard in recent years, and the economic crisis in our country has made matters even worse. We had to mobilise all our forces and resources in order to survive. We are grateful to our loyal readership who has supported us during these hard times. It is due to their support and our determination that we have managed to survive.

At the 10th anniversary of our newspaper, we decided to go further by expanding our publishing efforts. As our knowledge of the history and the evolution of social data in our area improved, we broadened our horizons, and ventured for the first time into the publication of books referring to Mani. Our publications so far have been: “Guide to Tourist Investments”, “Pages from the History of Mani, Volume I”, and “Western Mani: Sightseeing  Important Sites, Starting in Kalamata”. We continued with the publication of the 2-volume book “Travel Routes in Outer, Inner and Lower Mani and Vardounia” with detailed information on various villages.

   As the 20th anniversary of our newspaper drew near, our publishing efforts turned to electronic media. We have redesigned our website www.maniatiki.gr , which is being visited by a disproportionately high number of readers, given the small population of Mani. We have also completed the second volume of the book “Pages from the History of Mani”, which covers the historical period until the revolution of 1821, which will be published soon. Through both our printed and electronic press publications, we have strived to present to Maniots and philo-Maniots the history, geography, customs and traditions of Mani in a structured and objective way. We feel that in the multicultural Mani of today, it is our moral duty to showcase the long history of small Maniot societies and their achievements as well as their struggles for retaining their freedom and administrative autonomy through the centuries.

In closing this article, we think that is is timely to repeat an excerpt from the lead article of our first issue of April 1999: “By publishing this newspaper, we hope to fill a void. Mani is characterised by sparse settlements and populations. The infertile soil, the need for work and the civil conflicts have forced a high number of Maniots to emigrate to other areas of Greece and abroad. However, Maniots retain their main characteristics: their love for the land of their ancestors, its institutions, the activities of its inhabitants and their concern for a prosperous future. Our newspaper intends to inform on all these issues, as they are developing in the present time, so that Maniots can learn reliably and objectively the news of our area. Mani is an area integrated with its inhabitants, who through heredity and century-long living in the same physical area have developed a common way of life and have distinguished themselves in the Greek struggles for independence. Our newspaper will strive to locate relevant information and data in hard-to-find archives and resources , so that it becomes known to Maniots, and particularly young Maniots, and so that it can inspire all of us in our way forward.”

   On the occasion of our 20th anniversary, we assure our readers that today, in 2019, our newspaper continues on the same course. The main ideas which were expressed in the previous paragraphs should be considered as an open invitation to our younger readership, to align with the goals of our publishing efforts and prepare themselves for the future.

                                                                                                                                                THE EDITORIAL BOARD