On March 25th, our fellow Greeks and Philhellenes will observe Greek
Independence Day, not only in our ancestors' birthplace, but throughout
countries all around the world. This event holds much significance for
many of us, as it honors Greece's declaration of independence on this
day in 1821 against the Ottoman Empire's 400-year occupation and
oppression. Kolokotronis, Bouboulina, Nikitara, Karaiskakis, Mpotsaris
and the countless freedom fighters from the land of the Hellenes are
honored and revered for their struggle which led Greece to be the proud
independent nation which she is today.
Equally as important in
the annals of our beloved Greece's modern history is OXI Day (phonetic,
aw-hee), which is observed on October 28th of every year. This holiday
is celebrated in commemorating General Ioannis Metaxas' defiant reply
of 'oxi', to Benito Mussolini's ultimatum to allow Italian troops into
Greece. This one word response precipitated Greece's formal entry into
World War II and which culminated in the Hellenic forces repelling the
invading Italian army all the way back into Albania.
it is another laconic phrase in the Warner Bros. movie based on Frank
Miller's '300' which will echo throughout cinemas around the world
starting this week. The words Molon Labe (phonetic, Maw-lon Lah-veh),
which spoken by King Leonidas of Sparta in 480 B.C., have resonated
throughout history over the last 2,500 years. The translation which
means 'Come and get them' will be spoken by Gerard Butler who portrays
the legendary Spartan king who spearheaded the defense of Thermopylae.
to Herodotus and other historians, the Greek garrison which consisted
of approximately 7,000 hoplites, 300 of whom were King Leonidas' fellow
Spartiates, held off the numerically superior Persian army for several
days. Several scholars, researchers and contemporary historians have
conservatively estimated the invading force of Xerxes I at 200,000
warriors, comprised from a multitude of nations from the east.
two days, the 300 Spartans and their allies inflicted heavy losses on
the invaders before their position was compromised by a Malian traitor.
On the third day, rather than surrender, the remaining Spartans and the
remnants of the Thespian contingent which originally numbered 700,
fought to the death so that their countrymen could withdraw safely. It
was their heroic self-sacrifice which inspired their Greek countrymen
to subsequent victories at Salamis, Plataea and Mykale.
this movie pays homage to not only King Leonidas and the heroic '300'
and their fight for freedom, it also pays tribute to Greece, the
birthplace of democratic principles.