This issue marks 25 years since April 1999, when the first issue of this newspaper was published. The publication did not emerge randomly nor was it motivated by financial considerations and ambitions. It was the product of emotional maturity. A maturity that was acquired in the ten-year journey since the concept of “solidarity” on a social and political level appeared in an organised way in the Mani region. Solidarity was the focus of the management model implemented at the local government in the Neochori and Stoupa areas of Western Mani during the 1990s by the group, coordinated by its founder. Solidarity was also the focal point of the program in which the group participated in the local elections of 1998 in the then municipality of Leuktro, garnering one-third of the electorate’s vote.

A few months after the local elections of 1998, the group considered the conditions to be ripe for the message of solidarity, with all the emotional background that accompanies it, to be highlighted through a publication by the association Aλληλεγγύη (Solidarity), which was established then. The high-quality concept of solidarity has guided us in composing the content presented in the 300 issues of our newspaper, continuously printed over the past 300 months. This concept has also guided the publication of six books that showcase the characteristics of our region (“Travel Routes in Mani”, volumes A and B, “Pages from the History of Mani”, volumes A and B, “Mani in Foreign-language Books of the 17th-19th Centuries” and “The Timeless Evolution of Large Areas of Mani”) as well as the content of the highly visited website www.maniatiki.gr that we created.

During these 300 months, the journey has not been smooth. Much “turbulance” was created. Some members of the group wanted to use the newspaper as a means to “conquer” the local government of the area, in the name of promoting supposedly ideological ideas, but in reality promoting personal ambitions. Our insistence on promoting the concept of solidarity through the newspaper’s publications, a concept that on a practical level touches the entire population of our region and is in complete harmony with its widespread application to friends and non-friends alike, was accompanied by conflicts, bitterness and departures. Persisting in keeping our principles in the social sphere, we strengthened our ties with those members who endured the difficult times that we faced during this long journey. Relying on these people, we insist on its continuation, as long as the trust of those friends in our ideas allows us to cover the costs of frugal management and as long as our intellectual powers allow us to transform these ideas into analyses, proposals and interventions guided by Maniot and, more generally, social solidarity. We believe that the concept of solidarity, when applied according to its semantic background, allows neither narrow-minded perceptions nor subjective motives. Such perceptions and motives inevitably lead to micro-political management, and inability to promote broad social goals. This kind of management may, in the course of its implementation, provide selfish satisfaction, but ultimately leads not only to social deadlocks but also to personal impasses.

Slowly but steadily, we gained the trust of a large group of consciencious Maniots and philo-Maniots who also agree with the non-selfish goals for our area contained in the newspaper’s publications. With this group of fellow citizens, we aim to continue communicating through the texts that appear in the columns of this newspaper and our website. This group represents the consciencious Maniots – those who, apart from their individual and family pursuits, feel that Mani is our common home and seek, actively and participatively, to improve the quality of life in our region and strengthen solidarity among our fellow citizens. Whether our fellow citizens who think in this way constitute a majority, or when this will be the case, the final conclusion may be drawn from many sociological factors. However, it is certain that vertical divisions, with well-concealed individual benefits, with the objective of preying on local power, will lead us to increasingly insurmountable impasses, ultimately causing the general deterioration of the quality of life and the fragmentation of social cohesion in our area. This is not just a sociological conclusion; it has been confirmed many times and recorded in the history of our region. We only need to realise it and to bring it to the current data in order to formulate a safe course of action and meet the demands of this critical period for the country and our region.