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Guest FriendofGreece

Should the children of migrants go to Greek schools?

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Guest FriendofGreece

By the way, Ajaxmonkey, why do you say that the people on the other side, how do you call them, Skopje or something, are Macedonians who are descendants from Phillip and Alexander? Isn't Macedonia in Greece and don't we know where the kingdom of Phillip and Alexander was? Why do the Skopje claim themselves to be Macedonians and descendants? The Greeks deny that they are. I would just like to understand the facts. Do those people even speak Greek?

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They don't speak Greek. They're slavic people who came to this area much later than the Greek speaking Macedonians.

Why should the Macedonians speak Greek?

You call the people of Egypt Egyptians, the people of Mexico Mexicans, the people of Greece Greeks... So what do you call the people of Macedonia?

 

Macedonians of course. And their language is: Macedonian.

They are descendants of Philip and Alexander to the same extend the Egyptians are descendants of the Pharaohs, the Mexicans descendants of the Aztecs and the Greeks descendants of Pericles. Based on this reasoning the world has no issue calling them Macedonian. Only the Graecians insist on calling them Skops or Fyromians. Yet the same Graecians are also likely to tell you that the Kalasha of Pakistan are of Macedonian descent. Go figure!

 

And NO the Ancient Makedonians (with a K) DID NOT SPEAK Greek prior to the 5th Century BCE at which point their elite adopted Greek speech. The native languages of the region were Illyrian, Wrygian (which became Phrygian in Asia Minor), Thracian, Paionian, Mygdonian, Dacian and so forth. There were no GREEKS to speak GREEK anywhere prior to the 7th Century BCE. The Greek language, like any other language in the world, emerged as a distinct well defined entity once a common script was introduced and the literary and poetic works that affixed forms and expressions were created by the ancient poets. The grand engineer of the Hellenic language was Homer. You can learn that much by reading Thucydides. And if you wish to learn something about modern Greece I suggest you read Roide's "ANTHELLINICA".

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Guest FriendofGreece

Thank you Admin and Ajaxmonkey to shed some light on my questions. The situation is pretty complicated and I would have to read up some more when I have time.

 

One thing I find strange, Ajaxmonkey, is if, as you said, all the Ancient Greeks have disappeared and the Modern Greeks have no relation to the Ancient Greeks, why would the Ancient Macedonians not have also disappeared? So, how could the Modern Macedonians, which the Skops claim to be, have any relation with and be descendants of Phillip and Alexander?

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My kin was not Turcophone. Aivali was a bustling - Greek speaking only - community until 1922. I guess they spoke Turkish too, but that was not their native tongue.

Interesting though that you call your ancestral town by the Turkish name Aivali and not by its Hellenic name Kydonia of Aiolis!

Not that it matters. Both, Aiva and Kydoni, mean Quince.

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Aivali (or Kydonies) has an interesting story. I found a Greek scholar whose family was from Aivali too and she has done some extensive research for the town and the Greek people who used to live in the area. Aivali and Moschonisia have been inhabited by Greeks since the ancient times, but what she found out was that most Greeks were slaughtered by the Turks in or around 1821. So the "new" Greeks who migrated back to the area after 1830, or so, were mostly not "related" to the ancient/original inhabitants of the land.

 

My family most likely came from Crete, but she thinks that most other Greeks who migrated to Aivali in the 1830's were Greeks from the nearby islands of Lesvos, Chios and Limnos. They lived there for almost 100 years and they were the ones who eventually were permanently kicked out of Aiviali in 1922.

 

Aivali was one of the few towns in Asia Minor in the 1800's whose population was largely Greek (in most other towns there were more Turks than Greeks). Aivali had several Greek churches, Greek schools etc. Its story is very interesting and shows the diversity of most towns in the area.

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My paternal grandmother came to Greece from Nikomidia, her mother was born there too, but her family came to Nikomidia from Aivali. They may have been of the original Aivaliote who were driven out around the 1800's. My grandmother was orphaned when she was 12. She was the only surviving member of her family and all I know is from her. My Aivaliote great grandmothers maiden name was Eumenidou. And you know what the sad part is?

 

Me and my dear old mother are the only ones alive who still remember that once upon a time there was an Eumenides family that fled from Aivali to Nikomidia. It doesn't matter to me if their blood was Hellenic, Karian, Lydian, Phrygian or Turkish. It is my blood. And as long as I live the memory of the Eumenides will remain alive in this world. This is my pledge of allegiance to my kin.

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If you do the math you may be able to figure out whether her family was of the original Aivaliote from before 1821.

 

If I'll assume that your grandmother was born sometime in the 1900s(?) and her mom was born sometime in the 1870's then it's most likely that her family came to Aivali after the massacre of the 1820's. So they may came from one of the Aegean islands around Aivali (as I found out from my research), lived in Aivali for one or two generations and then moved again to Nikomidia.

 

It's almost impossible to tell where these people migrated from and almost impossible to find out any supporting documentation for any of this. This is the sad thing for most of us whose family came from Asia Minor. There's no way to trace back all the steps and all the ancestors.

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Those were different times, but on the most part those Greeks who came from Asia Minor were not treated well by the locals.

 

The Greeks of Asia Minor were industrious, hard working people. Most of them merchants and business owners for several generations. As mentioned above, these were people who were not afraid to move and migrate in times where travelling just a few kms from village to village was considered a huge undertaking. As compared to the Greeks of the mainland they were much more "cosmopolitan" living in much more open and diverse societies.

 

It's no surprise that people like myself and ajax chose to migrate again, just a generation or two after our ancestors moved back to mainland Greece. Moving around is probably in our genes :)

 

It's unfortunate that there are most likely no records showing all these migrations, but one can imagine those enterprising ancestors moving from place to place every few generations. Sometimes driven out by conflict, or sometimes by the need to find a better place to raise their family, and yet other times by a sense of adventure. Those were no easy trips and easy moves by any means. I can imagine my ancestors moving from Crete (or possibly some other island, Chios possibly) to Aivali back in the early 1800's. Loading a small boat with all their belongings and heading to a land just recently vacated because of the massacre of the local Greek population. I can imagine how daring these people must have been. And then the grandchildren of these enterprising people had to move again a century later, back to Greece proper, again because of persecution by the Turks. And then roughly another century later these people's grandchildren (ajax and I) had to move again - for different reasons this time - further away from our ancestral lands.

 

Ajax sees himself a person without a country. My country, my home, is the Aegean sea. This is where most of my ancestors lived and died. Be it Crete, Chios, Aivali, Smyrna, Constantinople or Piraeus, they spent their lives in or around the Aegean sea. That's my home, and it really feels like home every time I go back and I look at my beloved Aegean sea.

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they didn't "went back" they were uprooted and stranded on foreign shores. It was a traumatic experience. The ones who came from the eastern shores of the Aegean were in touch with Greece so there was some familiarity there. But nevertheless when Anatolian Greeks said the word "Patrida" they always meant their Anatolian homeland.

 

The notions of "Motherland", "Homeland" that are held by the urban citizen of a nation state are reflexes that are conditioned into a population through Mandatory National Education. This are artificial constructs. When my Grandfather said "Motherland" he really meant THE LAND. The land in which his father and grandfather rested. The land on which the century old trees planted by his for fathers had their roots. The land from which he broke the stone and cut the lumber to build his home. To him Motherland was something tangible, not an abstract idea or a conditioned pattern.

 

When my people first came to Greece, they were quarantined for months in Thessaloniki. Most people in that city where Jews who spoke Ladino (Judaeo Spanish dialect) among themselves and Turkish with everybody else. They hated us and we hated them. The native Greek minority in Thessaloniki was split in their attitudes towards us newcomers. Not that they didn't acknowledge kinship, our native tongues were mutually intelligible after all. But those were also the people who enlisted in the Greek army to fight for the "Megali Idea". And that Idea came crashing down. Many of them had lost brothers and fathers in the campaign. A lot of them were almost as lost as we were. The ones who always stood up for the greater good and kept the chaos at bay were the Cretan Gendarmery and Army officers from southern Greece. They knew that us being there was the only way for Greece to hold on to Makedonia. But I think their Hellenic Idealism went far beyond expediency.

 

After a while, my Grandfathers were asked to choose where to settle. My paternal Grandfather, and his kin, picked Mygdonia which lies east of Thessaloniki. My maternal Grandfather picked Pella, close to the city of Giannitsa. The land he was granted was, literally, on top of Alexanders ancient capital. After they were granted land, they lived as they always did. Build homes, cleared fields, planted orchards, and tended to the Almond and Walnut trees as they took root. As it is custom among my kin, when I was born my Grandfathers planted 2 almonds and 2 walnuts for me. Both the walnuts and one of the almonds took root and every time I visit my Paternal Grandfathers old house, which is my house now, I embrace those trees. Their roots are my roots.

 

My connection is not to abstract things and Ideals such as GOD and COUNTRY. I'm connected to my blood and to the things people of my blood have left behind.

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Guest FriendofGreece

Admin,

 

Your story and Ajax's are painful to hear, but also heart-warming because there is hope for the future whenever there is a migration.

 

What I don't understand is why the Greeks, like your ancestors, went back to Aivali in the 1800's after the massacres by the Turks.

 

I read that at the time of the big population swap, some of the Greeks who went back to Greece left for America shortly after. Probably because there were not enough opportunities in Greece, considering it was a big swap. 

 

It is unfortunate that the Greeks from Asia Minor were not well treated by the local Greeks at that time. It must be hard coming from people who are Greeks like you.

 

Now I have to go read Ajax's post as he posted it while I was typing mine.

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Guest FriendofGreece

Thanks for sharing your story, Ajax. Yes, it is true that motherland is where you built your roots. Nice story with the walnuts and almonds. Any significance as to why those two types of trees are chose?

 

Now that you live in the US and, I assume, your children are born in the US, would you say that their roots are in the US or their motherland is where your own roots are?

 

Bu the time you yourself were born in Greece, was the situation better? 

 

What happens with Makedonia, why did they need to hold into it?

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They didn't care much about cultural significance they chose almond and walnut because they live long, produce fruit and are beautiful to look upon in full bloom.

Are my kids gonna feel the same way about those things? I doubt it. Our "Modernity" doesn't leave much room for roots. We are not people of the Land anymore, we are loose leafs that are blown around by the winds of supply and demand, share holder value, profit. The Land does not belong to US anymore. We are the heard, the cattle of our betters. We work, consume, increase stock market value, die and leave nothing behind that is worth remembering. My sentimental attachment to archaic values won't change the world my children live in.

Regardless. I can not forget and still lament the loss of my people.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tmwkjkxjvA

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You have to remember though that people were not attached to the land thousands of years ago, before the agrarian societies.

 

So in a way we're going back to where our ancestors were thousands of years ago. They were moving from place to place in search of new food sources. We're moving from place to place in search of work (which in turn will allow us to buy food and buy all those other things important for each one's lifestyle).

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Guest FriendofGreece

Another thing is that children of immigrants are asked to integrate, integrate, integrate. Integration is necessary for them to survive. However, in the process of integration, they tend to forget the roots of their ancestors, especially if they don't travel to Greece, for example, or if you don't speak Greek at home, or if they are mixed ethnicities. 

 

Roots are good because they are part of our identity, and I think when we know our roots, going back to the roots of our ancestors, we know ourselves better. However, that being said, roots are the past. I think it is also important to pay attention, if not more so, to the present and the future, because the past you cannot change, but the present and the future, you can. Overall, after all, what is more important than the family? To me, where the family is, no matter wherever on this planet, that is where home is.

 

Ajaxmonkey - nice song, thanks for posting. I actually like that kind of music, sounds like music from Smyrna. What is the location of the picture in the video?

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Well, 

my father immigrated to Germany when I was very little, I grew up there went to college, moved around Europe for a couple of years and then came to the US. The "Integrate" part is not all that difficult. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. And if that doesn't suite you stay the hell out of Rome. No matter where you are, you have to learn the language, adopt the local customs, follow the laws and participate. Don't go insisting on how "Different" you are. If you can't appreciate the culture of the place, you've picked the wrong place. I managed to fit in, repeatedly, without forgetting my roots or loosing my Identity. But then again, I didn't move to Saudi Arabia but places that were compatible with my upbringing.

 

And having multiple ethnicities in a family is not an issue. I my extended family we have Mexican, Korean, Lebanese, Russian, German, Swedish, Finnish, Albanian nephews. They are all cousins and get along just fine. In fact, it is rather convenient to be connected to so many places. You got a place to stay no matter where you go.

 

And it also gives you an insight into what's going on in the world. And you can't help but notice a certain anxiety. Even in places where the economy is humming and life is easy. A lot of things are in flux. For the greater part the places I've mentioned have improved dramatically over the past 20 years but now there is a feeling that we are running against a wall. Yes, life is good for me here in Texas, my lazy ass can make an easy leaving by doing a bit of planning, pulling resources from a competitive, and cheap, global pool, and applying a hefty markup. If it weren't for globalization I would be forced to do real work. But the situation is different for the kids. Even in places where there are jobs, good jobs are rare and investing much time and money in education has become a risky investment. What's IN today is already OUT tomorrow. It is becoming increasingly difficult for young people to find their place in this fast paced environment.  

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PS. The picture is probably from Pontian Mountains, south of Trabzon. Not sure though. The song is a "MOIROLOI" meaning lamentation and the people of Smyrna have those too. Anyhow, that's a Pontian version accompanied by a Pontian Lyra (Kemence).

 

Here is some more Kemence for you:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtOLyEvMsUs

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But to get back to the refugees.

 

I sympathize with them. And no doubt, the Greek state has to welcome refugee children into the Greek school system and make it easier for those who'll end up staying in Greece to integrate into Greek society. But in order for that to happen we must make distinctions. Not every body who washes up on our shores is a refugee. In fact many are just thugs. Like those Algerian and Moroccan and Tunisian  guys who went on a riot a few days back. Their little stunt was answered by some Greek thugs who threw Molotov cocktails into the camp and endanger real refugees.

 

Our resources are already stretched and the tensions are high so why is it again that we tolerate Morrocan, Algerian and Tunisian thugs?

All those countries have association agreements with the EU since 2000, 2005, 1998. So why are we not deporting those people?

Why are we keeping them in camps that are way beyond capacity together with legitimate Syrian refugee families? How come Germany can deport back to Afghanistan but we can't because of "The International Community". And who exactly is a member of this International community? Apparently not Morroco, Algeria and Tunisia. Even though they sit in all international bodies, cosign resolutions and issue declarations they leave us to deal with the overflow their societies produce. That's one dysfunctional "International Community"!

 

Yes. I forgot. Our lefty government does not believe in borders and wont consider anyone an illegal. Even if he blockades roads, tramples over our fields and crops or holes himself up in the Athens Polytechnic school, destroys facilities, burns Greek flags and sets Greek police officers on fire. Does any of this help the real refugees? Does any of this make it any easier to address their needs and make their stay in Greece less insufferable?

 

Yes the refugee crisis is a challenge but what elevates it into a catastrophe is SYRIZA using their pseudo internationalist dogma as an excuse for their inaction and incompetence. 

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Guest FriendofGreece

That is a nice song, thanks, Ajaxmonkey. It reminds me a bit of a song in the Athens Olympics, with men dressed in black with tall boots, but I think they are Cretans.

 

What a multicultural family you have, must be interesting the conversations. If for nothing else, it is a good geography lesson.  :D

 

About the migrants issue, there is a lack of transparency from the Greek government. I know the EU does not help sending the experts for screening the migrants. Out of the promised 400 experts, only 45 or something like that were sent to Greece. Even now, they have withdrawn them because of perceived security risks in the camps.

 

Yes, I don't know why Greece does not deport all those Algerians, Tunisians, Moroccans, etc. They destroy and create havoc wherever they are.

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FoG:

 

What a multicultural family you have, must be interesting the conversations.

 

 

I think you got the wrong impression. Having multiple races in our family doesn't make us multicultural. To the contrary, we have our very own singular culture. Culture is not a matter of form but one of substance. The thing I've learned from experience is that people who use different forms to express the same Ideas have no problem getting along. People who adhere to opposing principles on the other hand can not get along. Even if they speak the same language and are of the same race.

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