OHI Day celebrations in Melbourne
Written on the 28 October 2015
'OHI' Day commemorations including a wreath laying ceremony at the Australian Hellenic Memorial in Domain Gardens and a military and student parade.
'Ohi' Day is celebrated throughout Greece, Cyprus and the Greek communities around the world on October 28 each year.
The day commemorates the rejection by Greek dictator Ioannis Metaxas of the ultimatum made by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini on October 28, 1940.
This ultimatum, which was presented to Metaxas by the Italian ambassador to Greece, Emanuele Grazzi demanded that Greece allow Axis forces to enter Greek territory and occupy certain unspecified "strategic locations" or otherwise face war.
It was allegedly answered with a single laconic word: No!
However, Metaxas actually replied: "Alors, c'est la guerre!" (Then it is war!)
In response to Metaxas' refusal, Italian troops stationed in Albania, then an Italian protectorate, attacked the Greek border at 5:30 am and this was the beginning of Greece's participation in World War II.
The Greek population took to the streets, irrespective of political affiliation, shouting 'ochi' and from 1942, it was celebrated as Ohi Day.
During the war, October 28 was commemorated yearly by Greek communities around the world and in Greece and Cyprus, and after World War II it became a public holiday in Greece and Cyprus.
The events of 1940 are commemorated every year with military and student parades. On every anniversary, most public buildings and residences are decorated with Greek flags.
I was honoured to represent Leader of the Opposition, Hon Matthew Guy MP and join the commemorations at the Australian Hellenic Memorial