Τρίτη, 9 Σεπτεμβρίου 2014

''National Day'' (Dzua Natsionala) of ''Macedo-aromanians / Macedo-romanians'' and its historical origins

Για ελληνικά: 

It is well known that in recent years some ‘circles’ promoted the construction of an independent Vlach/Aromanian ethnicity, free of any link with Greece and Hellenism in general. Under this policy, some associations - seated mainly in Romania and Skopje -, acting with the help of generous state and European financial subsidies, have declared the 23th of May as the "National Day" of everywhere Vlachs/Aromanians, who celebrate this day every year to show off their historical presence as an autonomous political entity in the Balkans. However, how ‘autonomus’ is finally this presence and what are its historical origins?

The roots of this current ‘Aromanian autonomous movement’ are found in Romania of the second half of the 19th century and in the attempt of Romanian nationalism to gain a foothold in the regions south of the Danube. The first attempt of penetration was made by two Romanians, called Ion Rădulescu and Dimitrie Bolintineanu, who visited Macedonia and Epirus in 1853 and toured Aromanian/Vlach villages with the support of Ottoman authorities. The Porte had even given orders to the ‘Vali’ of Macedonia, Reset Pasha, to help these two Romanian scholars during their tour 'with all his strength’.  After their return to Romania, on one hand Bolintineanu started writing fiery press articles stimulating Romanian readership, and on the other  Rădulescu published a book in French entitled "The Dream of an outcast» (Le rêve d'un proscrit), in which he claimed that genuine Greeks were limited in cape Tainaro of the Peloponnese, while everyone else was in fact Romanians. He also sent warm greetings to the heroes of Greek Revolution, calling them ‘Macedo-Romanian' brothers. The next step was the establishment of a Macedo-Romanian revolutionary committee in Bucharest, which immediately developed action under the cloak of cultural contacts, hiding initially its   deepest aims.
Apostle Margaritis, a former teacher of greek language, played a crucial role in the attempt to win Vlachs of Macedonia, Epirus and Thessaly, aided by a circle of collaborators, who had lived as immigrants in Romania and were connected financially with the new Balkan state. These partners were not always of Vlach origin, once, among most Margaritis’ warm supporters, we can find e.g. the strong Lahovari family with distant ancestry from Cyclades (!) [1]

This Romanian initiative did not seem to have found fertile ground (fact expected), despite the support from the until then richest northern Balkan state (Romania).  Vlachs/Aromanians of Macedonia, Epirus and Thessaly never had historical relationship with peoples beyond the Danube. They were indigenous (local) populations with strong cultural origins from late Greek-Roman and Byzantine period with the Greek language as an official one. Anyone can adopt or reject George Pahimeris’ (Byzantine academic and historian) witness [2], who characterized Vlachs/Aromanians as descendants of ancient Greek (especially from Achilles). In any case, no one can doubt the fact that Vlachs/Aromanians in Greece had participated with all their strength in all aspects of social, cultural and national life of Greek people, and had taken part massively in all Greek revolutionary movements of the Ottoman period; top characteristic case of them is Greek Revolution in 1821, which resulted in the final overthrow of the Ottoman rule and the establishment of the modern Greek state. Blood ties and common struggles, which Vlachs/Aromanians had developed for centuries with other Greek people, were extremely too strong and could not (and cannot) break, because of romantic references in ancient Rome or in an imaginary migration from North:
Lazarescu Lecanta [3], an inspector of the Romanian schools, in his memorandum to the Romanian government on the 26th of November 26, in 1901, wrote:
[…we have enough schools, teachers, priests for the propagation of our national education but we do not have Romanian population…, in villages where the population consists exclusively of Vlachs/Aromanian, Greek schools were full of students, while the Romanian ones lacked ... the Vlach/Aromanian man contributes to the Greek school and leaves his fortune after death to the growth of Greek education…]. 
He (Lecanta) was murdered shortly afterwards by a Romanian fanatic in a cafe of Bucharest, named ‘Macedonia’ [4].

The situation among Vlachs/Aromanians emigrants of Diaspora in Eastern Europe was also similar. Dusan Popovic, a Yugoslav historian, studying the Vlachs/Aromanians of the former Yugoslav countries, writes characteristically:
[.. Let us not deny that  ‘Tsintsari’ (Vlachs) and Greeks felt   Greek and were actually carriers of the Greek language, the (Greek) way of life and culture, both in  West and   here…] [5].

The inability of the ‘Romanisers’ Vlachs/Aromanians to impose their views on the majority of the Vlach-speaking populations of the Balkans soon led the leaders of that movement to seek the creation of strong alliances that will help to overturn the unfavourable situation for them. So, very soon we can see them approaching Ottoman authorities and presenting themselves as the most ideal citizens of the faltering Ottoman state. Apostle Margaritis’s and Jean-Claude Faverial’s (latin monk) proclamation (in 1877) is highly revealing in this direction:
[If we once were at fault because of rebelling against our legal ruler (means Ottoman), it was always due to the instigation of the greek clergy, the eternal enemy of Islam. Do not forget, however, Albanian brothers, that God created nations before religions. If we want to save ourselves from orthodoxy, which is hostile to Christ, humanity and ethnicities, let's devote ourselves, body and soul, in the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire is the original, the biggest protector, our hope, our support and will never abandon us in the hands of our enemies, who are its enemies, too] [6].

Ioan Caragiani, professor of Greek literature at Iasi (Romania) ‘moved on the same wavelength’ who tried to persuade Vlachs/Aromanians to remain Ottoman subjects and to resist to the union of Thessaly to Greece; the Albanian-Vlach family Belimaci from Korca (Albania) did the same and their members travelled in 1881 to Constantinople to express their desire to the Sultan to act for the rejoining of Thessaly under Turkish occupation. [7].

On the 23rd of May, in 1905, under the influence of Romanian and Austro-Hungarian diplomacy, Sultan Abdul Hamid recognizes ‘Vlach ‘millet’ (nation)', independent of that of Greece (Rum millet).

~ (Photo left) Abdul Hamid II depicted as the ‘Red Sultan’ on the cover of the French magazine ‘Le Rire’ on the 29th of May, in 1897.

Abdul Hamid, better known at that time as "The Red Sultan» (Le Soultan Rouge) because of the savage slaughters he committed against hundreds of thousands of civilians of Armenians and other Christians, certainly did not act under either humanism or under any massive and public claim of ethnic self-determination of Vlachs of Macedonia and Epirus, who, despite the Sultan official order (irade), in their vast majority, continued to identify themselves with the Greek idea. His action (irade) was part of the traditional Ottoman policy of "divide and rule" and aimed firstly to break the Greek element in the territories of the Empire and secondly to present the appearance of one more small, regional small nation, which either would be gradually part   of Romania or would work as a satellite forever on favour of Romanian and Austrian-Hungarian policy versus Greek presence in the regions of Macedonia and Epirus.

Sultan Abdul Hamid’s face became sacred by fans of the Romanian movement, who even composed a special patriotic hymn for his honour, lyrics by Constantin Belimaci, a descendant of the Albanian-Vlach family Belimaci (the some person had also written the ‘National Hymn’ of the ‘Romanisers’ (Macedo-Romans) entitled ‘Părintească Dimândare’). Here is Abdul Hamid’s hymn (unchanged), just as it is published by an organization-member of FUEN in internet [8]:


Prea naltsat shi mare
Sultan azvingator,
Ca la lutsitlu soare
Ncijinats cantam an cor!

Armanjlor libertate
Di natsie, pri loc,
Na didesh lunjinate,
Shi ts-uram cu foc!

O! Doamne-a tut putinte
Aveaglje pri Sultan,
Cu njila-a ta, prea Sfinte
Shi tronlu Otoman!

Arasunats trompete
An sute sh-njilj di bots,
A padishahlui-n ete
Cantats Armanji cu tots!

Mults anji s-banedz Sultane
Abdul Hamide Khan,
Imperator cu numa
Sultanjilor Sultan!



You are great and majesty, victorious Sultan,
 listen to our joyful song,

you gave freedom, glory and ardour 
to Vlachs, gifts of the state,

our God, with your divine power and your endless mercy,
save our Shah and the Ottoman throne,

Vlach’s idea thunders with thousand trumpets,
Vlach/Aromanian march (hymn) wishes many happy returns to Sultan

may you live  a thousand years, my Sultan,
glorious, famous king, the Sultan of Sultans,
great Han, Abdul Hamit B’

''Abdul Hamid, sitting on the trophies of his reign''
German Cartoon 1909

Correspondence of the leaders of the so-called autonomous movement of Aromanians,
Iancu Perifan and Vasile Barba with the separatist 'Turks Federation of Western Thrace’ 
(in Germany), member of FUEN, about ‘Dzua Natsionala’ (National Day), 
as published on the website of the Organization.

Nowdays, the self-called ‘Macedo-Armans’, behalf the memory of this very Ottoman policy, celebrate Abdul Hamid’s Irade (23 May 1905) as a national anniversary and national day of everywhere Vlachs, without Vlachs! Even in Romania and Skopje, particularly in countries where the seat of the so-called ‘autonomous Vlach/Aromanian movement’ is, the majority of ordinary people's remain rather uninvolved, watching behind these actions the stinking world of old political games played once on their back.
Particularly in Greece, this anniversary is completely unknown apart from a small circle of activists of a constructed and artificial ‘Vlach Language’, which they promote as a written way of communication instead of the Greek (language). We copy a statement (about this anniversary-23 of May) of the newspaper ‘Arada Romania’ (sheet No7, June 2010), the editor of which is Zoe Carabash, an activist and the publisher is a member of FUEN [9] called Costica Canacheu:

« It is a great honour that we are here today with you, it seems that we finally ‘pass the river’ to get to the street to Moscopole (it is now in Albania).
I saw ‘vlachouria’ (means Vlach people) all gathered here, so I came, too. I go to every celebration of ‘vlachouria’ and in any place, but I feel bad that until now nothing like this has happened in Greece.
Today is the first time that National Day is celebrated in Greece with ‘Vlachs Association from Veria’, too.
‘Vlachs Association from Veria’ gave us good work so far. They created primer (spelling book), they organized school lessons in vlach/aromanian language and now they celebrate the ‘National Day’.
It seems to me that they good runners and in good order.
Sotiris Bletsas - Athens, Greece » [10]
Note: We do not know whether this statement corresponds to reality, but it would be very interesting to see an official confirmation or refutation of those involved.

What Vlachs΄/Aromanians from neighbouring FYROM and Bulgaria say about 
the ‘National Day’ (Dzua Natsionala)

We asked G.N., born in Bulgaria and originated from Grammosta (vlach village in Greece), what he thinks about the national holiday to be celebrated by some member- organizations of FUEN in his country. He said:

'' Dzua natsionala-mari tinji sh mari perifani.Cu dor ashteptu atsia dzua s-yiurtisescu pi Abdul Hamid. Atsel cari vatama duniaua tu Trakia. Atsel Abdul Hamid cari deadun cu mucanli mi pricunuscu ca hiu arman .... em io hiu tsi voi io. Nu tsi vor ei ... Aestu lipsiashti nitsi prota yrama di numa s-nu u badz iuva. Di atumtsia ahurhi sh mucaniasca propaganda-s vatamara frati cu frati pana in dzua di adza. Tsi'' sarbatoari'' iasti aesta .... Tu Varyaria yiurtisescu dzua ti 3.03.1876-1878 ca dzua di Elefteria ... Hellada yiurtusiashti 25.03 .... dzalili candu ascapara di turtsa sh Otomanus Imperiu .... em armanlji (macedonarmani-macedoromani, mucanli) adara dzuia ti Abdul Hamid. ''Mari tinji'' ...''
I feel great honour and pride for the National Day. With pain (of soul) I am waiting for that day to celebrate Abdul Hamid. The man who killed people in Thrace.  That…Abdul Hamid along with Romanians, all together recognized me as Vlach and what I really want. Not what they want. You should not also put (or show) the first letter of his name anywhere. Romanian propaganda began since that time, brother kills brother and this continues until today. What kind of ‘celebration’ is this ... The national day and day of freedom in Bulgaria is on the 3rd of March (1876-1878” and on the 25th of March is in Greece  ... days when they were liberated from Ottoman conquest ... Vlachs (makedono-aromanians-makedo-romanians, mocanli ?) celebrate  Abdul Hamid’s Day. ''Great honour''...

B. M.  from Krusovo, not ever attended a Greek school, wrote the following (we quote her commentary unchanged- It is in Greek language but in Latin letters)

'' Zoi gemati me ironie: sto spiti mas me ton baba mou milousame vlaxika, kai me tin mama mou elinika, kai eixamai kultura "ku un ok, arm'n s'xiba". Omos simera ekini pou krivondane na poune pos einai Vlaxi, simera einai i pio megali patriotes kai giortazoune 23 maiou san giorti ton Vlaxon! ''
Life full of irony: We used to speak Vlahika (Vlach language) at home with dad and with my mum we spoke Greek, and we had culture ‘Ku un ok, arm’n s’xiba?’  But today those who hid themselves and didn’t say that they are Vlachs, now they are the best patriots and they celebrate the 23rd of May as the Day of Vlachs/Aromanians.

M. G, born in Skopje and originated from Grammosta, told us the following:

'' Tsi hairi avum di aesti lucri? Ca na vatamam, ca na mpartsam, ca na ncacem? Una eta nu n achicasim cu propaganda aesta. Una eta vor s na moara, s na adara mucanj, ama di giaba la suntu tuti, nitsi na adrara nitsi va na adara mucanj. Cu 5 inshi ghiftsa tsi aduna cu elj nu pot tsiva. Noi na him pirifanj pi zartsina a noasta, zartsina di elinovlahi, ca papanjlji a noshtsa tuts aclo suntu faptsa, tu Ellada. A atselj 5, 50 ica 500 cara s vor s hiba daci, s hiba mucanj, s adara dzua, s hiba pirifanj cu abdul hamid, nu i luyursheasti can! ''
‘What kind of progress one can have after all these? We killed each other, we split up and we are fighting each other after all this propaganda! During all our lives we could not communicate, during all our lives other people wanted to make us disappear and make us Romanians. But whatever they do and did, it will/would be in vain. They didn’t and they will never make us Romanians. They can not succeed anything, when they gather with them five-six worthless people. We are proud of our roots, Greek-vlach root and origin and all our grandparents were born there, in Greece. If those worthless, 5, 50 or 500 want to be Dacians and Romanians, let them celebrate this day, let them be proud of Abdul Hamid, but none will estimate and count them’.

V. S from Monastiri/Bitola, originated from Moscopole reports:

'' Ku acel'' Irade'' intrara la turclj doj uominj kaj nu li mutrea armnjli anoshtri, ami treadze la Rumunjli 
Tu Skopja lu strigara prezidentul al Rumanii, a nu strigara vrnu di tu Grcija. Di aista pot s'ved kace propaganda adara multe lukre ci nu s'ntu kum lipseashte.... Peanarga, va zjina dzua k'ndu daljihja va sheasa nafoara... ''
Going along with that order [Irade of 1905], two people joined Turks, and they didn’t care for our own Vlachs, while they were inclined towards Romanians...
The President of Romania was called (invited) in Skopje but none (official) from Greece! After all these, I can assume that propaganda succeeds many wrong things. But slowly, one day the truth will come out...

[1] Raoul Bossy describes Irade of 1905 as a real achievement of Romanian diplomacy «Un succes diplomatic romanesc: ‘Iradeaua’ din 1905» Noul Album Macedo-Roman (NAM-R), 1, 1959-1961, 167 -169. See also Moudopoulos, ε.α 22 note 47. Ηe over praises the Romanian diplomat, Al. Em. Lahovary (of Greek origin) o E. Staico, La Verite sur le Peuple Roumain et la Propagande anti-Roumaine, Paris 1918, 9. [Achilles G. Lazarou, Hellenism and Peoples of South-Eastern Europe, Volume II, pages319-320].
[4] Con. Christou, Aromanians, Studies on their origin and history, Thessaloniki 1996, pp. 72-73.
[5] Dusan Popovic ‘O Cincarima’, pp. 330, Belgrade 1937.
[8] See Here.
[10]. See Here, p. 4.

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