Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attended an Oxi Day anniversary event in Marrickville, Sydney on Sunday, October 30th alongside Archbishop Makarios of Australia.
Both the Prime Minister and the archbishop laid wreaths at the ANZAC monument outside the Marrickville town hall, highlighting the sacrifices made by the Greek people in their struggle for freedom.
In his speech, Albanese stressed that on October 28, 1940 Greeks said “Oxi” to the fascist declaration “that they needed to cede their sovereignty, that they needed to walk away from their national pride, from their faith and from their culture and who they were.”
“When that happens, against a far greater power at the time, then that requires not just courage, it results in sacrifice,” he said. “It results in the sacrifice that was heartfelt from the Greek people.”
Albanese then noted the similar sacrifices made by Australian troops in military engagements from the Battle of Crete to the Korean Peninsula.
“Australia stood side by side with Greece in saying no to fascism, in saying yes to national sovereignty, yes to democratic values, and yes to the human rights that Australians have continued to defend around the world, whenever countries step out of line,” he said.
Albanese stresses the close ties between Australia and Greece
The Australian PM hailed the close relationship shared between Australia and Greece, referring to “the catalytic contribution of the Greek community to the progress and prosperity of the Australian nation.”
Speaking about the Greek community of Marrickville, the Prime Minister said “I see so many friends of mine who have been with me from the very beginning in the Greek community, who I’ve known since literally when I was a boy.”
“And when you grow up in this community, then inevitably, so many of your neighbors are Greek,” he added. “And it’s that spirit of our multicultural community, which is so important.”
Albanese pays tribute to the heroes of Oxi Day
The Prime Minister addressed the Greek community directly saying:
[You] have enriched our great country here in Australia, with your music, your culture, your language, and importantly, your values, as the founders of democracy around the world, of course, a Greek word, and not just a Greek word, but a Greek practice as well.
So, I pay tribute to the Greek community as a whole today. But in particular, I pay tribute to the heroes of Oxi Day. They’re heroes who stood firm and made sacrifices and who, in the end were victorious, not just for themselves, but for the world.