‘March 25th is about the uprising of the people’: GOCNSW marks Greek Independence Day 

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It was a full house at the Greek Community Club in Lakemba on Friday evening where community members of all ages, distinguished guests and representatives of Greek organisations gathered to commemorate the 201st anniversary from the beginning of the Greek War of Revolution with a special ceremony. 

The reception, organised by the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW (GOCNSW) and MC’d by Mrs Artemis Theodoris commenced with the National Anthems of Australia and Greece followed by a minute’s silence in memory of those who have fallen, reciting of poems from students of the Community’s afternoon schools and short speeches by the President of the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW, Harry Danalis; Consular Officer, George Lizidis representing the Consul General of Greece in Sydney, Christos Karras; Minister for Multiculturalism and Minister for Seniors, Mark Coure and Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations and Shadow Minister for Work, Health and Safety Sophie Cotsis representing the NSW Labor Leader, Chris Minns. 

Also attending were, Shadow Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Courtney Houssos MLC, Parliamentary Secretary Peter Poulos, Labor candidate for Reid Sally Sitou, the Mayor of Canterbury Bankstown Khal Asfour, the Mayor of Waverley Council Paula Masselos and councillor of Sutherland Shire Council Haris Strangas.

In his speech, after he gave a brief historical outline of the Greek Revolt and highlighted the values for which Greeks fought to defend their freedom Mr Danalis pointed out that “we’ve been carried away lately to use this day for other purposes.”

“This may be the birthday of some other person, this might be some other event of religious significance but for us the significance of the 25th of March is the uprising of the Greek people for their freedom, for their independence and for their rights. And this is what we always need to keep in mind.”

At the same time, other community members were attending the ‘Authentis’ concert held at the Sydney Town Hall to celebrate the thirty years from the enthronement of the Ecumenical Patriarch. 

Addressing the GOCNSW’s event attendees, Minister Coure recognised the importance of community language schools, highlighted the role of ethnic media in keeping the community safe during the pandemic and in passing on the language and culture to future generations.

“I want to see more people in NSW learn a second language and I started that conversation this week,” he said.

Concluding the speeches, NSW Labor’s spokeswoman for industrial relations and work health and safety, Sophie Cotsis, spoke about the important role of women in the Revolution and expressed her pride for her heritage.

“We owe huge debt to those unspoken heroes. The mothers the daughters, the sisters who preferred to be killed than to be enslaved. Who fought, who struggled and suffered for 400 years” she said.

The Community’s dance group under the direction of Mrs Paroula Thurban entertained the crowd before the celebrations ended with a cocktail party. 

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