Σάββατο, 7 Μαΐου 2011

Revelations of a Farsarotul man



~ Για ελληνικά: 


While surfing the internet, by chance I found a website of an Aromanian Association of America under the name 'Farsarotul'. The club was founded in 1903 by Nicolae Cican, it is the oldest club of Aromanians in America and, in short, its purpose was the humanitarian aid for its members and the preservation of the Aromanian culture. Mr A. Lazarou, a well-known Romanist, Valkanologist, in his four volume-book, named ''Hellenism and Peoples of Southeastern Europe, longitudinal and cross-disciplinary courses”, Volume A, Athens 2009, Publications "Lyhnia", page 70, characterizes this Association as an anti-hellenic one.

Farsarotul” support on their website that their wider policy was firstly pro-Romanian, but later opened and accepted Aromanians from all over the world as members, they also declare that they are not mixed with politics in the narrow sense and their basic orientation is preservation of the Aromanian culture and research (to inform their descendants about what Aromanian are and where they are from). Every six months they publish a newsletter with articles, interviews, etc. about Aromanian issues with author, commentator and secretary Mr Nick Balamaci.. In the last newsletter that I read, Mr. Balamaci surprises us, and in his introductory note, entitled "The end of an illusion», writes verbatim: 

«Of all the Newsletters we have published in our 24 years, this issue may very well be the most important, because it contains 3 remarkable contemporary documents that show the situation of the Balkan Vlachs today as THEY see it, not as self-styled Vlach leaders in the West see it.
Several generations have grown up in the U.S. since the two largest mass migrations of Vlachs in the 20th century: to America between 1900-1920 and to Romania between 1925-1943. Those of us in the U.S. who were raised to think of ourselves as Romanians, as well as those who grew up in Romania as citizens of that state, have had at least two core beliefs in common: (1) that the Vlachs are actually Romanians, and (2) that we were pressured by the Greek government to become Greek, persecuted when we refused, and are still persecuted there.
Those of us who have actually travelled to Greece and other Vlach areas found a very different story: (1) the overwhelming majority of those Vlachs do not feel they are Romanian and never did, and (2) aside from two periods of very real pressure and persecution – during the Greek military struggle between 1897-1913 to gain control of Macedonia and during the authoritarian, quasi-fascist Metaxas regime between 1936-1941 – not only have the Vlachs not been persecuted by the Greek government, they have been welcomed at the highest levels of that government and in fact helped found the Modern Greek state and have held major positions in its government from that time to the present date.
So different were the beliefs we were raised with from the reality of the situation that my first trip to Greece in 1981 was more like shock therapy than a vacation. I expected to see a focused effort to extinguish Aromanian traditions. Instead, I found thriving communities that were preserving Aromanian traditions and language better than most of us. Other than a few bigots not sanctioned by the Greek government – bigots much like those found in every human population – there was no “persecution”… in fact, the evidence presented by my own eyes indicated that the Vlachs of Greece lived a life where they enjoyed far more freedom to organize, to speak their language, and to live in liberty and prosperity than their compatriots in Albania, Bulgaria, Yugoslav Macedonia, and even Romania.
That and subsequent visits changed my view forever. While I still vehemently disagree with Greek nationalist scholars who contend that the Vlachs are and always have been Greeks, I understand that the Vlachs are not Romanians, either – but we have important cultural, historical, and linguistic ties to both Greece and Romania.
But what about those of us who have never been to Greece or other Balkan countries? How can we test the beliefs that have dominated our understanding of who we were and who we are?».

Commenting on the previous, we note the change in Mr. Balamaci’s beliefs by (no orientation towards Romania and his ascertainment that Aromanians do not suffer persecution in Greece, as he had been taught to say, on the contrary, they are favoured in their country). Mr Balamaci found out enough things and we believe that he will find much more in the future. 

In conclusion, we note that Romanian propaganda has caused so much harm (like all gray propagandas) that even open minds (as Mr Balamaci seems to be) do not realize the obvious e.g. what the overwhelming majority in Greece say: Aromanians here in Greece are Greek and if those(Aromanians) ,who are dispersed all over the world, look for their ancestors, they will find out that they come from villages of the mountainous Greek sites. He, then, says in his article verbatim: "While I still strongly disagree with nationalist Greek scholars (researchers), who support that Aromanians are and always were Greeks, I understand that they are not Romanians”. My question to him is: What Aromanians are and what is he going to say to his children about it? If they are not Greek, they must be another nation! What is this nation? Why doesn’t he name it? Aromanians abroad are so much confused that they still put questions like (as Mr Balamaci did before): “But what about those of us who have never been to Greece or other Balkan countries? How can we test the beliefs that have dominated our understanding of who we were and who we are?” Are they ‘black sheep’ (Bible word)? We simply put a question!!
                                                                
By John Tsiamitros, original text in Greek and translation in English by him, toο.

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