Greek ‘No’ May Have Its Roots in Heroic Myths and Real Resistance

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tags: Grexit



In the early 1800s, Greek fighters rebelled against their Ottoman overlord by blowing themselves up instead of submitting to captivity. In the mountains of Zalongo, by legend, women flung their children off a cliff and then danced off after them rather than be sold as slaves.

In October of 1940, Greece boldly defied an Italian ultimatum, prompting Mussolini to invade from the north. While fighting gallantly, beating the Italians back into Albania, the Greeks were eventually undone by the advance of Nazi troops from Bulgaria. By April of 1941, the Axis occupation was complete.

Whether Greeks’ overwhelming rejection on Sunday of the latest European loan deal proves to be a master stroke or a monumental blunder remains to be seen. What is clear, experts and analysts say, is that it sprang from a deep cultural and historical strain of defiance in apparently hopeless situations, honed over centuries under Ottoman rule and nurtured by the telling of heroic tales from one generation to another.




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