Thousands lined the streets in Boston and Philadelphia on Sunday to watch the annual Boston Greek Independence Day Parade commemorating Greece’s march to freedom which began on March 25th, 1821.
A unit of Evzones, the Greek presidential Guard, who are trained to perform various ceremonial duties such as guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the Presidential Mansion, led the parades in both cities.
In Boston, the event was was organized by the Federation of Hellenic-American Societies of New England in cooperation with the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Boston and the Consulate General of Greece in Boston.
The Philadelphia parade celebrating Greek Independence was organized by the Federation of Hellenic-American Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley.
After the first dim sum of spring in China Town today I was heading with friends to the Gardener Museum when I stumbled upon the Greek Parade in downtwn Boston. I jovially asked my friends to stay for a moment and follow for a moment the Parade. They knew that a few weeks ago in the Paris Book Fair I had represented Greece as a writer who has written his books in Greek. The show that unfolded before our eyes was deeply disturbing. Nationalist and chauvinist slogans against the Greek neighbors, Albania and the Republic of N. Macedonia. Slogans that threaten directly the territorial integrity of Albania and denigrate the recent Prespa agreement, glorifying extreme-right terrorists like K. Katsifas who have already become symbols of Greek fascist groups – slogans which are thrown rutinely in the streets of Greece and in the Greek Parliament by the neonazi Party of Golden Dawn – were thrown with a troubling insouciance in the streets of Boston today.I had heard in the past from liberal American Greek friends who avoid such manifestation exactly because they don’t identify with the nationalist kitch of such Parades. But today looking at it closely for the first time I felt sick to my stomach. One of my friends said to me: “I’m happy you don’t live in Greece anymore”.I left with the gloomy impression that something is really rotten in Greece and abroad (thinking also that the neonazi Golden Dawn maintains still offices in Boston and New York). I’m moreover concerned that this show of unbridled chauvinism will enhance as a reaction nationalism among the other communities of Balkan immigrants in Boston or elsewhere in America, while what is needed is openness, dialogue and collaboration among people who have left their lands for a better future in America.
Posted by Gazmend Kapllani on Sunday, April 7, 2019
25th annual Greek Independence Day Parade in Boston…beautiful day!
Posted by Penny Meletlidis on Sunday, April 7, 2019