Greece's current struggle is one of keeping Greece strong and Greeks healthy, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday, Greek Independence Day, in a message to the public.
Referring to the struggle for independence from the Ottoman Turks that began in 1821 and to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions that cancelled all parades, the premier said, "Our struggle today is exactly this: to keep Greece strong, and Greeks healthy. The pandemic will cost us, but it will leave us victorious and more mature, and stronger than ever so that we may lead our homeland forward."
Noting the unprecedented times, he reiterated the "stay home" message, asking the Greek people "not to celebrate on streets and squares, but at home, with flags flying (on the balconies) and our thoughts going back to the struggle of our ancestors for freedom." Today's enemy, he said, is the pandemic, which will also test social solidarity, "for we are all equal in this struggle."
Referring to the revolution, he said, "In 1821 our ancestors united, rebelled and freed our homeland, and coming generations rebuilt and expanded it. Today, its descendants are keeping vigil at different fronts: at the borders, at hospitals, in daily life." These he said, were today's heroes.
Today's anniversary calls on the Greek people to support the founding principles of democracy and justice, and to give a renewed context to them through collective responsibility. "For only united peoples can overcome difficulties," he underlined, as "no social structure can stand without health support, while no citizen can be healthy if those around him or her are not healthy."
Mitsotakis warned that there would be losses from the coronavirus pandemic, calling for flexibility. "We have had and will have losses, and our economy will suffer. But it is our duty to reduce the pain to the least possible and to share the cost of adapting to the new economic reality in a just way," he said while noting that the trying circumstances has also begun to free the dormant strength of the Greek people.