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