We welcome with great pleasure the following new members: Spiro Macris of Wilmington, North Carolina, and Ian Price of Los Angeles, California.
We are very pleased to announce the awarding of the first Society Farsarotul Grant of $1,000. to Dr. Spiro Shituni, Chairman of the Department of Ethnomusicology at the University of Tirana. Dr. Shituni is working on a book about the songs and music of the Arumanians, and this grant will help him complete his research and prepare the book. We offer him congratulations and good luck with this project.
With the fall of communism and the opening up of Eastern Europe, our people have felt free to organize themselves and create Arumanian organizations and periodicals. In fact, there are so many now that it is difficult to keep track of them. Following is a partial listing, for the information of our members and readers; please inform us about any others you know of, and feel free to contact them and offer your support:
Society "Aromānii din Albania"
Vlach Societies of Yugoslavia
Societatea de Cultura Macedo-
Albania is the poorest country in Europe, and its people are having an especially difficult time this year. We are a cultural organization, but we also have a philanthropic mission, and we need to come together to help our people in Albania. Our President, Bob Nicola, has asked Mr. Dina Vanghele -- who is probably the most knowledgeable person in our community on the subject of Albania -- to head up "Project Albania," an attempt to get food, clothing, and other needed supplies to our people in that country. If you have items to donate or if you care to help in some other way, please contact Mr. Vanghele at 119 Melody Lane, Fairfield, CT 06430.
Some fascinating (if not quite pleasant) news from around the world:
A radical Albanian group in Hackensack, New Jersey, has been publishing literature with anti-Vlach slogans; a recent issue had a headline, "Rallying Cry for the Salvation of Albania from the Byzantine Communism of the Romanian Vlahs and Lab parrots." Let's hope we will not become scapegoats for some misguided Albanians during this terrible time of crisis in that country.
Romania has been showing an interest in our people again; last summer, Romanian Foreign Affairs Minister Adrian Nastase met with Albanian officials in Tirana and "expressed interest in relations with the Macedo-Romanians in Albania," according to Romanian radio. Such relations would be strictly cultural, and Albanian authorities were said to be agreeable. Romania also requested permission from Greece to establish contact with the "Vlach minority" there, but Greek authorities disapproved of the idea.
A protest was held last November in the well-known Vlach town of Krushevo, Yugoslavia, because the Republic of Macedonia will not allow the town to become a duty-free shopping zone, which would have been an economic shot in the arm for Krushevo.
Every once in a while we notice a strange detail and we wonder what, if anything, it means. Recently we read that Alexius Comnenus, Emperor of Byzantium from 1081-1118, had a peculiar "speech impediment": he could not pronounce the letter "R" properly. This will be of interest to those familiar with the Farsherots, Albanian Vlachs whose dialect features a very guttural, French-style "R." The daughter of Alexius, Anna Comnena, wrote a famous account of her father's reign. Although she mentions Vlachs, she seems not to know who or what they are. Still, it's food for thought . . .
Recent scientific research indicates that natural selection can bring about a genetic adjustment to altitude. Scientists experimenting with the Quechuas, descendants of Incas who took to the Peruvian Andes centuries ago, found fundamental differences in the metabolisms of the Quechuas, and they speculate that physiological changes may have taken place (in hearts and other organs) as well. Slated next for this study, which is taking place at the University of British Columbia, are the Sherpas of Himalayan fame. Can the Vlachs be far behind?