OXI Day and…
OXI Clean!

Sometimes there is a funny aspect to serious matters and such is the case of the various “OXI” celebrations held in Greek schools throughout the country to commemorate the resistance of the Greek people to the invasion of the Fascist Italian forces, a campaign that started in the early hours of October 28, 1940, when the Ambassador of Fascist Italy to Athens, Count Grazzi, went to Prime Minister Ioannis Metaxas’ home and demanded that Greece allows Italy to occupy certain parts of the country for security reasons. It was three in the morning and Metaxas, notorious for his toughness, did not hesitate to answer “OXI!” the Greek word for “No!” Actually, what he said really meant “well, let’s go to war”, but in essence he and the Greek people, even the ones who suffered under his rule, said no to the invading Fascists, as they continued the struggle on the Greek mountains and big cities even after the Nazi Germans occupied the country.

Modern day historians tend to attribute “OXI” to the Greek people alone, taking away its “copyrights” from Ioannis Metaxas, as the official story had it for decades (actually, other historians have come up with a different version of the events, saying that Metaxas said no, because he was upset with Grazzi coming to his home at three in the morning without calling first and waking him up!). Whatever the reason for saying no was, the fact remains that when Metaxas (not to be confused with the famous throughout the world brandy) was faced with the imminent invasion by a much superior in terms of numbers and equipment foe, did not waver, did not think twice, nor he called the king or for a ministers’ council. He had the guts to tell the Italian fascist the only answer that any self respected leader could give. American author N.J. Slabbert has come up with a book, “The Sword of Zeus” - sponsored by Baltimore based entrepreneur and innovator Aris Melissaratos – in which he makes the case that Greece’s initial victory and ensuing resistance, was the catalyst for the defeat of the Axis powers.

Regardless, when non Greeks or less informed American Greeks see the flyers or posters saluting or promoting the OXI Day celebrations, they mistakenly think that either the name sake detergent (OXI Clean) is sponsoring the event or its cleaning virtues are celebrated! Now, that could imply that we are late in discovering the virtues of cleaning in general and by that I mean any kind of dirt (but that’s a different story)!

Not that it is something serious, but it wouldn’t hurt that for the sake of the many who can’t read Greek, next time organizers, please write OHI, which is closer to the actual pronunciation of the word, instead of OXI. If you however, continue the practice, at least call OXI Clean and either ask for sponsorship or threaten them with a lawsuit for attempting to steal another piece of our glorious past! Then, wash your anger away with a Greek …cognac and a piece of our very Greek feta (the word is originally …Italian)!

See you in December…


Share |

web stats tracker