“We Greeks should take our fate into our own hands,” declared Gianna Angelopoulos, who has come under fire of late in her capacity as president of the 2021 Committee, which is organising events for next year’s celebration of the bicentennial of the start of the Greek War of Independence.

Whatever opinion one may have about the celebrations project or the odd games that nostalgia plays with the mind, one must admit that Ms Angelopoulos has a point.
The message of 1821 is the same as that of yesterday’s 28 October celebration of Greece’s refusal to surrender to fascist Italian forces in 1940.

In a democracy there are no impasses but there are individual and collective choices.

Every time we choose to view each other as an enemy we pay the heavy price of a skewed reading of history.

Each time we choose to work together we take a step forward.

Though the phrase “strength in unity” may be hackneyed, it is inextricably linked with Greek identity.

The country took a critical turn ten years ago which continues today.

There are choices to be made every day.

The choice to wear a mask to protect others from the transmission of COVID-19 is exactly the same as the choice to lure back the youth who left in the brain drain or the choice to vote in elections.

It is the choice to create from scratch a contemporary European state.

To accomplish that we must hold accountable anyone in the government or opposition who hinders this objective and keeps the country tied down with the mentality of a poor cousin.

It is a choice to stare down the beast of fascism and to trust the institutions and guarantees of the state.

Indeed we must take our fate into our own hands and not retreat and it is not such a bad thing to hear that from time to time.

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