Σάββατο, 10 Μαΐου 2014

Makedonian Stories: The Greek Committee - George Modis


The monastery of Saint Georgios-Megarovo
Petros Vistas (Bistas), Alexis Filippou
and Stavros Hatzistergiou
Για ελληνικά: 

English translation by our friend George Tsapanos, a proud Vlach from Megarovo nowadays living in California.

As I promised here is a short story from George Modis book Makedonian stories. The one in here is by the name The Greek Committee. The translation is mine, sorry for the mistakes, I tried to keep it word by word rather than give to it the American way. To the ones of you familiar with the land is going to bring memories of how things were in the 1900's. For the other oh well one of these days you might be able to understand our land. And yes Mpetsias Tsapanos was my uncle. So here it is.

THE GREEK COMMITTEE

With the slogans for freedom, the preaching for fighting the tyrants, and the anti-Turkish crusade, many have been lured in the nets of the ""Committee"", in Megarovo and Tyrnovo, the two continual small towns, above Monastiri, Vlachian speaking, but very Greek indeed. 
The struggles 
<<for the freedom of the fatherland, 
for Christ's sacred faith>>

have, always such attraction and to the young ones such fighting will !.......The representatives of the Committee, like the Apostles of Christ, they were calling in the resurrection, all the nations !........ 
The champions of freedom in the two villages were <<organized>>, were concentrating, and buying guns, collecting and giving subscriptions and were under strict discipline. 
They took oath on the gospel and on a revolver that will fight till the last drop of their blood for the freedom of Makedonia, that they will never betray the secrets of the Komittee no matter the price, and they will execute willingly all of its orders. 
Frequently  --Komitatzides-- were coming and they were half-training them in the use of the guns. 
More frequently visitors were the  <<Voevodades>> ARSOF and SOUGAREF. When were arriving in the two small towns were dropping the -F- and were becoming ARSO and SOUGARIS. 
They had try, really hard, both of them and their man, to act as girls and give the impression of real horsemen of the cross without fear and without a stain. Of course they were not  missing the incredulous Thomases, who were not taking the Bulgarian promises too seriously. But they were the littleness. The current for the emancipation was irresistible. The Apostles of the Committee were talking with plenty fervor and eloquence for the great days to follow. They were going to raise the flag of the cross and they were to revolt with the slogan <<Freedom or death>>. Everything and everybody were ready. Right away the Holy Russia was going to run to help them. It was not necessary to fight for eight years like the Greeks. Later, freedom was to come, the golden eon. <<All the Turkish land was going to be theirs. What do you mean Greek, Bulgar, [romanizing] Vlach ! All were brothers, brothers in the bondage  and brothers in freedom>>. 

Some were saying that the Komitatzides had assassinated many teachers, priests and notables, just because they were Greeks. But where those terrible and fearful things ever happened ? Around the two villages and all around nothing happened. Must be for sure Turkish finger-pointing, all those calumniations. Just as they think that it was wrong to kill Taki Tsona who had come from Monastiri for a wedding in Megarovo? 
Everybody had applauded for. The dead man spent all day with the Turks. 
The Komitatzides were killing -Beys and Agas-- who were horrible tyrants for the Christian villages. 
For example Monastiri and the area around it was shaken a day when the wild and mad horses of SEFKI AGA and his two companions enter in there. 
The three tall guys armed like lobsters, were going around on their horses, like the old years, and were grabbing, destroying and having fun. But a few Komitatzides were waiting for them in a field outside Monastiri and they kill them like blackbirds. 
Someone by the name Kostas [Kapetan Kotas] from Florina and Kastoria side, had done a big destruction to the satrapian MPEIDES and AGADES. 

The leader of the party fighting the Turks in Megarovo was Takis CHRISICOS, a man with no fear, guileless, honest and with astonishing bodily strength. 
Toward the end of February 1903 ARSOS and SOUGARIS came back again. They brought the joyful news that the big day was close. Now, in the spring, upon an order hundreds of slaves were going to revolt, all with guns and ready and with just one stroke of the pen they were going to erase Turkey !....... 
The whole world will wonder and admire. Only...... were needed money, lots of money. 
The two villages must help with all their soul. They were big and rich. Proportionate had to be their contribution. The struggle was <<For everything>> and everything for the struggle. No time for stinginess. The land was to win its freedom or was to become ashes. 
After that, they were going to take the receipts that they gave so much money to the Komittee. They were going to represent official  bonds and notes of the obligation. And down the road when the land was going to be free, the new state was going to pay back all those holy debts with interest and compounding interest . 
Well......the Commission sat down together with the two --VOIVODADES-- and wrote the contribution lists. They were to collect around 3,000 golden liras from the two villages. Some households were going to offer 100 and 200 golden coins, lots of money for those days. But this was going to be the last time. Was not going to be anymore need for further contributions. The freedom and the getting rid of the Turks was question of only a few weeks. The lists were given for collection to the treasurer of the Commission, Georgi Simona
After the Komitatzides have left, the Commission went in session again, they look over the lists again and one more time they confirm them. 
The collection was going to start next Sunday. The ones who were not going to pay, had to deal with ARSOF and SOUGAROF.

In the evening of Saturday visited CHRISICOS in his house, Pantelis MANTSIS, who had a small factory in Megarovo, Christos GOUDAS, son of the old Kapetan, and the nephew of Chrisicos, Mpetsas TSAPANOS, future KAPETANIOS. 
Chrisicos received them with willingness and love, even if he knew that they were to  suck his brains again with the theory that the Bulgars were the main and worst enemy. He offered them sweets and raki and he let them talk. With a triumphal smile then he throws to them the silencing contradiction 
-----What you are saying I am listening as nothing. I see that all the rifles of the Komittee are coming from Greece. That much stupid and blind is the Greek goverment to let it happen that way, if they were thinking your way and were having your preoccupations !!!!!!!!!! 

Petros Demetriou Vistas (Bistas)
from Megarovo- Nephew of the
Makedonomachos Minas Vistas
The argument was really un-removable. All three of them put their heads down. 
-----But they are killing, Taki, Goudas started saying, teachers, priests, and others continuously because they don't want to become BULGARS. 
-----I don't know what is happening in other places. I have heard about it myself. But here in the neighborhood whom did they kill? Takis Tsonas ? Good Greek. Nothing to say. But he had also too many relations with the Turks. If the ones that got killed were as you say good Greeks but traitors too, they did right. The traitors and the worshipers of the Turks must be eliminated even if they are priests and bishops. Are you forgetting that our own Mpistas [Minas Vistas] and his company, were double-crossed by the Bishop  and destroyed the patriotic movement 50 years ago ? 
---O.K. Uncle,said then, his nephew Tsapanos. You gave to the Komittee men and rifles. Is it neccesary now to give them 3,000 golden liras? What kind of warranty do you have ? Aren't you afraid that the Bulgars are going to throw you away like used lemon ? 
-----Listen young one. The struggles are not happening with fables. The more money and blood we give, the more rights we are going to have. Don't you understand it? The idea of the struggle took root. The whole world is on fire, and without us  the Bulgars still are going to do their job well. If we remain with our hands crossed as you say, we are going to end up like the Jews. Nobody is going to count us. And the freedom is going to be a Bulgarian accomplishment. The argumentation of Chrisicos was not without a base. 
Mantsis then stood up, drank a glass full with raki and said. 
-----Taki I have to tell you a big secret. That's the reason I came in here. But you must give me your word that you are going to say nothing . 
-----You do have my word, Panteli. 
-----Well..........  that a Greek Komittee has been established. 
Chrisicos opened his eyes and with obvious happiness said: 
-----Glory to God. 
-----They also sent us 5 rifles  from Monastiri. They are coming indeed from Greece, smugglers and traitors are bringing in the Bulgarian ones..There is no reason to work anymore with the Bulgarian Komittee. 
-----Of course, of course. Things are changing. 
-----We are going to work for our own account. We are not going to bother the Bulgars unless they are bothering us. 
-----Very right. 
-----Is going to be a mistake to give 3,000 golden liras to strange hands. It is possible we might need them later. And with the name of God we are going to need them. Let the people of Megarovo keep them in their wallets. 
-----You are not wrong. 
-----It is possible that with our rocks they break their heads. How do you know? Everything is possible . 
-----That's right . 
-----Do we agree ? Give me the hand. 
They gave the hands they hugged and kissed each other. 
The collection was postponed for the Greek calends. 

They arrived in few days ARSOS and SOUGARIS with 5 men. 
They lodged in the house of Gousios Gkogos
-----Did Chrisicos become crazy ? said ARSOF.And with what right he is changing a decision that the whole Commission took and so we did too ? He is violating the regulation. He is violating his oath. 
They send the treasurer Georgi Simona to call him. The envoy told him, in the name of God, don't go because you are in danger. Chrisicos though, took his revolver and Taki Papaxristo and Gkogo Kiti with their revolvers and went to the house of Gkogos. 
-----Why do you need me? he said to the --VOEVODAS-- standing by the door and filling it with his strong and proud stature. 
-----Why did you prevent the collection and violated the regulation upon which you took an oath of  belief ? 
-----We have now our own Komittee and we dont need you. You have to leave us by tonight. 
-----Arrest the traitor and tied him up. He is going to be judged, ARSOF yelled at his men. 
Chrisicos though with his Herculian strength, disarmed everybody and pile one on top of the other in the corner. As soon as night came, he drove them out. 
Komitatzides never came again to Ternovo and Megarovo.


See the  following relevant  publication:

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