We are pleased to welcome the following new members:
We were deeply saddened to learn, as we were going to press, of the passing of Prof. Emil Vrabie, who not long ago completed a monumental Aromanian-English dictionary, which is currently available through the Society Farsarotul. Our sincere condolences to his family and many friends.
Our 99th Anniversary dinner-dance on June 15, 2002, was a smashing success. More than a hundred friends gathered and ate, drank, and danced to the music of Ta Pedia Orchestra. We are very excited about the next major event on the calendar our 100th anniversary celebration, scheduled for July 5, 2003 save the date!
Also available from our bookstore is a book, Farsherotsii, by the late Constantin Colimitra, a very talented poet and writer and father of our president, Andrei Colimitra. Send check or money order for $10. and specify how many copies you wish and where we should mail them.
The cultural attache of the French embassy in Albania has taken an interest in the restoration of the important Vlach town Voskopoja, once a thriving center of commerce and culture known as Moschopolis. The French organization "Heritage without Borders" has listed Voskopoja among the 100 most endangered monuments of the world. A program is being drafted to restore the town to some of its former splendor.
The Arumanians of the FYROM/ Macedonia held a festival called "Golden Spring 2002" on May 24, 2002, featuring the Greek Vlach singer Yiorgo Dardakouli. The Vlachs of Molovishte also held a festival celebrating Arumanian culture, on August 5, 2002.
A right-wing group in Greece disrupted the Thessaloniki Book Exhibition on May 28, 2002, burning books from Bulgaria, Romania, and FYROM/Macedonia that the hooligans believed were anti-Greek. Included were books from Bulgaria and FYROM with the word "Macedonia" in the title as well as all Vlach books from FYROM and an important 1802 four-language dictionary of Greek, Bulgarian, Vlach, and Albanian.
We noticed an interesting ad campaign recently featuring a photo of a Native American youth with the caption, "He just used the Apache word for hello. Should we wash his mouth out with soap?" The ad was placed by the Indigenous Language Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico. See their web site at www.indigenous-language.org.
The web site of Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty recently featured an article about the Vlachs of Albania. Entitled "Albania: Vlach population, Aromanian language in danger of disappearing," the article includes interviews with Albanian Vlachs from Voskopoja discussing how their communities fared under the Stalinist leadership of Enver Hoxha. See www.rferl.org/nca/features/2001/11.
The Vlach architect Sotiris Bletsas was unanimously acquitted of "inciting unrest among the Greek people through the dissemination of false information." These charges had been filed against him by a right-wing Member of Parliament from the New Democracy party, a Mr. Hatidis, because Mr. Bletsas had distributed a leaflet published by the European Bureau for Lesser-Used Languages (EBLUL) that listed 5 linguistic minorities in Greece (Albanian, Vlach, Macedonian, Turkish, and Pomak). The case became a cause celebre among human rights activists around the world and reflected poorly on the Greek government as it prepared to host the 2004 Olympics.
Last year the Aromanian Department of Radio Romania International celebrated 10 years of broadcasts in the Vlach language. Irina Paris, head of the department, acknowledged the tremendous support offered by the executives of Radio Romania as well as the invaluable assistance of such Aromanian colleagues as Vasil Barba, Nicolae Celea, Matilda Caragiu Mariotseanu, and many others. We wish them continued success in their programming!
If you havent done so already, check out the well-done web site www.aromanian.net built by a young man named Bogdan Banu, whose interview with the Mayor of Krushevoa, FYROM/ Macedonia is included in this issue of the Newsletter. The web site is well worth visiting and mining its many gems, including a book review entitled "Ethnic Truth and Modern Greek History" which, in the space of a mere 4 pages, offers a neat summary of the historical and cultural factors behind Modern Greeces seeming dissonance with certain values of the Western world.
Another insightful article recently found on the Web is "The Balkans Hidden Minorities: Greeces Vlachs and Bulgarias Pomaks," a study of the "chameleon strategy" of these 2 Balkan ethnic groups. Visit the web site of AIM Press (www.aimpress.org) for this and other interesting articles.
Your Editor was fortunate enough this summer to be able to take his first trip through Greece in 18 years. Our family traveled and visited relatives throughout the country, including Athens, Almyros, Volos, Tyrnavos, Damasi, Trikala, Kalabaka, Metsovo, Baieasa, Perivoli, Avdhella, and Thessaloniki. While Arumanian is still spoken in the mountain villages, it is clearly weakening as a younger generation eagerly embraces the prosperity and opportunity offered by modern Greece, a full-fledged member of the European Community.
"[A nation] is a group of people united by a mistaken view about the past
and a hatred of its neighbors." --Ernest Renan, French philosopher and historian