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Who could explain to these children what the hell is going on in this country?

What does one call a national holiday without the attendance of the nation? An irrational holiday. It sounds like a bad joke and in many ways, it is.

On the 25th of March 1821 the Greek people, which had been subjugated by the Ottoman Empire for nearly 400 years, rose up against their oppressors and began the long fight which led to the liberation of Greece and the founding of the modern Greek state.

Every year this historical event is celebrated throughout the country with parades by pupils (on the 24th) and the army on the 25th. The streets are lined with proud parents and representatives of the civil, military and religious authorities attend the parades, make speeches and lay wreaths on monuments.

Last year on another national holiday, enraged citizens protested against the government’s corruption and destructive measures of austerity. In some cities, the parades stopped altogether and in others government officials and members of Parliament were forced to depart.

It was made clear many days ago that the government was not willing to let this happen again. The security measures taken to protect the celebrations were extreme. The police (7000 strong in Athens alone) was everywhere, 40 squads of riot police kept citizens (those without official invitations to attend) hundreds of meters away from the authorities.

The rooftops were manned by “armed observers” as the Minister of Citizen Protection called them, men of the antiterrorist squad were also deployed, and agents of the Greek Intelligence Service (EYP) were dispersed with surveillance equipment among the crowd.

All this in celebration of our independence.

Strive as I might to avoid comparing these two days with the 25th of March 1942, the first celebration of this national holiday during the Nazi occupation of Greece, I cannot deny the similarities.

Celebrating independence by invitation, under police surveillance, is much like a conqueror pretending to honour the independence of the conquered.

On the 25th of March 1942, the puppet government of Greece prohibited the citizenry from participating in the celebrations, decorated Athens with Greek flags, and made grand speeches about the “fascist and nazi revolutions” which Greek youth ought to follow, while mounted police patrolled the streets.

But the people ignored the orders and gathered to honour our heroes en masse. Despite the use of armed force, the protesters did not disperse. Eventually, the fascist authorities, Greek and non-Greek alike, were forced to retreat and let the people pay their respects.

Our current government, our non-elected puppet government of the international banks is pretending to honour independence and democracy, while blatantly ignoring the outrage of the Greek people.

Today there is no occupying army. There was no invasion, at least not with tanks and bombs. It was a covert invasion, with loans and bonds, facilitated by our own governments.

All for the good of our country.

They placed bars everywhere, distributed invitation lists to the families of policemen and the military to control the crowd surrounding the representatives of the authorities, so that they could all watch the parade in absolute peace and order.

All in honour of our national heroes of old.

I wonder, what would they do, simple, honest and unpretentious as most of them were? Would they laugh? Would they weep? I have no answer to this. Perhaps, if they saw the sorry state of “independent” Greece, they would take up arms again.

The sorry police state of Greece celebrating an irrational holiday.

Intermission #8

A group of young people chose a different way to celebrate this year’s national holiday and protest about our obvious lack of independence and democracy.

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