Τρίτη, 25 Ιανουαρίου 2011

Kantounistas!

As some of you may have seen in one of my previous posts, Unusual happenings in Corfu there have indeed been some, and now there have been some more! I'll dispense with the "mystikopatheia" (another wonderful greek word meaning something like a love of secrecy or secretive) and get down to the details.

On December the 19th some people who had had enough of the rubbish situation in Corfu, decided to try and do something about it. It was to be a symbolic gesture of cleaning up a small part of town. Facebook was used to invite volunteers. Interestingly, out of  2108(!) invitations, 1898 did not respond, 143 said they couldn't make it, 46 said they might, 21 said they would definitely come and 7 actually turned up. It could have been 8 but she had to babysit for 2 of the others...haha! I was one of them!



a great time was had by all and we went home feeling happy that we had actually tried to do something rather than sit and whine about the situation at the kafeneio or online...



A few days later we got back together again and decided to try and do more. The idea came from the Atenistas group in Athens. A group of non-party afilliated individuals with a set of common goals. To try and make everyday life in the city a little better by organising various dos, happenings and efforts to tidy up, neaten up, enliven, help the needy, point wrongdoers in the right direction, anything really that can put a smile on someone's face... and make life better! This is how the Kantounistas were born. Over the Xmas period we got together again and again, created a Kantounistas facebook group, a blog (kantounistas.blogspot.com) and started to plan our first official "action".


This happened last Sunday in Corfu town. The idea was to set up a small "roadblock" at the places were cars and motorbikes illegally enter the pedestrianised (20 years ago)  roads of Corfu. There were leaflets explaining the idea, traffic cones, a Kantounistas-at-work sign and two handmade pedestrian-footpath signs.





The first stop was by the Kofineta at the palace end of the Esplanade. Here there is a small square where there were at least 10 cars illegally parked while the municipal parking round the cricket pitch remained mostly empty... For just over an hour no cars entered from there except a couple of emergencies, like an old man getting a lift home from hospital. Most drivers looked on in amazement or despair, and moved on. There were no altercations... There was one funny reaction when a couple of workers in a truck, exiting the town informed us kantounistas, that the pedestrian roads are actually illegal! we pointed out the roadsigns. They said they were illegal too!




 We then moved on and set up our roadblock outside the National Bank of Greece, and finally at the Pentofanaro.
Three and a half hours after we started, we left, feeling satisfied that we got the message through to a fair number of people. Possibly we will be doing this kind of "action" again, in order to keep up the pressure on the average corfiot driver to do the right thing and use his legs sometimes as well! We all use the town both for work or recreation and we often do so with our kids. Why should we always have to keep our eyes open for cars or bikes where no cars or bikes should be?

This was our first action. Soon there will be more. The Facebook group membership numbers already over 150 people. Last Sunday 150 said they would attend, but only 15 did. We are happy , we were enough, but the more, the merrier.

Membership is free, voluntary, and there is only one obligation. Not to forget to bring your smile when you join us!

So if you get an invitation from a friend on Facebook to join a bunch of loonies who think they can change Corfu and the Corfiots and who are calling themselves Kantounistas (after the famous kantounia of the old town) don't worry! It's not a joke...

See you in the Kantounia!!

Last minute update. There are now similar groups in Crete (Minoistas), Ioannina (Paguristas) Patras (Patrinistas, PolisPatra) Thessalonika (Thessalonistas) Pireas (PireActive) The wind of change? We can only hope...

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