Πέμπτη, 27 Ιανουαρίου 2011

WEIGAND: THOUGHTS ON HIS BOOK "Aromanians, Tome A, Place and People”

~ Για ελληνικά: 

I read Weigand’s book (distinguished German Romanist, Valkaniologis, Slavologist, Lexicographer, Dialectologist and Ethnologist), entitled "Aromanians, Tome A, Place and People" translated by the geographer Professor  Thede Kahl

The preface of the book is from the ‘Philological, Historical, Literary Association Board of Trikala (Thessaly)’, the translator, and the scientifically accepted Romanist, Valkaniologist Dr Achilles Lazarou. (The book was written in German in 1895 and translated in Greek in 2001).
‘The continuing ,progressive ,diverse and latest propaganda campaign, which comes from abroad has Vlachs of Greece as a target and uses this book, like the old Romanian propaganda, as a source for achieving its goals’ (Philological, Historical, Literary Association Board opinion).
We think that PHLA Board did well to edit the book in Greek to inform Greek public, so that they can study it and form personal opinion.
The author’s views (with footnotes and sufficient scientific evidence) are presented, without any interference in his original text. At the same time, both translator’s (Thede Kahl) views (with his footnotes) and Dr. Achilles Lazarou’s views (with his footnotes and with super-rich quoted sources) are presented.
Thede Kahl, in his preface, states that it is not necessarily to agree with Mr A. Lazarou’s comments and he notes that he was not informed of the final form of the translation and Lazarus’texts, before the printing of the book. The latter is obviously added (written) later, after the apparent protest of the translator. The bottom line is that everyone expressed his opinion and the reader has the opportunity to draw his own conclusions. 

I started reading the book without having any prejudice against the author, but I, unfortunately, realized what I suspected. The book was written with pure anti-Hellenic purpose. Weigand, in all his work, tries to prove that ‘Aromani’ (his own neologism) is a separate nation, showing himself objective with in an elaborate way. He constantly, in his project, gives a distinct position among the populations of northern Greece (Aromanians, Arvanites and Bulgarians). Special distinct position gives to Bulgarians without documents. The climax of his insistence in favour of Bulgarians is the information (p. 254) that the population of town Naousa had Bulgarian origin, not real Greek, but Hellenized linguistically. 
At last, probably Boulgarian women fell down to death in ‘Arapista’ water cliff, during Greek Revolution and ‘the holocaust’ of town Naousa! (Oh, for God sake, what has remained to listen to!!!). Finally, he is forced to admit the Greek consciousness of the Slav-speaking people and of most of Arman-Vlachs. He even calls ‘Turks’ all Muslim, while it is well known that many indigenous Christian populations were Islamised. 
Of course, we can not deny that he did ‘spot’ research of the Vlach-Aromanians and he presented Aromanian’s life, manners and customs of that era, unlike other Vlachologists (eg Bolintineanou, Capidan etc.) who did research from Bucharest or with a simple walk in Greece.
On the other hand, we have to admit that, Professor Weigand, in his work, stigmatizes the brutality of the Turks against their enslaved people and the lack of their measures for the protection of the natural environment. 

Weigand was accused by many people, at that time, for dangerous Romanian propaganda (it was in full swing at that time). For example, we mention Kostas Krystalis ,Greek Armanian young poet at that time (late 19th century), from village Sirako of Epirus, who, in his book "The Vlachs of Pindus’ published by Damianos (p. 191), states, definitely, that Weigand was employed by the Romanian propaganda. Professor Weigand, all the time, shrank and destroyed anything that smelled Greece. 

Mr Lazarou, in his introduction, gives a number of sources of the offer of the Hellenism (Byzantine) to the various undisciplined Slavic tribes for their national formation (religion, institutions, traditions, mode of governance, etc.). In the territory of modern Bulgaria, a lot of Greek inscriptions were found and studied by G. Mihailov, Academic professor in the University of Sofia (his mother was Greek).
Mr. Lazarou also presents number of sources, including mostly Romanian scientists for the indigenous Aromanian population of Armani-Vlachs and the ‘enlatinization’ of Greek people in the wider Greek area. He doesn’t fail to mention Kostantinos Koumas, the first modern-Greek historian (PhD of two German universities) who, in 12fth tome of his book of ‘Histories of Human Acts’ (Vienna 1832.531), concludes that Aromanian-Vlachs are ‘Greeks by genus’. 
Weigand pretends ignorance of Koumas, although both act in the same area (Austria) and Bartas (from Metsovo, living in Romania). At the same time ,during visits to Greece, he avoids to refer to the eminent personalities of Aromanians-Vlachs of Greek origin ,who ‘shined’ (being very famous) from Roman times to the Greek Revolution (we would need another article to mention all of them).

Professor at the University of Sorbonne, Victor Bernard, Weigand’s contemporary ,touring as a scientist in Elbasan (Albania) names (‘photographs) him (Weigand) in his book ‘Turkey and Hellenism’ (translator, M. Lιkoudis, Athens 1987) and he commented on the wider propaganda ‘party’, as following: " Germans pass through this place , again and again very often to serve Bulgaria, Serbia, Romania and Austria!" 

Weigand , in his preface of the book, thanks German institutions for financial support of his tour to Greece, but this money was certainly not sufficient to endless ‘tips; (baksis) and caviar to everyone... ,as I read in the book! Besides, the Romanian encyclopaedias notify clearly that propaganda work was fulfilled with generous grants of the Romanian Governments. 
In his book he constantly talks about Greek propaganda in the Ottoman Macedonia but he avoids to mention Romanian propaganda and at the same time he presents it as «national" Party. "(Party for the creation of Aromanian-Vlach nation!). Romanian schools in Macedonia and Epirus are called by him Aromanian-Vlach schools (in his book), although we know very well that Romanian language was taught there (I personally know this, since some of my relatives studied in such schools in Veria). 

Below we note some phrases from his book and the conclusions are yours: 
Page 172. ".. We are in the country of Aromanians-Vlachs who possess the region from Mount Grammos and Smolikas from north to south, all along Pindus mountain chain, to the central Aspropotamos region -without being mixed with another nation"!!
Page 175: “.. But since agriculture is not Aromanians’-Vlachs’ choice, many of them moved in large coastal cities or abroad as craftsmen and owners of taverns, where they very soon abandoned their nationality (he means Aromanian) »!!! 
Page 176. “…On my visit to Avdella, the party of those who have national morale (he means Aromanian-Vlach) is stronger than the Greek party, and because even the rich, burnt by passionate national (Aromanian) consciousness, openly showed their eagerness to offer me hospitality”! 
And many others...

This book is in Greek, too, so we translated our article in English.
John Tsiamitros, teacher of traditional dances.

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