As the grandchild of Greek migrants, I feel a personal pride in the message of OXI Day. The democratic values I represent as an Australian Parliamentarian were first founded in ancient Greece, the cradle of all democracy. These values were reinforced on the 28 October 1940 when Greek Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas refused to submit to Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.
Greeks, Cyprians and people of the Greek diaspora around the world continue to celebrate this powerful ‘no’. We still remember how Greece defied the Axis powers by standing against Fascism and Nazism in World War II.
Even now, Greece continues the legacy of saying ‘no’ to fascism and radical nationalism. Earlier this month, leaders of Greece’s fascist Golden Dawn party were sentenced to prison for their hate crimes. This same spirit of democracy must also be maintained in the face of Turkey’s growing provocations towards Greece, Cyprus and their neighbours.
Greece’s defence of human dignity, freedom and democracy rings true across the 80 years since this historic event. All democratic nations can learn from Greece’s example in standing against the evils of fascism.