Παρασκευή, 21 Σεπτεμβρίου, 2012
It is almost ironic that one of the bloodiest chapters of Sheikh Bedreddin’s rebellion in 1416-1420 was written on the Karaburun peninsula, in the Aydin province, 90 km west of Smyrna, or Izmir, the theater of a huge humanitarian disaster in 1922. I wrote about this in the previous post. Now, trying to console my self, I pay tribute to Sheikh Bedreddin, a Sufi preacher and rebel in the first half of the 15th century.
“Share all you have apart from the lips of your beloved one”
(attributed to) Sheikh Bedreddin
Sheik Bedreddin (or Bedrettin, or Badraldin), was born in the town of Simavna (or Simavne, today in Greece, municipality of Kyprinos, locality of Ammovounio), in the southwest of Edirne (Adrianople) around 1358, the son of a gazi (warrior of the Islamic Faith) and the daughter of the Byzantine commander whose fortress he had captured.
He studied in Adrianople and Bursa, and then he studied philosophy and law in Konya and Cairo he had gone to Ardabil in Ajerbaijan (today in Iran) which was under Timurid domination and the home of the mystical Safaviyya order founded by the Kurdish mystic Sheikh Safi-ad-din Ardabili (1252–1334).
«The Ottoman seraglio in Bursa and/or Adrianople in the fourteenth and the ﬁfteenthcenturies was open to literary circles interested in Ottoman–Christian interaction. A Suﬁ and lettrist teacher such as Bistami advertized that he had spent time in Chios ‘with thelearned and virtuous of the Christians’. Sheikh Bedreddin also sought to utilize connections with the Christian world. Owing to the common emphasis laid on psychophysical askesis by both Hesychasm and Suﬁsm and the dissemination of the Greek language, Islamic mysticism could conveniently accommodate crypto-Christian tendencies.Christians and Muslims, Greeks and Turks met on an esoteric and spiritual level and the graecophone Jews (Romaniotes) often assumed the role of mediator. It is no coincidence that the pillar of Roman Orthodoxy, Gregory Palamas, reﬂected upon his discussions with the mysterious Chionai he met during his Turkish captivity in 1354 to the effect that a symphonia between mystical Islam and his notion of Orthodoxy was only a questionof time. Moreover, adherents of both Bektashi and Huruﬁ devotions and incipient sectarianisms were familiar with eastern Christianity, directly or indirectly initiating the secret islamization of Christian monks.» (1)
Sheikh Bedrettin had a great feeling for social justice and freedom. He was an adherent of a democratically elected governing model and defended the oppressed Turkish, Greek and Jewish poor people.
Carrier of a mystical universalist tradition with links to Muhyiddin Ibn ‘Arabi,Rumi and Haji Bektash, Sheikh Bedreddin proceeded to an attempt at unifying the three Abrahamic monotheistic religions into a universal religion destined to subvert the Ottoman establishment. Bedreddin’s mysticism had deep roots extending beyond theimmediate Islamic framework.
I open a parenthesis here in order to say a few things about Haji Bektash and his teachings.
Haji Bektash Veli ‘s philosophy was based on love for God, love for humanity, tolerance, sharing, social peace, and honesty. He continuously emphasized the importance of knowledge, wisdom, honesty, tolerance, brotherhood, unity, friendship, and morality. He approached religious and Sufi issues clearly in his book Makalat, which was written based on “four gates” and “forty authorities.” The four gates represent Sharia, Tariqa, Marifa, and Haqiqa, and the forty authorities represent the understanding accepted and followed by Turkish Sufis.The Sufism movement, which started with Ahmed Yesevi in Turkistan, inspired Haji Bektash Veli, Rumi, and Yunus Emre in Anatolia. These three people, being more advanced than their contemporaries, laid the foundations of Anatolian tolerance and understanding.
Those who attended Haji Bektash Veli’s lessons and conversations and followed his path were called Bektashi. Bektashism is an Alevi Sufi order that represents Haji Bektash Veli, and this order has been accepted in the Balkans, Albania, Greece, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Hungary, and Azerbaijan. Bektashism is a teaching that focuses on “the human.” Its aim is to reach a level of competence and perfect human status known as Insan-I Kamil, and a training process is essential to reaching this level. The system can be summarized by saying, “Be the master of your hand, waist, and tongue.” It requires free minds that are always thinking. Their philosophy is far from fanatical, and it requires a loving approach toward God. The collaboration of both men and women is highly crucial in this philosophy.
Bedreddin developed pantheistic ideas, building on the work of Ibn Al’ Arabi on the «Oneness of Being». Ibn Al’ Arabi never used the term, but the idea is implicit in all his writtings.
«The doctrine of «Oneness of Being» sought to eliminate the oppositions which framed life on earth – such as those between religions, and between the privileged and the powerless – which were considered to inhibit the oneness of the individual with God. The struggle for oneness gave the mystic an important role for it was he, rathen than the orthodox cleric, who had the wisdom, and therefore the task, to guide man to union with God » (2)
Though his religious universalism was not necessarily incompatible with his role as head kadi (military judge) under Musa Çelebi (1411–1413), it appears that at a time of economical and political instability his mystical-reformist movement grew fast in the European part of the Ottoman Empire.
Musa Çelebi’s rule soon encountered problems.
«He began to resent the power and wealth gained by the gazi chiefs through booty and timars, and turned increasingly to the servants of the palace (kapikullars), transferring positions and timars to them, while ordering the gazis to stop their raids into Christian territory. At the same time, Beddredin’s doctrines, while appealing to the impoverished masses, were abhorrent to the orthodox religious leaders and Turkish notables alike, so that the latter began to plot to eliminate the regime as rapidly as possible. The conservative religious leaders openly criticized Bedreddin as heretic and demanded that Musa remove him. This doctrine was potentially highly subversive of evolving Ottoman efforts to establish through conquest a state with Sunni Islam as its religion and their eponymous dynasty at its pinnacle.» (3)
In 1413 Mehmet I (reign 1413 – 1421) overthrew Musa Çelebi and crowned himself sultan in Edirne. He restored the empire, and moved the capital from Bursa to Edirne
Mehmed I exiled Sheikh Bedreddin to Iznik. At the time, Bedreddin had already achieved considerable mass following, and the economic consequences of a long period of military campaigns added to his popularity among the impoverished. From Iznik Bedreedin worked to rebuild his order, sending out preachers to spread his message and organize secter cells of supporters.
Afraid of what Mehmed I might do to him in his Iznik exile, Bedreddin fled to Samsum in 1415, hoping to get support from the Candar (Jandar) beylik (principality). However, the beylik smelled trouble and sent Bedreddin away to Rumeli, in Wallachia, where Mihail, Mircea’s son was the ruler. Mihail gave Bedreddin material support to raise a revolt in the European part of the Ottoman Empire.
The Rebellion of 1416, probably the largest in Ottoman history, began in 1416 and took place on two fronts—the western coast of Anatolia and the Zagora region of Bulgaria.
While Bedreddin was preaching in Rumeli, his supporters raised several revolts in Anatolia. It seemed very likely that a popular protest might sweep the Ottomans out of Anatolia altogether.
Sheikh Bedreddin’s revolt was short lived.
After the revolt was put down, Bedreddin was judged and executed in 1420 at Serez (Serres), accused of distrurbing public order by preaching that property must be communal and that there was no difference between the various religions and their prophets.
He was buried in Serres. His remains were transferred to Turkey in 1924, at the time fo the Greco-Turkish population exchange, but did not find a final restin gplace until when they were burried in the graveyard around the Mausoleum of Sultan Mahmud II, near the covered market (bazaar) in Istanbul.
The Turkish poet and Nobel Laureate Nazim Hikmet wrote a poem inspired by the rebelious Sheikh «The epic of Sheikh Bedreddin».
Returning to the lake,
Bedreddin spoke to himself:
“That fire in my breast has ignited
And is mounting with each day.
Even were my heart forged of iron,
It could not endure this fire. It would melt!
The time for me to emerge and burst forth has come!
The time for we men of the land to rise up
And conquer the land has come!
And we shall see confirmed
The strength of knowledge, the secret of Oneness!
And we shall see canceled
The laws of all nations and religious sects!”
(1) Sect and Utopia in shifting empires: Plethon, Elissaios,Bedreddin, Niketas Siniossoglou, University of Cambridge, Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies Vol.36 No. 1 (2012) 38–55
(2) Osman’s Dream, Caroline Finkel
(3) History of the Ottoman Empire and Modrn Turkey, Volume 1, Stanford Shaw
By the breaking wave: Tavern «Ta Kymata» in New Epidavros, Greece (Παρα θιν’ αλος: Ταβερνα «Τα Κυματα» Νεα Επιδαυρος, Ελλας)
Δευτέρα, 17 Σεπτεμβρίου, 2012
I continue to be in the «breaking wave» mood, in spite of the fact that the first autumn rain drops pelted the dry soil since yesterday.
Three and a alf years ago I wrote about Nikos Varverakis’ tavern in New Epidavros.
Today I return to find the same values and, fresh seafood, fresh as ever, and cooked with respect to Nature.
It is only natural to visit Nea Epidavros (a small village 20 km northeast of Palea Epidavros) and Nikos Varverakis’ tavern after a visit to the Theater and the Asclepeion in Palea Epidavros.
The first thing I asked for was the octopus. I remembered that last time I had tasted it simmered in wine and it was delicious.
I was not disappointed. First of all, the octopus was small, which means fished locally. Second, the head was «dirty», which means untouched, with all the delights of the sea left intact.
This is the reason why seafood is better consumed fresh. Can you imagine eating a frozen octopus with a «dirty» head? I cannot.
However, it is not enough to have a really fresh small octopus. Cooking it is a real challenge, as it can be so easily destroyed.
Nikos is a master in simmering the octopus in wine until it reaches perfection. The sauce was so good, that whatever was left I ate with the fish!
The greens that accompanied the fish were vlita, boiled to perfection, served with real olive oil.
One of the most abused greens, vlita, when fresh and young is so tender that it is usually overboiled and destroyed, losing its colour to a murky muddy green-grey.
Not in Nikos’ tavern. Silky leafs, melting in your mouth, with tasty olive oil that dressed them adequately to the extent that no lemon was needed.
Now to the fish. Nikos recommended – and of course I accepted – fried cod.
Cod fished in the local waters is a small fish, nothing compared to the 5-10 kg fish of the Atlantic.
It is tasty, has very few bones, but it has to be super fresh, otherwise it is no good.
Not to mention the frying. The oil has to be «fresh» because the flavor of the flesh is very subtle. A reused oil can spoil a perfectly good fish.
Not in Nikos’ tavern.
The cod was fried to perfection, and it was so fresh that I could literally see the gelatin flowing out of the fish.
Needless to say, I will – one day – return.
«Except for the times of suffering, as of fear, I would think that the worst moments are those of pleasure because the hope for them and the memory of them, which occupy the rest of our lives, are better and much more pleasant than the pleasures themselves.»
Memorable sayings of Filippo Ottonieri, Giacomo Leopardi
Κυριακή, 9 Σεπτεμβρίου, 2012
«THE TURKISH cavalry presented a magnificent spectacle as it cantered along the waterfront. The horsemen sat high in their saddles, their scimitars unsheathed and glinting in the sun. On their heads they wore black Circassian fezzes adorned with the crescent and star. As they rode, they cried out, ‘Korkma! Korkma! ‘Fear not! Fear not!’
Their entry into the city of Smyrna on 9 September 1922 was watched by thousands of anxious inhabitants. On the terrace of the famous Sporting Club, a group of British businessmen rose to their feet in order to catch a better view of the historic scene. From the nearby Greek warehouses, the packers and stevedores spilled out onto the quayside. ‘Long Live Kemal,’ they cried nervously, praising the man who would soon acquire the sobriquet Ataturk.» (9th September 1922)
Giles Milton, Paradise Lost, Smyrna 1922: The destruction of Islam’s city of tolerance
I was in Smyrna in May of 1917, when Turkey severed relations with the United States, and I received the oral and written statements of native-born American eye-witnesses of the vast and incredibly horrible Armenian massacres of 1915-16 — some of which will be here given for the first time; I personally observed and otherwise confirmed the outrageous treatment of the Christian population of the Smyrna vilayet, both during the Great War, and before its outbreak. I returned to Smyrna later and was there up until the evening of September 11, 1922, on which date the city was set on fire by the army of Mustapha Khemal, and a large part of its population done to death, and I witnessed the development of that Dantesque tragedy, which possesses few, if any parallels in the history of the world.
George Horton, The Blight of Asia
The Moudros (island of Lemnos) Armistice, concluded on 30 October 1918, put an end to the Ottoman Empire’s involvement in World War One
18 January: Peace Conference opens in Versailles.
3 February: Greek Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos demands the entire East Thrace and the Aegean shores of Anatolia including Izmir to be annexed to Greece.
8 February: French General Franchet d’Esperey, commander of the Allied Army, enters Istanbul mounted on a white horse.
4 March: Damat Ferit Paşa, brother-in-law of the Sultan, appointed as the new Grand Vizier.
8 April: British Foreign Minister, Lord Balfour, proposed Istanbul to become a neutral zone under the administration of the League of Nations.
29 April: Italian warship Caio Duilio anchors at Izmir.
30 April: Sultan Vahidettin sends Mustafa Kemal to Anatolia as inspector general.
6 May: Allied nations agree to allow Greek occupation of Izmir.
15 May: Izmir occupied by the Greek army. Journalist Hasan Tahsin shoots a Greek flag bearer, firing the first bullet of the Turkish resistance.
16 May: Mustafa Kemal leaves Istanbul.
19 May: Mustafa Kemal arrives in Samsun. Turkish War of Independence begins.
24 May: Demonstration at Sultanahmet in Istanbul against the occupation of Izmir.
«At the ceremony on 10 August 1920 (Treaty of Sevres) the Ottoman signatories agreed on behalf of their countrymen that Thrace be ceded to Greece, and that Greece would be sovereign in the Izmir (Smyrna) area for five years – after which the League of Nations would decide whether it became a full part of Greece; the frontiers of an independent Armenian state were to be determined by the US President Woodrow Wilson; the Kurdish areas of south-eastern Anatolia were to remain under Ottoman sovereignty for the present, with the question of whether the Kurds might become independent left to the decision of the LEague of Nations; and so on. The empire had shrunk to comprise Istanbul and northern Anatolia – large swathes of which were presently under occupation.»
Caroline Finkel, Osman’s Dream
Question: In June 1920, the Greek Army carried out an offensive move, towards the Büyük Menderes River (Meander) Valley, Karşıyaka (Peramos) and Alaşehir (Philadelphia). What was the point of this offensive? Was it consistent with a strategy? Was there a strategy at all? Or the military operations were carried out in a rather cavalier and opportunistic way? In this case possibly to give support to the British?
“The shadow of Sèvres [i.e. of the humiliating Sèvres treaty of 1920, which left much of Anatolia’s fate in the hands of Greece and the League of Nations] hangs over Turkey to this day in the lingering fear that foreign enemies and their collaborators inside Turkey may again seek to divide the state which was defended with such tenacity and at such cost. Attitudes in some quarters of Turkish society to the possibility of entry to the European Union are also colored by the specter of Sèvres, and European intentions are closely scrutinized for signs of duplicity.”
Caroline Finkel, Osman’s Dream
I have the honor to call the attention of the (US State) Department to the fact that immediately after the Greeks landed in Smyrna (1919), I telegraphed that this would prove a second «Syracusan Expedition», referring to the war against Syracuse in 413 B.C. which led to the complete depletion of the Athenian treasury and the effacement of Athens as the leading power of the ancient world.
George Horton, extract from the report written on September 26th and 27th, 1922
The landing of the Greeks in Asia Minor as actually carried out was the great mistake of Venizelos. Though undoubtedly asked by the representatives of all the allies to go to Smyrna, he should not have done so without an actual treaty, with a written statement of what support they would give. To avoid the horrible catastrophe which has followed, which is exciting the fanaticism and daring of the entire Mussulman world, involving both France and Italy in untold dangers, only two plans were possible: (1st) Never to have sent the Greeks to Asia Minor; (2nd) Once having sent them there, to support them in a loyal manner. What really happened was immediate dissension among the allies as always in history among Christians. Italy, which had practically been promised Smyrna, started a port at New Ephesus to draw the trade if possible away from the former city and began to sell arms to the Turks and to flatter them. The French, to undermine Great Britain in the Near East, took up an attitude towards the Turks which finally resulted in the Treaty of Angora and the recognition by the French of that government.
George Horton, extract from the report written on September 26th and 27th, 1922
Question: When Venizelos lost the elections in November 1920 and King Constantine returned to power, the Greek Army carried out offenses towards the East, moving in the direction of Ankara. What was the point of these offensives? Now that Venizelos was gone, we see that the other side is carrying out an even more opportunistic military operation.
I remember the exciting time I had on the morning of September 13 (1922), when I was on my way to the office. I was coming through the Armenian quarter, and as ill luck would have it, fell in with a mob. There was firing on both sides, for of course, Turkish soldiers were everywhere.
I had long since taken the precautionary measure of arming myself with an American flag, for that little bit of bunting was of more potential defense than any Colt automatic. Finding myself in this pleasant little party, I pulled out my flag, pinned it on, and made for the nearest wall.
I finally reached it and then walked sideways for quite a distance, for I had always been told that if you must be shot by all means avoid being shot in the back.
Wednesday, the 13th …I see a Turk who approached me say, ‘We did what was due; you turn back.’ The Turk, who obviously had assumed an active role in the arson, takes me obviously for his compatriot and accomplice and advises me not to advance, but to turn back. I answer, «Very well,» with the attitude of someone who understands the situation and I stop for a moment to distance myself from the Turk and to avoid conversation….»
«Within hours of Ataturk’s victorious entry into the beautiful, thriving and predominantly Greek city of Smyrna (now Izmir), Turkish soldiers began the killing and raping of Greeks and Armenians, and the looting and pillaging of their homes and shops. Over 100,000 Greek and Armenian civilians were killed by the Turks…»
Marjorie Housepian Dobkin
«The strange thing was . . . how they screamed every night at midnight. I do not know why they screamed at that time. We were in the harbor and they were all on the pier and at midnight they started screaming.
. . . The worst . . . were the women with dead babies. You couldn’t get the women to give up their dead babies. They’d have babies dead for six days. Wouldn’t give them up. Nothing you could do about it.»
Ernest Hemingway, «On the Quai at Smyrna,» The Short Stories
Question: Why did the Greek Army evacuate Smyrna on the 8th September? Was it so difficult to figure out that Kemal and his troops would not be kind to the civilian population? In the face of certain disaster, the Greek Army fled leaving the civilian Christians behind. This in the context of the presence of ships of the Allied forces.
More recently a mutual friend arranged for me to interview Nino Russo of Freeport, Long Island; I was happy to obtain an Italian view. A youthful eighty years old when I spoke with him, Russo had been ship’s engineer on the Italian battleship Vittore Imanuele, which had sailed into Smyrna harbor just as the fires were beginning to break out at various points in the city. Russo spoke with the same intense feeling as had most of the American seamen I interviewed. The heat at one point was so strong, he confirmed, that even though his large ship stood at considerable distance from the shore, it had to move back. The Italians had come in to pick up their own nationals but they sent out twenty lifeboats and picked up anyone within range without asking who was or was not Italian. «There were so many bodies in the water you couldn’t count. Everybody, … all the big-shots, the Captain, all those people going back and forth to shore, they knew and they reported that the Turks were burning Smyrna . All the crew, we all knew it was the Turks.» None of his testimony is new, but it is noteworthy considering that Italian policy strongly and openly supported the Turks. Russo’s account also confirms the victims’ reports concerning the kindness of Italian ships and corroborated other reports of the intense heat on the waterfront at the height of the fire.
Marjorie Housepian Dobkin
I have also the honor also to point out to the Department that all massacres on a large scale perpetrated by Turks, and the history of the Turkish empire is largely a history of massacres, are always ordered by higher authorities. Anyone who believes that the forces of Mustapha Kemal got out of hand at Smyrna and that he controlled them as soon as he could, knows nothing about the history of Turkey or events in the Near East. I believe also if the Allied fleets in Smyrna harbor, the French, Italians, British and Americans, had emphatically told Mustapha Kemal that there must be no massacring, none would have taken place. If they told him today that he must cease carrying off the men between eighteen and forty-five into the interior, he would stop, but when he sees the great powers of the world sitting by in security on their battleships watching his fearful procedures, he is emboldened to greated and still greater excesses. The sight of a massacre going on under the eyes of the great powers of Europe and with their seemingly tacit consent, is one that I hope never to see again.
I believe that when the real truth is known of what happened in Smyrna and what has been happening in the Near East, all decent people in Europe and the United States will feel as I do.
George Horton, extract from the report written on September 26th and 27th, 1922
The retreating Greek Army left Smyrna on September 8, 1922; the Turkish Army occupied the city on September 9, and the fire was started on September 13. From that date, the Christian population, Turkish subjects of the Greek Orthodox religion, and Armenians, had been without shelter. During the fire with its attendant murders, robberies and other outrages, men, women and children swam from the quay, and every boat, raft and floating bit of timber was utilized in a desperate effort to reach the ships in the harbor.
The mothers with families were not able to swim and take their little ones on their backs, but the strong, who had the luck to board the ships in the beginning while the fire was raging, were not put ashore. They were taken away and saved from the additional anguish and suffering experienced by those who remained on the quay, after the representatives of the different nations had been officially instructed to maintain neutrality.
There were approximately 300,000 people huddled together on the cobblestones of the Smyrna waterfront and hiding in the ruins, when we reached that port. For ten days and nights, they had held their places. The quay, within view of the warships of the Allied nations in the harbor, and within range of their searchlights at night, was the zone of greatest safety, the least likely place for a wholesale massacre.
City-dwelling human beings, suddenly deprived of the conveniences of civilized life, are utterly unable to care for themselves. They are far more offensive than animals can possibly be. The people squatting on that quay were filthy. They had no means of keeping clean. They dared not go back into the ruins of the city for any purpose, lest they lose their lives. In less than two weeks the quay had become a reeking sewer in which the refugees sat and waited for deliverance. When that crowd stirred, the stench was beyond belief.
Esther Lovejoy, Certain Samaritans
The last view of the ill-fated town by daylight was one of vast enveloping clouds rolling up to heaven, a narrow water-front covered with a great throng of people—an ever-increasing throng, with the fire behind and the sea before, and a powerful fleet of inter-allied battle-ships, among which were two American destroyers, moored a short distance from the quay and looking on.
As the destroyer moved away from the fearful scene and darkness descended, the flames, raging now over a vast area, grew brighter and brighter, presenting a scene of awful and sinister beauty. Historians and archeologists have declared that they know of but one event in the annals of the world which can equal in savagery, extent and all the elements of horror, cruelty and human suffering, the destruction of Smyrna and its Christian population by the Turks, and this was the demolition of Carthage by the Romans.
Certainly at Smyrna, nothing was lacking in the way of atrocity, lust, cruelty and all that fury of human passion which, given their full play, degrade the human race to a level lower than the vilest and cruelest of beasts. For during all this diabolical drama the Turks robbed and raped. Even the raping can be understood as an impulse of nature, irresistible perhaps, when passions are running wild among a people of low mentality and less civilization, but the repeated robbing of women and girls can be attributed neither to religious frenzy nor to animal passions. One of the keenest impressions, which I brought away with me from Smyrna was a feeling of shame that I belonged to the human race.
At the destruction of Smyrna there was one feature for which Carthage presents no parallel. There was no fleet of Christian battle-ships at Carthage looking on at a situation for which their governments were responsible. There were no American cruisers at Carthage.
The Turks were glutting freely their racial and religious lust for slaughter, rape and plunder within a stone’s throw of the Allied and American battle-ships because they had been systematically led to believe that they would not be interfered with. A united order from the commanders or from any two of them—one harmless shell thrown across the Turkish quarter—would have brought the Turks to their senses.
And this, the presence of those battle-ships in Smyrna harbor, in the year of our Lord 1922, impotently watching the last great scene in the tragedy of the Christians of Turkey, was the saddest and most significant feature of the whole picture.
George Horton, The Blight of Asia
11 October: Armistice of Mudanya signed between Turkey, Italy, France and Britain. Greece accedes to the armistice three days later. East Thrace as far as the Maritsa River and Edirne are handed over by Greece to Turkey. Turkish sovereignty over Istanbul and the Dardanelles is recognized.
20 October: Peace Conference opens in Lausanne.
1 November: The Sultanate is abolished.
17 November: Sultan Vahidettin leaves Istanbul on board the British warship Malaya.
«In Smyrna on September 24, 1922, the Hatcherian family managed to escape to the Greek island of Mitilini, leaving behind in Akhisar ten members of the extended family on both sides. All ten family members including the mothers and brothers with their families, were massacred after the occupation of Akhisar [original Greek name was Thyatira 80km/50miles NE of Smyrna] by the Kemalist army. Another positive outcome of reading the diary was that I was once again filled with gratitude toward Greece, the country of my birth, for its humanitarian act of giving shelter, along with thousands of Greeks, to so many Armenian refugees. Among them was my grandfather with his family who was given the opportunity to restore not only a normal and happy family life, but also his faith in humanity. Reading the pages of my grandfather’s ordeal, I also realized how fortunate we are to be living in a free humanitarian country like Canada, a country which espouses the humanitarian principles in which my grandfather believed.»
Another thing that has greatly handicapped the Greeks is their pernicious and corrupt politics. The amount to which politics is played in Greece and the extent to which the Greek politician will go, even to the sacrifice of his country and of many lives in order to keep his party in power for a few weeks can hardly be believed. The overthrow of Venizelos, Greece’s great advocate in Europe and America, and the bringing back of its discredited king, was the beginning of the end. Politics is played to such an extent that even now, in the face of this tremendous tragedy to Greece, it is not lost sight of, and the Royalist party will not even allow Venizelists to distribute money which they are receiving from Europe or to establish soup kitchens.
George Horton, extract from the report written on September 26th and 27th, 1922
The people on the quay were panic-stricken. The Allies had forsaken them. The Turks were going to deport them to the interior on the thirtieth of September. What country would help them? Greece had signified her willingness to receive them, but how could they get there without ships? For twelve terrible days and nights they had watched, waited and prayed. The stones of the quay were hard, but not so hard as the hearts of nations! The sun was blistering during the daylight hours, and the nights were full of horror, but the time was passing so fast, so fast. Only five days more to the thirtieth of September and deportation.(3). Even if ships should come, how could they all embark in so short a time? Besides, Greece was poor and overcrowded, and since the strong countries, indirectly responsible for their suffering, had definitely refused to admit them, perhaps Greece would change her mind. Why should one nation accept all the Anatolian Christians fleeing for their lives, including the Armenians?
Most of them called themselves Greek, but were they Greek? They had never lived in Greece and many of them could not speak the Greek language. On the other hand, they were not Turks, it seemed, although they had lived under the Turkish Government, generation after generation, for five hundred years. They were people without a country, and the Armenians among them were sorry they had not turned toward Russia and joined the Soviet.
Nationality and religion to the people on that quay was a hopeless muddle. Two hundred years before the colonization of America the Turks had taken Smyrna, but Turk meant religion to most of the Christian people in Asia Minor. They had seen too many Christians turn Turk by accepting the Mohammedan faith. Before accepting the Faith they were Armenians or Greeks perhaps, and the next day they were Turks, with all the privileges of Turks.
This confusion of nationality and religion was very well shown in the strange case of a certain man who had been in the service of an American tobacco company for so many years that he looked, acted, talked and no doubt felt like an American. He told me quite simply that he was a man without a country, and that that was the status of most of the Christian people in Turkey. His father was German, his mother English, and he was born in Smyrna. Naturally, they were cosmopolitan in thought and language, but he had always considered himself of German nationality. He had married a German girl and he thought his children were Germans. They were all members of the Lutheran Church.
Esther Lovejoy, Certain Samaritans
I firmly believe from my observations in Smyrna and from information which I have received from various sources, that the terrible disaster which has happened to the inhabitants of Asia Minor was the result of a contemptible political move. The party in power believed they could not get the help of Europe without turning out Constantine and bringing back Venizelos. Without that help, they could not stay in Smyrna, they could not announce that they were willing to withdraw their armies from the Smyrna district, and they therefore deliberately provoked the debacle which the world has seen. For months there has been a steady withdrawing of Venizelist officers and their replacing by trusted Royal-ists, many of whom have been deserting their troops, leaving whole regiments without officers. I am credibly informed that the Greek army, even at the last moment, could have made a stand and retrieved the situation as the Turkish forces which entered Smyrna were insignificant. But even the Greek officers who desired to make a stand and expressed their ability to do so were ordered to retire.
George Horton, extract from the report written on September 26th and 27th, 1922
4 February: Talks in Lausanne interrupted due to Turkish protest.
23 April: Talks in Lausanne resume.
24 July: Treaty of Lausanne signed between Turkey, Greece and other countries that fought the First World War and the Turkish Independence War. Turkey recovers full sovereign rights over its territory.
6 October: Occupation forces leave Istanbul.
13 October: Ankara declared as the capital of the new Turkish State.
29 October: The Republic of Turkey is proclaimed.
In one of its most controversial clauses, the Lausanne treaty barred the return of the refugees who had left Anatolia during the war and stipulated the exchange of the remaining Greek Orthodox residents of Turkey for the Muslims of Macedonia and western Thrace.
A few months following the signing of the Lausanne Treaty, by which the Allied powers and the world recognized the independence and sovereignty of Turkey, the Republican People’s Party was established on 9 September 1923 and Mustafa Kemal was elected as its chairman.
«The total number of Christians who fled to Greece was probably in the region of 1.2 million with the main wave occurring in 1922 before the signing of the convention. According to the official records of the Mixed Commission set up to monitor the movements, the «Greeks’ who were transferred after 1923 numbered 189,916 and the number of Muslims expelled to Turkey was 355,635 [Ladas 1932, 438-439; but using the same source Eddy 1931, 201 states that the post-1923 exchange involved 192,356 Greeks from Turkey and 354,647 Muslims from Greece.»
Matthew J. Gibney, Randall Hansen. (2005). Immigration and Asylum: from 1900 to the Present, Volume 3. ABC-CLIO. p. 377.
In the aftermath of the First World War, Greece again paved the way for Europe’s future. Only now it was democracy’s dark side that came to the fore. In a world of nation-states, ethnic minorities like Greece’s Muslim population and the Orthodox Christians of Asia Minor were a recipe for international instability. In the early 1920s, Greek and Turkish leaders decided to swap their minority populations, expelling some two million Christians and Muslims in the interest of national homogeneity. The Greco-Turkish population exchange was the largest such organized refugee movement in history to that point and a model that the Nazis and others would point to later for displacing peoples in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and India.
Mark Mazower: Democracy’s Cradle, Rocking the World
For several years after the Smyrna debacle, American interests in Turkey conducted an intensive campaign to revise public opinion at home. This was no small task, for in the course of massive fund appeals the American Protestant leadership had created a certain amount of antipathy toward Turkey and sympathy for her minorities. Yet the Lausanne Treaty constituted a victory for Turkey on the question of the Christian population and a triumph of political and economic considerations for the West. Not the least of these was the matter of oil. According to Standard Oil Company historians, “there were many issues of importance at Lausanne but oil usurped the center of the stage”.
In varying degrees every Western nation involved had to defend this order of priorities. But the greater the discrepancy between a nation’s professed and actual motives, the greater its need to justify its policies. Political scientists might wave “morality” aside as irrelevant to the national interest. American historians might proclaim the triumph of American diplomacy; but spokesmen for America had been denouncing the ignominious motives of her rivals too loudly and for too long to let the nature of her triumph speak for itself. In 1924 the Near East desk at the State Department was still busily enlisting co-operative writers to its cause.
Marjorie Housepian Dobkin
Altay Atlı, author of the blog «Turkey in the First World War»
Marjorie Housepian Dobkin, a Professor at Barnard College of Columbia University, NY , NY , USA.
Caroline Finkel, a British historian and writer, has a doctorate in Ottoman history
Dr Garabed Hatcherian, Senior Physician at the Armenian National Hospital in Smyrna.
Ernest Hemingway, American Journalist and Writer
George Horton, American Consul in Smyrna.
Asa Jennings, employee of the YMCA in the city of Smyrna, and director of the rescue operation.
Esther Lovejoy, an American doctor who played a leading role in the humanitarian rescue.
Mark Mazower, British historian
Giles Milton, English historian
Dora Sakayan, granddaughter of Garabed Hatcherian, a Professor in Armenian Studies.
Σάββατο, 1 Σεπτεμβρίου, 2012
I continue to be in a «breaking sea wave» mood, and there is no better place to have lunch when you are in this mood than the beach itself, especially when the tables are less than one meter away from the breaking wave!
There was a nothern wind of medium strength, and the wave was breaking indeed!
The fresh wind comes from the Aegean, passing from the Southern tip of Evoia.
This wind has a cleansing effect on me.
It strips away all the mumbo-jumbo that clutters my Being and helps me see into my true (authentic) nature.
The breaking sea wave is my satori catalyst.
Unfortunately this glimpse into the true me does not last for very long.
However, I consider myself fortunate that it lasts even for a few seconds.
In any case, having achieved the «satori» state, I had to go for the unadulterated, pure taste of the fish.
The colorful salad that came as a prelude, acted as an evangelist for the main course.
A fresh sea bass, grilled to perfection.
Words fail me.
In addition to the subtle aroma of the sea, I was deeply absorbed by the gelatinous texture of the moist flesh.
The more fresh the flesh, the higher the gelatine effect.
But I must confess that a thought crossed my mind.
Given the quality of the fish, how would it be to have half of it served raw by Mizutani, and the other half grilled?
For the time being I will stay with the thought stuck in my mind. It may be a while before Mizutani visits Marathon.
Fresh grapes, cut a minute ago from the vines providing the very welcome shade, took away the aromas of the sea and brought Dionyssus to the table.
Ora sono ubriaco
I am now drunk
from the universe
Κυριακή, 26 Αυγούστου, 2012
Mr. FFF: Παρα θιν αλος. By the breaking sea wave.
MM: I see Priest Chryses praying. For his daughter Chryseis has been kidnapped by Agamemnon who does not want to release her.
…βή δ’ ακέων παρά θίνα πολυφλοίσβοιο θαλάσσης…
πήρε βουβός του πολυτάραχου γιαλού τον άμμον
Ομηρου Ιλιας, Ραψωδια Α34
Without a word, he went by the shore of the noisy sea (or ‘sounding sea’)
Homer, Iliad, A34
Mr. FFF: The priest Chryses prayed to Apollo to punish the Greek army, so that Agamemnon is forced to return to him his daughter, Chryseis.
Mrs. T: The deep sound of the sea is in stark contrast with the priest’s silent suffering.
Είπε, και την ευκή του επάκουσεν ο Απόλλωνας ο Φοίβος,
κι απ᾿ την κορφή του Ολύμπου εχύθηκε θυμό γεμάτος
Ομηρου Ιλιας, Ραψωδια Α43-44
He spoke, and Apollo Phoebus listened to his wish
and from the top pf Olympus he rushed away full of wrath
Homer, Iliad, A43-44
MM: Apollo shot the plague to the Greek Army, and Agamemnon had to return Chryseis to her father.
Mrs. T: As a compensation for his loss, Agamemnon took Bryseis from Achilles.
Mr. FFF: Achilles is furious at the loss of Briseis.
Δακρυσμένος τότε ο Αχιλλέας απ᾿ τους συντρόφους του μακραίνει και καθίζει
μπρος στον ψαρή γιαλό, το απέραντο το πέλαγο θωρώντας,
κι απλώνοντας τα χέρια ευκήθηκε στην ακριβή του μάνα
Ομηρου Ιλιας, Ραψωδια Α348-352
Achilles in tears strays away from his comrades and seats
on the beach, and looking at the vast sea,
unfolded his arms and prayed to his mother
Homer, Iliad, AHomer, Iliad, A348-352
Mr. FFF: Greeks of any age, starting with Homer, have a special relationship with the sea.
Mrs. T: The sea was considered to be the home of many deities.
MM: The sea was also a place of catharsis, a cleansing place for mortals.
Wie Meerekuesten, wenn zu baun
Anfangen die Himmliwschen und herein
Schifft unaufhaltsam, eine Pracht, das Werk
Der Woogen, eins uns andere, und die Erde
Sich ruester aus, darauf vom Freudigsten eines…
As upon seacoasts, when the gods
Begin to build and the work of the waves
Ships in unstoppably wave
After wave, in splendour, and the earth
Attires itself and then comes joy
A supreme, tuneful joy, setting …
(translation by David Constantine)
MM: I see the beach walking and…
Stephen Daedalus: Am I walking into eternity along Sandymount strand? Crush, crack, crick, crick.
MM: Stephen closed his eyes to hear his boots crush crackling wrack and shells.
Leopold Bloom: I am wandering around, avoiding to go home. I am on Sandymount strand. Following Stephen’s steps.
(young) Gerty: It is almost dusk. Roman candles are fizzing through the air.
Leopold Bloom: I cannot get my eyes off her!
(young) Gerty: I pulled my skirt up and revealed my garters.
Leopold Bloom: I surrender, I am too weak to resist.
(young) Gerty: I behaved as an exhibitionist. Will I ever be as important as Molly is?
Leopold Bloom: I behaved as a true voyeur. I am aging.
Mr. FFF: I like garters.
Mrs. T: The description of the episode with Bloom and (young) Gerty made the US Courts to ban the book as indecent.
The beach shines like a mirror, swallowing the confusion of forms, creating whatever it likes.
Here by the beach, I will be covered, in whole, by a layer of sugar, like snow.
It is a sin to be absent from the present.
Nikos Gabriel Pentzikis, Mrs. Ersis’ Novel
Ο γιαλος στιλβει σαν καθρεφτης, καταπινοντας τη συγχυση των μορφων, σχηματιζοντας ο,τι θελει αυτος.
Εδω στην ακρογιαλια, ολοκληρον, θα με καλυψει σαν χιονι ενα στρωμα απο ζαχαρη.
Αμαρτια η απουσια απο το παρον.
Νικος Γαβριηλ Πεντζικης, Το Μυθιστορημα της κυριας Ερσης
Πῶς δύναται τὶς νὰ γίνει ἀνὴρ χωρὶς ν᾿ ἀγαπήσει δεκάκις τουλάχιστον, καὶ δεκάκις ν᾿ ἀπατηθεῖ ;
How could anyone become a man without falling in love at least ten times, and betrayed ten times?
MM: I see the kissing-on-the-beach sequence where Lancaster and Kerr roll around in the Pacific Ocean’s frothy waves, lips locked as the surf washes over them.
Mrs. T: Lancaster’s sergeant (Milton Warden) with Deborah Kerr playing Karen Holms, another officer’s wife
Mr. FFF: The American censors deleted four seconds from that provocative love-making scene.
Mrs. T: From Here to Eternity was nominated for 13 Oscars and won eight, including best film and best director. It won rave reviews and became one of the highest-grossing films of the Fifties.
Du musst das Leben nicht verstehen,
dann wird es werden wie ein Fest.
You should not understand Life,
then it will be like a celebration.
Rainer Maria Rilke
MM: I see the beach swimming after sunset
Mrs. T: I have never done this.
Mr. FFF: I had a friend who rejoiced every time she had a chance to swim during the night. She could stay up all night swimming.
Τα πρωτα μου χρονια τ’ αξεχαστα τα’ ζησα κοντα στ’ ακρογιαλι,
Στη θαλασσα εκει τη ρηχη και την ημερη,
στη θαλασσα εκει την πλατιεα, τη μεγαλη…
Στη θαλασσα εκει…
I have lived my first unforgetable years by the beach,
There by the shallow and quite sea,
the wide, the great sea, there…
There by the sea
MM: I see the Hotel des Roses in Rhodes.
Mrs. T: I like roses.
Mr. FFF: This is where I was going to swim when I was a kid. For hours on and on. 10am to 7pm. Full time job.
MM: I see the bay of Ladiko, near Kolymbia in Rhodes.
Mrs. T: Looks great!
Mr. FFF: It was even better when there was nobody there! Years ago, access to the bay was blocked and the man who had the keys was a good family friend.
MM: I see food and drinks by the beach.
Mrs. T: Allow me. First stop is Damianos Fishtavern, Ambelas, Paros island, Greece.
Mr. FFF: Wonderful setting, and dedication to serving good seafood all year round.
Mrs. T: It is amazing how different food tastes when you smell the sea breeze!
MM: I see food and drinks on the cliff.
Mrs. T: Second stop. Akelare Restaurante, San Sebastian, Basque Country.
Mr. FFF: Up on a cliff, overlooking the Atlantic, stands one of the shrines of gastronomy in the wonderful land of the Basque people.
Mrs. T: The place is full of the joy of life.
MM: I see seafood by the beach at night.
Mrs. T: Third stop. Ristorante Uliassi, Senigallia, Marche, Italia.
Mr. FFF: Now we are in the Riviera Romagnola, where the ITalians have invented the «beach without the sea». Nevertheless, in this riviera, where everything happens, where the high and the low co-exist peacefully, Uliassi does his magic. It is worth the trip. Even if you do not make it to the sea.
MM: I see seafood on a balcony overlooking the beach.
Mrs. T: Aristodimos Fishtavern, Pachi, Megara, Greece.
Mr. FFF: Back to the homeland. An unassuming small seaside town 40 km from Athens presents the goods of the sea in a way that honors centuries of eating seafood.
MM: I see Death encounters by the beach.
Mrs. T: Disillusioned knight Antonius Block and his squire Jöns return after fighting in the Crusades and find Sweden being ravaged by the plague. On the beach immediately after their arrival, Block encounters Death.
Mr. FFF: Black and White. The agony of Man in front of the inevitable. But the sea makes everything look natural. This is why the sea gives another meaning to life.
Mrs. T: (reading from a book): «The whole beach, once so full of colour and life, looked now autumnal, out of season; it was nearly deserted and not even very clean. A camera on a tripod stood at the edge of the water, apparently abandoned; its black cloth snapped in the freshening wind.»
Mr. FFF: (reading from the same book): «Some minutes passed before anyone hastened to the aid of the elderly man sitting there collapsed in his chair. They bore him to his room. And before nightfall a shocked and respectful world received the news of his decease.»
“Prayer does not change God, but it does change the one who prays.”
«The essence of truth is freedom»
Ingmar Bergman, Swedish Film Director
Mr. FFF, wanderer
Caspar David Friedrich, German Painter
Martin Heidegger, German Philosopher
Friedrich Hoeldrlin, German Poet
Homer, Greek Poet
Soren Kirkegaard, Dane Philosopher
Kostis Palamas, Greek Poet
Alexandros Papadiamantis, Greek Writer
Nikos Gabriel Pentzikis, Greek Writer and Painter,
Otto Preminger, American Film Director
Rainer Maria Rilke, Bohemian-Austrian Poet
Mrs. T, gourmant
Akelare Restaurant, San Sebastian, Basque Country
Aristodimos Fishtavern, Pachi, Megara, Greece
Damianos Fishtavern, Ambelas, Paros Island, Greece
From Here to Eternity, A Film by: Otto Preminger
A Hole in the Head. A Film by: Frank Capra
Edge of Heaven (Auf der anderen Seite), A Film by Fatih Akin
Restaurante Uliassi, Senigallia, Marche, Italia
Τετάρτη, 15 Αυγούστου, 2012
Σημερα ειναι Δεκαπενταυγουστος. Αντιγραφω απο το βιβλιο «Προς Εκκλησιασμο» του Νικου Γαβριηλ Πεντζικη.
Today is the 15th of August and in Greece we celebrate the Dormition of Theotokos. I quote from the book «Attending Mass» of Nikos Gabriel Pentzikis.
Ιδου τωρα μια εξαιρετικα εντονη μνημη της παιδικης μου ζωης. Δεκαπενταυγουστο. Γιορταζε η μητερα μου. Ο πατερας της εκανε δωρο μιαν ασημενια τσαντα, απ’εκεινες που συνηθιζονταν τοτε, ωραιοτατη, με παραστασεις επι του συμπαγους φυλλου του κλεισιματος αρχαιων εναλιων θεων. Το σπιτι ειχε γεμισει κοσμο που ερχοταν να ευχηθει. Ο νους μου γεματος θαυμασμο πανηγυριζε. Υστερα σαν ολοι εφυγαν πηγε ο νους μου πως θα γινοταν η Δευτερα Παρουσια. Αναλογες συγχυσεις του γεματου συγκινηση αμεσου προς το αιωνιο, αναφερθηκαν και σχολιασθηκαν πολλες, απο τους μελετητες της νοοτροπιας των πρωτογονων, που συχνα διαβιουντες επι γης συμβαινει να μπερδευουν ζωντανους και νεκρους.
I present to you now an extremely vivid memory of my childhood. Fifteenth of August. My mother’s nameday. Father made her a present, a silver handbag, the kind that were in fashion, very nice, with presentations of ancient gods on the hard cover. The house was full of people visiting to honour her nameday. My mind full of admiration was in celebration. When all the visitors left, I thought in my mind that Second Advent was coming. Similar confusions of the immediate felling with the eternal have been reported and commented upon by scholars studying primitive cultures, where it happens quite often that living people confuse the living with the dead.
Η Παναγια Κορη, δεχθεισα το αχωρητο Φως, συμβολικως παρισταται υπο της Σεληνης με το κονιορτοβριθες εδαφος. Ελπιδοφορο παραδειγμα οτι ο χους εκ ού προερχομαστε και εις τον οποιο καταληγουμε, συνδεεται δι’ αγαπης προς το φως, ωστε να μπορουμε πρεσβειαις της Θεοτοκου Παρθενου να ευχομαστε, υπερ των προσφιλων κεκοιμημενων, γεματοι ελπιδα.
The Holy Daughter having received the uncontained light, is shown on dustry earth under the Moon. It is a hopeful sign that the dust form which we come and to which we end, is linked through love to the light, so that we can pray, through the mediation of the Virgin Theotokos, full of hope, for the beloved ones who have already slept the long sleep.
Κυριακή, 5 Αυγούστου, 2012
Today was a hot day.
A hot day invites light food.
I like tasty food.
I therefore had to prepare something light and tasty.
The theme to the lunch was given by the anchovies I bought from my fishmonger the other day.
As he said: «they are well bred and come from good waters.»
I made two dishes. The first with salt cured anchovies. I cured them lightly, less than 24 hours. (In the photo above, you can see how moist the flesh is.)
Their partner for the dish were blanched green beans, dressed with a light mustard aioli mayonnaise.
I like to add some mustard to the aioli, it gives it some extra kick, and the colour is divine (I use Dijon mustard).
I only added some lemon juice to the dish. No vinegar is allowed! It kills the taste of the anchovy.
The second dish was built around fried anchovies.
Accompanied by boiled beetroot and fresh garden tomatoes, green peppers, and dry sliced onions.
These orange cherry tomatoes are delicious, and they provide the best partner to the sweetness of the beetroot.
The beetroot was served with olive oil, a touch of lemon juice, and finely chopped garlic.
Both dishes go very well with my favourite Greek white wine, assyrtico from Santorini. Just perfect!