We are pleased to welcome the following new members:
There is an interesting site about linguistic minorities maintained by a person of Basque origin. It has several pages on the Vlachs (whom he calls Aroumanians) – it is definitely worth seeing: http://www.geocities.com/athens/9479/armanesti.html
We recently ran across an excellent article in the periodical History Today by David Brewer, “Ethnic Truth and Modern Greek History” (Volume 51, Issue 5, May 2001, p. 20–21). In it, he focuses on the infamous murders of 3 English aristocrats and an Italian nobleman near Athens in1870. The Greek state succeeded in blaming the crime not on Greeks but on Vlachs from northern Greece – an example of what Brewer calls an “ethnic truth” that is completely opposed to the facts. Definitely worth thoughtful reading…
Tennis fans, keep an eye out for Harry Cicma of Providence, RI. He is completing his senior year at Rutgers as a top-ranked tennis player and has also done a few stints as a television announcer in Providence and New York. Harry is the grandson of the late Dr. Haralambie Cicma.
A typically Balkan free-for-all broke out last year with the announcement that a statue of Mother Teresa executed in her home town of Skopje, Macedonia, would be donated to Rome. Ethnic Albanians were outraged by a rumor that the statue was supposed to carry an inscription, “a Macedonian daughter.” It was reported that while is fairly well established that Mother Teresa’s mother was Albanian, many believe her father, Nikola Bojaxhiu, was a Vlach.
The careful reader of The New York Times knows that every so often the newspaper will carry an interesting tidbit related to the Vlachs. A great example was the article, “Quieting a ‘Vampire’ from the Author’s Grave” (January 21, 2004) by veteran writer David Binder, which discussed the life and works of Borislav Pekic, a famous Serbian writer who was partly of Vlach origin.
Also in the New York Times, on May 27, 2003 – an essay by David Berreby that takes an unsentimental look at dying languages and concludes that linguistic extinction is a necessary part of the human experience – a contrarian opinion, to be sure, but very well-argued and worth reading.
A recent book, “Minorities in Greece: Aspects of a Plural Society,” by the well-known Oxford professor and historian of modern Greece Richard Clogg discusses Greece’s Vlachs and Macedonian Slavs, among others, and the debate over their possible status as ethnic minorities.
As a counterpoint indirectly to Dr. Clogg and directly to the US-based Freedom House, the Greek Federation of Vlach Cultural Associations issued a protest in August 2003 against “the direct or indirect characterization of the Vlach-speaking Greeks as an ethnic, linguistic, or other type of minority.”
The Vlach town of Malovishte, Macedonia, held its second annual celebration of Vlach culture last August, featuring representatives from Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, and Romania. The project was sponsored in part by the Soros Foundation.
Much attention has been drawn in recent years to the rebirth of the Vlach village Nymphaion, under the auspices of writer Nikos Mertzos and winewaker Yiannis Boutaris. Fine hotels and restaurants have been opened along with a museum, plus efforts have been made to preserve the area’s prodigious wildlife. Mertzos and Boutaris are proud of their Vlach origins and are doing more than their share to encourage their fellow Vlachs to do the same.
Late in 2003, Macedonia celebrated the works of Nikola Martinoski of Krushevo, a well-known artist of Vlach origin, on the 100th anniversary of his birth. Martinoski was a painter and professor of art. Also in 2003, Vesna Pavlovic of Belgrade held an exhibition in Washington, D.C., featuring Vlach Gardens of Eastern Serbia. Pavolvic’s idea is that these gardens and the mansions they surround are a visual way for this ethnic group with an essentially unwritten language to “speak” to the culture that surrounds them.
URGENT APPEAL: The Manakia Brothers Society of Bitola publishes “Fenix,” a monthly newspaper in the Aromanian language. The newspaper once enjoyed the Macedonian government’s support, but the economic situation in the struggling country is so poor that as of 2004, the government had to end this subsidy. We are appealing to our membership to help support the Society; please send your check or money order to Comuna na Vlasite “Bracha Manakia, Pitu Guli 31, Bitola, Macedonia.