HAPPY OHI DAY

It was a sharply moving little moment, standing up respectfully at the taverna in Sinarades today as the slightly battered brass band came thumping up the street followed by villagers to celebrate Ohi day. It means ‘No’ in Greek, the moment on the 28th October 1940 when Metaxa presented Mussolini’s ultimatum to Greece, accept axis troops on Greek soil or face war. ‘No’ was the universal answer, as the people and groups from all parties took to the streets, and the next morning Italian troops stationed in Albania attacked the Greek border. How far it is from those fresh young faces in the band, on a beautiful day up in one of innumerable pretty mountain villages, with ravishing views across both to Albania and snow capped mainland mountains, but Happy Ohi day.

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