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07 November 2006

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demonax

About time you got round to Northern Epirus!

I was in Athens in the early-mid-1990s and got to know many young Northern Epirotes who had taken advantage of the collapse of the communist dictatorship in Albania to come to Greece. The Northern Epirotes made a strong impression on me. Here are a few observations, which I’m sure you will elaborate on in future posts:

1. The Enver Hoxha regime in Albania (1946-1991) was the most vicious and inhuman of all the communist dictatorships in Europe. It is no exaggeration to compare the brutal, paranoid isolationism of Stalinist Albania with North Korea, and to assert that the Hoxha regime targetted the Greek minority in particular, subjecting it, among other things, to internal deportation and a programme of forced Albanianisation, which severely punished any expression of Greek identity.
Thus many of The Northern Epirtoes I met in Athens not only spoke little Greek (Albanian was their first language) and knew nothing of their religion, many had even been deprived of their Greek names. Those I knew in Athens were in the process of learning Greek, getting baptised and changing their Albanian names to Greek ones.

2. The Northern Epirotes escaped hardship and discrimination in Albania only to find it in Greece. Living and working conditions in Athens were harsh, to say the least, as was the reception they received from their ‘fellow’ Greeks, who did not hesitate to insult them, cast doubt on their Greekness, calling them Albanians and so on. Naturally, many Northern Epirotes resented the treatment meted out to them in Greece, to the extent that many were reluctant to call themselves Greek, associate themselves with the people and society that treated them so badly.
3. What applies to the Northern Epirotes also applies to the Pontians who came to Greece – from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan – after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Pontians were also victims of deportation, deprivation of language, religion, identity – though I found the Pontic Greeks showed less signs of brutalisation than the Northern Epirotes.
4. Cypriots, rightly or wrongly, are prone to blaming Greece for the predicament of their country. Northern Epirotes are entitled to feel 10 times the resentment and sense of betrayal Cypriots feel towards ‘Mother’ Greece. The devastation done to (half of) Cyprus is reasonably well known in Greece, that done to Northern Epirus much less known. The indifference of the Greek state and society to Northern Epirus is a disgrace.
5. More happily, I found Northern Epirot women very sweet and very good looking, more ‘traditional’ in their ways; the ‘looser’ or more ‘progressive’ morals of Athenian women were quite hard for them to take. Here’s a verse from one of my favourite Epirot songs, which of course has an obvious political overtone:

Vorio Ipirotissa mou
Lipis makria ap’konta mou
Ah! Poso lachtaro
Sto plevro mou na se dho

Stavros

Demo,

Maine has always been a area that Northern Epirotes from my parent's villages gravitated to. There is a large community in Maine of Politsanites. Politsani (www.Politsani.com) is a Greek speaking village where my mother's family hails from. Many Politsanites are newly arrived and it is a plaesure to watch them redisover their Greek roots and Orthodox faith. My mom and dad were godparents at the baptism of an entire family of distant relatives. Recently I watched a young couple of recently arrived Northern Epirotes, who grew up in Enver Hoxha's Albania, at our church celebration of Greek Independence Day. They were literally beaming as their 8 year old son recited a poem in Greek while dressed as an evzone. It made my day and reminded me of another snot-nosed kid who did the same a long time ago.

One of my heroes is a family friend, who recently died. His name was Minas Paras. He was a Greek school teacher in Politsani who spent 40 years in Albanian Communist jails. I plan on posting, in installments an abridged English language version of his book published in Greek, detailing his life. COMING SOON TO MGO.

I concur with your assessment of Epirotisses. My wife's family, on her father's side, is from Arta. I share your good taste in women.

As for the music and songs of Epirus, they are occasionally lively or gay, however, most are dirge-like and reflective of the calamties that have befallen a people, who like the Cypriots, deserve better.

Na zisoun ee Vorio Epiros kai ee Kypros.
Ellines eimaste kai ellines tha pethanoume.

Alekos

I am extremely interested in getting a thorough, scholarly, English-language resource on Northern Epirus. I was very disappointed with the Winnifreth book on the topic. Both Albanians and Greeks say that book is biased, but in this case I don't think that that is an indicator of impartiality as it is of poor research. He said that Sopiki was an Albanian-speaking village, never heard it when I was there. Any suggestions? The region is gorgeous and I was truly touched by the resilliance and the positive attitudes of people I met when I made the trek to Sopiki a few years back.

Stavros

Aleko mou,

I am not aware of any books on Northern Epirus in the English language worth reading. I would love to hear about your trip there and I'm sure other MGO readers would be interested too. Please consider writing a post for MGO. Send me an email if interested.

arianita mango

www.himara.eu

hova

Idiot te gjitha keto vende qe ti na permende kane qene shqipetare, dhe jo greke. Dihet historia e trojeve shqipetare dhe mania e grekerve per ta bere Epirin pjese te tyre. Nuk edi se sa ke mesuar ne shkolle apo sa shqipetare je ( gje qe duket nga vetmohimi qe i beni vetes ju himariot qe e shitet veten te greku per nje cope buke)por Patagonia,ka qene e banuar nga fise Ilire dhe i wshtw dhene Grekerve padrejtesisht,ashtu si edhe trojet e tjera te shqiperise qe ju dhane Malit tw Zi dhe Serbise, nga konferencat qe beheshin ne deme te shqiptareve duke i marre padrejtesisht ate qe wshte e saja.
Ju himarjotet jeni turpi i Shqiperise.

Stavros

Όσο και να βρίζεις από μακριά, η μοίρα σας είναι προδιαγεγραμμένη. Θα τρέχετε να κρυφτείτε όπως οι Τσάμηδες.

sevdai kastrati

E pabesushme se çfarë gënjeshtre! ç'janë këta marrëzira! Shqipëria fillon që nga Gjiri i Artës e deri në Tivar. Qytet si Arta, Preveza, Parmithia, Margëlliçi, Filati, Parga, Janina, Konica, Kosturi, Follorina GJITHMONE KANË QENË SHQIPARE! Tani mos të flasim për arbëroret trima! Para se të pushtohej Greqia nga turku së paku 50% e popullsisë ishte shqiptare. E ç'ishte Athina thjesht një qyetet shqiptar! Greket djepin e tyre e kanë ne Azi, se aziatik janë në shpirt.
E sikur ta fitonte luften Luani i Shqipërisë(Ali pashë Tepelena) me turkun barbar, në Azi e në Afrikë do të ishit!
Kur të zgjohen nga gjumi arbërorët trima, më thuani, ku do të futen or pafllatarë!
Në Janinë kemi kryeqytetin tonë!

sevdai kastrati

Hë djema, kuvendoni arbërisht - i pyeti admiral Kundrioti ushtarët e tij. Njëri nga ushtarët i tha: "Po, kuvendojmë nga pak". Të kuvendoni se ju çliruat Greqinë! - i thotë Kundrioti.
Tani turko-grekët (të ardhur nga Turqia më se një milion e gjysmë në vitet '20) shpifin e ç'nuk shpifin ndaj arbërorëve legjendarë, arbërorin me atë gluhë perëndishte ia bëjnë jetë sterrë. Fëmijët në shkollë muk mund të flasin në gluhën e vet, sepse dihet pastaj se çfarë i pret!

sevdai kastrati

Përmende Sheperin. Nga Sheperi kemi Andon Zakon dhe Ilia Dilo Sheperin. Ky i fundit në testamnet e ka lënë: Kur të bashkohet Kosova dhe Camëria me Shqipëri më tregoni te varri! Tani presim edhe ndonjë vit e pastaj do t'i tregojmë se Camëria martire d t'i ktheht Nënës Shqipëri! Përpara Shqipëri!Rrofshin vëllezërit tanë arbëror dhe himariot!
Në ferr grekomanët e fëlliqur! E helmuat Naum Veqilharxhin, Pandeli Sotirin, Anastas Kulluriotin, Petro Nino Luarsain, Jorgo Marungan, Aristidh Kolën; e masakruat Papa Kristo Negovanin, Papa Vasil Negovani, At Stath Melanini etj.

Dardan Epirioti

Arbërorët do të zgjohn shpejt. I dëgjuam se çfarë thanë në Prishtinë. Ata janë krenarë që takojnë gjakut tonë. E ç'thoshte i madhi atdhetar Aristidh KOLA gjatë luftës në Kosovë: JAM KOSOVAR!
Lëreni ëndrrat në diell! Mos shpifni gjëra qesharake per të ashtuquajturin Epir i Veriut. E doni edhe Labërinë? Pritni edhe pakëz se do e marrim ne Camërinë! Është Amerika me ne! Edhe arbërorët do t'i shpallim minoritet. Se kjo guha arbërishte është gluhë perëndishte! Luani i Janinës s' do të jetë i qetë p'e parë Shqipërinë e bashkuar!
Deshi të ish i Shqipërisë,
shpëtimtari dhe mbreti i saj
ALI PASHA I JANINËS

Erleta

If you want know the true history about south Albania please read this link about the first albanian emigrants (arrived from south Albania: Himarë) in italy in the 1488:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piana_degli_Albanesi

why the albanians emigrants in italy are speaking albanian language for more than 500 years and not greek language ?

Because they are ALBANIAN, if you don't try me visit this town in italy, read about it, in every street of this town you'll listen only albanian, and they are all from south Albania and in those years Northern Epirus doesn't exist, why???

thay are orthodox Christian, but are Albanian and is the same in Albania, is so difficult to understand??

just because people are Orthodox religion should be Greek???? is so stupid!!

Ajdonat

Chams like the whole Greeks society was devided in Right Wings and Left Wings.
The majority of the population stayed neutral.

However like loyalists and Sessionist,were and Chams and Vllachs of Thesally and slav-Macedonians.
Many people took the opportunity.The case case of Chams was diffrent in the sense that Greece has not respected at all the Sevres Treaty between her and Leage of Nations.With that treaty The Kingdom of Greece was rewarded with added Territories on the conditions that all the rights of equal treatment,justice and liberties.
Greece did not obey such treaty with any of such minorities including Ethnic Albanians of Chameria.
No schools were allowed in Albanian language,movable and immovable properties were dispossed without any legal justifications.
Even though Greece had another Treaty in place with Turkey in Athens that all registred Agrarian land of Ottoman time to be recognized.
Albanians of Chameria never had the right to vote,language,local participation governance,no right to serve in the Greek army.
They were treated as second class citicens in every respect.
Another thing was the encourgment of other groups in Chameria to practically de facto posses any property of Chams.this was done on purpose incited by the Greek Church to divide Albanians of Chameria in religious lines.
It has to be noticed that Germans did not allow the partiction of Greece and Chameria stayed with Greece,(not like Kosovo and Albania that become de facto one country ).
The reason was that Germany found good support from right wingers in Greece and for its advancement and reprisials against Albanian territories.
However, on the other side germans allowed what greeks were denying Albanians of Chameria the right of education in their own language,local governace,and in some cases it enabled the Chams to restoration of their belonging by other groups that were encouraged by the greek state and Church.
This in itself made GREEKS MADE to order a massive Genocide on all Albanian race of Islamic faith.

We hope that Greece improves for his own benefit,becuase it has remained in its politcs and national thinking in the realm of the Byzantine Empire.More sofisticated nations have moved beyond that Impire ideology in order to face the new world challenges

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