COMMUNITY NEWSWe are pleased to welcome the following new members:
We have lost several more elder members of our community. We mourn their loss and extend our heartfelt condolences to their familes: George Z. BALAMACI, 81: Born in Pleasa, Albania. Died September 3, 1995. Survived by his wife, Victoria, and family. Milia (Leo) CHIACU, 90: KorÁŽ, Albania native. Died on June 20, 1995. Survived by his wife, Aspasia, and family. Nasta NASTU, 91: Born in Greece, 1903. Wife of Dimitrie Nastu and matriarch of a large family. Died August 4, 1995. Louis TALABAC, 92: Born in KorÁŽ, Albania. Died April 12, 1995. Survived by his wife Mary and family. Two other well-known Americans of Vlach descent also passed away recently. Although they were not members of the Society Farsarotul, they were proud of their Arumanian heritage and cited it often. Following are some excerpts from their newspaper obituaries: George DOURIS, 67: (Family descends from the village of Perivoli, Greece.) Began writing for The Long Island Star-Journal while in high school, then worked as a radio and TV commentator for the Roller Derby. After serving with the army in Korea, he returned to the Start-Journal. Assigned to cover New York=s City Hall, he developed friendships with local political leaders, especially Mayor John V. Lindsay. Founded the Hellenic American Neighborhood Action Committee in 1972 to help immigrants from greece; today known as HANAC, the Committee serves 28,000 city residents through senior citizen centers, summer day camps, youth programs, English as a second language classes, and housing and food services for the elderly. Survived by his wife Angie and family. Sam TAMPOSI, 70: (Family descends from the village of Avdhela, Greece.) Mr. Tamposi rose from a vacuum cleaner salesman to become a highly successful real estate developer and GOP activist. Best known for developing (with the help of his friend, baseball legend Ted Williams) Citrus Hills in Florida. Was a limited partner in the Boston Red Sox. Played a key role in the New Hampshire campaigns of John Sununu, Warren Rudman, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and many others. Survived by his wife and family.
Please be advised that the Society is planning a Dinner Dance on Labor Day weekend in 1996. Mark your calendars!
Society member George Coca has begun a publication called THE HEARTH -- VATRA, which offers his unique perspective on our culture, along with memories, stories, songs and photos of our community=s way of life in the Old World as well as in America. This periodical will be distributed four to six times a year. Interested readers may obtain a free copy of "Vatra" by writing to Mr. Coca at P.O. Box 6065, Bridgeport, CT 06606. George has also recently published a series in the Romanian American Heritage Center's July-August and September-October 1995 issues entitled "Romanamea Mea--My Romanianhood." George is due to become a deacon in the Orthodox Church early in 1996. We applaud George's contribution in celebrating our ethnic and religious heritage and wish him every success.
Albanian President Sali Berisha met with Romanian President Ion Ilescu for official talks on March 27, 1995. Bilateral economic exchanges, Albanians living in the other Balkan states, and the Yugoslavian Civil War were among the subjects discussed. Mr. Ilescu also met with representatives of the "Cultural Association of the Aromanians in Albania" and said the role of ethnic Albanians in his country as well as that of the "Aromanians and Romanians" in Albania could serve as a "connecting bridge" between the two nations. This was the first visit by the Romanian head of State to Albania.
A recent article in The Washington Post announced that AResearch Salutes Healthy Diet of Modern Greeks.@ The article described a study published in the British Medical Journal that found that Apeople in rural Greece who consume the traditional foods of the area . . . live significantly longer than those who have strayed from their dietary roots.@ Highlights of the so-called AMediterranean Diet,@ which has now become stylish: olive oil, little meat, and moderate amounts of wine.
In what could have proved a deadly blow to the Balkan peace process, Macedonian President Gligorov was seriously injured and his driver killed in an assassination attempt on 4 September in the capital of Skopje. A car-bomb was detonated as his Presidential motorcade passed.
The attack occurred just as reconciliation talks between Macedonia and Greece, including the lifting of a crippling Greek embargo, had made real progress.
Mr. Gligorov was rushed to the Emergency Clinical Center at the Medical Faculty of Skopje, where he was treated for numerous head, face and torso injuries as well as serious damage to his right eye. It is uncertain to what degree he will be able to return to political life.
The list of possible suspects includes everyone from Albanian separatists to Greek terrorists to Slavic ultra-nationalists who expressed fury when Mr. Gligorov gave in to Greek demands to abandon Macedonia=s new flag, the gold sixteen-pointed star of Vergina, which Greece saw as an usurpation of Hellenic identity.
Parliamentary President Stoyan Andov denounced the attack and stated "I would like to inform the public that all necessary measures to ensure order and security are being taken and as such there is no need for concern or fear. There is no force that can change the course of the independent and peaceful policy of our country, and the perpetrators and organizers of this disgusting act will be identified and brought to justice before the Macedonian Courts."
Many personal messages for a speedy recovery were expressed by various heads of state and ambassadors, as well as Macedonian political parties and associations, including the League of Vlachs, which "strongly condemned" the terrorist attack.
You never know where a reference to the Vlachs will turn up. Last February, Serbian radical Vojislav Seselj, commenting on Serb-Bulgarian relations, spoke of the possible partitioning of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. AWe adhere to the >clean hands= policy on this issue,@ said Seselj. AThere is no Macedonian nation. They are Bulgarians. However, we have never forced anyone to call himself something that he does not feel he is. In Macedonia, the Bulgarians predominate, but there are also 300,000 Serbs. There are also some Greeks who call themselves Tsintsars and about 700,000 Albanians.@
On October 4-8 the city of Bitola hosted the 16th staging of the "Manaki Brothers International Film Festval." The Festival is named for the two Arumanian brothers from Avdhela, Greece, Miltiade and Iannaki Manakia, who are honored in both Greece and Macedonia as the first Balkan cinematographers.
We understand that in the Council of Europe, Romanian parliamentarians Mociay, Gabrielesky, Rudulesky and Botica moved an amendment to the document for admittance of Macedonia to the Council of Europe.
"To prevent the extinction of the Vlach (Aromanian) language, suppressed since 1913, and to put an end to policies of forced assimilation, the Macedonian Government has enabled the Vlachs to freely use their language in their community and publicly will also return school buildings which belong to them. As an autochtonous nation of Macedonia, the Vlachs (Aromanians), Macedo-Romanians or Greek Vlachophones, as they are also called, should be given back their properties in Jelovishte and Gopesh from where they were expelled during the communist regime. Freedom of religious worship should be given back to them, as well as their confiscated or ruined churches, as well as their graveyards, which should be returned to the minorities that own them. Vlachs should be allowed to revert to their original personal names, consistent with their own original alphabet."
We are also informed that five individuals claiming to represent an International Association of Vlachs were received by Macedonian officials. The delegation was led by Professor Vasil Barba from Frieburg and included Vlachs from Romania. They insisted on greater rights for the Vlachs despite the paltry number (8,000) who declared a Vlach identity in the most recent census because, in their view, Vlachs in Macedonia did not feel free to declare their identity. One Balkan news account said "their manner was very radical and even aggressive" and expressed Asurprise as to why exactly Romania and its representatives are highlighting these problems . . . Romania may well be promoting itself as the >protector= of the Vlachs.@
The Arumanian experience certainly has parallels among many other ethnic groups. Brian Friel's 1980 play "Translations," which made its Broadway debut last March, delightfully explores the tensions and ironies that occur when two cultures -- one dominating and more urbanized, the other repressed and rustic -- interact.
It is 1833 in an Irish village of Baile Beag which finds itslf under English occupiers. The Redcoats have come to map and rename their conquered territory, and eventually obliterate the local identity and culture. Baile Beag, for example, will soon become Ballybeg. However, the English require a translator to communicate with the inhabitants, who are a collection of scholars and oddballs who speak Classical Greek and Latin in addition to their native Gaelic. These Irish are divided between those who see the adoption of English names and identity as unavoidable progress bringing prestige and privilege and others who oppose Anglicization as the death knell of their native heritage.
Sound familiar? This is a play well worth seeing.
E'olelo Hawai'i wale no ma'ane'i or "Only Hawaiian spoken here." Since 1984, the Hawaiian State has financed a program to teach native Hawaiian children their forefathers= melodic South Pacific language. ALanguage immersion@ techniques are used, in which the target language is used exclusively in classes, starting at the preschool level. An 1994 article in The New York Times described one such school, Punana Leo O Honolulu (ALanguage Nest in Honolulu@):
A>A few years ago, the Hawaiian language was on the brink of extinction,= said Mokihana Watson, the director of Punana Leo . . . >A majority of Hawaiian people don=t speak their native language anymore.= . . . But Mrs. Watson said that jump-strating a fading language . . . has met opposition. Some has even come from native islanders, who wonder why children should be taught a language they=ll rarely have cause to use. . . Mrs. Watson responds, >Without our language, our culture is gone.=@
From Metsovo comes a report of a medical condition known as AMetsovo lung.@ Apparently, the 5,000 residents of this Vlach town high in the Pindus Mountains have been exposed to asbestos fibers from birth, through a material used in white-washing their houses. According to medical reports, AThis has resulted in pleural calcifications in almost 50% of the population and a high incidence of malignant pleural mesothelioma.@ The problem was discussed at the 3rd International Conference of the Mediterranean Society of Tumor Marker Oncology; for details, contact the Department of Biochemistry at University Hospital in Ioannina, Greece.