• The Committee "Greece 2021" at Psara, the island of brave achievements and the homeland of Konstantinos Kanaris
• Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki: "With their sacrifice, the Psarians transformed the Holocaust into victory"
• For the bicentennial of the Revolution, the Municipality made a significant proposal for the creation of a digital Museum
A delegation of the Committee "Greece 2021" visited the heroic island of Psara, the homeland of Konstantinos Kanaris and other leading figures of the Revolution, the small island of great accomplishments that became wholeheartedly involved in the Struggle of 1821 and because of it, paid a heavy death toll.
"Two years and two months after Chios, Psara also experienced the brutality of the Holocaust. And yet, through the horror and the ashes, an undeniable law of Greek history has once again been proven. The uncompromising passion for freedom and independence, the sacrifice, transforms even the most painful defeat into victory. It transforms the darkness of death into glory, as this epigram that our national poet Dionysios Solomos dedicated to the martyred Psara signifies: "On the blackened ridge of Psara, Glory walking alone, Recalls the valiant young men, On her hair, she wears a crown" said Committee President Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki. Members of the Assembly of the Committee, Professors Nikos Kanellopoulos, Paschalis Kitromilidis, and Despoina Mouzaki, also participated in the delegation.
"On the blackened ridge of Psara"
A unique and emotionally charged moment during the tour was the ascent to the Black Ridge hill, where on June 22, 1824, some of the most heroic pages of the Struggle were written. Psarian warriors, bolted in the fortress of the island where the powder keg was located, fought a battle to the bitter end against the Ottomans' unmatched forces. And in an act of outstanding heroism, Antonios Vratsanos set fire to the powder keg, causing everyone's death. The destruction inflicted by the conqueror was ruthless. Out of the approximately 7,000 Psarians, more than half were slaughtered. And out of the 25,000 refugees from Chios and Asia Minor who lived on the island, 15,000 were killed or sold as slaves.
"Psara is a place with a great history, which, before the Revolution, during a period of 50 years managed to accomplish a desirable economic development. At the outbreak of the Revolution, it became wholeheartedly involved in the Struggle. The Psarians swore to Freedom or Death, and they proved it in 1824", stressed the Mayor of the Heroic Island of Psara, Konstantinos Vratsanos, speaking on the catalytic contribution of the island with the third largest fleet at the time, following Hydra and Spetses. "Present-day Psara is by no means indicative of the development, sophistication, and way of life that existed here before 1821. The destruction of the island tainted its course," he added.
"We must keep this place alive"
At the Cultural Events Hall of the Municipality, the Committee delegation discussed with the Mayor and representatives of the local community, the island's proposals for the bicentennial of the Revolution, and the need to keep such a historic place alive.
The proposals submitted by Psara concern actions that highlight the past and the island's tradition, such as the proposal for the creation of a digital museum in which the historical wealth of the island will be collected. At the same time, the proposals extend an invitation, especially to the younger generation, to use this past as a source of inspiration for the future, as a starting point for reflection and future actions, such as the historical documentary competition on the meaning of the Greek Revolution in our days, and the scientific workshop on the lasting influence of 1821 on the arts.
"This is how we want to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Revolution. By honoring our past and the people who provided us with our present identity. At the same time, by creating the conditions to renew the enduring demands for freedom, autonomy, and justice when faced with the challenges of the present," said the President of the Committee.
"We are descendants of great people, and we are obliged to keep this place alive. Psara are entitled to play a leading role in 2021 and be promoted, so the locals continue living here, revenues increase, and the island prospers," added the Mayor.
Psara as a place of historical memory
The Members of the Assembly expressed strong sentiments during the visit to the historic island. "We are very moved here in Psara and on the hill of Black Ridge. At the same time, however, the island invokes a sense of peace conveyed by the joy of freedom," said Despoina Mouzaki. "Psara, along with Messolonghi, is one of the most iconic places of historical memory. It is a place of great sacrifice, with an enormous contribution to the Struggle and a strong influence on the awareness of international public opinion concerning the Greek cause. This place of exceptional historical importance symbolizes in so many ways Hellenism, the islandic Greece, which ultimately defines the nature of the country and its culture," said Paschalis Kitromilidis.
Nikos Kanellopoulos commented on the proposals of the Municipality: "The proposals of the Municipality are innovative, such as the proposal for the creation of the hybrid museum, which links the artifacts with new technologies. They are proposals that result from the brewing of local history together with concern for the future."
The President and the Members of the Assembly of the Committee also visited the church of Aghios Nikolaos, where, according to tradition, Konstantinos Kanaris took the blessing in 1822, before embarking on his great mission: the burning of the Ottoman flagship of Kara Ali, after the massacre of Chios in 1822. The delegation also visited the site where the family home of the great hero of the Revolution and Prime Minister of Greece stood. Presently, a specially designed garden with the bust of the great fighter exists on the site.
The gift of the island inhabitants to the President of the Committee "Greece 2021," Gianna Angelopoulos – Daskalaki. The box contains soil and gravel from the Black Ridge.
An imprint of the head and hand of Aghios Nikolaos in the church of Aghios Nikolaos. As tradition says", the imprint was "created when a fire caused by a votive candle was avoided."