Sydney’s Greek student community played a major role in commemorating for another year the heroic uprising of the Polytechnic, highlighting that the ideals of 17 November 1973 are still current for Greece and the world.

This year’s event was marked by the recent loss of Mikis Theodorakis and the program included a speech about the personality and the contribution of the great composer, as well as concluding with some of his well-known and beloved songs.

For a second successive year, the event was co-hosted by the Greek Orthodox Community of NSW and the Combined Universities Greek Association (CUGA).

The commemoration took place last Sunday at the premises of the Community in Lakemba and was well-attended by dignitaries and members of the public.

READ MORE: Aristotelis Sarrikostas, the Associated Press photographer who captured the spirit of the Polytechnic Uprising

GOC Secretary Michael Tsilimos stressed that the main slogan of the Polytechnic, ‘Ψωμί, Παιδεία, Ελευθερία’ (Bread, Education, Freedom), is still relevant today and people should struggle to have those basic needs. He also thanked all the people involved in organising the event, congratulating especially the students, and stressed that the Community will always honour 17 November 1973.

Greece’s Consul General in Sydney, Christos Karras, highlighted in his address, the students’ fight in favour of democratic institutions and against totalitarian regimes.

Professor Vrasidas Karalis from Sydney University’s Department of Modern Greek and Byzantine Studies elaborated on the life and work of Mikis Theodarakis.

GOC board member Thanasi Kallos was the MC for  the event which began with a minute’s silence, followed by the national anthems of Greece and Australia.

READ MORE: 17 November, the day democracy died and was reborn in Athens

A wreath-laying ceremony immediately followed, with guests laying them at a replica of the original Polytechnic monument in Athens.

After the wreath-laying ceremony, a clip of Yiannis Ritsos’ “Diary of a week” on the Polytechnic was played.

A number of poems were recited:

Ο λαός – Sam Giovas, President of MUGA
Ύμνος στα παιδιά του Πολυτεχνείου – Anastasia Mouzos from GOC’s Afternoon school at Clemton Park
Εδώ Πολυτεχνείο – Emmanuel Kasadelis from GOC’s High School at Panania
1050 Χιλιόκυκλοι – Eleana Gatsi from GOC’s Saturday High School at Clemton Park
Μικρός Τύμβος – Antigone Sarlas, President of HellSoc UNSW
Αν θέλεις να λέγεσαι άνθρωπος by Tasos Leivaditis – Dimitri Kallos, Cultural Officer of UTS Hellenic

Elefheria Antonelli, Modern Greek Department Liaison of SUGS, and Kostas Plegas, Vice President of SUGS, spoke about the chronicle of the events that took place to the days leading to the 17 November 1973, whilst SUGS President Andrea Conomos spoke about “The Current Situation”.

READ MORE: The spirit of the Athens Polytechnic lives on in Australia: 17 November 1973-2019

The concert was performed by members of IHO NYX Adoni Petrandonakis and Angelo Goutzios who were accompanied by Thanasis Pylarinos, George Vavasis, George Nikolopoulos, George Constantinou and Sandy Constantopedos.

Among the dignitaries who attended were the GOC’s Vice President Nia Karteris, Mayor of Randwick Council, Dylan Parker, Councillor of Randwick Council, Alexandra Luxford, Councillor of Georges River Council, Nick Katris, Councillor Clare Raffan of Canterbury-Bankstown Council, and various representatives of various Greek-Australian organisations.