Wednesday, 28 October 2009

The Pride of OXI Day

By Gary Van Haas

The magnificent Greek holiday Oxi Day is celebrated every year in Greece on October 28th and mostly remembered for general Ioannis Metaxas' strong reply of 'oxi' (no) to Mussolini's request to allow Italian troops to come into Greece at the beginning of WW II. The result of this stern message was powerful, and in the end, helped to maintain Greece’s course of neutrality for generations to come. Nevertheless, the Italians did invade Greece, but were subsequently driven back into Albania.

The story begins in 1935, when King George II was restored to the Greek throne by a rigged plebiscite, where he made the right-wing general Ioannis Metaxas prime minister. Nine months later, Metaxas assumed dictatorial powers with the king’s consent under the pretext of preventing a communist-inspired republican coup. The October 28 national holiday also marks the date in 1940 when Greece entered WWII.

On that cherished day in Greek history, prime minister Ioannis Metaxas not only rejected Italy's ultimatum, he chose the road of resistance, and thus saved his reputation as a dictator. Cypriot countrymen also drew inspiration from Greece's refusal to let Italian troops invade in 1940 in the face of continued Turkish agression. For that matter, parades are also staged by Greek communities around the world in celebration of Oxi Day.

Today in Greece, celebrations of Oxi Day culminate in a large, lavish military parade down the main boulevards of Athens and Thessoloniki. Soldiers, tanks, armoured vehicles and students parade through most Greek cities with an air of pride, and politicans in reviewing stands have an opportunity to show their own spirit to Greece and the resistance and how in future generations it should it should be continued. For tourists and foreigners, it's a proud spectacle to behold, so if you're ever in Greece during that time, be sure and see it!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Blog Action Day 2009 - Climate Change

I came across Blog Action Day 2009 - Climate Change on Anastasia's blog and thought I'd post some feedback as I happen to be very concerned about global warming and environmental issues, in general. As far as climate change is concerned in Greece, the future looks bleak.

1.The problem of parched land and drought will intensify and desertification will speed up.
2.Areas in seaside towns like Thessaloniki and Messolongi, will most likely find themselves under water.
3.The average annual temperature around the Mediterranean  increased by 1 degree Celsius compared with a 0.74 degree rise globally.
4. Greece's average rainfall in the past few years has fallen by about 30 percent since the mid 1970s. The month of January in 2007 was the driest in half a century while June 2008 was the hottest June on record, scientists have said.
5.Climate change is also affecting the flora and fauna of the country with migrating birds flying further north, citing a recent British study. Non-native viruses and diseases have also appeared.
6.The number of Greek forest fires will increase releasing even more carbon monoxide into the atmosphere .
This will have consequences to our health. Tourism will receive a blow.
7.The European Union's executive adopted plans  to cut greenhouse gas emissions, seeking to push the world into tough climate action.
8.Greece must meet its Kyoto (environmental) protocol targets diligently.The country must boost alternative energy production, increase investment in energy-saving measures and include climate change measures in every policy.

Climate change is a global problem in need of a global solution. This is why I believe that raising awareness is as important as ever before.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

10 Honest Things

I was tagged by Anastasia to reveal 10 honest things about myself. So here goes.
1. I hate to drive and I rarely use my car in the city.
2. When I invite a lady out to dinner, I feel very offended if she offers to pay the bill.
3. I don't like skinny women or women who eat only salads and low-fat yogurt. They look permanently ill.
4. I am a very introvert person, I don't easily open up to others and I prefer to keep certain things to myself. However, I honestly hate keeping up appearances.
5. What relaxes me most after a long day at work is a glass of red wine, a good book and Billy Joel's music.

6. The most valuable possession I have is an old gold cross given to me by my grandmother a few days before she passed away.
7. I enjoy visiting museums. In fact I can spend hours exploring them as I believe it's the best way to learn about a country's history and culture.
8. I can occasionally tell a white lie if I feel the truth might hurt soemeone I love.
10. I do my best not to be bossy with my children although sometimes I can't avoid it.

Now I am supposed to pass the tag to 7 bloggers but I'd rather leave it open to anyone who would like to share 10 honest things about themselves.