Greece a multiethinc nation(Risto Stefov) Apr 12, 2010 23:37:32 GMT -5
Post by bato2 on Apr 12, 2010 23:37:32 GMT -5
Interesting arguments from a Maco-Historian
Modern Greek beliefs don´t include Macedonians, Albanians,Vlachs and Turks as part of Modern Greece
It is indeed a strange phenomenon for Greece to be the only homogeneous country in an otherwise multi-ethnic heterogeneous Balkans! Is this true or has Greece developed amnesia about its past?
Before we delve into the subject of 'a homogeneous Greece',let´s get a few things straight. What exactly is homogeneous? I mean in a demographic sense.
A country is demographically homogeneous when its entire population is of the same culture, speaks the same language, practices the same religion and share similar customs and traditions.
Let us now take a trip down memory lane, back to a point just before Greece became a country for the first time in1829 and see if Greece was homogeneous then.
If I am not mistaken, outside of some high ranking Christian Church clergy and a very small minority of Christian educated, middle class Ottoman families, none spoke Greek before Greece was a country. In fact, the language spoken by the above mentioned people then was not even called Greek. I am talking about the Koine language, the ancient language of trade and commerce.
Koine, which has its roots in ancient Attica,was popularized by Alexander the Great when he made it his international language of trade and commerce for his vast Macedonian Empire. Later Koine was adopted and preserved by the Orthodox Church as the language of liturgy in some parts of the multi-ethnic Byzantine Empire. After the establishment of Ottoman rule in the Balkans it resurfaced and found its way into the Ottoman administration, spoken by a rich multi-ethnic Christian educated middle class people based in Istanbul,known as the Phanariotes.
More recently the ancient international Koine was adopted by the Greek State as the official language of Greece and was renamed 'Greek' or 'Dimotiki' as the Greeks like to call it. Today´s so-called Greek language or 'Elinika' as the Greeks call it is nothing more than a bastardized version of ancient Koine.
So what language did the vast majority of the so-called 'Greek people' speak before 1821?
If history serves me right, in 1821, just before Greece was liberated, its people did not speak Greek. In 1829 when Greece became a state, for the first time, it was a small country covering the region of Morea, modern day Peloponnesus (Greece proper). The majority of people living in Morea at the time spoke Albanian, Turkish, Vlach and Slav.Athens itself, the cradle of the ancient civilization, was nothing more than an Albanian village.
So if 'Greece proper' was not linguistically 'pure Greek`why would anyone expect Epirus, Thessaly, Thrace, or Macedonia, regions that were never Greek, to be linguistically 'pure Greek'?
The argument for 'a pure Greece' used by modern Greeks today is that even though Greece was not pure at its inception, it was purified after the population expulsions in 1913 and after the population exchanges with Turkey in the 1920´s.
If Greece was not 'pure Greek' why would it release statistics in1928 claiming 98% of its population to be 'pure Greeks' and 2% of it to be Muslim Greeks?
This is a strong argument if one trusts Greek statistics! Unfortunately I don´t!
Many Greeks today believe that Greece was purified after it expelled a large number of people in 1913 during the second Balkan War.
Many Greeks today also believe that the population imported from Asia Minor and other parts of Turkey was 'pure Greek'.
The fact is the population expelled from Greece in 1913 was not expelled because of its ethnicity, but rather because those people refused to be assimilated into the Greek fold. They simply refused to become Greeks by force.
The population remaining in Greece was labeled 'Greek' only because it agreed, mostly out of fear, to pledge loyalty to the Greek State.
The population imported from Turkey in the 1920´s was not imported because it identified with Greece. It was imported because it was Christian. Christianity and Islam were the only criteria separating the so-called Greeks from Turks. The vast majority of theAsia Minor Christian settlers settled in Greek territories, culturally and linguistically identified more with the Turks than they did with the Greeks.That however did not stop the Greek State from turning them into Greeks.
So who were the original so-called 'pure Greeks'? Was it the Slavs of Morea, the Albanians of Epirus, the Vlachs of Thessaly, the Turks of Thrace, or the Macedonians of Macedonia?
You see I am having difficulty identifying these elusive 'pure Greeks'. If they were not Albanian, Vlach, Turk, or Macedonian who were they? What criteria can we use to separate the 'pure Greeks' from the Albanians, Vlachs, Turks and Macedonians living in the pre-Greek Ottoman territory of Modern Greece?
Obviously not language, since only a very small minority of the total population of Greeces poke Koine, which was later renamed Greek.
Religion? Greece at one time used religion alone to distinguish Greeks from Turks.
Greece expelled Muslims to Turkey because they were thought to be Turks and imported Christians from Turkey because they were thought to be Greeks?
This criterion unfortunately is also flawed. If Orthodox Christians were Greek then everyone in the Balkans who was Orthodox Christian qualified to be Greek!This included Bulgarians, Serbians, Albanians, Macedonians, Vlachs, Turks, etc.Are Bulgarians and Serbians Greek? They don´t think so!
Obviously religion alone was not a good criterion to separate Greeks from the rest!
So back to the original question, 'who were the pure Greeks before1821?'
The ethnic composition of modern Greece today is made up ofassimilated Albanians (Arvanites), Vlachs (Vlahous), Turks (Turkous) and Macedonians (Makethones). There was no pre-19th century Greek ethnicity. TheGreek ethnicity was artificially created by some Phanariots with the assistanceof the Great Powers!
The Phanariots were a multi-ethnic group of Koine speaking Christians belonging to the rich and educated Ottoman middle class. They were the high ranking Church clergy, the Ottoman bankers, the sea captains, the language interpreters and the traders who did business for the Ottoman Empire outside of Ottoman territories.
When Greece became a nation for the first time in 1829, it faced an identity crisis because it could not cope with its multi-ethnic, multi-cultural demography. Greece struggled for years to find an identity until one was created for it by its British and French philhellene patrons.
After adopting ancient Koine as the language of its nation, Greece fabricated a mythical past with a lineage stretching back to the Ancient Greeks and initiated a denationalization and assimilation process. Through intensive,sometimes violent propaganda campaigns Greece began to assimilate the various ethnicities making Greeks out of Albanians, Vlachs, Slavs, Turks and later out of Macedonians.
As I mentioned earlier, the various people Greece expelled from its newly conquered territories were those who refused to be assimilated into the new Greek identity.
The majority of Muslims Greece evicted during the population exchange with Turkey were ethnic Macedonians.
The people Greece imported from Asia Minor, Istanbul and other places in Turkey were not Greek, they were Turkish Christians. A large number were prominent businesspeople who owned various businesses and estates in Turkey. Unfortunately when they were displaced they lost everything and became second class citizens in Greece. Even though Greece promised them homes, after nearly eighty years, some still live in Government owned shacks and shantytowns. These people too were forcibly assimilated and made into unwilling Greeks just like the rest of the indigenous ethnicities that lived in the territory of where Greece is today.
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