One could say that the story of Rinio Katsotourhi could be compared to that of the brave women of Pindos in the Greek-Italian War, or even the female fighters of the Resistance.
However, for now it is a story of a rebel fighter against the callous Greek bureaucracy.
Katsotourhi, a widow, is the sole resident and practically the only ‘sentry’ of Kinaros, which is a small, rocky island on the sea border with Turkey.
The blue and white colors fly proudly from the roof of her humble home. One would think she has to face Turkey. Unfortunately though, she has to face a bigger challenge: Greek bureaucracy.
Speaking on ANT1 television on Friday, the 70-year-old said the Greek state had cut off a dividend she was receiving and are demanding rent for a grazing pasture she has been using for her livestock.
Specifically, she said that due to a mistake her son made in filing the E9 property tax form, the dividend she was entitled to has been cut off for the past two years. At the same time she is being asked to pay rent for the pasture she has been using, which belongs to the local authorities.
“All I ask is for my right and my family’s to stay on this island,” she told ANT1.
Speaking in the same news show, Deputy Minister of Rural Development Yiannis Tsironis, said he will personally look into the matter and give the “green light” for the concession of the pasture to the family.
The return from Australia
Katsotourhi is one of the thousands of Greek-Australians who have left Australia and returned to their homeland.
She returned to Greece with her husband Mikkes and in 2000 they chose their favorite place, the remote and rocky island of Kinaros, to settle.
A few years later, one of their three sons, Giorgos, joined them. A few years after that though their son decided to leave again, and they couple remained by themselves.
In 2013, when her husband passed away, Katsotourhi remained by herself, and as a result, ended up being the sole resident of the border island.