Greece will celebrate its Independence Day under very difficult circumstances this year because of the war in Ukraine, President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou said on Thursday.
In her message for the March 25 anniversary, the Greek president said “the clouds of war in Europe, after the Russian invasion in Ukraine, are turning the horizon dark” with a threat that is global and affects everyone.
“For the Greek people, who rose up for their liberation in 1821 against the powerful Ottoman Empire and fought with few means, whether economic or military, what is taking place in Ukraine now looks familiar and is embedded in our collective and national memory,” she said, and referred to the history of wars that Greece endured as far back as antiquity.
Themistocles and Miltiades’ resistance before the powerful Persian Empire are so much part of Greek identity and ideals that “they move us deeply when we remember them or when we see similar events occurring with other peoples,” she added.
To anyone wondering why Greeks, through their turbulent history, always fight against stronger enemies disregarding size and logic, the Greek president said, the answer lies in Thucydides writing of Pericles’ funerary oration, where the statesman tells Athenians of “believing happiness a synonym to freedom, and freedom a synonym of braveness.”
It is these reasons that led Greeks of all levels and circumstances to rise up against Ottoman occupation. Their sacrifices on the battlefield “are not simply heroic incidents of Greece, but global ones, as they express universal values of the human race,” the Greek president said, “and we must never take them for granted or stop defending them – they are an essential part of Greece’s contribution to global civilization.”