of the Greek historiography
The purpose of my book «Arvanites, the founders of modern Greece» is to bring about some historical aspects and documents in brief about the contribution of the Albanians, known as Arvanites, for the establishment of modern Greece.
Arvanites helped in all areas of life in Greece, since the Uprising of 1821, including heroes like Kolokotronis, Botsaris, Tzavelas, Androutsos, Miaoulis, Karaiskakis, etc., the presidents and prime ministers such as Ioannis Kapodistrias, Miaoulis, Kriezis, Pangalos, Kountouriotis, etc., those who founded the Athens Academy of Sciences, those who made the separation of the Greek Orthodox Autocephalous Church from the Patriarchate of Istanbul, and world-famous painters, Arvanites like Eleni Boukoura, Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas, Nikos Engonopulos, the Nobel prize winner Odysseus Elytis; the world-renowned actors of world cinema, Irena Papas, Melina Mercury, Eli Labeti, Haris Aleksiu, Keti Papanika, etc., Jean Morea that the French knew as Jean Moreas (Joan Papadiamantopoulos) who is the founder of French symbolism and the famous director of French cinema, Costa Gavras, etc., who are Arvanites. Also, the Archbishop of Greece Christodoulos (1939-2008) with the birth name Kristo Parashqefedis, but also the current Archbishop Jeromenos, with the birth name, Joani Liapis, are of an Arvanite family.
Thus, a good part of this book is a short monograph on heroes, prime ministers, academicians, painters, and so on. It is clear that within the framework of this book or even ten other books, if we were to write about them, the contribution of Arvanites to Greece could not be summarized, because their roots are very old and deep.
Within this book, facts are displayed on how the Albanian language was written with letters that today are known as of the Greek language, in the publication of Albanian texts, in books, magazines and newspapers of the 19th century that were published in Greece. This shows that the writing of the Albanian language was not unknown to the Arvanites and the Greeks. The reader will also be introduced to the Call of the Arvanites of Athens addressed to the Arbërs for a union with Greece in 1899 against the Ottoman Empire. This call was a knife in the back for the Albanians outside Greece, taking into account the Greek actions to make the Megali Idea a dream come true to the detriment of the Albanian lands.
In this book, we have used the publications of the League of the Arvanites of Greece, such as the annual calendars, the Besa magazine, various books, etc. Most of the bibliography is based on the newspapers, magazines and books of Greek authors. In addition, we have selected the opinions of many professors of Greek history, who do not support the myths taught in Greek schools, but who have expressed their scientific views on the legends of 1821, as well as the truth of a 400 year slavery of Greeks under Ottoman rule, of legal schools in the Ottoman Empire and the development of Greece in this period, of the myth of the National Holiday of March 25, the myth of the raising of the Greek flag by the bishop of Patras, Germanos, and the truth about who started and who liberated Greece. It was the three Great Powers, Russia, Great Britain and France, that provoked the uprising of 1821 for their own interests and fought for the independence of Greece. Without the financial and military support of the Great Powers, Greece would have had a completely different fate, perhaps still part of Turkey, due to the strife and civil war for power in the first years of its independence.
We have also brought some interesting notes from foreign volunteers who came to help the uprising, who encountered not the ancient Greeks whom they had read about in books, but also the people who spoke only Albanian, Romiot and Vlach. These foreigners, through diary entries, tell the story of the lives of the inhabitants of Athens, as well as of the many islands that were inhabited by Albanians.
It is simply a book that is not written for political propaganda, or to throw mud on the truth of the Uprising of 1821, or against the personalities and institutions of Greece, but utterly to say and defend the truth that humanity must learn without emotional influences and political interests.
The Greek-Albanian relations have experienced sincere friendship only when Greece was ruled by the Arvanite President and General, Theodoros Pangalos (1925-1926), when all Greek anti-Albanian organizations aimed at annexing southern Albania were disbanded.
In the early 1980s, there were attempts by the Arvanites to build bridges of true Greek-Albanian friendship, but these were toppled by Greece itself, which still keeps in force the Law of War, since 1940, an absurdity when considering that we are in the 21st century and both countries are members of NATO.
The issue of the Arvanites is not simply a historical issue.
Greece must recognize the Arvanite national minority, just like Italy, which recognizes the historical Arbëresh, the Greek minorities, etc., taking care to preserve and not to disappear their language, traditions, customs, because if that happens, then a part of the glorious history of the Greek people will die.
All good and bad-doers must understand that no harm comes to anyone from self-recognition and legitimate pride in preserving the traditional values of the Albanian culture and language of the Arvanites, but also of other minorities living “hidden” in Greece.
It is about time that the historians, especially those who build and support myths, in this case the historiography of Greece, to analyze misunderstandings and erroneous realities, freeing themselves from a past that has many inconsistencies between scientific history and what they teach in public schools.
As it can be seen from the findings of many Greek and foreign scholars, historians, publicists, journalists, but also from our findings, most of the Greek historiography, in which they see that there is no benefit from the ethnic criterion, they just hide it or erase it, in order to build the “national narrative” without criteria that no longer serves Greece's long-term future.
The Greek and Balkan historiography needs to be revised, not to mention rewritten. The book «Arvanites, the founders of modern Greece» comes to remind today's Greeks (a population structure of Albanians, Romiots, Vlachs, Turks, Roma, Slavs, Jews) that it were precisely the Albanians, their bravery and thirst for freedom that brought freedom to Greece. That is why Greece cannot be a closed country in terms of human rights. This is not a book that has told all the things about the Arvanites, but it is a guide to the memory that the Arvanites were, are and will be in that part of their ancient land which is known as Greece.
The Founders of Modern Greece has a comprehensive historic, political and social approach. The various references, comparative approaches, clear synthesis, and in-depth analysis make this a special book. Actually, this book rebuts the myths of Greece using the tragic fate of the Arvanites as a powerful scientific argument. The multiple historical, geographical, linguistic, cultural, topographic, literary, and political data, etc., are sui generis arguments.
First, the book about the Arvanites is an intact issue in this manner, as it has been treated and constructed herein, in its historical, scientific, political, diplomatic and national entirety.
Second, the book is characterized by many facts (evidence, quotes, books, manuscripts, reports, statements, etc.), just as the science of history requires by devising both a clear and a painful mosaic about the tragic reality of this part of our population.
Third, in addition to many facts, the book is also distinguished by its analytical approach, i.e. their interpretation with scientific, philosophical and political logic creating a clear image of the context in time and space. This means that on the one hand we are dealing with history as a scientific concept, and on the other hand with history as a political concept.
Fourth, the book is in fact a demystification of official and nationalist history; provides the necessary alternative of reading and perceiving the truth. Thus, a peaceful and humane book emerges, which does not incite hatred, but invites to the table of historical truth to dispel dilemmas, lies and political manipulations. (Editor’s note, Ahmet Selmani).
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