White Rose Greece - Theodora honors her great grandfather's memory.
Written by JoAnne Miller Edited by Jonathan Wolfman April 6, 2019
Now and then we find opportunities to meet remarkable people halfway around the world through the power of social media, people who are of like mind...heart-filled souls who are descendants of war heroes. They, as we, wish for our shared world only peace. This is the story of one of those descendants.
The History: The Axis countries were Germany, Italy, Japan, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. The Allies were the US, Britain, France, the USSR, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Africa, and Yugoslavia. On October 28, 1940, the Italian army invaded Greece through Albania launching what is known as the Greco-Italian War. The Greek army, although temporarily, halted the invasion by forcing the Italian army to retreat back to Albania.
Operation Marita--Nazi Germany invaded Greece through Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. At the time, most of the Greek army was already heavily involved in the Greco-Italian War on the Albanian front. The Battle of Metaxas Line (Known in Greece as The Battle Of The Forts) April 6, 1941 The Germans were able to capture individual forts but were unable to breach the Metaxas Line in general. Yet when when the Panzer Division invaded across Yugoslavia, and captured Thessaloniki on April 9, the Greek East Macedonia Army Section surrendered (April 10) and the Battle of Metaxas Line was over.
The determination and bravery of the Greek Soldiers impressed Nazi General Wilhelm List so much that he ordered his soldiers and officers to salute the Greek Soldiers and took no prisoners.
In Memoriam of Ioannis Dellios, Honorable Greek Soldier
"I was three years old. I hardly remember his last goodbye." “Don't expect me to return alive. It rains fire and steel up there."
"I, then a child, with my mother (Fotini) and my unborn sister, escorted him from Neo Petritsi until we were where we could walk, since Belles Hill reached up 1339 meters. During our way back, I asked, "Mom where is Dad going?"
It was impossible for her to answer, to talk out her thoughts. What could she say to me? That, amidst the terror of war, she was left alone with two babies, that she did not know how to feed us? Or that a few minutes ago she said ‘goodbye’ to her one and only love, her husband, the person who supported her most, because he had to go to one of the most terrible battles of the war?
After a short time the news reached our family in a formal announcement that my father, Ioannis Dellios, was dead. He was just twenty-nine. A few days before my mother had given birth to my sister, Evaggelia, so we had to wait forty days to be able to identify my father's body, as prescribed by Greek Orthodox tradition.
During that time, a young soldier visited our house. He held my father’s military identification. "I am sorry for your loss!", he began. "Ioannis died right before my eyes, but before that, when a bullet from a German Stuka hit his leg, he gave me this and said to me, ‘Please, if you survive, give this to my wife.’ The order we used to hear was run and hide, the fort is about to fall! He was taking off his wedding ring to give it to me, running from one spot to the next, he was wounded, and then one last bullet from a fighter plane hit his ribs, killing him instantly. He was fighting for his country, at a place called Aspri Petra.”
(White Stone) Katerina Delliou Charalambidou -- Those were my Grandma's words that I kept to my heart, and I promised that as long as I am alive I will remember and honor the name of her father. My Grandmother never married again. A few days before she died, she said that she'd been dreaming of her husband who was smiling and saying to her: "Come." She died, unexpectedly, from a stroke at fifty-two.
Each year on or near April 6 the memorial at Belles Fort, a religious and military ceremony takes place at the monument etched with their names, where many heroes fell fighting against the evil that once threatened Greece, and all of humanity.
Adolf Hitler -- In a 1948 speech to the House of Commons, Winston Churchill paraphrased a 1905 quote by George Santayana saying, “Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans, and a few friends were the original White Rose Society. Sophie was executed by the Nazi regime in February 1943 after her conviction on charges of High Treason for distributing flyers, (The Leaflets) at the University of Munich. A Nazi guard marvelled at her courage and calm.
Gene Sharp in his Boston office in 2011. Photo: Orjan Ellingvag
Nonviolence Genius: Gene Sharp Protest and Civilian-Based Defense from Tyranny
By Jordan Shapiro
The White Rose Society honors Gene Sharp and Jamila Raqib, the Founders of the Albert Einstein Institute for nonviolent activism. Although Gene passed away peacefully in Boston, Massachusetts on January 28, 2018, he continues to inspire revolutionaries all over the world, and even the progressive organizers of the west.
Today refrains like “Medicare for All,” and “We are the 99%,” are as normalized as discussions about the weather but for scholar and nonviolent activist Gene Sharp, these sentiments of equality through democracy and civilian power formed the foundation of his writing and civil work.
You may not have heard of Gene Sharp. Principally he was a writer, an observer and documenter of skills to build nonviolent movements and propagated his work in books and writings, many of which are available for free on the Albert Einstein Institute’s website which he founded.
His scholarship acknowledges the need for defense from those who would restrict our rights or cause us harm but highlights the moral obligation to fight back nonviolently. He reminds individuals of the Role of Power in Nonviolent Struggles provides would-be revolutionaries with 198 Methods of Nonviolent Protest for Civilian-Based Defense from tyrannical leaders who seek to deprive people of their rights.
Sharp’s true legacy, however, rests in the influence of his teachings on the real struggle against tyranny. His work is credited to be the foundation for the Arab Spring uprising and the overthrow of Slobodan Milošević, the former pro-Serbian, nationalist dictator of Yugoslavia.
When asked about this influence, he declines any credit or paternalist influence saying to the New York Times in 2012: “I don’t talk about what needs changing or where. It’s up to the people themselves who decide to change.”
Reclaiming power in an environment of fear
It’s a common misconception of each new generation that the present represents the most dangerous, or the least free period in history. Sharp, born at the start of the Great Depression, witnessed the rise of fascism, nuclear annihilation associated with the Second World War, and lived under the threat of the Cold War for much of his youth.
Sharp refused to be cowed by fear of hostile governments. Instead, he focused on their role as power brokers in a global society and those individuals who successfully wrest power away from the elite.
Some of those people, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. were loci of how power can shift non-violently and informed Sharp’s case studies of nonviolent revolutions.
He never sought to begin the revolution instead, he said, “I’m trying to examine how nonviolent struggle has been operated. And sometimes it fails for a while, sometimes it succeeds. But how can you wage nonviolent struggle more skillfully while using your mind to plan?”
And the Oscar for peaceable regime change goes to... Gene Sharp!
Arab Spring leaders utilized Sharp’s book From Dictatorship to Democracy, which was written at the request of dissidents in Burma and originally published there. It is a guidebook for revolutionaries to understand how to organize and create their own power. Today, it is published in 31 languages.
This same book also influenced Otpor! the main group opposing Miloseviç during the Serbian uprising. These revolutionaries were even trained by Sharp at the Albert Einstein Institute.
What differentiates Sharp from his contemporaries and other civil disobedience actors was his adherence to post-colonial, or anti-paternalistic, international relations theory.
What else can we learn from Gene Sharp? Throughout the 20th century, regime change was principally led by western governments seeking to impose democracy or depose dictators. In these instances, elites are the nexus of power in the hope that new, western-aligned, elites can bring democracy and human rights to nations that had previously been subjugated.
For Sharp, protests, revolutions, and regime change are principally methods to reorganize the power structure and remind elites that without the support of the people, their regimes might cease to exist in an instant.
Post-colonialism is principally how victims of paternalism reclaim their power and nations from colonizers.
Today, in one of the most unequal periods in history, progressives across the west, like their Middle Eastern, Southeast Asian, and Eastern European counterparts before them, are organizing, following the principles of 198 Methods.
“When power is effectively effused throughout the society among strong loci,” where loci is defined as civil society groups who hold sway over social and political happenings, “the rulers’ power is most likely subjected to controls and limits, thus enabling the society to resist oppression, usurpation, and aggression. This condition is associated with political freedom.”
For modern progressive activists, Sharp’s work is more significant than ever before. Across the west, elites have consolidated power at the expense of the many. We are beginning to see the majority organize against tyrannical power.
“People continue,” he said to the NYTimes, “because it works. When you start withdrawing your cooperation, the regime won’t like it. They will instill fear, but if you are not afraid, then the reason for fear does not exist.”
Right Livelihood prize given in Sweden, 2012. Gene and his great friend and colleague Jamila Raqib accept the award. Photo: AFP
Rest in love Gene. Peace and blessings to Jamila Raqib. Photo: Mary Knox Merrill
Peacemaker Magazine is a White Rose Society publication.