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Mitsotakis says nation’s bicentenary party a time of ‘reflection’

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Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis opened on Thursday the proceedings of a committee that will oversee preparations to mark the bicentenary of the 19th-century Greek revolt against Ottoman Turkey that led to the creation of the modern state, saying the event will be "an opportunity for reflection" and to "become re-acquainted" with Greek history and identity.

Speaking at a special session of the Parliament, Mitsotakis said the celebrations concern "every citizen" and aim to have a “unifying” message.

“The 200 years since the Greek Revolution…are an important opportunity for a bold assessment, an invigorating reflection…and a new understanding of the values that ultimately lead to national self-awareness,” he told lawmakers and officials.

“It is, after all, a re-acquaintance with of our collective self, that will provide Greece with a significant opportunity to regroup domestically, but also to reintroduce itself to Europe and the world as a whole with its modern identity.”

The session was also attended by President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and the head of the "Greece 2021" organizing committee, businesswoman Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, who also addressed lawmakers.

“The commemoration of the anniversary will have the splendour required by the symbolism of the 200 years since the start of the Revolution,” Angelopoulos said, adding however that the committee will present Greece “as it is.”

She said the event is not just about understanding Greece's course over these 200 years and where it stands now, “a modern country with its achievements and weaknesses,” but also about participating in the planning.

“We are called upon to shape together this new knowledge of our country, which will be far from the melancholy of a constantly persecuted, wronged and oppressed Greece, but also far from the haughty complacency of the ‘chosen people’ who are at the center of the world." 

On Wednesday, it was announced that Historians Mark Mazower and Stathis Kalyvas are among several eminent academics who will join the 30-member committee.

Nicos Mouzelis, an emeritus sociology professor at the London School of Economics, and Konstantinos Tsoukalas, a renowned Greek sociologist and criminologist, are also to join the panel.