The “explosion of freedom” that occurred in besieged Messolonghi is a light that still shines to this day, President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos said on Sunday, attending events commemorating the 192nd anniversary since the ‘Exodus of the Guard’ or ‘Sortie’ of Messolonghi.
“The explosion of freedom in Messolonghi teaches us the constant duty to defend the country at all costs. Therefore our borders, our territory and our sovereignty, which are the borders, territory and sovereignty of our European family, the European Union,” the president said.
Pavlopoulos also stressed the need for unity, as the foundtion for “national creativity”, whereas division had always culminated in the shrinking “of our national consciousness and national body.” In April of 1826, Messolonghi had sent a message to Europe and the entire civilised world that freedom was an existential principle of democracy and civilisation, while the philhellenic movement that blossomed in the city was a movement for humanity, freedom and democracy, he added.
In later statements during a wreath-laying ceremony in the city, Pavlopoulos noted that Greece is “does not claim or want anything that does not belong to us…we have, however, taken a decision that together and united we will defend that which the sum that is given us by international law and the European acquis, that which history has given us.”
“We don’t demand even a single metre from anyone but neither do we give up even one metre that belongs to us. This struggle is for us a national struggle, a struggle for existence and we fight it without fearing anyone,” he added.
He also emphasised that Greece’s strength was its unity in the face of the “great and important things,” and that differences in a democracy were absolutely legitimate and only made it stronger.
“The changeover in those that govern is the strength of democracy itself but the goals in the great and important issues are fixed and constant. There can be no ‘discounts’ here…we will defend them united to prove within and outside Greece that we are worthy of our ancestors and that they must count us through our unity and the strength we have, that we will contribute in our own way to the course of our great European family and to the course of troubled humanity,” he said.
The events were also attended by main opposition New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Digital Policy and Media Minister Nikos Pappas representing the government and several other officials and MPs.