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ITHAKA ON THE HORIZON: A Greek-American Journey



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06 September 2007



A lot of young people dancing. An encouraging sign perhaps.


Yes, let’s hope Politsani – and all of Northern Epiros – finds its true self again. You say the permanent population of Politsani is 200. Are these all Greeks? Is Politsani an exclusively Greek village?


Politsani has remained Greek throughout its long history. The Greek language is by far the predominant language, it is spoken at home, in the people's everyday dealings, taught in school along with Albanian and if you listen closely to the second video you will hear Greek being spoken in the Kafenion and used in the singing. In many respects Politsani was more Greek than some of the Greek towns I have been to. Like many Greek villages in Greece it is populated primarily by the elderly but experiences a rebirth every summer as its offspring return with their children. It is my personal belief that Hellenism will never prosper until we revitalize and repopulate the source of our strength which is these obscure villages and towns. There are other villages like Politsani in Northern Epirus, around Constantinople and in Occupied Cyprus where the flame refuses to be snuffed out.


I only ask because I know the communists tried to dehellenise Northern Epiros by deporting Greeks to other parts of the country and moving Albanians into Greek towns and villages. I’m glad Politsani didn’t suffer this fate.


Greeks like other minorities were harshly affected by the communist regime's attempts to homogenize the population through restrictions on the religious, cultural, educational, and linguistic rights of minorities. Internal exile and encouraging migration to the cities served as instruments of policy to dilute concentrations of Greeks and to deprive Greeks of their status as a recognized minority. Many Politsanites moved to the large cities as a matter of survival and in order to earn more a more liveable wage especially during the period of agricultural collectivization. Only later did the Communists realize their mistake in depriving remote villages of their manpower. The summer migration back includes those living in other parts of Albania as well as Greece and the United States. The reasons for moving to urban areas are very similar to what has happened in Greece. The periphery in Albania is ignored just as it is in Greece and this includes Albanian speaking villages that exist side by side with those that speak Greek. The Albanian speaking villages share a common religion and many other aspects of culture. I would venture to say that many of the people in them are ethnically Greek.

I remain optimistic about places like Politsani but their existence still hangs a thin thread. It time all Greeks start thinking about our common destiny and how we can help each other.

I promise to get hot translating the the next few chapters of the Paras book which should clarify some of these issues from a much more reliable source than I.

The struggle of the Greeks of Northern Epirus to maintain their Hellenic identity is shared in many ways by Greeks throughout the Diaspora, even in Constantinople. I recommend reading the following article from Kathimerini about some of the remaining Greeks in Constantinople including a small village on the Bosporus called Neohori. My mother grew up there and my great grandparents and maternal granfather are buried there. I marvel at the resilience that Greeks are capable of and their deep seated need to preserve their way of life.

One of these days I may get around to translating this article for those readers that are unable to read Greek. It would make a good post.

Michael Dilios

Polyphonic singing in Politsani:




Many thanks for your very fine work on behalf of our beloved Politsani.

dina politsan

Interestingly, my name is politsan but I am Russian!My whole family lives in Israel, and for all I know we are the only politsans in the World. Although that could be thet we hevent found other. if you know eny other politsans Please contact me.
my mail is
my facebook is Dina politsan


Dina, check this out:

Maybe you have relatives you don't know about :)

dina politsan

funny but no. only the relatives I know :) it os my fathers accaount.

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