Sunday, October 28, 2007

Επέτειος του «'Οχι»

Interested in a little Greek history lesson? You may or may not know this, but today is widely celebrated in Greece as the "Anniversary of the 'No'."

Celebrated throughout Greece on October 28
each year, Oxi Day commemorates Greek dictator Ionnas Metaxas' (in power from August 1936 until January 1941) refusal of the ultimatum made by Italian dictator Mussiolini on October 28, 1940.

This ultimatum, which was presented to Metaxas by the Italian ambassador in Greece, Emanuele Grazzi, on October 28, 1940, at dawn (04:00 AM), after a party in the German embassy in Athens, demanded that Greece allow Axis forces to enter Greek territory and occupy certain unspecified "strategic locations" or otherwise face war.

It was allegedly answered with a single word: όχι or no. Most scholars dismiss the use of the word 'Okhi' as an urban legend, claiming that the actual reply was the French phrase "Alors, c'est la guerre" ("Then it is war"). In response to Metaxas's refusal, Italian troops stationed in Albania, then an Italian protectorate, attacked the Greek border at 05:30 AM. Metaxas's reply marked the beginning of Greece's participation in World War II (see Greco-Italian War and Battle of Greece).

On the morning of October 28th the Greek population took to the streets, irrespective of political affiliation, shouting 'okhi'.

From 1942, it was celebrated as Okhi (or "Oxi") Day. And today, we still celebrate, proudly.

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