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Play Mocking Greek Hero Diakos Ires Officials

A play for the Athens Festival portraying Athanasios Diakos, a hero of the War of Independence who was impaled by the Turks, as a cuckolded souvlaki maker whose wife is impregnated by a Kurd has upset Greek officials.
As noted on the blog Tromatiko, the play, Athanasios Diakos – the Return, by first-time playwright Lena Kitsopoulou portrays the hero as a wife abuser whose spouse has an affair with a foreigner working at their souvlaki shop. After the initial shock, Diakos finally kills his wife, who he cursed and abused during their common life, according to the performance.
Minister of Culture, Costas Tzavaras and New Democracy MP Adonis Georgiades were very critical of the contemporary take, while Kitsopoulou maintained that with her play it is proved that there are heroes in everyday life. Diakos is one of the greatest heroes of Greek history, taking a stand against the Turks in 1821 during the War of Independence, holding out against a force of 8,000 men with only 48 defenders during an attack at the Alamana bridge.
He was captured and given the chance to join the Ottoman forces if he would renounce his Greek identity and convert from Christianity to Islam but refused, replying, “I was born Greek, I shall die a Greek.”
As he was led away to be placed on a spit and face an agonizing death by impalement during a beautiful spring day, it was said that he uttered, “Oh, what a moment Hades chose for me to perish. Spring grass everywhere and branches with blossoms to cherish,” that became a metaphor for the independence and freedom of Greece, and critics said his life and death did not deserve the dishonor of being besmirched in a play written in safety 191 years later.

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