The 28th of October is an important day in the Greek calendar, and it’s an important anti-fascist anniversary. Oxi – pronounced “o-hee” – is the Greek word for “no” – and it’s the day the people of Greece said “no” to Axis forces in 1940.
OXI-Day (also spelled Ochi Day, Greek: Επέτειος του «’Οχι» Epeteios tou “‘Ohi”, Anniversary of the “No”) is celebrated on October 28 each year, to commemorate the Greek rejection of the ultimatum made by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini on October 28, 1940.
This ultimatum demanded that Greece allow Axis forces to enter Greece and occupy “strategic locations” or otherwise face war. The ultimatum was answered with a single word: όχι (No!)
In response to this refusal, Italian troops attacked the Greek border – the beginning of Greece’s participation in World War II. On the morning of October 28 the Greek population took to the streets, irrespective of political affiliation, shouting ‘ochi’. From 1942, it was celebrated as Oxi Day.
This is an important national celebration in Greece, with parades and marches across the country.
The vastly outnumbered Greeks held off the fascist tide and defeated the Italian troops, pushing them back into Albania. This was the first land defeat of Axis forces in the war. Mussolini, humiliated, had to be rescued by Hitler, who put off his invasion of the Soviet Union to aid his Italian ally. This crucial decision meant that Hitler was caught by the Russian winter, and suffered significant, debilitating losses.
The austerity being forced on the people of Greece by the Troika is leading to social collapse. The Nazi opportunists of the Golden Dawn party – who have infiltrated the police – are using this vacuum to bring fascist terror to back to the streets.
In this environment, the courage of students activists making a stand against fascism is vital.
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