Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Above: "A dream for Greece...If you want to change the world, change yourself."

Hello from CORD!

What might we learn from the "Indignant Citizens" movement currently taking place in Greece/Europe that might be useful to us here in Brooklyn, NY?

As a CORD Co-Founder, an 'artist/activist' since 2007, when CORD and the "Democracy Wall"
were born here in Carroll Gardens as a citizen response to the many urgent issues facing our community, and as a Greek-American, I was very struck recently by what I encountered on my travels to Greece.

By Greece, I mean specifically Syntagma Square, which is the home of the Parliament Building in Athens. There in the square whose name means "Constitution",
σύνταγμα /syntagma= constitution

I witnessed and photographed a fascinating protest movement during the month of June called the "Indignant Citizens". The Greek Reporter, on June 25, 2011 stated:

"More than two thirds of Greeks are supportive of the ‘Indignant Citizens’ Movement’ that has now been protesting virtually non-stop outside the Greek Parliament since May 25, according to a new survey conducted by the Athens University of Economics statistics department unveiled on Friday." See: http://greece.greekreporter.com/2011/06/25/recent-study-shows-strong-support-for-indignant-citizens-movement/

Where did all of this organized citizens energy come from? It was evidently sparked by the 2011 Spanish protests of the same name, and these demonstrations were organized entirely using social networking sites. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010%E2%80%932011_Greek_protests

For my part, I saw Greeks of all ages and types gathered peacefully in Syntagma Square day after day voicing theirs opinions, often loudly! To my great interest, they often used various art forms to communicate, especially, hand painted banners and homemade songs/slogans. I even saw ordinary kitchen utensils like pots and pans used to draw attention. The 'Indignant Citizens' stated they were 'peaceful' and 'non-political', although, unfortunately, some of the protests became violent, indeed, in June when the Greek police arrived in the thousands. See:http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/tear-gas-fired-greek-police-clash-athens-protesters-2011-06-29

However, from my personal point of view, it was the citizen activism, and raw enthusiasm/energy, not the violence, that fascinated and captivated me the most. The LA Times, in an article recently called this the 'Greek Spring' and stated it appeared to be gathering momentum.
"Protesters, calling themselves aganaktismenoi, or the indignant, have been gathering daily in Athens since May, venting their rage at politicians, whom they've dubbed kleftes, or thieves. Protests have spread to 50 cities."

And poignantly, "We are the cradle of democracy," Nikos Chaniotis said at a recent gathering in Athens' Syntagma Square. "We're reclaiming our heritage, trying to redefine the spirit of a political system that our ancestors invented and which Greek politicians, have disgraced."
See: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jun/24/world/la-fg-greece-square-20110625

I believe that no matter what side of the political spectrum one is one, one can not help but be struck by the passion and the enthusiasm of these Greek citizens at this moment in time. The unified actions of these people is a reminder to us all of the great need for WE the PEOPLE, in any democracy, to speak up. When citizens of any number come together for a good cause, and stick together through thick and thin, their voices can be heard.

I wonder if we might have a 'Brooklyn Spring' (Summer?) one of these days???

Is it too much to hope for the 'Indignant Citizens of Brooklyn' to rise up and speak up loudly to the powers that be: our very own electeds here in NYC, especially when we feel they are ignoring our us and our beloved communities?

This summer, here at the CORD blog and elsewhere, I will be featuring some of my photos of the 'Indignant Citizens" at Syntagma Square with my English translations. I am sure that many of you will find these images and words to be not only poignant, but inspiring.

In addition, I will be featuring some wise words from Mr. Yianni Zaglaris, mathematician and philosopher, who lives in Athens next to Syntagma Square. These too, shall be translated from their original Greek. Enjoy!

Triada Samaras
CORD Co-Founder


With the "Protect Our Homes" petition, CORD was formed in May, 2007. This petition arose as an overwhelmingly negative response to the coming of the over-sized 360 Smith Street Development at the corner of Smith Street and Second Place (Aka Oliver House; aka 131 Second Place). This petition, which had well over three thousand signatures, led to a new zoning text amendment in summer of 2008.

To: Our Elected Officials, Community Leaders, The MTA:
(MAY, 2007)

We the undersigned Carroll Gardens homeowners and residents, are appalled by the "as of right" ruling which allows owners and developers to erect buildings in our neighborhood with no regard to the impact they will present to our quality of life and the value of our homes........