Note on the 200th Anniversary of THE GREEK REVOLUTION
According to tradition, on March 25th, 1821, the Metropolitan Germanos raised the flag of revolution at the Monastery of Agia Lavra.
This denotes the beginning of the Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Empire, although numerous other outbreaks had occurred in the past, including in 1821. In Mani, for example, the Revolution started on 17 March 1821.
It would take the Greeks some 12 bloodstained years until 1832 before independence was formally recognised. This was only effected with the intervention of the Great Powers of the time, including France, the United Kingdom, Russia, and would require Greece to become a kingdom under Prince Otto of Wittelsbach.
The proto-state of Greece extended only as far as the Arta-Volos line in 1832. It would take a series of wars and conflicts until Greece gained her current borders in 1947, when the Treaty of Paris transferred the Dodecanese Islands to Greece.
These included the Annexation of Thessaly in 1897, the two Balkan Wars, World War I, the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne and the Second World War.
Today, the sovereignty of Greece is once more under threat.
Between 2015 and now, the Syrian and broader refugee crisis has seen a familiar cycle of European policy incompetence with Turkish opportunism. This was illustrated most clearly in February – March 2020, when waves of refugees were encouraged to break through the Greek border fortifications on the Evros with the support of the Turkish government. And it continues to be a daily reality on the Greek eastern border.
This was followed by the threat of Turkish hydrocarbon exploration in Greek territorial waters, where tensions reached a maximum level in the summer of 2020. Although bilateral talks are now underway, the fact that there is no clearly-defined maritime border acceptable to all sides remains an issue.
Even if there were, Turkish policy of challenging the validity of Greece’s borders has been an ongoing phenomenon for 30 years.
Greece’s sovereignty is also challenged by its public debt, which has now reached € 374 billion on a GDP of € 165 billion. The decision in 2010 to replace private sector bank debt with public debt extended by the IMF, Eurozone and European Central Bank has proven to be one of the most disastrous decisions in modern financial history.
Rather than leading to an immediate haircut and forcing the public sector to restructure its operations, the 11 years since May 2010 have seen a series of fumbling attempts to manage the crisis. Along the way, this has led to a resurgence of political extremism – seen by the accession of both the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn to Parliament, as well as the disastrous Tsipras Eurocommunism fantasia.
It has seen a “private sector initiative” Greek public debt haircut in 2012 that was a haircut in name only, but which succeeded in wiping out both the Greek banking and pension systems, as well as the Cypriot banking system.
As we look forward to the next years, we see a series of continuing challenges: Turkish aggression, domestic political instability, a burgeoning public debt. We also see an inefficient public sector and, until recently, a lack of strategic vision and planning.
The fact that a debt-ridden country is now investing billions in in F-35 and Rafale fighter jets, FREMM frigates and other military equipment, while a full member of both NATO and the European Union, illustrates the fact that the revolution is not over.
It also shows that Greece is really receiving zero support from its “allies” in the area that matters the most: national sovereignty.
In 430 BC, Pericles proclaimed the Funeral Oration of the first year of the Peloponnesian War. According to the words left down to us by Thucydides (under certain translations), is the phrase:
"Freedom is the sure possession of those alone who have the courage to defend it."
This phrase concerns not only our external situation, but more importantly, our internal one.
The state Greece finds herself in since 1980 is no coincidence. It is the result of 40 years of entitlement policies, fake populism, caviar statism and blatant corruption.
It is the result of a parasitic political system that fosters generations of politicians who have destroyed the country for personal gain.
Along the way, they have empowered special interests ranging from labour unions to student groups who literally burn public property in the name of a failed political philosophy. And do so not only without sanction, but with reward.
Marking the 200th Anniversary of the 1821 Revolution should fill all of us with pride.
But it should also instill in us a deep understanding of our current situation. It should serve as a moment of reflection on our own individual role, and what is asked of us. For the only sure thing is that the next years will be marked by continual struggle and risk.
ΕΛΕΥΘΕΡΙΑ Η ΘΑΝΑΤΟΣ!