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Media Watch 2004

28 October 2004
Source: Simerini
Author: Savvas Iacovides
Comment: The following editorial appeared in Simerini of Nicosia on 28 October 2004.
Metaxas’ ‘no’ vs the ‘no’ in the referendum
What would have become of Greece if Metaxas hadn’t said ‘no’? What would have become of Europe without a heroically resistant Greece... What would have become of Cyprus if we had said ‘yes’ to the Annan monstrosity?

What would have become of Greece if Ioannis Metaxas had not rejected the Italian ultimatum to surrender the country to fascism? What would have become of Cyprus is the Cypriot Hellenism had not rejected the Annan monstrosity with a resounding ‘no’? There are two fundamental questions haunting every broad-minded Greek, on the occasion of today’s historic and national anniversary of ‘Ochi’ (No) Day on October 28th 1940. The Greeks fought against the Italian invaders in the Pindos Mountains, and the primeval idea of freedom, dignity and national sovereignty worked miracles. The Greeks walked through darkness and showed the way to honor to all the peoples of oppressed Europe. They lighted up the firmament with their feats in arms, offering hope and courage. They gave lessons of bravery and heroism to a continent that surrendered without a fight to the iron divisions of two evil empires.

Some say that it was the Greek people who said ‘no’ and not Metaxas, dictator and tyrant of the Greeks. This is about oversimplifying things. That morning of October 28th, the Italian ambassador was standing face to face with Metaxas, when he delivered his insolent ultimatum. It was not his political or ideological capacity that counted but his capacity as a leader. And he proved to be a real leader in the darkest hour of Greece, because through the ‘no’ he expressed the will of the Greek people to reject tyranny and to choose freedom. The Greek people transformed the ‘no’ into action, bravery and self-sacrifice in the snow-capped Pindos Mountains, where a unique epic was written. The opposite happened in Cyprus. In the most terrible hour of its history, when the present of the country and the future generations were at stake, we had to deal with pitiful, dwarfish leaders.

As it has been proved today, some of those people were bribed and sold out their country, to surrender it men and all, bound and enslaved to the new Turkish domination, through the Annan plan. Many people took Cypriots for granted, that is, morally, nationally, patriotically finished and resigned, ready to put their head into the Annan noose, and to commit suicide, just because the US-British said so! You wished! They seemed to have ignored a very important parameter: the unbreakable, lasting and heavy legacy of our history. Even if we wanted, how would we betray all those armies of heroes? Even if we wanted, how would we bear to look at the Imprisoned Graves and at the garrows? Even if we wanted, how would we bear to live from now on branded as cursed slaves who left their country in Attila’s jaws and between the millstones of history?

What would have become of Greece if Metaxas hadn’t said ‘no’? What would have become of Europe without a heroically resistant Greece, which reversed the plans of iron Germany and gave a breath of life to subjugated Europeans? What would have become of Cyprus if we had said ‘yes’ to the Annan monstrosity? We would not have a Republic of Cyprus today, which for the first time since 1974 has cornered Turkey outside Europe’s gate. The Greek-Cypriot ‘no’ of April 24th finds its most resounding and powerful expression in the Cypriot veto, which blocks the course of occupation Turkey to the EU. Cyprus is right to block this course and obstruct it, unless Turkey fulfills its European obligations and the Cypriot rightful claims. This is the clear message that the EU and Greece should get as soon as possible. "