A life experience of a Polish girl on the Greek island of Crete.

Polka pisze wiec po polsku tez bedzie…

Sunday, 30 October 2011

OXI Days

Greek word Όχι  (read Ohi or Ochi) – No, stands as a symbol of Greek nation’s pride and their resistance against foreign forces in order to sustain country’s independence. It was the word which once spoken by the country’s leader unified the whole Greek nation against the enemy.

Those were the times when Greeks believed and followed strategic decisions of the ones who ruled on behalf of λαός (laos /nation).  

Every year, on the 28th of October, Greeks celebrate one of the most important events in their history. On this day, back to 1940 Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas right after the party in the German embassy in Athens, rejected the ultimatum of Italians to enter the country and occupy it with no battle ahead – in a peaceful manner, so they thought those Italians. Metaxas was supposed to say one word “No” and that’s how Greece entered the World War II. 

To commemorate this one day, the 28th of October called Ohi Day is a public holiday when  students, soldiers, pilots, policemen, firefighters together with any other groups that contribute to safety and well-being of Greek country march in front of their leaders to pay tribute to them and demonstrate the nation’s power to the rest of population.

This year Ohi Day was not a happy moment and, I think, it was completely out of the question to demand from Greeks to pay any tribute to their leaders. Again, it became another occasion for the Greeks to demonstrate their disappointment and disgust to the leaders and politicians who used their power and brought Greece to the point of deep crisis. And we do not talk just about economy but about the loss of pride and credibility of this proud nation. On a day of such important celebration, commemorating those who fought for this country, it was sad to watch all those demonstrations and examples of riots. It was also bizarre and confusing to watch young students wearing on their arms swastika symbols crossed with a red line. This is when you pose yourself a question: “Should I hate the ones who placed the trap or the ones who led me to the trap, left me trapped and escaped themselves?” 

Was it right for the Greeks to march in front of their leaders and turn their heads in opposite direction, in a silent way presenting their disagreement and lack of respect? Yes, in this particular case, I think it was the least and the most civilized way they could show their “No” reaction to what was done to them. 

Though, I am really concerned that the way things develop in Greece, to turn head or even to spit in government direction, it will be an infrequent civilized act to show how unhappy people are. 

I just hope that at least in the whole situation, the respect among casual people will be re-born and some team spirit will start growing. 

The ones who marched in Chania, they may not have appeared enthusiastic in front of the officials’ stage, but they marched proudly in front of the gathered viewers (although much less people arrived this year) and overall created a peaceful atmosphere. 

A wave of crappy slogans from the crowd of kind of sloppy down-the-hill part of society tried to follow, but since no one seemed to be interested in damaging the atmosphere, things kind of slowed down before they even started. 

I managed to catch a few moments of this year ”Ohi” parade. Have a look how it was done in Chania…Cretan traditional costumes and …those Greek soldiers:) 

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