Bicentennial of Greek Independence
Two and a half thousand years ago, the ancient Greeks built the foundation of our modern democratic traditions. Democracy, translated from the Greek for ‘people power’, even in its earliest forms, represented concepts we hold dear today: liberty, freedom and government by the people. Yet that freedom was not to be enduring for the Greek people, and, in more recent history, Greece found itself under the yoke of Ottoman rule for more than four centuries. That was to change following the fight for independence that started 200 years ago this week. The bicentennial of Greek independence is being celebrated not just by those of Greek heritage but also by many others who admire the determination of the Greek people to re-establish their own identity, their own liberty and their own future.
Such is the significance of this event, many of the world’s great landmarks will be lit in blue and white, including the Sydney Opera House. Australia has been the beneficiary of Greek migration, and we’re grateful to those who made the journey across the world to create a new life on our shores. North Sydney is home to many people of Greek heritage, and at the heart of that is the Greek Orthodox parish, centred at St Michael’s in Crows Nest. I take this opportunity to pay tribute to Father John Daskalakis, who is retiring, and wish his successor well, and I acknowledge Parish Council President Dimitrios Gongolidis for his leadership. I know that they will be marking this important day and no doubt remembering that enduring cry that united those fighting for liberty 200 years ago: ‘Eleftheria i thanatos.’