Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis sent a message of unity during an event held at the Zappeion Mansion on Wednesday to mark the 2,500-year anniversary since the Battle of Thermopylae and the Battle of Salamis.
Mitsotakis stressed the need to “dig deep” and reconnect with the past, not just to record the events but to understand and interpret them, making them a resource for the future.
He explained that the Battle of Salamis in 480 BC embodies, above all, a unique moment of unity, as the Greek city-states put aside their differences and united to defend their freedom. “I keep repeating that we are too few to be divided. And this first big lesson goes back 25 centuries,” he noted.
According to the prime minister, “the Battle of Salamis also paved the way for the liberation of territories under Persian rule,” as for 30 years thereafter the Greeks embarked on campaigns to incorporate Ionia and “thus created the image, for the first time, of a nation with Greece as its homeland but with horizons throughout the world.”
Along the same lines, he added, the government’s proposal to facilitate voting by Greeks abroad was “an offering to this global Hellenism.”
Mitsotakis said that the conflicts of that period are instructive for the present, as they highlight the importance of peace in the always stormy Eastern Mediterranean, but also because they give a new meaning to the role of Greece as a factor of stability. He added that the end of the wars was followed by the Golden Age of Democracy and Culture.
According to Mitsotakis, the anniversary is not just a historical event belonging to the long Greek tradition, but one of the most crucial turning points in the course of mankind.
“In our times, the challenges are different. Waves of refugees and migrants are now besieging countries. The crisis is not just about borders and economies. It is also about the environmental threat.
Democratic rules and rights require new processing. Europe is called upon to measure up to its ideals in order to respond to all this. And Greece needs to renew its role as a symbol of democracy and culture and as a meeting point for the people on the road towards progress,” the prime minister said. [ANA-MPA]