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“Call me when you arrive” | A maternal message that has become a slogan for angry Greeks



(Athens) “Call me when you arrive”. This message sent by many Greek mothers to their children when they travel, became the slogan of angry protesters after the train collision that left 57 dead, including many young people.

In the processions that marched across the country on Wednesday, banners displayed this sentence which spread like wildfire on social networks in the hours following the train accident on the evening of February 28.

In Athens, angry youths also chanted: “Send me a message when you arrive. You never arrived. We will avenge you, child.

Due to the speed with which the message “Call me when you arrive” spread, some were trying to compare it to “I can’t breathe”, the slogan that appeared in the United States after the death in May 2020 of the Afro- American George Floyd, suffocated under the knee of a white police officer.

Many Greeks also feel humiliated by the brutal social downgrading they suffered during the financial crisis (2008-2018) and their anger was rekindled by the train disaster.

In a country where the family is a strong marker of society, “Call me when you arrive” sums up “the mentality of parents in Greece, in particular of the mother who worries about whether her child is well”, explains Pinelopi Horianopoulou, a municipal employee, mother of two children, met Wednesday in the Athens demonstration.


In the processions that marched across the country on Wednesday, banners displayed this sentence which spread like wildfire on social networks.

“This is the message that all mothers in Greece send,” adds Giota Tavoulari, 58, from the pharmacists’ union. This slogan is “taken up everywhere because it is quite significant: these children will not see their families again because governments, companies have not taken care” of railway safety systems.

In many schools in recent days, primary, middle and high school students have placed dozens of backpacks on the ground in such a way as to form this message “pare me nato phtasis”, “call me when you arrive » sometimes also declined in « send me a message when you arrive ».

Many of the victims of this “national tragedy”, as the Greek authorities called it, were students returning to Thessaloniki, the major university city in the north of the country, after a long weekend.

Greek media claimed that this message was based on the testimony of a victim’s mother claiming to have received a phone call from her 23-year-old son who was traveling on the Athens-Thessaloniki train.

“Mom, there are too many people on the train. I have never seen such a crowded train. I’ll call you when we arrive, come get me,” the young man said, according to the magazine news site LIFO.

In Patras, a university town in the Peloponnese (southwest), the protesters placed at the head of the procession an installation resembling a coffin topped with black balloons and this poster. “Mom, I have arrived”.

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