It was either this or a Greek flag!
Tomorrow is Oxi Day in Greece. It’s a national holiday to celebrate a wartime act of defiance against the demands of the Italian fascists on Greece. But more about that later. So how is it celebrated?
Today, most of the schools held morning celebrations and then there were no lessons after that. So, school children get most of today off and tomorrow too. Tomorrow will see school children marching through the squares of towns and villages up and down the country and there will be speeches about the heroes of the Graeco-Italian war. Many people will take the opportunity to go back to ancestral village homes for the long weekend to meet up with wider family. Others will simply take off to the nicest place they can afford to get to and some of us will be staying in Athens and making the most of the fact that we don’t have to get up on a Friday!
The celebration itself is in honour of Metaxas’ refusal to allow Mussolini to enter Greece with his troops. Italy then more or less immediately attacked Greece from the Albanian border but was pretty swiftly repulsed by the Greek army. To Mussolini’s embarrassment he was unable to beat the Greek forces and had to ask for the Germans to attack from the north. Not surprisingly, the small Greek army was unable to defend two fronts for very long. After 6 months of fighting and large numbers of casualties on the Italian and German side, Greece was invaded. Then Crete fell, the British were evacuated, and the reprisals against Greek civilians by the German forces began.
During the war Greece lost more of its population as war casualties than almost any other allied country. Due to the lack of official records the estimates are between 7 and 11% of the population of Greece were killed (In Britain, all casualties, military and civilian, amount to under 1% of the population). Many Greeks were killed in massacres, such as the ones at Distamo and Kantanos, and a very significant number died of starvation, especially in Athens in the winter of 41. Almost the entire Jewish community of Greece was wiped out. The Thessaloniki jews had been a part of the history and culture of the area for hundreds of years.
After the war, Churchill betrayed the Greeks and helped precipitate the civil war (see the Dekemvriana) and then (in a nutshell) there were many years of poverty, migration, dictatorship and eventual freedom with democracy and entrance to the EU.
Greece said Oxi in a referendum last year too. But to no avail. The country remains in the grip of a deliberately punitive crisis orchestrated to ensure that all EU countries know who rules the EU and what happens to those who in any way threaten the hegemony.
I don’t think Greece will be saying NO again for a long time. Not unless the shills in the Vouli are removed once and for all