Thursday, February 28, 2008

An answer from a greek arvanitis to albanian nationalists

I am greek, 50% arvanite in blood (from my fathers side, my grandparents left volunteerly their village, that today is in Bulgaria, in 1919, believing they were Greeks and not Bulgarians. Before 1919, while their village was in Ottoman empire, they had in the village a greek school, financed by their community, and the best students received scholarships from the community to continue studies at the greek highschool of Edirne. (Fan Noli -a national hero of Albania, coming from an arvanite village of eastern Thrace, studied in the same highschool)).
I cannot understand why the issue of arvanites existing in Greece for more than 200 years in the south and 100 years in the north is used from some Albanian nationalists as a tool to increase or create tension between the 2 countries.
There are more than 4-5 million greek people in USA, most of them 2nd or 3rd generation english-speaking americans that have forgotten their parents language ( or learn it as foreign language for sentimental reasons), and this population is concidered as a bridge of friendship and economic relationship both from USA and Greece.
What is the problem with arvanites ? Their anchestors moved to the south in middle age seeking for a better life. At a time when religion was more important than nation or language (1400-1900), being christian orthodox they joined the christian orthodox greeks and the christian orthodox vlachs in a common revolt against the muslim ottoman empire that aupressed all of them.Since the indepentent state that came out from this revolt was concidered from Europe as the succesor of the ancient Greek glory and history, and since at that time the language the most respectful and with a huge heritage in written works and grammar was greek, what most logical for them to accept the domination of greek culture, language and heritage for the state where thy belonged? While at the same time there was no discrimination at all, they were participating at all levels of administration (even some of the first prime-ministers of the new state were arvanites, and the first regulation code of the greek navy was written in arvanite language so that the majority of the marins who were arvanites could understand it).
Some very recent examples of the arvanites position in Greece :The new Archbishop of Greece , Ieronymos, comes from a purely arvanite village (Inofyta), and his family name is Liapis.The minister of cultural affaires of Greece, cousin of prime-minister Karamanlis, is also called Michalis Liapis ( Liapis, a very typical Arvanite name).
To conclude, in my opinion the arvanite case should be used to point out that there is a good percentage of albanian blood in what is today the greek nation. Therefore, Greeks and Albanians have good reasons to disregard things that separate them, and point out things that join them.

No comments: