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Anna Cominos

52 Weeks In Tsirigo - A lot of Hot Air

Kithira is a world of EXTREMES as the past two weeks can account. SNOW, daily EARTHQUAKES, those dreaded WINDMILLS……………and a lot of hot air!!!
and that my friends is my quick round-up of Kythera as it stands today Thursday 21 Feb 2008.

Ok…Let me explain;
SNOW for the past week all of Greece (including Crete and Kythera) has been immobilised by blanket snow brought about Siberian Winds. Imagine waking last Sunday morning to find Potamos, Logothetianika and most of the southern villages, Milopotamos, Fratsia, Levadi buried in snow. I had a ‘perfect moment’ (sense of contentment right place/right time) when I was driving to Potamos from Stavli and just before I got the graveyard I looked to the side towards Mermigari(mount just above Milopotamos with masses of satellite dishes) and all the hills & mountains were white like someone had covered them in vanilla.
This savage icy snap meant that no airplanes could take of or land at the newly completed Spata airport or any passenger ships allowed to sail from any port, so the island was once again completely isolated, with a 1year-old baby with having to be choppered out by the Greek Army last Friday night.

EARTHQUAKES the island has been suffering from almost daily aftershocks from the major earthquake which occurred on the 14 February, which registered 6.7richter, (that’s a big-one, lasting 15 secs). The epicentre of these quakes has been in the ocean off the Peloponnese town of Methoni. These earth-tremors are registering in the sixes as well.

As you probably noted the initial earthquake happened on St Valentine’s Day, which has been slow to establish in Greece as it is traditionally a Catholic Saint Day. Enthusiastically embraced by multi-national companies everywhere, this’ ritual can be ‘lovingly’ shared by lovelorn consumers the world over. The Good News is that Greece can now proudly fly the flag of the ‘Loved Ones’ as Greece adopts the love heart as its national symbol. Cafés in Potamos and gift shops in Levadi couldn’t conceal ‘our’ new identity with Hearts and Arrows strewn everywhere…….. begging the question. Sweetheart did the earth move for you too?????????

And now those damn WINDMILLS. I have been hanging off writing this blog for the past weeks awaiting the much anticipated ‘Information Night’. Constantly cancelled at the last minute because of the above mentioned weather phenomena. Last Sunday Night in the Potamos Pneumatico Kentro (Cultural Centre) over 300 people of all different ages, classes and political persuasion came together to initially gain information and the rant & rave.
It was impressive and moving to be in such a throng. The first speaker esteemed Ornithologist Theodore Komino gave a wonderful talk on migrating birds and Kythera’s unique geographical position for their safe passage and the critical extinction of particularly of eagles (some which only 6 couples are left) .His closing projected image -a decimated bird that had flown into the blades of a windmills, brought the message home loud and clear. Let’s say not pretty!!!!
The second speaker Petros Kominos (now its starting to sound like a conspiracy) is an Electrical Engineer who has been in the UK for close to 12 years, an no relative of mine or Theodore) explained the technicalities in layman terms. Here are 2 points which floored me.
• Kythera does not have the roads to carry the wingspan of the windmills which have a diameter of approx. 45 metres long (at least three semi-trailer carriages are needed to transport the wings to their position. = new straight roads needed close to the positioning of windmills.
• Kythera currently does not have the infrastructure to carry this generated electricity. (We have your neighbourhood electricity poles_ = new network of massive cables and towers needed to carry electricity.

While the 2 speakers brought clarity to a foggy and ‘dark’ question, the political infighting and grand-standing that followed revealed several things. That is much more that is at mistake than the issue of windmills. This is a shift in the evolution of Kythera. That dirty word Prodos (Progress) being the reason for all-wrongs

It appears some want Kythera zoned industrial, they believe that this will bring progress.
They are blind to what they are the caretakers for their and our children. They are here today…gone tomorrow. The Dimos (Local Council) need to hold an open discussion on what alternative energy we need and how?????

The fears and thoughts of many were articulated when young local businesswoman Maria Romeo got up and spoke, saying “I am a young person who has returned to live on the island after completing my tertiary studies. I have opened a business here and I care about the environment. I believe it is time we held a referendum re: What Alternative Energy for who and why.

There are days when I feel like a non-speaking extra in one of the Star Wars Saga. I am riding on the Death Star and I don’t have a light-sword and Luke Skywalker has gone walkabout………….so for a bit balance here are the positives of Kythera in Feb
The wild pink, white and lilac anemones that gloriously sprout next to roads and carpeted forgotten, untoiled fields*Hot chocolates at Lily’s café*Walking Buster the dog to Firi-ammos on a sun-filled morning*Warming your chilly extremities near an olive-tree stoked fireplace*collecting and delivering fresh chicken eggs*winning at ‘
xeri’ (Greek card game)*cooking pitas (large Home-baked pies) with local wild greens*seeing people articulating there desires for their island……..Don’t hold back all letters re: windmills will be forwarded to the rightful Government departments and Greek national Press

PS Pray to the Panayia Mirtidiotissa to send some truly visionary leadership to Kithira.

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