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Community News

    We are pleased to welcome the following new members:

    Jennifer Turek Wallingford, CT
    James W. Conway Batavia, IL
    Atanasie Talabacu Middle Village, NY
    Mihai Talabacu Middle Village, NY
    Harlambie Mila Bronx, NY

    We were saddened to learn of the passing of Prof. Kostas Kazazis, a scholar and good friend of the Arumanian language. Excerpts from a eulogy given by Victor Friedman appear in this Newsletter.


    Interesting works on the Arumanians continue to be published in Greece. In addition to the scholarly series by Asteris Koukoudis (see page 1 of this Newsletter), there have been other, less ambitious pieces, such as Portraits of Distinguished Greek Vlachs, published in 2000 by the community of Nymfaion (Neveska). The booklet features many key names from Greek history, including some that are familiar, such as Averoff, Sinas, Doumbas, Zappas, and some that may be less familiar, including Paraskevi Tsiameta, who won a gold medal for Greece in the 1972 Olympics (she hails from Sesklo, a thriving Vlach community in Thessaly).


    A conference was held in January 2003 at the University of Freiburg (Germany) on "The Minorities of Greece." This is a controversial subject, as the Greek government (and most members of the Vlach community) do not see the Arumanians as a minority, but rather as a unique Greek linguistic group. The papers presented included one on the Vlachs (by Dr. Thede Kahl).


    In March 2003, the Vlach, Roma (Gypsy), and Serb parties of Macedonia proposed that their languages be used on the front page of their passports. Currently, only the Macedonian and Albanian languages are used for these official documents.


    Also in Macedonia, in May 2003 the Vlach Association Kavalioti-Moskopole of Skopje sponsored an exhibition entitled, "From Vlach Rooms in the Old Town," featuring furniture, icons, paintings, photographs, and other artifacts of Vlach culture in Skopje.


    An interesting item from the Serbian Republic (in Yugolslavia): According to a census taken in January 2003, almost all minority groups in Serbia have shrunk in number, with 2 exceptions Roma (Gypsies), who have grown by 17,000 for a total of 108,000, and Vlachs, who grew by 25,000 for a grand total of 40,000. This figure is likely to include some Romanians in the Timok and Vojvodina districts, who are also referred to as "Vlachs."


    There has been a whirlwind of activity in Greece in support of the work of the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages (EBLUL). A branch was established in Greece (see Press Release in this issue of the Newsletter) in January 2002 and it has been extremely active in promoting the linguistic diversity of Greece. Among the Directors are some Arumanians, including Sotiris Bletsas, who readers may recall was prosecuted for passing around a European Union map showing the languages of Greece (he was acquitted). In October 2002, Bletsas addressed a Helsinki Conference of EBLUL for the "Creation of Joint Structures for Historic Linguistic Minorities in the European Union," and in November of the same year, the Greek delegation welcomed their EBLUL colleagues to Thessaloniki for a Conference on "The Linguistic Diversity of Greece." For updates on these and other activities related to minority groups in Greece, send an email to g.nakratzas@wxs.nl and ask to be put on the email list.


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