Αρχείο κατηγορίας 2021 MAIN ARTICLES IN ENGLISH


The first statistics of the modern Greek state show that Mani was overpopulated, with a population higher than 30.000 inhabitants. Two hundred years later, migration, mainly for economic reasons, combined with low birth rates, have resulted in population much less than half of that! If we look at the age demographics, the conclusion is disheartening, because of the very advanced age of most of Mani’s permanent population. Low birth rates and migration are fully justified social phenomena, since both usually happen when people cannot satisfy basic needs. Unfortunately, in Greece we have not had coordinated state policies aiming at retaining the existing population and increasing the low birth rates of rural areas, and particularly of Mani. We believe that many areas in the countryside, particularly areas like Mani which have low production, but are endowed with desirable geophysical, climatic and cultural characteristics, could contribute to the increase of the population and the wealth of our country, if the state showed more interest and implemented area-specific development programs.

It is certain that in recent decades Mani has attracted many visitors and that the income of its permanent residents has increased. It is also certain that the tourist needs of the summer are such, that the local workforce does not suffice and it has to be strengthened with workers coming from the neighbouring urban areas and even foreigners. However, this staff is seasonal, and in winter even the seaside resort towns are sparsely populated. The increased value of real estate is very beneficial to its owners, however, it is a deterrent for the permanent settlement of the seasonally employed. If real estate were cheaper, the seasonally employed staff could potentially settle in the area, have families and increase the population of Mani.

If we do not want our country to be weakened in terms of population, we need efficient general measures and complete development problems that will have as a goal the strengthening of its population. These measures should be area-specific, with an emphasis on areas which have growth potential in critical areas, such as tourism. The characteristics of these programs should be the strengthening of public education from day care centres and kindergarten to High School, subsidised low-interest loans so that those who cultivate the land could buy it, and financial support of small year-round tourist units, the operations of which will be coordinated through a specialised “chamber” service run by the state. Of course, all of these integrated programs should be supported by state infrastructure, with the emphasis on roads, so that products and services can be moved quickly and efficiently to their final destinations.

The development policies applied so far have led to the creation of a hydrocephalic urban center, the capital Athens, and 5 or 6 other big urban centres of smaller population. Ιn these urban centres is concentrated the secondary sector (handicraft, industry etc.), assisted by the service sector. The potential for employment in these sectors leads to the gradual movement of persons from the countryside to the cities, and weakens the population of rural areas. What should really be happening instead is that area-specific state programs should promote the establishment and operation of industrial units for the processing of local agricultural products in each of the production areas. These programs should also connect the local industrial units with the export trade network, so that the part of the production that is not absorbed inland can be exported to other countries.

Α popular Greek proverb says: if a child does not cry, his mother does not give him food. It seems that in the area of active promotion of “substantiated proposals”, rural areas fall behind. There has been a lack of the necessary “good pipelines” that will present the needs of the residents of the countryside to the central administration, so that priorities can be established and appropriate political decisions can be taken. The weakening of the rural population has resulted in its under-represenation at both central and regional level. Consequently, the few representatives remaining in each place are overwhelmed with multiple obligations. This situation requires a particularly high level of coordination of residents in each sub-region, in order to strengthen the conditions for submission and promotion of the substantiated proposals to those state and regional institutions which are responsible for making critical decisions for the future of the country.

                                                               THE COORDINATING COMMITTEE


Government officials have announced some very good news: increased growth rates for the Greek economy during the year 2021 and the following years, something which is also being confirmed by statistics. There is more good news about the estimates for the optimal utilisation of the financial resources that have been allocated to Greece by two European Union programs: a) by the Community Development and Stability Pact (funding projects and their implementation over the next three years) and b) by the Community Support Framework (funding projects and their implementation over the next seven years). Now that these positive prospects have been announced, the questions are a) how close to the original plans will the actual implementation of these projects be, and b) to what extent will the results of the expected growth of the Greek economy be fairly distributed in society? Transparency will be a very important criterion for the fair evaluation of the expected positive results. Transparent data should be available in all phases of implementation of the projects that will be funded by the above European Community programs; this data should be presented in a simple, popularised language, and in a form accessible and easily understood by the average citizen. Let us not forget that the recent financial packages allocated to our country by the EU are unprecedentedly large.

As a starting point, we must mention here that the financial management of the pandemic, i.e., the replacement by government aid of the income losses caused to the citizens by the imposed COVID restrictions, was positive. This fact has contributed significantly to the increased growth rates of the economy for 2021 and 2022. The observation that these relief packages also benefited to some extent people who were not entitled to them does not invalidate what we just said at the beginning of this paragraph, but encourages us to work towards better digitisation of recording procedures, fairer distribution of benefits, as well as better management of similar situations in the future.

From the data disclosed so far, it appears that the Greek citizens need more detailed information regarding the choice of the projects that so far have been included in the above European Community programs, i.e., information with simplified technical terminology that will be easily understood by the average citizen. It is important that the information given to the public justifies the choice of specific public works for each category as well as the individual projects for each one of them, the strict conditions set by the invitation to tender regarding completion within the specified time frames and most important, why are they necessary and what are the social benefits that will be created with the completion of these projects. If the disclosure of all this data is transparent, it will lead to the citizens responding positively to the government development plans and will not give rise to opposition criticism.

The road from the initial design to the final implementation of any public work (even small development projects) is long. This fact justifies, to some extent, small deviations and additions to the original design. However, what has been observed in many cases in the past can be characterised as a complete reversal of the initial project plans. We have witnessed a complete reversal occurring in several cases, such as when the original budget turns out to be insufficient and needs to be doubled or when a project, completely funded until completion by a Community Support Framework, is left incomplete and requires as much funding from the next Community Support Framework. Phenomena of this kind that have been often recorded in the past, in addition to wasting scarce financial resources, also produce social parasitism, satisfy micropolitical interests and generally express phenomena of social decline.

If the whole path, from design to full completion of the projects, is shielded with efficient procedures, institutional rules and competent people who possess effective administration and good management skills, it is certain that the foundations will have been laid for the reliable integration of our country in the advanced states of the European family. Then, we might be able to rationalise and deal with the huge public debt that our leaders’ micropolitical and selfish political choices have created. If we do all this, then we can hope to be forgiven by our children and grandchildren, who will be subject to increased tax charges for its repayment, for several more decades.

Let us hope that our homeland Mani will also benefit from these large financial packages, although no reliable studies have been prepared for infrastructure projects that our region so desperately needs, now that the dynamic tourism development has stimulated the creation of quality investments in the private sector. It is never too late for all of us to mobilise in this direction, with the help of our compatriots who are active in large urban centers, and especially those in political offices.

                                                                                                          THE EDITORIAL BOARD


Εvery time timeliness required it, we presented in the articles of our newspaper “MANIOT SOLIDARITY”, the divisions that were manifested during the 200 years of life of the modern Greek state. Many of these divisions were explosive and lasted decades. If we examine their duration and intensity, in combination with the external circumstances and their effects on the internal affairs of our country, we cannot, unfortunately, conclude that these divisions are decreasing in intensity and duration as the years go by. They seem to be fed by some form of genetic character, which is not eliminated over time.

Of course, behind the divisions are the interests of individuals and groups, who believe that with the divisions they promote, they will eventually emerge victorious and benefit from the conflict. Despite the fact that national slogans are mixed in with the theoretical background on which these groups attempt to base their divisive arguments, the results, in most cases, bring national losses! Let us remember just two such disasters: the loss of the Great Idea as a result of the division of the 1910s and the loss of any positive development on the Cyprus issue as a result of the division of the 1940s.

Could the 1975 Constitution, whose provisions have been described as groundbreaking for the time it was voted, be a framework of common acceptance for citizens and politicians? This constitution stabilises, in a balanced way, the rights and obligations of citizens and forms a commonly accepted framework for the political debate on the policies to be applied in the governance of the country. Its provisions are broad enough to accommodate all political debates, which can be carried out within the specified framework and can be relaxed before they become deep, thus leading to divisions.

No conscientious citizen wishes to impose his opinion on any issue on a fellow citizen who has a different opinion from him/her. Persuasion and dialogue, either directly or through modern discussion forums, are the best methods to bridge differences. At the end of the exchange of arguments and the formulation of improvements to the initial positions, it is necessary to have a final position, the one that emerges from the views of most citizens on the basis of the common course agreed, through the constitution.

The divisions of the last decade have ultimately resulted in the escalation of the economic crisis and the deterioration of the financial situation of all citizens, and especially of many of the social groups that have played a leading role in divisive actions. The outcome, of course, would be even worse for the country and the citizens, if the majority tendency formed on the basis of theoretical approaches was applied in practice. It seems, however, that a tendency towards divisions is a permanent characteristic of some social groups, those that are formed on the basis of common beliefs which are completely disconnected from the prevailing beliefs of society.

The latest split in pro-vaccination / anti-vaccination groups for protection against the novel coronavirus, is evolving in much the same way. Anti-vaccination groups, each with a different starting point, focus on the individual rights of citizens, which are of course protected by the constitution, but not in an absolute way. Individual rights are related to the general interests of the society to which the constitution refers, thus shaping the interests of society as a whole in relation to the views or interests of minority groups, especially when the context of the conflict is about health and the lives of citizens. In other words, the decision of each citizen, which concerns his/her personal attitude and decision on an issue, cannot be disconnected from the damage that this attitude can cause to the wider society.

What constitutes, in addition to the constitutional requirement, common sense in the context of the voluntary coexistence of social groups, came to be confirmed by the decisions of the courts. These courts were called to rule on the constitutionality of government measures, related to the mandatory vaccination of social groups in close contact with large groups of citizens. Let us respect these decisions, avoiding another pointless division…

In Mani, it seems that the situation has somewhat improved. The old divisions, culminating in the vendettas, have disappeared as the population thinned out and tourism invaded. There are still low-intensity conflicts, mainly of a local nature, which are far from being divisive. Let us hope that these too will be eliminated soon.

                                THE EDITORIAL BOARD


It seems that anniversary celebrations of the national uprising of 1821 in our country have always been unlucky. There was one exception: the 50th anniversary, which was celebrated during the fourth inaugural term of the Maniot prime minister Alexandros Koumoundouros, and which brought not only strong emotions, but also substantial national achievements inspired by the Greek Revolution. All subsequent anniversaries were met with obstacles in achieving their goals of restoring historical memory and shaping future prospects through planned celebratory events. The 100th anniversary coincided with the unlucky outcome of the Greek Army campaign in Asia Minor and, as a result, the celebrations were postponed for 10 years, only to coincide again with the impact of the American financial crisis of 1929 on Europe and Greece. The 150th anniversary, on the other hand, coincided with the first four years of the dictatorship (imposed in 1967), a period when the messages of liberation were inconsistent with the prevailing political situation. More misfortunes apply to the present 200th anniversary: the pandemic, the immigration crisis and the rampant wildfires. Nevertheless, because historical memory is not promoted only through representation of events in the places where they took place in 1821, but through reflection on situations of that period, the1821 uprising continues to inspire and teach…

            The cohesive factor of all the individual societal groups that participated in the preparation of the uprising of 1821 and in the actual war, both in the fields of battle with the Ottomans but also in the subsequent diplomatic arena, was the assurance of free life in a nation state that would guarantee the security of all its citizens. Papaflessas, the hero who set all Greek hearts on fire,  managed to use this factor with ingenuity and courage to light the wick of the uprising and to push the revolutionary events on an irreversible path. The social groups that eventually took part in the Revolution differed both in their wealth and in their views on the political system that should be implemented in the new nation state. The economically powerful wanted to retain most of their privileges, the expatriates who belonged to the upper echelons of the Ottoman administration of Istanbul wanted to be the backbone of the political governance of the emerging state, the leaders of the military groups wanted to control and direct the government. The ordinary citizens, city professionals, and landowners sought to get rid of the heavy taxes that were forcing them to lose their jobs and property. If we add to all this the linguistic pluralism and the significant differentiation in the prevailing customs and traditions of the individual regions, the homogenisation on a common basis of a single nation state was a difficult task and it took time to complete. Significant progress in this direction was achieved during the four-year rule of Ioannis Kapodistrias, who with patience and diplomacy, managed to soften the aspirations of individual societal groups by undertaking policies that raised the living standards of ordinary citizens. To a significant degree, this policy was continued by King Otto’s Regents during the three-year term of office that had been assigned to them. However, in the following decades, the standardisation process lost momentum and, in combination with international developments, found new obstacles on the path to full integration, which remain until today.

            We, the descendants of the 1821 heroes, upon reflecting, 200 years later, on their sacrifices that led to the stable state we live in, have an obligation to redouble our efforts in order to shape our country as coherently as possible towards a future that is, unfortunately, predicted to be increasingly uncertain. We need to honour those politicians who, either by exploiting international circumstances and forming beneficial alliances, or by inspiring the armed forces in times of war, have succeeded in enlarging small Greece, a state which was first formed in 1832, in both population and territory. At the same time, however, we also have an obligation to remember the causes that led to national tragedies and disasters. The disagreements, which from time to time appeared in a heightened form, were not ideological confrontations, but were based on the gaps in the formation of a standardised perception of the citizens about the path towards the future of our country. These gaps, to some extent, still exist. It seems that the gaps in the path to standardisation do not arise from social controversies, but are mainly due to different perceptions and therefore can be addressed, both on a political and on an individual level, through dialogue and good faith. If we continue towards filling the gaps of standardisation, it is certain that the messages of 1821, on the occasion of the 200-year anniversary celebrations, will have been successfully transferred to the present period, as the protagonists of 1821, and especially the most fervent of them all, Papaflessas, would have liked.


The long duration of the corona virus pandemic, in addition to the pain and sadness that it has brought upon us, has caused the surge of various social phenomena, which academic research would find difficult to foresee and record. The range of the reactions of the public to the disease has been very wide, feelings of fear and self-protection were mixed, and the results were in many cases unpredictable. People’s behaviour during the first cycle of the pandemic was compliant and disciplined, but became very unpredictable during the later stages of the disease. To a large extent, the outbreaks of the disease that occurred in the later stages were fuelled by some of these later behaviours, creating in several areas problems of inadequacy in the treatment of those who became ill with the coronavirus.

            A year ago, we were all hoping for the production of coronavirus vaccines as soon as possible. When this became possible and the vaccines started to be distributed to the general public with the goal to vaccinate the entire population in a short period of time, divergent attitudes arose in a significant number of the population. These different mentalities, created another reason for the slowdown in the resolution of the pandemic situation, which could have been controlled through generalised immunity. There are mainly two categories of people who refuse vaccinations. Those who do so because of ideological beliefs are the easier to understand. The other vaccine deniers who base their denial on conspiracy theories, i.e. those who believe that a spying device is introduced into the body through the vaccine, are most likely influenced by the widely-spread science fiction films. In both of these categories of vaccine deniers, the main negative element is their lack of sociability. Cooperation and sociability are qualities that are  normally expected in cases of great common danger. In these situations, all societal groups are expected to follow a common course as directed by the state. The behaviour of those groups that avoid vaccinations is, in a way, understandable, since people are discouraged by the post-vaccinaton side effects that have in a few cases occurred. Fear for one’s life is an extension of the instinct of self-preservation, and such manifestations are, in principle, understandable behaviours.

            There is, however, a significant number of vaccine deniers whose denial lacks any ideological basis. They are those who are waiting for the rest of the people to acquire immunity in order to form that percentage of the population, about 80% of the total, which creates generalised natural immunity, the so-called “herd immunity”. This category thinks and acts on the basis of absolute selfishness. They want to avoid the (unlikely) vaccination side effects by acquiring immunity through the vaccination of others. This attitude, which, as an individual choice, is neither fair nor ethical, suffers from absolute antisociality. This mentality is not legitimate and demonstrates no will to conform with the norms of society or to cooperate with the rest of the people, while at the same time benefitting in many areas from the discipline and the efforts of the others. Antisociality becomes particularly dangerous if the percentage of the unvaccinated is high, as persistent mutations increase the risk of the new coronavirus strains. Due to the mutations, even those who have already been vaccinated are at risk of becoming ill, as well as the vaccine deniers, who, as unvaccinated, are subject to increased risks of the disease.

            The new universal experiences of an unprecedented nature gained in the past fourteen months, strongly reiterate the demand for SOLIDARITY. Recent developments in the disease caused by coronavirus have shown that there can be no absolute individual protection without generalised protection for all societal groups. All human societies, in addition to finding a commonly accepted way of life within themselves, are de facto obliged to pursue, and succeed in implementing, joint activities and policies of common necessity. The obligation to work towards this kind of initiative has become urgent after having experienced emergencies with devasting developments, such as the one that preceded the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and which is still in progress for an undetermined period of time. If, starting immediately, we implement policies of mutual cooperation on a general level and on a large number of issues of common interest, something good will emerge in the midst of the evils that are happening right now. Then the ancient Greek saying “there is no evil that does not contain something good” will come true in this case as well.


                    It is customary that the centennial or bicentennial anniversary of an important event be celebrated by organising commemorative ceremonies. These celebrations, in addition to reviving historical memory, also call for comparisons between then and now, and for a critical reflection on events that happened during the intervening period. This holds especially true for important events that concern an entire nation, such as the rebirth of the Greek Nation that emerged as a direct consequence of the Greek independence war of 1821. In this article we will reflect on both the one-hundred and the two-hundred year anniversaries since the beginning of the Greek Revolution. It seems, however, that in both 1921 (one-hundred year anniversary), and in 2021 (two-hundred year anniversary), the conditions were not favourable for a calm contemplation and evaluation of the events. The Asia Minor Campaign in 1921 and the COVID-19 pandemic at the present time brought about emergency situations of the utmost importance which needed immediate attention in order to avoid high-level risks. Emergency response measures to these events had to be drafted and  implemented, while commemorative celebrations were deemed of only secondary importance. In 1921, due to the Asia Minor situation, it was decided to postpone the commemorative ceremonies until the year 1930; this would be the one-hundred year anniversary since the founding of the modern Greek state after the signing of the Treaty of London by the three Protecting Powers (England, France and Russia) and the acceptance of its terms thereafter by the Ottoman Empire.  In the current year, the two-hundred year anniversary since 1821, most events so far have either been postponed, will be offered online, or will be implemented on a reduced scale in areas where heroic events took place. Any festivities planned for the coming months will depend on the evolution of the pandemic, and might be deferred or even cancelled.

                    However, commemorative ceremonies always produce strong visual messages and their cancellation may, in a positive way, cause us to reflect on the problems that we have faced as a nation since 1821. That is, the present cancellations may lead us to a deeper analysis of what has happened during the entire period of freedom from the revolution until now. This deep reflection, if it is related to the difficulties that arise during the management of the pandemic, can bring to light many negative elements, created by our attitudes and mistakes during the last two centuries. Such a reflection will help us understand the frequent disagreements between politicians and citizens, which in many cases have led to divisions and civil unrest. It is these mistakes in critical periods of our national life that led to national tragedies and prevented the complete incorporation of all the unliberated parts of Hellenism into the modern Greek state. During the current phase of the pandemic, disagreements have taken a different form: a significant percentage of citizens have refused to be vaccinated against Covid-19, by invoking the exercise of individual rights, guaranteed by the Greek constitution. The invocation of these rights, however, has caused negative social repercussions and infringes on the constitutionally guaranteed right to protect the health of the wide community.
                    We will mention two very important periods: those after the end of the two World Wars. Although we were on the side of the winners both times, due to lack of national unity, our country was deprived of the possibility of incorporating  into the national body unliberated areas with dense Greek populations. After the First World War, Eastern Thrace, extending all the way up to the outskirts of Constantinople, was  assigned to Greece, but due to disagreement between Prime Minister Venizelos and king Constantine, not only we were led to the Asia Minor Catastrophe but also we were forced to evacuate the whole coast of Asia Minor, as a prerequisite for the signing of a ceasefire. After World War II, due to the British military support during the Civil War, we tacitly resigned to claim the incorporation of Cyprus into Greece, as Great Britain had promised at the beginning of the war, while we almost lost the Dodecanese as well!
                    In this anniversary year, while reflecting on the critical events of the years 1820-1830 and the messages that they send to citizens and politicians, we should focus on the tragic figure of the first Governor of Greece, Ioannis Kapodistrias. It is our duty to remember his superhuman efforts to expand the borders of the newly-established Greek state as much as possible and to found a well-functioning state on a non-partisan basis and with fair rules of law. We have an obligation to reflect on the consequences for our nation of the loss of this great man. It is important to remember his selflessness and to emphasise at every opportunity his tireless efforts to achieve political unity. Finally, as a token recognition of his contributions to our nation, we have the obligation to embrace the  ideals and the policies he pursued; this is necessary for the safe course of our country in the future.


Time is continuous, but we, humans, like to slice it into intervals… We do this in order to do all kinds of measurements and calculations during the limited course of our lives. Time, however, moves at its own speed which for humans is hard to comprehend. Events happen in time scales that do not reflect human life times. Humans need to carefully re-examine past events and situations and draw valid conclusions that will help us now, as we move forward. The reflections in this introductory paragraph are the basis for a short analysis of last year’s events and some thoughts on the new year 2021.

            Events of 2020 have erased all erroneous expectations that life on our planet will continue to progress and prosper. Most of us used to believe that health, employment, security and, most important of all, democracy, are based on reliable and steady risk prevention systems. We had forgotten, after many decades of peace and normalcy, that the relations between nature and society are dynamic and that the balance between the two of them can be negatively affected by fluctuations of power and by unforseen new elements that come up and cause changes and events catalytic in nature. The new coronavirus pandemic that humanity is currently experiencing proved wrong the consensus that the Spanish Flu pandemic, which happened a century ago, was the last one. It has reminded us that all countries have to cooperate and develop common stable health policies. We have now internalised not only that public health is the most important public good, but also that emergency, exceptional and temporary measures can adversely affect other sectors, such as the economy and employment.

            In our country, we have clearly observed once more that the policy of “putting things off for later” and the extensive corruption in public administration are not just data for statistics, but also the causes for the big imbalance between us and our neighbouring country. This power imbalance was what fuelled the Turkish provocations, which we experienced many times this past year. Finally, the ludicrous political events that are unfolding in the USA remind us once more that the populism of the working classes can severely threaten democratic systems. The unfair distribution of wealth and the poor efforts by the state to provide education for the young are the main causes for the rising populism.

               Now that mobility is limited due to the pandemic, our extended stay at home gives the opportunity for everyone, citizens and government, to examine all the events of the past year and reflect on the causes. In this way, everyone (citizens as well as their representatives, the politicians) can cooperatively and coherently move from the surface to the deeper causes, and contribute by all performing their own duty. It seems as if last year’s disasters can be reversed, but only if individual actions are carefully co-ordinated. Vaccinations and effective medication as well as the experience gained in the treatment of the disease, are all positive developments in the course for radical treatment of the new pandemic; however, we need to form a unified stance on preventive measures. Subsidies for workers and businesses affected by the coronavirus, combined with favorable loan repayment terms and new lending, can counteract the negative effects on the financial sector, as long as they are not abused by parasitic tactics, as in the past. The strategic alliances which we are steadily forming, the careful, although late, planning for the purchase of military equipment, and the recent election results in the USA, all strengthen the sense of our national security.
               In our region, it seems that the low population density, a product of the special way of social coexistence chosen by our ancestors, has limited the expansion of the new pandemic, while the generally positive effects of the new motorway have greatly supported the finances of the people who live and work in Mani. In matters of national security, the disposition to protect our national sovereignty, as we inherited it from our ancestors, is considered given, permanent and essential. All that remains now is to formulate a firm desire to fight populism. A key factor in promoting this goal in our region is to enhance the effectiveness of our schools, which now face the added difficulty of integrating the many children, who come from foreign families permanently settled in Mani, into the national and local culture.
                                                                                                           THE EDITORIAL BOARD