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Panepirotic Federation of

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Presentation on theme: "Panepirotic Federation of"— Presentation transcript:

1 Panepirotic Federation of

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3 Panepirotic Federation is asking for the following….
Property rights for the Greek minority Rightful return of religious properties, including land, to the Orthodox Church The right to teach the mother tongue Ethnic census  Free Greek prisoners who are imprisoned

4 Northern Epirus The Greek ethnic minority emerged as a consequence of the establishment of the Albanian state in 1913 Located in the north-west corner of the Hellenic world, in southern Albania of today, is still struggling for basic human rights Historically, this region has always been a Greek speaking region Its inhabitants constantly affirmed themselves as Greeks.

5 Northern Epirus The proclamation of autonomy in 1914 was signed by the Albanians and approved by the Great Powers. Communist dictator Enver Hoxha dropped the iron curtain on Albania after WWII. It was the beginning of a dramatic period for the Greek population of Northern Epirus. There were an estimated 300,000 Greeks living in Enver Hoxha’s Albania after WWII, up until the curtain was lifted in 1991.

6 The modern Greek state…
Many Northern Epirotans excelled as benefactors of the modern Greek state, during the 19th century. They were instrumental in rebuilding Athens as a modern European capital. Most of them were successful businessmen, with active business ties to the Hapsburg Empire, as well as the Romanian principalities.

7 Panepistimiou Avenue, Athens
Apostolos Arsakis - the founder of the modern Greek educational system, also known as Philekpaideytikē Etaireía (Society of the Friends of Education) Panepistimiou Avenue, Athens Council of State

8 Banker, Baron Georgios Sinas and his son Simon
Panepistimiou Avenue, Athens Academy of Athens

9 Evangelos Zappas, a founder of the modern Olympic movement
Athens, City center Exhibition Hall

10 Zappeion Hall (interior)

11 Hoxha’s statue in the Albanian capital, Tirana
The mandatory cult of Enver Hoxha, characterized the Communist reality in Albania.

12 Life for the Greek Minority under the rule of Enver Hoxha

13 Abolition οf relίgίon and religious-orίented cultural activitίes
The abolition of religion in Albania in 1967, dealt the most severe blow to the identity of the Greek national minority. This measure affected all religious and Christian denominations in Albania. However, the Greek Orthodox Christian religion, had been associated with the Greek nation since Byzantine times. It had been the spiritual heart and guarantor of the Greek Orthodox churches. By defrocking the priests and by prohibiting religious-oriented cultural activities—such as saints' festivals and religious anniversaries—the regime cut off the cultural links of the Greek mίnority, not only wίth the Greeks across the border, but with Greeks all over the world.

14 Forced ethnologίcal alteratίon of Greek vίllages
There was a concerted effort to alter character of the ethnic Greek "minority territory" pursued by the Albanian regime for over four decades. This involved the transfer and settlement of ethnic Albanians into Greek villages. Moreover, in certain cases, entirely new Albanian settlements were interposed among clusters of Greek villages. Consequently, in the villages, converted into mixed habitations of Greeks and Albanians, the ethnic Greeks lost the rudimentary right to have a few years of Greek-language elementary education.

15 Forced reduction of minority territory
The area where the Greek minority lives was artificially limited to the two southern provinces, comprised of 100 Greek villages: Argyrokastro αnd Agia Saranda. Members of this minority confined in this "minority territory" were allowed certain rudimentary rights, such as α four-year Greek language education and the publication of α newspaper, conveying in Greek the line of the Albanian Communist Party as propaganda to the members of the minority. Outside this territory, no individual was recognised as an ethnic Greek. The populations of entire ethnic Greek villages were registered as ethnic Albanians, thus loosing the right to speak their mother tongue and to engage in cultural activities related to their ethnicity.

16 Statistical “genocide”
The manipulation of statistical data—α classical method of squeezing the size of α minorίty—was applied in the case of the Greek national minority to the point of excluding at least 3/4 of its numerical strength. Initially, all ethnic Greeks, numbering in tens of thousands, living outside the "minority territory" were ignored. Moreover, figures of the registered members of the minority within the territory, were sharply αnd arbitrarily reduced. Thus, out of a minority nearing 300,000 members, the official Albanian census of 1988 recorded 58,000 individuals.

17 Expulsion of ethnic Greeks from their "territory"
Α policy of systematic reduction of the Greek national minority living in the "minority territory" was put into effect. Mass transfers of Greeks to Albanian towns and villages, dispersed through out the country were recorded. Dissidents or alleged opponents of the "socialist fatherland" were exiled to labour camps in the north. Better educated members of the minority were attracted to Tirana, for lack of employment in the minority territory.

18 Cυltural de-Hellenίzatίon of the "mίnority territory"
At the same time, the "minority territory" was subjected to a forced Albanization process. The Greek names of villages αnd geographical areas were substituted by Albanian names. Greek antiquities and archaeological sites in the region, dating back to classical and Hellenistic times, were baptised ”Illyrian". Greek Byzantine monuments, mainly churches, were closed or converted to barns and storehouses, in the context of the state-decreed atheist campaign. Thus, the ties of the Greek minority territory with its classical, medieval and pre-1944 periods were conveniently broken and erased.

19 The elίmination αnd falsification of Greek hίstory and culture
Greek history and cultural heritage had been removed from school textbooks. It is not αn exaggeration to say that an ethnic Greek chίld acquired more knowledge about events and the history of far away Mongolia, than about next-door Greece.

20 The denial of Greek names to new-borns
In the mid-1970's as the regime increased its assimilative practices, a government decree prevented ethnic Greeks from giving Greek names to their children. Despite Greek government objections and an Albanian promise to annul the measure, strong pressure on families continued to be exercised by local authorities against Greek name giving.

21 Present day issues... Property rights Bi-lingual signage
Education—Greek Schools Census: ethnic & religious census required for entry into the EU Greek villages have been emptied of their longtime inhabitants who have fled to Greece in search of jobs

22 A characteristic example: Himarra today
Enosis Himarrioton, is a group in Athens representing the ethnic Greek inhabitants of the Himara Province, as well as those living and working in Greece. They are undertaking a campaign to: To protect the rights of the ethnic Greek minority in Albania To actively monitor abuses, whether these originate with the Albanian Government or from other sectors of society To inform the Greek government, the Greeks of the diaspora, the governments of all European Union states, the European Union, NATO, the United States Government, the Government of the Russian Federation and the international press with a view to transmitting the message to the Albanian Government that it expects it to respect the basic values and principles that govern joining the European family of nations.

23 Himarra region: Greek house demolished by the Albanian authorities
Himarra: sea, mountains and lush landscape. An excellent tourist destination, hence, valuable land values….

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25 Himarra region: Greek Language Education in N. Epirus

26 Struggling for Greek education in Northern Epirus
Village of Mesopot: Greek school: The kids are still there

27 Greek School Village of Vrysera, Dropolis

28 Greek School Village of Tsouka

29 Greek School Village of Moursi

30 Greek Language Education in Northern Epirus
Sopiki, Pogoni: Current state of a former flourishing Greek community

31 Spiritual Leadership Metropolitan Sevastianos
Drynopolis, Pogoniani and Konitsa A spiritual leader who led an international campaign for human rights in Northern Epirus A freedom fighter!

32 21st Spiritual Leader for Albanians & Greeks
Archbishop Dr. Anastasios of Tirana and All Albania Archbishop of Tirana, Durrës and All Albania, is the Head of the Holy Synod of the Albanian Orthodox Church. In 1996 elected as the President of the World Council of Churches. He is referred to by followers as "His Beatitude". Studied Law and Theology in Athens in 1978 he failed to be elected as Metropolitan Bishop of Peiraus and he received the Titular Bishopric of Androusa instead. In 1992 following the fall of the Communist government he was appointed Archbishop of the newly established Albanian Church by the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew. Born November 4, 1929 in Piraeus, Greece.

33 A case study: Pogoni region
The region of Pogoni provides a characteristic example of the arbitrary division of Epirus in the early 20th century. In the 16th-17th century, the historical capital of Pogoni, Dipalitsa, (Molyvdoskepastos) located in both parts of the Greek-Albanian was a prosperous city, seat of an archbishop, embellished by number of remarkable Byzantine and post-Byzantine monuments, and the place of the most important commercial fair of Epirus During that period, in the Romanian principalities, a number of people originally from Pogoni developed an intense commercial activity, acquired extensive lands, joined the local aristocracy, assumed state functions, and largely supported their homeland as well as Mount Athos and other holy places under Ottoman domination. Nothing today evokes the Dipalitsas’ former glory, other than a number of religious monuments and the stone bridges in the area.

34 Panepirotic Federation of America is asking for…
Property rights for the Greek minority Rightful return of religious properties to the Orthodox Church The right to teach the mother tongue Ethnic census  Free Greek prisoners Economic development of the region

35 Northern Epirotan Heroes from Himarra…
Spyromilios Vassilis Bollanos Mayor of Himarra & President of OMONIA Organization Spiro Spyromilios Hero of the Balkan Wars


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