National anniversaries are useful not only for politicians, schoolteachers and parents to exhort their listeners to emulate our ancestors’ courage and perseverance, to honor past heroism and deal with current problems. They are also useful as a measure of where we stand today. And Monday’s anniversary of Greece’s entry into World War II – with all the discord over who said what about who, which party would exploit the occasion best, and so on – was a sorry reminder of the division that has plagued this country since the war’s end.
Whereas the 1940 Italian ultimatum was met with a united “No!” from all sectors of the population, the war’s end allowed deep divisions to explode into a civil war whose violence marked the following generations.
Today’s crisis, though no less a threat than the war, has been met not with national unity but through a deepening of division. Today all Greeks must understand that our survival and national dignity are at stake.
With so many battles ahead, domestically and in our relations with others, division will lead to ruin.