COMMUNITY NEWS AND INFORMATION
We welcome with great pleasure the following new members:
At the moment, the only outfit we know of that is printing books in Arumanian is Dr.Tiberiu Cunia's "Cartea Aromana" (The Arumanian Book), located at 107 Britain Rd., Fayetteville, N.Y. 13066. The books use a new alphabet, and they lack translations in English. Dr.Cunia says they weren't intended for Arumanian Americans. If he sees a demand from us, however, he might be moved to publish bilingual editions. Ironically, his Newsletter, which asks Arumanian Americans for their support (financial and otherwise), does feature an English translation. Hmmm...
For more than a decade now, John ("Nacu") Zdru has been publishing a newsletter in our language called Frandza Vlaha (Vlach Leaflet) at his own expense and distributing it in our communities throughout the world. Mr.Zdru is a native of Kedronas (Candrova) in Greece and fought in the Greek Army during the Second World War and the Greek Civil War. He recently retired from his job in Bridgeport, Connecticut and decided to build a home in his native village so that he and his wife could spend more time there in their retirement. He began construction in 1986 and visited Greece several times in the following three years. In May 1989 he was told by the Greek Police to leave the country -- without any piece of paper explaining why. The only information he was able to get came from the U.S. Embassy in Athens, which informed him that his Greek citizenship had been nullified in 1986 -- again, with no reason given. In its February 1990 report to Congress concerning human rights practices in Greece, the U.S. State Department described Mr. Zdru's case this way:
"Efforts by other smaller ethnic/cultural groups to maintain distinct cultural identities are reportedly met with suspicion by security authorities. One dual US-Greek national of Vlach ethnicity, who maintained property in Greece and published a Vlach-language publication in the United States, was stripped of his Greek citizenship without his knowledge in 1986 and in 1989 was expelled from Greece for 'anti-Greek activities.'"
In its March 10, 1990 issue, The GreekAmerican featured a front-page story entitled "The Silencing of John Zdru" (co-written by George Moran and Nicholas Balamaci) which called upon the Greek government to explain its actions. It is hoped that human rights organizations throughout the world will join us in this call. For more information, write the Editor.
For a century or more, Greek ultra-nationalists have been stating that "There is no distinct Vlach ethnic group --the Vlachs are Greeks." Recently we were deeply disappointed to see this same sort of arrogance demonstrated for the first time by a local Romanian nationalist. In an article in the Jan.-Feb. 1990 issue of The Romanian American Heritage Center Information Bulletin entitled "Some Aspects About [sic] Ethnic Studies," a Mr. Alexander Nemoianu asserts that the Macedo-Romanians are an "artificial ethnic group." As if we didn't have enough problems already!
The euphoria felt by our people when they arrive in their mountain homes may in fact have a scientific explanation: When people first get to a high altitude, they experience a shortage of oxygen known as hypoxia. This causes the temporary euphoria commonly called a "Rocky Mountain High." Early high-flying pilots experiencing this euphoria sometimes lost consciousness and crashed; oxygen masks soon became required equipment aboard high-altitude aircraft.
Playwright Harold Pinter's most recent work, Mountain Language, premiered in October 1988 at London's National Theatre. The play has a special relevance for our people, for the Kurds, and for other similar ethnic groups. Here is a choice quote:
"OFFICER: Now hear this. You are mountain people. You hear me? Your language is dead. It is forbidden. It is not permitted to speak your mountain language in this place. You cannot speak your language to your men. It is not permitted. Do you understand? It is outlawed. You may only speak the language of the capital. That is the only language permitted in this place. You will be badly punished if you attempt to speak your mountain language in this place. This is a military decree. It is the law. Your language is forbidden. It is dead. No one is allowed to speak your language. Your language no longer exists. Any questions?
YOUNG WOMAN: I do not speak the mountain language."
We are anxious to have your input into our Newsletter. Whether through an article, letter to the editor, artwork, book or theatre review, photograph, idea, we'd love to have you contribute. Drop a line to the Editor with your thoughts and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.
While Japanese lacks a word for "no," our language (like Latin) lacks a word for "yes." Also absent in Arumanian are words representing some of the fine points of civilization (such as "please," "thank you," "you're welcome"), abstractions (such as "emotion" or "rationality"), and modern innovations (such as "president" or "factory"). We have had to borrow these from other languages.