I too was one of the lucky ones to have seen Pantelis Pantelidis perform live. I saw him in Greece a few years ago at a place called Teatro Music Hall. Having grown up with Greek music all my life, I realized this guy wasn’t just the latest fad. People loved him. He spoke to “every man” with the music and lyrics he wrote and sang.
It was his simplicity and purity— and perhaps his humble beginnings in front of a camera in his bedroom via YouTube— that made Pantelis special to so many people.
He sang about love and pain, heartbreak and lost love— emotions and experiences of everyone, and in a language everyone could understand and connect with.
He was, without a doubt, one of the greatest talents of our current generation of Greek singers— and he had only just begun.
No doubt the fatal accident that killed him instantly and left two innocent young Greek girls in critical condition has shaken the nation.
An estimated 20,000 people showed up at his funeral in the Nea Ionia suburb of Athens, a working class neighborhood where neighbors know each other and call each other by their first names. Pantelis was “one of them.” Today, that neighborhood was covered in black as thousands came to pay tribute to their beloved son, singer and friend.
RIP Pantelis PantelidisMore than 20,000 people join Pantelis Pantelidis on his final journey. The beloved, popular singer was buried today with music and bands playing throughout his coffin’s procession and tens of thousands of mourners. Two women remain in critical condition following the fatal traffic accident.
Posted by The Pappas Post on Saturday, February 20, 2016
Hopefully this accident will serve as a wake up call to a nation that is suffering yet another crisis— the crisis on the roads. The numbers are staggering. According to official statistics, 1,600 people lost their lives in traffic accidents on Greek roads in 2015 with 20,000 people injured.
And like in Pantelidis’ case— speed was involved. Not only was he not wearing his seatbelt, but he was driving on a dangerous stretch of Vouliagmenis Avenue at excessive speeds of upwards of 80-90 miles per hour, according to police reports and witnesses.
Every day in Greece there are five people killed on the roads in accidents. Fifteen people are left paralyzed and 60 are seriously injured. This is every day in Greece and according to statistics, upwards of 60% to 70% of the victims are young people under the age of 29.
As if Greece didn’t have enough crises to worry about— the economic one, the refugee one— the road crisis is another real crisis that needs to be dealt with at the highest levels of Greek government.
It’s sad that the 1,600 souls lost last year weren’t enough of a wake up call. Hopefully Pantelis Pantelidis’ death won’t be in vain and Greeks will wake up and realize there’s a war going on on their roads and highways— and they’re not winning it.