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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/4/15

Time For A New 'Oxi' Day

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On Sunday 5 July the Greek people are being asked in a referendum if they are willing to continue their suffering under a European imposition of austerity on the Greek people or if they will show, once again, the heroic Hellenic values demonstrated at the first 'Oxi Day' on October 28, 1940 when Mussolini and his German colleagues demanded that the Italians be allowed to occupy strategic Greek locations.

The Greek Prime Minister, Ioannis Metaxas, sent a defiant 'Oxi' or (No!) back to Mussolini and Hitler, plunging Greece into the Second World War when the Italians attacked Greece. Actually 'Oxi' was not all he said, sources later suggested that he included the Greek phrase "Tha mou klasseis ta arxhidia" (a somewhat stronger expression of disagreement).

The Italians launched their attack the same day. However, they were in for a surprise: On October 28.1940 Mussolini's army launched a major offensive against Greece. Mussolini had assembled his army on the Albanian border and threatened the Greeks with invasion if they did not allow an Italian occupation of Greece.

After the Italians attacked, the Greeks rallied their troops and despite the larger size and more modern equipment of the Italian army, the Greeks managed to drive the Italians out of Greece.

In November 1940 the Greeks launched their own offensive against the Italians. Under the leadership of Lt Gen Georgios Tsolakoglou, Lt Gen Ioannis Pitsikas and Lt Gen Georgios Kosmas they broke through the Italian Morava--Ivan line and took the city of Korçë and established a front inside of Albania.

Hitler and his generals were appalled at the Italian losses and the humiliation of Mussolini. They began making plans to invade Greece themselves to relieve the Italians. They told Mussolini that he must drive the Greeks out of Albania.

General Alexander Papagos and his generals realised that they couldn't easily defend the low ground at Korçë and decided to move to the pass at Kleisoura, which guarded the entry into that part of Albania. The Italians mustered seven battalions in Albania and deployed for the first time their new M13 medium tanks of the Centauro Armored Division.

The Italians attempted to use these tanks in several frontal attacks on the Greeks but were blown to pieces by the Greek artillery. On January 10, 1941 after four days of fierce battles, the Greek infantry divisions (mainly the 5th Division -- made up largely of Cretans) finally captured the pass. The Italian headquarters immediately launched counterattacks but their troops were virtually annihilated. The Greeks possessed the pass. The battle of Kleisura Pass was a famous victory that was hailed across the non-Axis world.

The Greeks managed to retain the pass and kept the Italians out of Greece until April 1941 when the German army itself attacked in force. The Greeks fought bravely for many months in an effort to resist German occupation. On January 10 they demonstrated to the world that Greeks were not afraid of sacrifice and danger and that they would not willingly be conquered or occupied by the Germans or their henchmen.

For five years the Greeks have suffered under the maladroit and malicious Troika attack on the Greek economy. The Europeans intervened to change the Greek government, even choosing a new Prime Minister and trying to protect European private banks by turning their debt into European state debt. The Troika, led by the Germans, once again, are determined to 'punish' the Greeks for asserting their right to practice democracy.

It is only right and proper for the Greeks, who have been given the opportunity to say 'Oxi' once again to Germany and its allies who are seeking to take over Greece, and to use this opportunity to declare that Greece is a sovereign state and capable of practising democracy without interference by others. The European Union, the IMF and the ECB are a disgrace and their advice disgraceful, as well as incompetent.

Greeks must all turn out for a strong 'Oxi' vote on Sunday and may, if they are so inclined, add "Tha mou klasseis ta arxhidia" to the message.

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Dr. Gary K. Busch has had a varied career-as an international trades unionist, an academic, a businessman and a political intelligence consultant. He was a professor and Head of Department at the University of Hawaii and has been a visiting (more...)
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