I am Yannis Samatas, former co-publisher and now sole publisher of the Crete Gazette after the departure of Lou Duro, the man who first promoted the idea of an English-language newspaper for Crete.
I’ll begin by wishing us all a Happy New Year, hoping 2006 brings us health, wealth, peace and happiness.
As for the Crete Gazette, I hope we will see it grow over the next few months, becoming even more interesting with an ever-increasing readership.
When I took over the Gazette early last month, I hadn’t realised the full weight of responsibility this would involve. However, I had valuable support from people who collaborated, free of charge, to produce the issue you are reading. Enthusiasm and a labour of love can often overcome the greatest difficulties.
The Crete Gazette has been, from its inception, the result of many people’s collective voluntary efforts. It doesn’t matter if some have to do more than others. What counts is that people from different countries, with different experiences, knowledge and cultures, are able to unite their forces to create something concerning their common love of Crete.
Today, when the foreign community in Crete is constantly increasing and Greek Orthodox are not longer the only members of Cretan society, the need to learn to work with and understand each other in spite of our differences is greater than ever. The language barrier is a problem that keeps us apart in many cases. There are other difficulties too, but let’s not dwell on them – let’s consider how many everyday issues unite us, living and working in the same place as we do.
The Crete Gazette is an attempt to address the foreign community, or at least its English-speaking members, and create the necessary bridges to help us learn about and understand each other. The Gazette also provides information on events and problems large and small in our island.
Don’t judge the Gazette too harshly. It would be unfair when it’s just learning to walk. It’s a small child with multinational parents. Hug it, advise it, teach it and help it grow.
The Crete Gazette will try to be with you every month to keep you “parea”. What is “parea”? One of the basic ingredients of well-being for Greeks. A parea is a group of people, large or small, who have fun and a good time together. Its members may be old friends or just have met by chance. They may be united by the moment and never see each other again, but while the good parea lasts, all is harmony.
Join us and let’s have fun together creating next month’s Crete Gazette. It may be tiring, but by the end some of us will be friends and we will all be happy with the results of our efforts.
The Crete Gazette welcomes anyone who wants to join their voice with ours. If you have something to say about Crete and life on the island, want to write to us with news of your local community, know something important that has taken place or a future event, or want to share an interesting story with Gazette readers, we’ll be delighted to hear from you.
A good beginning and Happy New Year!